Features: I have been a fan of Carvin basses for a number of years. They make great basses for the player who wants the most for his money (IMHO). That said, they have had a reputation for being a bit on the brighter side. I have owned the LB20, LB70, BB75 and now the SB5000. Both the LB20 and the LB70 were a bit bright, even for me. The BB75 is awesome and the SB5000 is awesomer…. is that a word?
The body of the SB is made of alder, which ensures lightweight and resonating tone. But since Carvin is a custom shop, you can choose from a large variety of woods, top woods, and finishes. The neck is made of hard maple. There are a number of fingerboard and inlay choices as well. For mine, I chose maple with white on black finish. The bolt on neck features a 34” rosewood fingerboard, a 14” radius and 22 medium-jumbo frets. My neck has the rosewood fingerboard with block pearl inlays...sweet.
The bridge is a new design…compared to my old LBs it looks more like a Hipshot Bridge but I think it is a Carvin design. The saddles are adjustable for string height, intonation and they are locking. The strings can be fed through the bridge or through the bodd, I prefer through the body.
The electronics are active, although it does has passive bypass capability. The controls consist of two volume controls (one per pickup), one tone control, and a concentric stacked treble and bass boost/cut. Ok so I mentioned before about Carvin’s reputation for brightness…well this pre can be bright if you choose, BUT there is some serious booty going on with really booming bass. You can roll in some treble boost (not to much) and you got yourself a funk machine like no other. Using the tone control you can get some really smooth tones for finger style. The pickups are a new Carvin designed especially for the SB, a pair of J99A single coils with alnico magnets that produce a classic vintage tone. You can however, order a different pickup configuration if you like. But for me, straight jazz pickups are what I wanted in this bass.
Sound: OK as I mentioned above, this thing can handle the funk vibe exceptionally well. I would compare it to Sadowsky…. I know that is high praise, but to my ear there is not much separation. Roll the treble back with the tone control knob and you can pull a very nice vintage tone. Roll it back in and get some bite for a more modern, aggressive, almost high fidelity tone. Of course you can manipulate the pickups as well, front pickup only brings a smile to the face of anyone who loves the P bass tone, back pickup only, gives you the good burpy Jaco tone…then there is everything in between. There is not much this bass can't do, and its sound is on par with a much more expensive piece of gear.
Action, Fit & Finish: Excellent, Excellent and Excellent. Carvin is known best for its build quality. These basses are no exception. My SB5000 is immaculately built, feels great to the body, is perfectly well balanced, the fretwork is impeccable. Can’t say enough about Carvin’s craftsmanship
Action, Fit & Finish: 10
Reliability & Durability: I have only had it for a year. But it has been gig, practiced, and rehearsed with much and so far so good. If it is anything like my other Carvin basses, I expect to this one will pass the test of time.
Reliability & Durability: Too soon to tell but I expect it to be around for a LONG time - 9
Impression: I play mostly rock, but more R&B and funk of late. This bass nails all those styles and is a great addition to my stable. It has quickly become one of my “go to” basses. I played a very expensive Sadowsky, which was awesome btw, but this bass was awesomer….I am pretty sure that is a word. For about 2 grand less you really can’t miss with this offering from Carvin.
Check out this review from Ed Friedland on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEdT9dRuiTU