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A little help, please?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Chazzz, Mar 10, 2006.

  1. Chazzz


    Jan 27, 2006
    Spokane, WA
    So my Carvin XB6PF finally arrived (three weeks, late, but it's here). Here are the specs just FYI:
    • Walnut body, flame koa top (looks really nice)
    • 5-piece maple neck with 2 koa strips
    • ebony fingerboard
    • lined fretless
    • J99/HB2/Piezo pickups
    But try as I might, I just cannot get the sound I want out of it. If I basically turn the piezo pickup off, keep the J99+HB2 balanced in the center, and then push the bass eq almost all the way up (mid & treble are centered), then it's almost close to what I hear in my head. If the bass eq is centered (or less), or I add in the piezo pickup then the entire tone thins out way too much. And the strings are ringing more than I ever remember any strings ringing.

    I've had two 6-string fretless basses in the past: a 1990 Tobias (Basswood body (I think), maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, 34" scale, 9V Barts) and a 1994 Modulus Q6 (alder w/cocobola top, graphite neck, phenolic fingerboard, 35" scale, 18V EMG SweetSpot pup). The Tobias had great warmth but didn't really seem to cut enough, and the Modulus was almost constantly too bright.

    So here's my question: What in the world should I be looking into?

    I dig the Modulus neck and I liked the Tobias neck. I have thought about another Modulus Q6, but with Barts.
    I've also thought about an MTD, G. Gould and Zon. I'm not sure about current Gibson Tobias quality/customizability, so I can't say I'd go that way again.

    Locally, I only have access to Fender, Lakland, Ibanez, Tobias, and whatever GuitarCenter has in stock. But I'm pretty sure nobody in town has a 6-string fretless, let alone a fretless.

  2. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA
    Any examples of the sound you are after? Maybe you need to change to flatwounds or halfwound strings.
  3. First off: Bummer on not getting the sound you want
    Secondly: No Pics, No Bass
    Thirdly: Roscoe?
  4. Chazzz


    Jan 27, 2006
    Spokane, WA
    I am definitely not a flatwound fan, but have never tried halfwounds, to my knowledge. I'm normally a nickel roundwound player.

    This is going sound completely ritarded, but I just don't know. I have CDs with Jaco, Manring, Victor, Victor & Steve Bailey, Alain, Bunny Brunel, John Patitucci, Jimmy Haslip, Mark Egan, and a Gerald Veasley track. I even like Bunny's sound (just don't like some of the music) - and he's playing a Carvin! (Listen through various tracks now.) I like almost everything, dang it.

    All I can say is that I think my head knows what it's looking for and the Carvin ain't it. It might be just a moot point and something that forces me to take a trip or two down to someplace in California where I can find a shop or two that has a better variety of basses than what I have available to me locally.

    It's pretty frustrating, really, not being able to really define what I'm looking for in a fretless. When my Sadowsky arrived, I plugged it into my amp and after 5 minutes (or less), I knew that was sound I was looking for in a fretted slap-purpose bass.
  5. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA
    Then send the carvin back!
  6. Since you're in Washington state, go to Bass Northwest in Seattle. They have a large selection of basses and are closer than California.

    I agree with Sean, return the Carvin if it doesn't have your sound, that's what their return policy is for. I sent a BB75 back for the same reason. However the Carvin Icon fretted 4 string I received yesterday DOES have the tone I want. After a few minutes I knew "Yup, that's what I'm looking for."
  7. Rather than kill yourself trying to get the sound right if it's not for you, maybe you should just return the bass. One of the good things about Carvin is that you can do that.

    You could also try exchanging it for one of the new Icon basses, which besides looking nicer (IMO) have different PUs and electronics. But maybe you'd rather go in another direction entirely.

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