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Anyone try the Carvin strings?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by bassgrooves2, Jan 13, 2012.

  1. I had some in the past and was overall pretty pleased with them, but show got out of sync and shifted to just getting Ernie balls from my local shop. The price is good on the carvin strings, through it has gone up nice I last ordered any. They are made by la Bella which I also like a good bit. I see they're also making stainless strings now at the same price as their nickel ones. A bit tough on nikel frets thouh.
    Just wondering what others were feeling about the Carvins strings.
  2. gary m

    gary m

    Jan 17, 2011
    Mid -Atlantic
    Carvin flats are made by GHS.
  3. IconBasser

    IconBasser Scuba Viking Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2007
    Alta Loma, California
    when they are new, I love them. Beautiful tone. IME, they go completely dead in about two weeks, and sound horrible. Your mileage may vary.
  4. smadder


    Nov 13, 2004
    All of the Carvin strings are actually re-labeled LaBellas. Even the flats and the nylon tapewounds. They even have it stated on the site. Plus you can call the 800 number and just ask them and they'll tell you (I last checked when I re-ordered a few weeks ago and the flats were by LaBella and not GHS, but that may have changed... it's easy enough to find out, just call).

    IMO they're the best deal on bulk strings you can get anywhere. Carvin charges a $9.99 flat rate for parts shipping, so as long as you get a minimum of 3 sets of strings, you are saving a ton of money off of what LaBella sets usually cost elsewhere. And the more you buy, the more you save. I have been using their stainless steel light gauge 4 and 5 sets for years (they come with tapered B and E strings). I am also a fan of the nylon tapewounds. With Carvin, you are limited in gauge selection: there are only two gauges in both nickel and stainless, and only one gauge in flats and tapewounds. But they are available for 4, 5 & 6 string basses in nickel, stainless and flat, and 4 & 5 in tapewound. Seriously - go price out just a set of three (include the $9.99 flat shipping cost) and then compare it to LaBellas from a big-box store or wherever you usually get your strings and it will blow your mind how much money you can save. Especially with pricey steels, flats and tapewounds. And if you're a nickel player, Carvin strings are easily the best deal on the planet: $15 per set of you get 3 sets of medium gauge nickels. It's unbelievable.

    I'm in love with Sadowsky Black Label strings, but I can't afford them as often as I'd like. Carvin has been putting out the best LaBellas for years at prices that are just ridiculous. It's one of the hidden gems of the bass world in my opinion. About $65 (add tax if you're in CA) for 3 sets of stainless 5's comes out to about $21.33 per set. That's anywhere from $7 - $13 cheaper per set than anywhere else. And with the flat shipping rate of $9.99 the more you buy the more you save. So buying in bulk for yourself or even going in with friends (their guitar strings are also ridiculously affordable) can save you a ton of money when it comes to strings. I usually buy 3 sets of 4 stainless and three sets of 5 stainless at a time and then I don't need strings for well over a year and a half. If you go through strings quicker, you can order more - no matter what, you are saving a lot of money and the strings you're getting are very high quality. LaBella has been around forever and they make an excellent bass string.

    To the OP, I hope this helps. Carvin gets overlooked and underrated for a lot of things, and inexpensive high quality bass strings are definitely one of the bigger oversights.
  5. mmbongo

    mmbongo Dilly Dilly! Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Just keep something important in mind...just because they are made by LaBella does not mean they are LaBella's. They just buy OEM strings from LaBella.

    I see them as a not so great deal, really.

    4 sets of Carvin strings (4 string)= $70 shipped
    4 sets of Rotosounds from Bass Strings Online = $56 shipped
    5 sets of D'Addario XL from Bass Strings Online = $57 shipped
  6. smadder


    Nov 13, 2004
    Great point! Could you elaborate on this? I think this is a very interesting topic (similar to an Ibanez, Schecter and Dean bass being made right next to each other on the same machines in the same factories in the same countries, etc.).
  7. mmbongo

    mmbongo Dilly Dilly! Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Well you have to consider that there are very few string manufacturers actually out there. LaBella is one of them obviously. They make OEM strings for many companies. Not all of them use the same materials or construction. They can make a string as cheaply as possible and sell them to other companies to put their name on them. Those strings obviously have nothing in common with the higher end LaBellas.

    You can use Sadowsky strings as an example also. I forget who Roger said makes them, but whoever it was you won't find anything like Sadowsky strings in their catalog.
  8. smadder


    Nov 13, 2004
    Gotcha. That does explain a lot in terms of dissimilar experiences some people have had with Carvin strings. Personally, I've only run across a "dead set" 3 or 4 times and Carvin always replaced them immediately with no hassle. I was always so pleased with the money I was saving and the service I was getting that I didn't think to ask if there were exact comparable sets in the regular LaBella catalog that were just re-labeled for Carvin. I just assumed that my 5 string light gauge sets were re-labeled hard-rockin' steels. I'm glad you brought this up because now I want to do some homework and find out if they are just OEM offshoots for Carvin or re-labeled standard LaBella sets.

    And I think Sadowsky's are R. Coco's... but I'm not 100% sure if I'm remembering that right so please don't hold me to it.
  9. gary m

    gary m

    Jan 17, 2011
    Mid -Atlantic
    Carvin flats are GHS Precision Flats , right down to the purple silks. They ship in clear shrink wrap, and according to Carvin are sourced in bulk sets of various gauges and assembled into four, five and six string sets.

    Carvin rounds are indeed LaBellas (black silks) and are shipped in Carvin branded packaging which states "Made by LaBella" on the back.
  10. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    It's quite easy to verify this: GHS flats have an extremely smooth look. They are the only flat I know of where you can't easily see the flat 'ribbons' of the string; you have to look very closely to see them.
  11. jasper383

    jasper383 Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    This has been my recent experience, as well.

    The flats are the same strings as GHS Precision 45-105 flats, and the rounds and tapes are all still La Bella.
  12. madbassplaya


    Dec 28, 2007
    I started a thread on Carvin's a while back. Check out the mixed thoughts and reviews here:


    I tried them and they were "ok" not bad but not great. Carvin kills you with flat rate $10.00 shipping. The strings weren't worth it for me because they do not last very long, IME.

    If you wanna save cash go to Welcome to Bass Strings Online - Your Custom Bass String Shop... and sign up as a VIP member. It's open to talkbass members and you just sign up and include you're a tb member/tb name. Great service too and they guy that owns the company is a regular tb member.
  13. biffoweasel


    Sep 14, 2010
    Olympia, Wa.
    I've uesd them. They aren't that bad, but just average. I've used worse.

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