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Carvin AC40/AC50 acoustic bass guitar

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Blackbird, Jun 4, 2000.

  1. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Has anyone checked out either of these basses, especially the fretless ones? Comments? Opinions?

    Will C. cool.

    You can't hold no groove if you ain't got no pocket!

  2. Have seen them in the local Carvin shop, h'ver I have not played one. Can't possibly be very loud by itself, it's only 2" or so deep and body is more electric in size compared to other acoustic basses.

    Seems a safe bet you will need an amp to play it anywhere...

    Holdin' down the low end for our Lord, in Surf city U.S.A. !!!
  3. Al Steen

    Al Steen

    Feb 1, 2000
    They sure play swell though and sound just faboo thru an amp!
  4. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    Microsoft Product Designer
    these basses are NOT meant to be played without an amp.

    i thought the tone was nice.

  5. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    Beem very happy with mine....the piezo doesn't pick up the high end quite the same, so just turn up the treble a notch on your amp compared to a solid body and away you go!
  6. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I gigged an AC-50F for years. I have no complaints at all.

    Great bass.
  7. GM60466


    May 20, 2006
    Land of Lakland
    I priced an AC40 out with all the options. It was $1300 with the case and $100 off discount. My only problem is, if I end up not liking the bass, there is no resale value on Carvin instruments.
    I just purchased a mint BB75-5 fretless from Guitar Center. The bass sold for over $1000 less than a year ago. I paid just over $300. It is a great bass for twice that price. The only problem is that it says CARVIN on the headstock.
  8. I was just in my local Carvin shop (Natomas, CA) during my lunch break to pick up a couple of cables, and they had an AC40 on the wall. Being that it was strung with black nylon tapewounds, I had to try it out (it's rare to find any bass in a shop set up with flatwounds, let alone tapewounds).

    Physically, it's a small, light bass, the neck felt really comfortable and fast. Almost no acoustic volume, but plugged in it sounded really nice. I could get it to sound a lot like a regular solid body electric with the bass' knobs turned up, the amp set flat, and playing close to the bridge. Fiddling with the EQ on the amp to a more shaped sound, I could get very satisfying and full deep tones all over the fretboard. The open E was refreshingly rich and textured, not missing anything at all.

    Out of all the plugged-in sounds of the acoustic-electrics I've tried, I like the AC40's sound the best. It's also been the most comfortable to play. But unamplified, it's not useful as an acoustic instrument.
  9. Jo6Pak


    May 2, 2007
    If you catch ebay at the right time, you can get one for half that, which also confirms your resale theory.

    I had an AC40F a few years ago, but sold it when I went away from fretless. I would love to have another with frets.
  10. I own an AC40 fretless as well. I have really enjoyed it, but it took me a while to find a set of strings that made it satisfactory to what I style I play. It is thin, light-weight, and it's thin neck makes it comfortable to play. Weighs in about 6 1/2 pounds. It has a two band EQ that kind of makes it necessary to use the EQing on your amp or board to really get the tone you want. totally useless for pure acoustic play, but its thin body all but eliminates feedback, so I do not miss the bigger, thick body.
    Is it worth what they want for it? Probably not, but then again, what is? Like the others have said, keep an eye on ebay. I see a few come through every month.
    You may also want to check out the thin acoustic bass Godin makes for about the same amount of money.

  11. skb5string

    skb5string Supporting Member

    Jun 3, 2007
    Clinton Township, MI
    I had an AC50 Fretless. To be honest it was one of the nicest fretless's I've owned. Rich tone and a ton of Mwah! It was very close the Rob Allen MB2 fretless. I kinda refer to it as a poor mans Rob Allen. I got rid of it and should not have. I'm on the hunt for another one witha KOA top:) I liked it better than my Pedulla Penta Buzz!
  12. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    Zombie thread.... I'm kind of gassing for one of these, priced out with the options I'd like it will run around $1300...

    Any recent users of these basses? Specifically fretless four bangers? I had an equivalent guitar a number of years ago and it was wonderful. I've been wanting a good fretless for some time (had a Modulus that was a rather major let down) and for the price and features one of these seems like it might be right up my alley (a Citron or a Mouse are bit out of my financial reach at the moment).
  13. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    I've been kinda gassin' for one too; maybe a fretless 4.
    I got tired with past 'acoustic' attempts, I just get tired of the bulky bodies you have to bend your arm and wrist around.
    I use ' ' for ABG's because they're all useless in band settings without amps, and I know Carvin says this isn't one, just styled to look like one. Figured might as well go with something that's comfortable.
  14. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    I've never played an 'acoustic' bass that sounded worth a fart in a windstorm unplugged.


    Anyhow, it seems like one of these would provide a really nice warm tone and the reviews indicate good 'mwah'. They're not as unique or as interesting looking as a Citron or a Mouse, but I think with a traditional two by two headstock it's a handsome instrument.
  15. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    GUYS! Will you quit going on about unplugged volume. You've been repeatedly told it has NONE! But what nobody has mentioned it that this means that typical acoustic guitar feedback is ZERO problem with the AC40/AC50. I gig with mine all the time and lack of feedback (which means you can turn up if you wish) makes the bass totally useable in almost any situation.

    Mine is AC50 fretless. It's light as a feather. Plenty of mwah. Workmanship is typical Carvin (impeccable). Plays like a dream. Does a terrific upright imitation. Strung EADGC is a soloing monster. The piezo pickup gives it a very percussive quality like no other bass that can easily be put to use musically. And for the 4 string you can get the Traditional headstock for a killer look on stage.

    I've kept nylon-wrapped strings on mine and I love the way they make it sound/feel.

    As far as I am concerned there are only a few downsides. One was price. At around a grand I thought it a bit steep for an acoustic with no unplugged volume, but on the other hand I got a totally new instrument with the options of my choosing (and as I recall they had a sale at the time with a free tweed hard case...how cool is that). I would buy another used one in a New York second, but in all these years I've never even seen one listed for sale at a decent used (1/2) price. That probably says something about them. There's one on EBAY right now but it's virtually at new price!

    Carvin AC-50 | eBay

    The B string isn't the best ever, but useable. Mostly this is due to the piezo pickup and a little EQ goes a long way.

    And lastly, I would VERY MUCH like for the AC40/AC50 to have a magnetic neck pickup you could mix in to extend the tonal range from acoustic to more like a standard electric bass. One day I'll have to add one somehow.
  16. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    No kidding!
  17. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    Hey now, at least I know how to use the search function!
  18. khui


    Nov 22, 2007
    had a carvin fretless ac50. beautiful bass! excellent craftsmenship. Plays awesome. Got that "mwah" sound. nylon strings. I would recommend this to anyone considering it.

    Get one if you wanna keep it. Resell value usually sucks...a good theory is that people can get one made to spec at a very reasonable price, so why pay full price for a "design" made by someone else?

    However, there are exceptions. I sold my ac50 w/ a spalted maple top for 1000 on ebay and i paid 1300 for it. There's hope. =)

  19. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    I think I'm going to pull the trigger on a Koa-topped four string. :)

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