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Carvin B5 and LB75

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Shellac, Feb 12, 2003.


  1. Shellac

    Shellac

    Feb 10, 2003
    Texas
    What do you all think of these two basses? As far as tone (I'm liking the sound, but in your opinion), build, etc? How do they compare to the MTD or some of the Fenders in their range?
     
  2. alembicfive

    alembicfive

    Jan 17, 2003
    USA
    Personally I think there is no comparing to the MTD or Fender. I have owned many high end basses over the years, including Ken Smiths basses and Alembics (which I still have), but I am a hard core believer of Carvins now. The quality of my 2 B5's is every bit as good as my current Alembic. For example, it is rare to find a bass in the $700 range that used brass screw inserts in the wood for the back plate instead of just wood screws. Striking wood grains and perfect finishes. I am a x-Fender owner, I had two '62 reissue Jazz basses. As good as they were, they were not built as well as the Carvins. And with the active electronics, the Carvin's are more versatile. As far as MTD's, I have only played a couple of them and they did not ring my bell, but that is just my feelings. I have been playing bass for, geez, a long time. I have Never, Never seen basses that are of such high quality in the price range of an Carvin. When I bought my first one I was skeptical about buying a mail order bass. I figured if I did not like it, I have ten days to return it for a full refund. But instead I bought another one! Here are my two...



    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  3. mjw

    mjw

    Jun 12, 2001
    Spring, TX USA
    Carvin LB75P and MTD-535 that is....

    I don't have a B5, but I *do* have an Y2K LB75[p], and also have an MTD 535. To be honest, it's not really a "fair" comparison, since (IMO) they're not really in the same league. Nevertheless, having said that, I *will* say that my Carvin plays like "butter" (in a GOOD way!). The quality and tone is awesome! I recently experimented with a different neck pup, and wound up replacing the stacked humbucker with a Bart 59J, but aside from that, and installing a set of DaD half-rounds, I've done nothing, and this bass is "sweet". I wouldn't sell it or trade it for anything.

    My MTD has a very different tone which I absolutely love (way better for slap), and the neck profile is extremely similar to my Carvin (both have wide, asymetrical necks)

    Both are fantastic basses, albeit very different price ranges, construction, and composition.

    I can't compare them to Fenders (never had one), but I can tell you that I'd buy another of both brands in a heartbeat.

    .... Hope this helps....

    Cherrs.....
     
  4. Shellac

    Shellac

    Feb 10, 2003
    Texas
    Thanks for the knowledge Alembic, nice basses too.

    I've been leaning toward Carvin in the last week or so, after playing a few of the basses "recommended" to me by other TB members. I did find a few gems, but Carvin just seems to be calling my name. =)

    Question though, how good is their service, from your experience, as far a returns and delivery?

    I'm also curious as to what style(s) you play, just so I can see if it's mutual or similiar.

    mjw, we must've replied at the same time. =)

    Thanks for the comments, definately helpful. You spoke of construction, which is better, in your opinion......Carvin or MTD? Could you also tell me where they are made, and if that varies according to price range? I'm guessing they're from in the US, since that's what the site says.
     
  5. mjw

    mjw

    Jun 12, 2001
    Spring, TX USA
    I can't answer for Alembic, but I can share my experiences with you. As is fairly predictable, I too have had to deal with their (Carvin's) support and customer service folk. I was skeptical at first, but wound up being pleasantly surprised by their attentiveness and flexibility. (another reason I aplaud them)

    I know Carvin tends to get a bad (or questionable) rap for being a mail-order company, but from someone who's had first-hand experience, I gotta tell ya, a lot of what you hear is pure speculation.

    Regardless, I wish you the best in whatever brand you end up with. :)
     
  6. alembicfive

    alembicfive

    Jan 17, 2003
    USA
    Carvin basses are USA made in California. As far as service, I have yet to have a need to call them. But, when I ordered my basses, the sales people where very good and delivery on both took about 6-7 weeks if I remember correctly (both were from the custom shop).

    My playing style varies depending on the gig. Currently I am playing alot of Blues (R&B) gigs and I use the B5F (fretless) 90% of the time. Mainly finger style. The B5 I mostly use for the funky stuff where slap is needed. I like a punchy sound and when playing finger style on either bass I usually have the pick-up blend towards the bridge PU. I also like the punch of the bolt-ons as well. Both basses pictured where under $800 including case and shipping. Factory direct $avings is a good thing!
     
  7. Shellac

    Shellac

    Feb 10, 2003
    Texas
    "My MTD has a very different tone which I absolutely love (way better for slap)"

    Does that mean that the LB75's have poor slap tone/abilities compared to the MTD?

    Thanks again for the help.
     
  8. Shellac

    Shellac

    Feb 10, 2003
    Texas
    Thanks, Alembic, that's lots of good news. You say punchy? How about the general growl of it (the ones you own)? =)
     
  9. alembicfive

    alembicfive

    Jan 17, 2003
    USA
    I too agree with mjw, Carvins do tend to get a bad rap. Mainly I bet from people who never played them. A interesting story, I was shopping for a bass while I was still living in NY. I went to Guitar Center there (which I have done alot of business with so I trusted them), while trying basses I mention to the salesman that I was thinking about giving Carvin a try. "No No No" he said, "Mail order, no way dude."

    But I went for the Carvin anyway. A few weeks after I got it I took it down to the store. Needless to say the sales people were quite impressed and said they hope their customers don't find out about these suckers at those prices!!
     
  10. alembicfive

    alembicfive

    Jan 17, 2003
    USA
    Do they growl! I love that Jaco sound which is why I played a fretless 62 reissue Jazz for many years. With the Carvin I get that sound and more.

    This is a bad example but check it out anyway. On my web site there is a link to MP3 file that I use the B5F (Hold On I'm Coming). This might give you an idea of the sound. I recorded direct into the board.

    My Site
     
  11. mjw

    mjw

    Jun 12, 2001
    Spring, TX USA
    Well, I basically have two reasons for saying that.
    The first is due to my own preferences. I love the feeling and tone of Half-Round strings on my Carvin better than anything else I've tried (and I've tried a bunch!) These strings are not exactly optimal for slapping, on any bass. IMO, you're better off with stainless (or at least nickel) roundwounds for slap.
    So, as a result of my string choice, I've already hindered this basses "slap-worthiness".

    The second reason (for me anyway) is one of ergonomics. On my Carvin, there's very little distance between the neck pup and the last fret, which makes it difficult at times to pop without my fingers bumping into the edge of the fretboard. (I'm an old fart with degrading articulation!) :)

    My MTD however, has LOTS of space there, and in fact sounds better if I slap off the fretboard (over the truss rod cover) than over the last fret or two.

    I guess it's just a comfort issue with me. Does that make any sense/ :)
     
  12. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    I don't have one (yet). But I occasionally go to the factory store in San Diego, and they seem nice. As far as slap tone, they have some samples on the Carvin website, but Ed Friedland's site has some that are IMO a lot better. And Ed can play!

    Ed's site
     
  13. mjw

    mjw

    Jun 12, 2001
    Spring, TX USA
    Ain't THAT THE TRUTH!! Ed's awesome! I just picked up a copy of his Slap Bass DVD, and Dang!!!!!!................... :) "He da' man!"
     
  14. SRSiegel

    SRSiegel Guest

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    i love my LB75PF like no other.. and after playing a lot of other high end basses (warwicks, pedullas, peavey, alembic) ill say that my next bass will be another carvin.

    also id just like to say alembicfive, that B5 of yours on the right has one of the most beautiful bodies ive ever seen. I love the gracefully understated and natural look.

    curious.... anyone know if carvin can or will do a stained oil finish... like tung oil, but say... black? im thinkin about gettin creative...

    oh yeah one more thing, alembicfive, what kind of wood is that on the B5 on the right? looks like koa... but ive never seen kao look so damned nice.
     
  15. mjw

    mjw

    Jun 12, 2001
    Spring, TX USA
    Hey, I just noticed that you list your location in Texas. Are you anywhere near North Houston? If so, you could swing by and play both of mine and judge for yourself. :)
     
  16. alembicfive

    alembicfive

    Jan 17, 2003
    USA
    Thanks for the kind words! The B5 in question is a B5F Fretless. The body is Walnut and nice piece at that. As finish goes, you can get tung oil finish, it is one of the many options....
     
  17. Schwinn

    Schwinn

    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    I recommend Ed Friedland's site to anyone who wants to hear what a Carvin sounds like in the hands of someone that really knows how to play.

    He's got a link on the first page to his basses with a sound clip of each one. And they've got stock pickups too! Check it out.