Carvin B5 fretless kit

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Showdown, Dec 9, 2002.

  1. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I just finished my Carvin B5 fretless. It has a swamp ash body, maple neck/ebony fingerboard, and black hardware. I finished it with Tung oil. It is very lightweight, sounds great, and has incredibly low action. I put TI flats on it, and they sound great. Here is a picture:

  2. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Yes, it is a kit. It comes with all the parts, and all the holes are pre-drilled. All you have to do is finish the wood, (I used Tung oil becuase it is fool-proof, and makes a nice satin finish), assemble it, and do some minor soldering on the electronics. It was very easy. With the options I got (swamp ash body, 5 string, active electronics, black hardware, unlined fretless) it cost $497 including shipping. Saved a couple of hundred dollars, and had the satisfaction of doing it myself.

    Here is a link:

    Carvin Bass Kit
  3. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    too bad that's a thing only for USA resident....
  4. Mazinger

    Mazinger Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2002
    I think I found my Christmas present!

    Does Carvin still use ebony as a standard for their fretboards?
  5. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    yep, fretboards are ebony. You can get a maple option on the 'customs,' not sure if that applies to the kits or not...

    Ebony is standard.
  6. chucko58


    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    Judging from some discussions on the Carvin BBS, you can apparently order the kit in a variety of different woods (alder, swamp ash, and mahogany for the body at least). But the only fingerboard woods are maple, birdseye maple (maybe), and ebony.
  7. jblaven


    Nov 18, 2002
    I am just starting out on the bass. I have the Tacoma CB-10 Acoustic (not yet) :p Christmas from my parents. Oh, I mean Santa.:rolleyes:

    That is a good lookin bass. I would love to try fretless. Since I already have a fretted bass in the Tacoma, I might give it a try!

    Would I be disappointed going fretless? ...or will my practice on the Tacoma pay off if I move to fretless?

    Once again, Nice bass. I bet you are proud, and rightly so.
  8. JohnL


    Sep 20, 2000
    Grayson, GA
    How many coats of tung oil did you use? I ask only because I am about ready to finish my project (not a Carvin kit though) and I have a swamp ash body that I want to leave natural as well. I was debating between the tung oil and Tru-Oil, which seems to get good reviews from the guys over at the MIMF. Thanks!
  9. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I followed Carvins advice and used 4 coats, and it came out really nice.
  10. I've been toying with the idea of a Carvin kit for a couple of years now. I must say your bass looks great. I have a few of questions if I may:

    1) Did you get single coils or the humbuckers?
    2) Is it a 35" scale?
    3) How's the B string?
    4) What bass does it sound closest to?

    Carvin sends me a catalog about every other month. You are gonna push me over the edge, Mr. Showdown. :)

    Good luck with it.

  11. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Let's see if I can answer these....

    1) 2 single coil (J99)
    2) 34"
    3) The B string is very tight and solid sounding, especially for a 34" scale. It isn't as good as on my 35" Lakland, but it is pretty close, even with the low tension TI Jazz Flats on it.
    4) It sounds very Jazz bass like to me. Very growly, especially in the passive mode (which I prefer). The preamp sounds pretty good (a lot better than some people on this forum have said, to my ears anyway), but in passive mode it just sounds better to me. The pickups are a lot better sounding than I've been led to believe, too. Much better than the stock pickups on my MIM Jazz. I can't say how it would sound with the bridge humbucker option, though.

    Hope this helps...
  12. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
  13. rickreyn

    rickreyn Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2000
    Lutz, Florida
    If I was the least bit handy I'd do what you did. I've been waiting for a lined Carvin 5 to come along for weeks. Great idea and great looking.:)
  14. BassGreaser


    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Sweet fretless...I'm going to build a carvin four string fretless. does the neck have side markers?
  15. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Yes, it has dots on the 3rd, 5th, 7th, etc.
  16. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    By the way, I played it at rehearsal the other night, and it sounded great! With the TI Jazz Flats on it, it has a fat, growly sound that I love. And soloing the bridge pickup sounds great, too - if it had roundwounds on it, it would get a great Jaco sound.