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carvin basses?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by etherbass, May 26, 2004.

  1. etherbass


    May 24, 2004
    hey guys i have seriously been considering ordering a carvin bass... the options and different styles are really appealing, BUT i have never played one, or really heard one except for timothy b schmit on the hell freezes over dvd. Now compared to his jazz bass the carvin sounds a bit dry, with no real signature tone to it. BUT his fretless does sound nice. so i am considering a fretless... does anyone know about thier quality and how they feel? im a fender jazz guy so i like that feel.. can anyone help?
  2. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    You might do search. There is a ton of info on carvin basses floating around here. The reviews at harmony-central are also useful. By the way, welcome to talkbass!
  3. They definately feel a lot different than a fender jazz in my opinion.
  4. vacman


    Mar 8, 2004
    portland, or
    I love my carvin B-4. Ash body, Maple neck, Birds eye maple fret... the level of workmanship is amazing for the money you spend. The phone guys are cheese but if you know exactly what you want they wont give you any static. My bass took three months to get. I placed my order right after NAMM so go figure... The only grip I have is that there is so little soul to my Carvin. Yea, it gets the job done and yea the fit and finish are EXCELLENT for the price but there just is not that feeling for charecter. My Stingray wears boots, my Carvin wears slippers. My P bass thumps and bumps and push its way along and alas my Carvin just sort of feels like a prim and proper school boy at his first day of school....NO REAL IDENTITY. My Carvin BTW has frets...and they are dressed well and the like. This bass will grow on me I am sure but man oh man, it will be my polite bass. Hope this makes some sense.... :D
  5. Carvin really surprised me by coming out with a new guitar that's actually good looking! The California CT. It has a brand new headstock, and the guitar could give a PRS a run for its money in the beauty department.

    Which gives me hope that one day...one day...one day, if I'm really good and the tooth fairy wants to reward me, Carvin just might do the unexpected and freshen up their tired and frumpish line of basses. Carvin is not Fender, and they can't get away with pumping out the same old tired crap year after year after year.

    Currently, I think the best way to go in the tone department is the B or LB, with two J99 pups. Others' mileage will vary....
  6. adouglas


    Jun 23, 2003
    Bridgeport, CT
    I have two Carvins. My main bass is a mid-90s LB75A (Anniversary Series) that I've put Bartolinis and an Aguilar OBP-3 in. It was good before the electronics swap, and now it's really amazing. Total investment, since I bought the bass used for about 900 a few years ago, is around $1200 including the pickup and electronics swap. This is for a neck-through bass with a five-piece neck, gold hardware, abalone block inlays and a beautiful quilted top. It's hard to beat that.

    I also have a fretless BB75FP, which has Carvin's P-series electronics. These include a piezo bridge pickup that can be blended with the other pickups, which I find really useful for fretless work. I can get some very nice, woody, acoustic-sounding tones out of that thanks to the pickup arrangement. It doesn't have the aggressiveness of the electronics I've put in the fretted bass, but I do keep getting compliments from the guitarist I play with about how good the fretless sounds.

    Just food for thought...your needs are no doubt different from mine, but you should at least consider the P-series electronics.

    If you're looking at these used, be aware that Carvin changed their electronics module a few years back. The LB series originally had four knobs...two band EQ, I think. In the mid-90s they put in a new preamp with a 3-band EQ, which is what I had. Not bad, but not nearly as good as my current rig. A couple of years after that they updated the preamp...the way to tell if it's the new one or not is whether the preamp has a passive switch, activated by pulling up on the volume knob. If it has this, it's the current module, which word has it sounds better than the one I had.

    The P-series is a whole new deal.

    I like the BB body shape, but don't like the square sides. My LB has rounded body sides, which are much more attractive.

    I agree with the other poster that the line needs some freshening. As much as I like my LB75, I do think it looks just a bit frumpy. I'd love to see a more modern shape, like the MTD 535. Surely Carvin has paid off the tooling for the LB series by now. Hell, it's all CNC anyway.
  7. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    I've owned/played an LB76 for 10 years now. That sucker's taken all the abuse I've thrown at it and it's held up great.

    If you're looking for a J-bass feel, go with the B4 bolt-on model. I'd stick with an alder or ash body, and perhaps a maple or rosewood fingerboard instead of the standard ebony one. Stay with the J99 singlecoil pickups... if these don't work out right for you, there are a zillion different replacement pickups to try because they're standard J-bass-size pickup routes (although they're both the long bridge-position size, the different pickup makers have long-long sets. Bartolini and DiMarzio immediately come to mind. Personally, I have Barts in mine.)

    Even if you need to end up spending a little extra on replacement pickups, you'll still be getting a better deal (better woods, better construction and more consistent QA) than most any off-the-shelf Fender bass, IMO.
  8. DougP


    Sep 4, 2001
    i have had an LB-76 for about 6 years now and i feel the same way. i need something that i can bang on. i use the Carvin as my finesse bass. it has nicer fit and finish than some of the Pedullas i have seen in GC.
  9. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Fit and finish on these are as good as a lot of boutique makers. The fretwork on all the instruments I've seen or owned is especially impressive.

    As far as that elusive quality called "personality" is concerned, I think this has to do more with the player than the instrument.
  10. I have a Carvin fretless. I really enjoy it. It sounds good. The neck is insanely thin, which is fine for me because I have small hands. It is easy to play and has a lot of character. It has a neck through design with a maple neck and walnut sides. It is quite heavy, but it hasn't really bothered me.
  11. toytech


    Mar 22, 2004
    San Leandro
    I have an old lb76 myself, early 4pot active preamp with j style pickups, schaller bridge and sprezel tuners very clean modern sounding bass excellent action, thin neck doesn't feel like a six string.
  12. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    I had an offer recently to trade a Carvin BB76P for my Warwick Streamer Jazzman. It was a very nice looking bass, but I am a little concerned about what I have heard about the electronics being a little sub-par. So I declined. I think I will keep holding out for a Roscoe 6er.
  13. main_sale


    Apr 26, 2004
    Cape Cod
    Personally, I'm staying miles away from anything Carvin because of some really poor customer service I got from them. Spend your dollars elsewhere!
  14. Bassstud1

    Bassstud1 Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2001
    LaPorte Indiana USA
    Vacman said it best. It is a very proper instrument. It felt better than my 78 MM, but alas no balls. I hope that is allowed if not sorry moderator. It sounded like like like like it needed more electronics or better electronics. But I am comparing it to a 78 MM and an Alembic. Fantastic feel to the bass I had, just NO balls. Good Luck
  15. The MOMET

    The MOMET Guest

    May 20, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    I have had some experience with Carvin and it all has been good.

    I used to have an ash B4 with J/MM. I was able to get a large number of useable tones out it. The neck was the thinnest that I have played. If you like fat necks then Carvins will feel unnatural at best and completely awkward at worst.

    Three years ago, I bought one of their RL-610 small stacks. After I had this amp for about 3 weeks, I started having problems with the head. I called Carvin and they told me that they had received a bad batch of electrical components and for me to take the amp out of the rack case that it came in and send it back to them. I did and a week later I received a new head with a rack case. I now have two if someone needs one. Within a month the 15" started to fail. I called them and they shipped another one immedietly. According to Carvin the problem with the head was damaging the drivers.

    A member of one of the bands I play in now is a rep for an electrical components company. I relayed some of my story to him but he finished it for me. His company had supplied the bad components and was on the hook to Carvin for all of the rework and the damanged drivers.

    I feel like Carvin did an excellent job on customer service with my problems. I have had nothing but reliable service since the problems were corrected.
  16. I don't mind knocking Carvin where I think they need to be knocked -- like having tired frumpish basses with bad electronics -- but I stick up for 'em when I think they're being unfairly criticized.

    That would be customer service. Their customer service is excellent. I don't want to take away from the bad experiences that others may have had, but I have found that Carvin is staffed with excellent people.

    I'm not saying their customer service is out of the stratosphere like the legendary Lakland customer service, but they're very responsive and really do try to make you happy.

    My two rupees.
  17. By-Tor


    Apr 13, 2000
    Sacramento, CA
    Never played one, but I would really like to pick up one of those V440T bass from the 80's.
  18. DaveDeVille

    DaveDeVille ... you talkin' to me ?? Supporting Member

    my thoughts on Carvin basses ...
    i own a LB70-P active/passive bass , so i can only speak about the one i actually play ...

    after having said that ...
    i don't think it has it's own " voice " { like a Fender P-bass would } but
    the quality control at Carvin is top notch . the bass is assembeled and checked to meet very high standards .
    some people don't like the plain sounding electronics , { not powerful enough , etc. } but with a decent amplifier , you should be able to get some really good tones ...

    as far as customer service , i had a very pleasant experience . no problems in getting what i asked for , maybe i just asked the right questions ...

    mine has been a true workhorse for three years , and have used it on a variety of gigs . :bassist:
    excellent value for the money, i say go for it !!

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Staff Member Supporting Member

    I had one and thank God they have that trial period man do they sound weak. I really loved the finish it was really great Greenburst other then that i was really suprised at how low the out put was for a J Humbucker combo.
  20. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I say go for it - especially since you're shopping for a fretless. That maple neck-through, the ebony fingerboard and the H50N vertically stacked humbuckers are ideal for fretless, and you're gonna love it! The neck is nice and smooth & slender, with a great feel...

    I've got a '93 Carvin fretted four-string (heavily modified LB20 with a BadAss II bridge and a pair of replacement active EMG-Js installed) that I just love - and a brand new fretless LB70 is on the way from the factory...