Carvin Basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by cyklone777, Mar 25, 2001.

  1. Are these any good? They look pretty damn nice for under $800. Has anybody ever played one? Tanks
  2. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    They're beautiful, well-built basses that sound pretty good. Most makers charge at least double what Carvin does for their exotic wood tops. Carvins are easily worth the price. Their resale ain't so hot, probably because you don't see 'em in the stores. However, I notice Dave and Beaver are carrying them over at Bass Central now. I don't buy basses as investments anyway, so resale ain't no big deal.
  3. What you pay is what you get. There's lot's of Carvin's neck that bend upward(concave) in Asia. Regardless of whether the player took care of it or not. There's factor of the wood being not seasoned properly or long enough, and it grows making it bend. Honestly, they sounded good(I think), but the biggest problem is "what you pay is what you get".
  4. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    I was actually this || close to buy a Carvin LB75 for my first 5-string, but I listened to some recordings of Carvins (among them the Bunny Brunel demo on Carvin's website), and thought they sounded a bit bland. I didn't want to spend $1000 on a bass that didn't sound any good to my ears.
    If you like the sound and don't have an extreme climate like on Jakarta, they're worth looking into.

    But for the price of a Carvin LB, you can also always consider a DP Custom... :)
  5. Well, the reason I know that is also because there's a couple of bassist from US & Canada(where I was) that toured Asia, that had the same similar problem. Jakarta's weather isn't extreme, just very humid(like most of asia). Tone wise, they're good, not awesome!! At least that's what I feel.
  6. Bob C

    Bob C

    Mar 26, 2000
    Duluth, MN
    There are loads of Carvin threads on this site. You should do a search. However, since this one is here I'll comment on what has been said.

    Bass Central is the only retailer that sells them. Beaver Felton said since he's still an endorser, it would be hypocritical not to offer them. So Carvin complied. Carvin also has like six stores in California. And of course the mail order.

    Lots of people think they sound so-so (me included), and many end up replacing the pickups. But the newer ones are supposed to have much punchier pickups.

    Dave at LA Bass exchange said they make a good "first [high-end] bass", but lots of people have experienced neck problems. Of course he's a retailer of high-end gear and doesn't sell Carvin.

    I bought an LB70 4-string two years ago. It sounds pretty good, plays very good. I had problems with the preamp, which were fixed (sort of) under warranty. The neck is easy to adjust, and you can get the action very low. But I have some annoying fret noise (more rattling than buzzing, if that makes sense) that raising the string height doesn't cure. Maybe it has a high fret or two.

    It's true that the resale value is low, but so what? Are they worth the price? Yes. Would I buy one again? Maybe. There are so many great basses out there - it's good to own more than one.
  7. jcadmus


    Apr 2, 2000
    I've been pretty happy with mine. A buddy of mine just ordered one solely on the experience of playing mine -- and his main ax is an Alembic!

    As to the sound, everywhere I play, people how great my Carvin sounds. Gotta be the bass, cause I know it's not my playing that's blowing them away. ;)
  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Great hypothetical, Bob.

    Are they worth the price? Yes
    Would I buy one again? No. Too many other choices, many for less money.

    On the resale value- it becomes very important if you ever decide to sell it;)
  9. Bob C

    Bob C

    Mar 26, 2000
    Duluth, MN

    You're right about resale. My philosophy is, I'll keep buying more basses. You can never have too many.:)

    It has been pointed out that any custom bass, whether a $1000 Carvin or $5000 Fodera will depreciate a lot. Music Mans and some Fenders hold their value, but lots of folks figure "Why not spend a couple hundred more and buy a new one?"
  10. Player


    Dec 27, 1999
    USA Cincinnati, OH
    I like 'em.
    I have an LB75 and a BK5 fretless (from a kit). They play nice I've had no problems with either. They sound good as well (I have HB50s).
    If you can screw in a screw, solder half-way decent and would like a hand in construction, the kits are a good value (about $450). I tung oiled mine and it looks great (someday I'll post a picture).
    If you want to hear it, I played the BK5 on this. comin down.mp3
    and the LB75 on this
  11. I had a '91 LB75 all Koa. It was my 1st fiver and I thought it was alot better than some other 's I could have bought. I owned it for nine yrs.

    H.ver I was never happy with the sound of the B string. I always thought it sounded kind of muted. So I upgraded it to the '99 Hipshot bridge which helped some but not alot.

    I liked it and it was a beautiful bass, sounded reasonable and was easy to play, Heck I learned how to handle a fiver in live situations with it, so I'll always remember it :)

    But then I found out about Spectors....and the Carvin went bye-bye. Paid $775.00 in '91 sold it for $450.00 in 2000. not too bad for nine yrs.
  12. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Curious what RIZ said about the Spectors, in that I had a helluva time last October trying to decide between Spector and Carvin. I went with the Carvin, but I still think it was an either/or situation. I'd like either for different reasons.

    My 2 cents- I got a pimped up version of the LB75, every doodad you could get except the engraved truss rod cover.

    Construction is as good as it gets. The finish, (one of their sunbursts on qulted maple) + alder body, maple/koa neck, is flawless and rich if you don't dislike poly finishes. I'v'e seen their plain wood finishes and they are beautiful, too, if your taste is more "organic."

    The J99 pup in the neck position is a honey. But the HB5 in the bridge is staying in the bass on borrowed time. I only use it to add some mids to the 99. IMO, it is weak, boxy, and sounds like a dog with kennel cough.

    The case you have to purchase with it is either an SKB embossed with the Carvin logo, or a dead ringer for an SKB.

    The strings, roundwounds, that come stock with it are awful, IMO. I tolerated them for about 5 days.

    As for service after the sale, it can be outstanding or nonchalant. You keep trying until you get someone who really cares. Sometimes people get someone on the first try who bends over backwards. Most people I know of never have had to use their service after the sale. If they flubbed up orders or gear fresh out of the factory consistently, they couldn't have been in business for over 50 years. I have seen where people custom orederd an instrument, changed their minds a week or two later about something, (e.g., finish, pups, et al), and Carvin accomodated them.
  13. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    One thing I'll say for Carvin from experience is this...

    In most cases if you ordered a bass, received it, then did not like it...they will take it back with no problem. They will offer to do a rebuild if you'd like, or just credit you outright. Either way, they will usually try and make sure that you are satisfied with the least, that's been my experience with them.

    They are strictly mail order outside of the Cali stores, so they have to watch their step on the word of mouth deal, ya know? And if they take a bass back from you that you did not will simply go up for sale on the floors of their outlet stores. It's a pretty good system actually, so long as they keep the customers happy.

    I am new to Spector, I just picked up one of their NS4CR's. I also have an LB75. I like them for different sounds/music, they are worlds apart in that category. I'm not saying that they are only suited for certain types of music, it's just my personal preference.

    The rock tone of the Spector is better by far IMO. The feel of my Carvin's oiled neck is to die for though, and I find it more playable overall. Construction, hardware, and overall fit and finish...I'd say they're right on par with one another. Like I said, they serve certain roles in my stable right now, not that I prefer one over the other necessarily.

    My biggest knock against Carvin is I would like to see them do more with their pickups and electronics. It's not that it sounds bad, but I would have to say that tonally, it's nothing to write home about. It's darn fun to play though(it's that oiled neck - I don't dig the feel of painted necks) so I pick it up a lot at home. Mine has two single coil jazz pups(J99), but I am considering modifications.

    And yes, Carvin resale is low. If you are someone who buys instruments for speculation instead of to play them, then pass on these guys. Then again, I never understood owning a zillion basses if you grab the same one or two when you have to play. I never buy an instrument with the intention of selling it later, I assume it is here to stay on every purchase. But that's just me...
  14. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    What seamus brings up about the resale it true, relative to other, pro quality, instruments.

    What people who dis Carvin on this point, (and I know you're not, seamus), forget is that they resell easily, from what I know and have seen. Music stores that I know of will always take them as trade ins at a fair market price because they know they can move them - a used bass that is far superior to the other used ones they have in the same price range. You see a used one among other used basses in the same price range, and it just stands head and shoulders above the others.

    From time to time, you will see people here on TB who can't seem to get rid of their high end basses, because their resale puts them in the ballpark with many good quality, new basses. Doesn't happen to everybody, though, fortunately.
  15. At the time, I really regretted putting my Carvin up for sale. I truely believed that the two different sounds of the basses, (Spector & Carvin) would compliment each other. But alas, I had to sell it as I bought my Spector a week after I had just bought a new house and the wife was pissed!!

    Ever have a bass that felt like a perfect fit when you held it, that was how my Carvin felt....
  16. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    I definitely agree with both RIZ and rickbass.

    The resale is low on average, but if you A/B a Carvin along with several used basses of *comparable* price, you might be pleasantly surprised. In fact, one of my local stores has a used LB76 in stock right now. I played with it and it is a real sweety, a bargain six no doubt.

    My only gripe was the painted neck on it, feels sticky to me because I'm used to the oiled neck on my LB75. I think the reason the painted neck on my Spector bothers me less than on that LB76 is surface area. The neck on the Spector is not nearly as wide, so I don't notice it as much.

    And yes RIZ, I agree that they feel like a perfect fit. I have the rounded sides on mine too which contributes even more to the comfort. They seem to do pretty darn good work on fit and finish in all cases I have encountered.
  17. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    I used to think that Carvin's resale values were poor, until I started monitoring ebay regularly. They usually sell for the price sellers are asking, ie. around 60-70% of new street price for mint or excellent instruments. Not bad in the non-Fender, under-$1000 market.

    I don't know that a lot of high-end instruments have such good resale, regardless of how they're tricked out. I see a fair number of high-end used basses in the $1500-2000 range that take a *long* time to sell. Some of them, IMO, are really good deals. But,as rickbass points out, in this price range, many people would prefer to buy new.
  18. Huna Funk

    Huna Funk

    Dec 5, 2000
    In my book Carvin make some damn fine basses for the buck. I've owned an LB70 and an LB75 (both of which were stolen at a gig), played out with them for a little over three years and never encountered any real problems or flaws aside the fact that the electronics were juicing my 9 volts, that was quick cheap fix though. I've had a few people tell me they weren't crazy about the j99's but I like the warm tone they produce. Their ebony fretboards are real nice and sound great. With a good set up they make for a solid versatile instrument in my opinion.