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Carvin Basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jeff Haley, Jun 2, 2001.

  1. Jeff Haley

    Jeff Haley

    May 17, 2001
    Atlanta, Ga.
    I have a Carvin LB 75 bass that I really like, but I'm not
    completely satisfied with the pickups. I have hb2 bridge humbucker and coil splitter. Any suggestions?
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    I got one in Dec. last year. If I wasn't having a custom made, I'd have e-mailed Carvin's Dr. Sound by now, or asked in the Tech section of their Discussion Board if I could stick either a Bartolini MM style pup in place of that crappy Carvin HB, or a Seymour Duncan Basslines MM.

    Eventually, I will.
  3. KB

    KB Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2000
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Yeah, I've been thinking about changing the HB2 (4 string) pup as well, but wasn't sure what would give me more of a meaty punch. I like the J99 neck pup, but I wasn't sure if the Basslnes or the Bartolini would be a direct replacement (work the same with the electronics, knobs and switches, etc.)
    Also I wouldn't be sure which of the many Bartolini pups would give me the deeper yet punchier sound (dark, bright, or brightest) and then there is the double coils or the triple coils? I think the basslines is just 1 model, but I am not sure. Also where can you buy these pups? Any thoughts?

  4. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    KB - From what I've read doing research on my custom, the Basslines line, in general, has a more scooped, aggressive. processed sound. The Barts, in general, are more natural, cleaner, and natural.

    However, when I was pickup shopping for my custom, I asked Bass Central, where Gard works, which they would go with, because I was under the impression the Barts would sound too "behaved." Their pickup guru said the Bart MM's would do just fine. You might contact them not only about purchasing, but also about getting some guidance of retrofitting your Carvin. (They carry Carvins).

    As for the difference between the Bart MM and the Bart Ernie Ball-style MM, the Bartolini eastern US rep told me the only difference is cosmetic.

    As for number of coils, the more options you want with your switches, the more coils you want. For instance. you want series/parallel/whatever, get a tri-coil, split coil get a dual coil, etc.

    Also, the Barts come with wiring harnesses, so you can ask which to get with the pickup. So, from what I hear, your present electronics are a goner if you chose to use the harness that comes with a Bart.

    As for the Basslines, I didn't get far enough into them to investigate any further, because I knew I wanted a Bart soapbar in the neck position of the custom. So, I didn't want to mix and match pickups.
  5. Basso Gruvitas

    Basso Gruvitas Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2000
    Dallas/Ft. Worth TX
    Since Carvins are direct mail, most users don't get much opportunity to try them out - or form an opinion.

    You guys are saying that the MM pickup is no good? For the rest of us, could you elaborate?

    I used to have a Music Man and have played dozens so I know the Music Man sound. What's up with the Carvins?
  6. KB

    KB Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2000
    Chapel Hill, NC
    The HB pup is not "bad" necessarily. I use it a lot (soloed and blended), but it just doesn't have the punch that a musicman would have. I would say it is equivalent to the J99, but not to a MM.
    I have just decided that I would like a stronger cleaner sound as the HB is more 1 diminsional.
    I have had my Carvin for over a year and it is my primary bass and I am very happy with it (with all of the stock pups), I just want a little something more and it seems like a Basslines or Bart may just it that little extra something. I am just investigating right now and am not sure that I am going to replace it (but I probably will). I am happy with the HB2 option (as it does give the chance to upgrade to another MM style pup if desired). If I did it again I would still add the HB2.

  7. Basso Gruvitas

    Basso Gruvitas Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2000
    Dallas/Ft. Worth TX
  8. Jeff Haley

    Jeff Haley

    May 17, 2001
    Atlanta, Ga.
    The Carvins are a great bass. They play well and
    the constrution is excellent,although I think they are missing something and I suspect It's the pick-ups. Thanks to all for the advice.
  9. Just to say, that MM might not give the same sound as a normal MM, but that wouldn't be a bad thing. You might prefer the differing tones.
  10. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    John - Take a look at the Carvin board if you have time. Several owners want that skanky thang off their instrument.

    You might see a couple stick up for it. They're usually people who never owned/played anything better than a Carvin or are the moderators.
  11. KB

    KB Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2000
    Chapel Hill, NC
    As posted in the pickups forum as well. I bit the bullet and bought a SD Basslines pickup for my Carvin. When it arrives and I install it I'll give an update on the sound difference. For now I am keeping the Carvin electronics. Warmoth has the pup by itself. If I don't like it, I'll put the HB back in and sell the Basslines.

  12. CJY


    Apr 30, 2001
    I've always read that people who own Carvins dislike the sound,especially the HB2 MM pickup.But is the problem the pickups,the electronics,or both?
  13. BassistJ


    Mar 20, 2001
    Hemet, CA USA
    I have the advantage of living about 45 minuets away from Carvin's headquarters in San Diego, so I go down there al the time to fiddle with stuff. And yes, the MM style pickup sucks rhino. If you have a good luthier at your disposal (or even just a repair tech) you can buy a different companies MM pickup and stil have it work with the electronics in the Carvin. A sidenote; I personally like the Carvin Active/Passive preamp and their stacked humbuckers. So much so that I'm having my Fender fretless' electronics and pickups gutted and replaced with the Carvin parts.
  14. Not necessarily true, rick, and no need to look down your nose about it. Your remark comes off as rather arrogant, in addition to being wrong. I can assure you that I'm not a moderator, and I've owned/played boutique basses. I like the HB2 for what it is. Which is not a Music Man, BTW.

    Don't assume that people who don't hear things the way you do are necessarily biased or less experienced.
  15. Big generalization here. It just ain't necessarily so. Many folks don't think there's that much of a "problem" at all. As with anything else, some like 'em, some hate 'em, others are indifferent. personally, I've played Carvins for years, in the studio, in small venues, in big ones, and have lost track of the number of compliments I've gotten on the sound.

    Do I think Carvins are the ultimate and that everyone should love them? Hell no, that would be stupid. But it's way inaccurate to blindly state, without qualifying the statement, that people who own Carvin dislike the sound. Just ain't so.
  16. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Richard, FYI, I don't think either of them meant "all" or "every" owner. Besides, both were speaking in their experience. Neither said it was a set in stone fact.

    And I disagree, I don't think Rick came off as arrogant in the least bit.
  17. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Angus - I appreciate that! I try not to be arrogant.

    But Richard, the fact that you are just one person who likes it doesn't negate what appears on bass sites around the net. When I see people slamming the Carvin MM-style, HB4/5/6, (the "HB2" you mentioned is an order option code, not the pickup), time and time again, and my own ears find it repulsive, too.....well......"it just might be a duck!" even though you don't think it is.

    A tally of the comments I've seen posted about it, (and that's quite a few sources I've checked), shows the overwhelming majority of people who have owned/played a fair number of basses think Carvin HB MM-style is a lousy sounding pickup. Just this past Friday, I saw another new post about it at the Carvin board by a new owner. His post was about getting that thing off of his bass and replacing it, and he JUST received it!!!! Fresh out of the case and he knows it has to go!

    Some people think they're great. Some people have ears that discern very little. Some people have scrimped and saved to buy one and their overblown expectations shape their reality. If you truly can't hear a huge difference between that thing and the products of Bartolini, EMG, Basslines, Rio Grande, Rolph, Fralin, DiMarzio, Lane Poor, Ken Lawrence, and other premium pickups, that's fine. It's your opinion and I'll respect it by not trying to change it.

    What may sound "arrogant" is probably me reflecting my feeling Carvin outright lied to me and every other dissatisfied HB owner with their description of that "monsterous tone" :rolleyes: pickup. It's not so arrogant if you can back up your words, and I can. My opinion of it just appers to be ubiquitous.
  18. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    I don't like Carvin's humbucker at all. As a matter of fact, I had ordered that option on a bass from them. When I heard the bass, I knew from day one I couldn't live with the humbucker. It sounded weak and sterile, I returned the bass immediately.

    I had them rebuild the bass with jazz pickups in both positions. Those pups aren't that great either, but it sounds tons better than it did with the HB2 option. I give Carvin credit for a no hassle return and rebuild of a new bass, they stand by their policy.

    The way they market those humbuckers though, I'm guessing they must have scored a cheap trainload of 'em and now they're stuck with them. My recommendation to anyone ordering a Carvin is to go with two jazz pickups. That way, at least you know you are open to aftermarket pickups. The basses themselves are of high construction quality, it's the electronics and pickups that aren't to my liking.
  19. KB

    KB Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2000
    Chapel Hill, NC
    I am happy that I ordered the HB2 option 1.5 years ago and I have been OK with it since then, Now I am going to upgrade to the Basslines MM pup to give me the extra punch and broader tone that the HB pup lacks.
    If I had it to do again I would still order the HB2 option as carvin pups aren't always the best anyway, but then I can substitue a good aftermarket MM pup and get that complete sound.
    The Carvin eletronics are OK with me for now (the are quiet and they do have a fair amount of boost/cut) For now I plan to keep them. I plan to wire the Basslines pup the same way the HB pup is wired (unless I can get a local shop to wire it 3 ways: series/parallel/split coil - kind of like a Sterling) with a new switch.
    Has anyone ever done this?
    I'll give a report after I have it done and I'll let you know how it changes the sound.

  20. rick, from what I've seen of you, you don't seem to be fundamentally an arrogant person. Which is actually why I was a bit surprised by the seemingly not characteristic comment. I'm not out to go off on you, and I have no interest in changing your opinion about the PU. The more personal preferences the better, IMO. No, my concern was that I feel that denigrating (even if only subtly and slightly) the experience and knowledge of people who don't hear things the same way you do helps no one, in particular not the guy who asked the original question. In other words, there's a difference between saying (a) I can't stand this PU and (b) I can't stand this PU, and only someone who was clearly biased, could not hear, was not very discerning, or had never played a good bass would like it. You see? What's the point of (b), really?

    I understood that you feel Carvin stuck it to you with this PU. Others probably feel that way too. Cool and valid. But that has nothing to do with what I thought was arrogant. What I thought was arrogant was your assumptions about the kind of players who might actually like the PU. Look at your para above ... the one where you talk about some people having ears that "discern very little" and where you say, if you [i.e., I] really can't hear the difference between this PU and that, etc. Do you really not see the obvious condescension there? Of course I can hear those differences; so can many many other people. I just don't put the same valuation on them that you do, and there's no good reason why I should.

    I accept what you say about the number of negative comments you have seen about the HB. Citing these comments along with your own tastes doesn't strike me as arrogant in the least either. Just for the record, though, those comments don't say all that much about the acceptance of that particular PU among owners in general--only among owners *who have posted on the Web.* Which is not at all the same thing. A Web-based sample may be representative or may not be, the point being that you really can't know. Especially when you figure that negative comments always "get more press," so to speak.

    Furthermore, even if you could show that most Carvin owners don't like the PU (which may or may not be true), you still have no real way of knowing anything of importance about the playing experiences or discernment of those people who *do* like it, whether it's me or Joe Blow of East Lost Overshoe, West Carolina, so it doesn't really make sense for you or me or anyone to pronounce on that. A wise man once said something like, whereof one cannot speak, thereof one should remain silent. You can certainly speak for your own tastes, and about the substance of comments you've seen, and no rational person would have a problem with that; but you can't really speak about the ears and knowledge of people you know nothing about. Not credibly anyway.

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