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Carvin BB75 Review

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bass Viking, May 9, 2005.

  1. I originally sent this review to the Bass Gear Review Archive but for some reason it never got posted. Before I resubmit it, I'd like to give you folks a preview, remember you saw it here first on Talkbass!


    -Swamp ash body sides
    -5 piece maple neck-through with 2 walnut stringers, tung oil on back
    -Birdseye maple fingerboard, no inlays
    -Quilted maple top
    -Clear gloss finish
    -2 H50N stacked humbuckers, 3 band pre-amp
    -Chrome hardware

    Beautiful to look at, a real stunner. The quilt top is beautiful and the birdseye fingerboard makes it look real classy. It was shipped in a nice vintage case. Build time was estimated at 8 weeks, but I received it earlier than predicted.

    Action fit and finish:

    Carvin is known for build quality and this bass is no exception. Nice woods, beautiful glossy finish and a nicely tung-oiled 5-piece neck. The transition between the gloss finish and the tung oil on the back of the neck was clean and straight. I couldn’t feel the laminations on the back of the neck (unlike some other instruments) and the BB75 arrived in tune, probably a testament to the stability of the neck. It had a nice low action and didn’t require any truss rod adjustment. The asymmetrical neck was very nice to play on, one of the most comfortable I’ve tried. It balanced well and was light, thanks to the swamp ash body. The whole thing was beautifully put together. The only adjustment needed was to raise one of the preamp control knobs, which was sitting a bit low on its shaft and rubbing on the body as I turned it.

    I’m a sustain nut and I felt that it could have used a bit more sustain, though it wasn’t bad. Maybe an ebony fret board would help. Also, the outside strings were fairly close to the edge of the fingerboard. I sometimes do hammer-ons where I pull the string outward (rather than inward) and this caused the string to come off the fret. Otherwise, playability was top notch.


    OK, I sent the bass back to Carvin within their ten-day trial and here is why: It sounded good but I felt it lacked warmth and was a bit sterile sounding. I know some people don’t care for Carvin electronics and wind up replacing them, but I don’t think the pickups were the issue here. The unplugged tone just wasn’t doing it for me and I think it was my choice of woods. I want to point out that the Carvin did not sound bad, in fact it sounds good on a recording I did, but for the amount of money I spent I want something that really wows me. I’d definitely consider a Carvin again but with different woods, perhaps the more standard alder body and ebony fingerboard. The swamp ash body and maple board make this a good slap bass. It also had a good, solid sounding B string.


    I didn’t own the Carvin long enough to comment on its long-term durability but it seemed plenty solid, plus it comes with a 5 year warranty.

    Customer support:

    I’ve ordered several items from Carvin and always gotten exactly what I ordered. This is the first time I’ve returned merchandise but it went smoothly, no hassle at all. The friendly fellow I spoke to told me the procedure. He asked me to include a sheet of paper with my comments with the bass, which I did. Carvin is interested in your input, which is great. The credit showed up on my next Visa bill.

    Overall rating:

    I don’t think this bass will take long to sell at the Carvin showroom, it just wasn’t for me. I would definitely deal with Carvin again. The hard part is the educated guesswork involved when selecting your options. I own other Carvin gear and the company has great quality and bang for the buck.

    Here's a photo of the bass:


    Nice huh?
  2. Mud Flaps

    Mud Flaps

    Feb 3, 2003
    Norton, MA
    That surprises me.

    My bass teacher plays Carvin, and I have an LB75 on the way. His basses sound fantastic, he decided on Carvin after he had to cash in on his Pedullas.

    Personally, I notice a sound difference between striped and unstriped neck-thrus. People tell me I'm crazy, but this I know. I just prefer no fancy business: Just a hard maple neck straight through surrounded by Swamp Ash.

    Anyway, sorry you were disappointed. I hope you future basses work better for you and wish you the best of luck.
  3. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    Neck-thru . . . . I don't buy the hype. Get a B5 with the bridge screwed into a nice chunk of mahogany and you'll get all the warmth you want.
  4. I have a Carvin 5 string bass kit but I find the string spacing too narrow. The assymetrical neck suits me much better but is only available on the neck through models.

    At the Carvin forum, I suggested a wider bolt-on bass neck. We'll see if it happens. (holds breath)
  5. e-money


    Apr 20, 2005
    i have a B4 with tung oild walnut body and mapel neck. i'v had the bass for 3 or 4 years now, and i love it. i really don't have any disire for another 4 string.
  6. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    Yeah, I personally probably wouldn't get a bass from Carvin that has more than four strings. I feel very comfortable on precision and jazz spacing, anything less feels claustrophobic.
  7. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    I think I'm finding that I'm becoming a bolt-on fan. More of the body wood is brought into the tonal equation.

    I'm loving my Carvin 4-string kit bass. It's a pretty basic, tried-and-true wood recipe (maple neck, fretless ebony fingerboard, alder body), but it sure does work. It seems to have more tonal "character" than the old neck-through Carvin LB76 I used to have. And though my ears may be deceiving me, it seems to have better sustain than even my Rickenbacker. But that's wood for ya, you just never know for sure what a particular piece of wood is going to do.
  8. Lackey


    May 10, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I'm super stoked on my B4 kit - the body only weighs 3 lbs 4 ounces! I'm excited to hear what it sounds like once it's done and the DiMarzios are in it, I'll have to post a mini-review or summat.
  9. Funky Tune

    Funky Tune

    Apr 28, 2005
    Puerto Rico
  10. :cool: For those of you that like the 3/4" spacing of Fender 4-string basses, and many others, you can get it from Carvin on both 4-string and 5-string. All you have to do on the 5-string LB75 is order the "5W" option. It's standard on the BB75, and NOT available on the B5.
  11. chris h

    chris h Guest

    Jun 16, 2002
    Oxford, England
    I love the look of that Carvin. I am not a massive fan of the others in the range but the bb75 is beautiful. Here is a pic of mine:

    I am really digging the sound of mine. Compared to the cold tight slap sound of the carbon vigiers I own it is very warm and fat sounding. Slapping on a set of elexirs tomorrow. Rock on
  12. Syncamorea


    Feb 8, 2011
    I've got a new BB70 and I'm not convinced that I need to swap out the electronics. I'll keep searching for threads about the options people here like best, but if you have opinions and don't mind restating them here, please do.
  13. bottomzone


    Oct 21, 2005
    I am considering getting a BB75 or SB5000. I'm leaning more towards the BB75 because it has 24 frets, which I have become very accustomed to. If I do get a BB75, I'll choose a walnut body, maple neck, birdseye maple FB and either J99 neck/HB pickups or HB neck/HB bridge pickups. Bunny's bass sounds great in this clip:


    A Groove is a Terrible Thing to Waste! :cool:
  14. If you like them keep them! My Bunny had the old 9 volt preamp. I like the new 18 volt one in my Icon.

    I never expected this thread to rise from the dead! :hyper:
  15. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    +1 for reviving an almost 6 year old thread :)
  16. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    I have no idea why you'd want or need to swap out the electronics. What's already in it is about the best you can do - a swap would be pretty much taking out a perfectly good set of PU's and preamp and replacing them with another set of perfectly good PU's and preamp for a whole bunch of money.

    Don't see the point in it. Save your money and keep what's in it.

    As for the sound, the point raised here 6 years ago but may still be a concern, both of my Bunnies are utterly dead acoustically. Unplugged, they go plack plack plack when the strings slap on the fingerboard. That so happens to be exactly my preference acoustically on any bass (the deader and plack-ier the better) so the resulting tone through the PU's is perfect for me - very solid and clean with very little "character".

    But this can be a turnoff for players who are looking for more of an acoustic contribution to the tone like from, say, a Fender style bass. Absolutely perfect for me tho.

    This is probably common to just the neck-throughs like the Bunny. The SB and others may have a different design and are more "acousticy", tho I havn't played one of those so don't know...

  17. Syncamorea


    Feb 8, 2011

    Well, I'm basically on the same page as you about the electronics. I've read a number of posts here and elsewhere recommending an upgrade and I'm open to suggestion but I don't hear a noise problem and I like the tone with the stock pickups. It's always easy to be seduced by the promise of a magic bullet, so I guess I'm asking for a reality check by people that have swapped electronics. I want to know what changes they have made and what they hear that's better, etc.

    "Acousticity" is a great word. Great album too. Blue Sky Bop is such a killer tune.
  18. Syncamorea


    Feb 8, 2011
    I'm always digging around in electronic cobwebs, searching for gems. Mostly I get spider bytes.

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