Carvin BB75

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Alvaro Martín Gómez A., Nov 14, 2000.

  1. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Hi everybody.

    I'm new at these forums and i registered after reading a guy's experience purchasing his Carvin BB75 bass. I did it the same way and i want to share my thoughts with you.

    I had an american Washburn Axxess 5-string bass (is this the same XS-5? after 9 years, i don't know so much about this bass). I liked it. My only complaint was its narrow string spacing. Popping the D string was a nightmare. For a long time i was thinking about improving, but there was a "little" problem: $$$$

    But three months ago, my bass was stolen. I was devastated, but i thought: "OK. I must get money for a new bass", so i made a bank loan and got money for a decent bass (approx. US$1400).

    But which one? it's hard to get a real good instrument here (see my profile to know where i live). The stores only sells Samicks, Korean Washburns and Indian Jacksons. The best instruments here have been a Tobias Growler, a Yamaha TRB6 standard and a Hohner B bass VI. I was thinking about a Yamaha TRB5II, but it was hard to get. Some Yamaha dealer offered me a RBX765A, but i wanted something better.

    I don't remember how reached the Carvin website, but after reading some consumer reviews, i was impressed with their quality/price relationship, so i contacted them and settled on the Bunny Brunel BB75 bass. I liked its body shape and the fact that its neck is extra wide. I sent a certified check to them and 46 days later my bass arrived.

    The standard BB75 costs US$819. With my options (maple neck with walnut body wings, HB2 bridge humbucker and my name engraved in the truss rod cover - nice touch), the total price is US$924. I spent the rest of my money in taxes and shipping charges.

    IT'S BEAUTIFUL. When i opened the case, I couldn't believe my nose with that smell nor my eyes with that appearance. When played it, my hands felt like "where have you been all of my life?". The wide string spacing is great and the action is extremely comfortable. Access to the 24th fret is incredibly easy (i didn't notice how easy could it be before).

    I think it sounds great. The humbucker gives this bass extra versatility. Great low end, sparkling highs, great slap tone and the right amount of middle frequencies (nice growl, no honking), all at my fingertips with the on board equalizer - My Washburn just had a roll-off tone control. The B string sounds real punchy compared to my Washburn. This bass has an INCREDIBLE sustain.

    Of course, i've never played an Alembic or a Zon (nobody here - hope to do it some day), so i don't have the reference points that most of you have, but the real thing is: Carvin gives you too much for your money. As i told them: "You really know what the VALUE word means". How can they offer a NECK-THROUGH BODY bass with EBONY fingerboard and great active electronics for under a grand? They have no middlemen (well, they have one in my country but this guy is a $%&* thief :mad: ), but i think it is not enough to push prices so low.

    So, my new Carvin is making the jaws of the Tobias, Yamaha and Hohner owners drop.

    Enough said: CARVIN RULES.

    [Edited by Alvaro Martín Gómez A. on 11-16-2000 at 12:58 PM]
  2. ka-tet


    May 2, 2000
    Congrats on the purchase!
  3. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I ordered the BB75 fretless. Swamp ash body, rounded body sides, black hardware, and HB2 pickups (active) at bridge. Mine is supposed to arrive just after Christmas. Merry Christmas to me. Hearing your testimonial gets me even more excited to receive mine. WHY MUST IT TAKE SO LONG!?!

    I think mine came to $1037.
  4. Damian


    Jul 4, 2000
    Off topic question - If you all dont mind

    Who did you study with doublebass that was from Poland ?
    Could you tell me his name ?
    I'm originaly from Poland too, maybe I know him :)

    BTW, Congratulations on your purchase :)
  5. SFB

    SFB Guest

    Hey Alvero Thanks Man

    I have been looking at my newly arrived Carvin catalog
    and fell in love with the BB70F.I wasn't sure without
    playing one but you made up my mind.I'll have to save up
    a little longer but it will be worth it.I was looking at
    a Washburn 4 string fretless and it was ok but after hearing
    about the Carvin i'm hooked.

    Thanks Again Man
  6. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA

    Don't forget that you only have to put 10% down when you order. The order doesn't have to be paid in full until they ship the bass, and with this being the holiday season, that'll probably be the maximum 8 weeks. So you might be able to order it a little faster than you thought.
  7. Tom7

    Tom7 I'm so bright, my mom called me son! ;-)

    Jan 31, 2000
    Eagle River, Alaska
    Great review. I've been wanting a 5 string bass for a long time and decided when I'm ready ($$$), the Pedulla Rapture, Reverend Rumblefish and BB75 are going to really be considered. I like the Fender Roscoe Beck too, but it is really heavy and I have a back injury that makes the weight of a bass a much more serious consideration than it might be for most players.

    As for Zons, they are the prettiest basses, but they sure don't sound as good as they look. Every time I pick one up I hope I was mistaken last time, but I never am. They sound so sterile to me.

    I had to laugh when I went to a concert a couple of months back. During the performance I thought, "Wow, that's a good bass player, too bad his sound sucks so bad." Afterward, I got closer to check out his setup and was shocked to see his bass was a Zon. I just had to laugh because it sounded exactly like I've always thought they sounded in my hands: bland.

    Anyway, I think you've done fine... especially for the money.

    BTW, that's not to say I like the Carvin more than high end basses, I just like how they play sound and look and for their price, I think it is a great value.

    If money was no object, I'm sure my short list of desired basses would look a lot different!

  8. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Tom7, here is a vote for the Rapture, it's very light and sounds very big!

    A Carvin with the Bart pickups and preamp would be great, but you would have to add them aftermarket.
  9. Warning: Long Post, but Your Opinion is Important to Me!

    I've been reading up on these and am tempted to take the plunge. I've seen a few reviews for these and comments on Carvin in general. The impression I'm getting is that their stuff is generally a good value in terms of build quality, that their customer service can be a little spotty, but that there are a lot of satisfied folks out there in general (and some disgruntled ones). 10-day money back tells me I'm not going to get stuck with an instrument I don't like.

    Here's what I'm thinking, sanity check me PLEASE!

    BB75 with the J pickups.

    Up front I plan to put in EMG TWs and an EMG 3-band EQ (the J's will allow me to route for the TWs without any extra holes in the finish--the Carvin HB for instance seems to have mounting screw cutouts that would be larger than the footprint of EMG 40-size pickups). Is there any merit to oversizing the EMGs slightly (go the 45-series) to ensure the out strings get full magnetic pickup coverage?

    The laminated neck for sure. I've been wanting a neck with the thinner/normal spacing near the nut, and full 3" at the bridge. I'm not sure there are many of these out there (the Warmoth Gecko offers it too...I was considering one of those too, but I'm not into the gecko on the fretboard, and I'm intrigued by the Carvin's neck-through construction).

    Wood choices, hmmmm, not determined yet. Thinking about a few options here, probably the swamp ash if I go for a painted (or if stained, then maple flamed or quilted top of course) bass:

    I'm considering the blue stain, but the web pictures make it look kind of milky or too light in color--I'd like a navy blue option in terms of stain, that would be awesome over a flamed top with a maple fretboard. I'll inquire about this. I also wonder if they offer the "non-showing neck through" option where the neck-through is covered by the maple figured top on the front of the body?

    Silver painted w/ maple board and black hardware. I like how a maple board looks, and it's supposedly a little brighter sounding. I like what I've heard on basses I've tried in stores, but there's no way for me to be sure that maple made any of the difference.

    Silver w/ebony which would look pretty good, and it sort of resembles (in general tonal terms per the descriptions I see for the different woods) the fretboards of other basses I've owned (I've not yet owned a maple-boarded instrument).

    Maybe the Koa body with clear finish. I'm not sure what real difference this would make in terms of tone--sounds intriguing. I'm not particularly a "have to have a wood finish bass" kind of guy, but it may be the best looking and sounding bass Carvin makes for all I know--any advice here? I'd hate to pay extra for no difference in tone and enjoyment of its appearance.

    Cherryburst looks great in all the Carvin pictures I've seen of it on the web, but I'm not sure it's the color I've been envisioning for my next bass. It is purdy though. It is a possibility...

    About the customer service, I'd have to say that my impression is that the complaints that I hear about Carvin filling their orders are probably in regard to some sort of take it or leave attitude on their part. In other words, if you like what they offer you can order it, and deal with any problems when the bass actually arrives--hopefully none. It sounds like they fix up with you one way or another (either by correcting the issue or taking the bass back for the refund). Having my order straight in the beginning probably would help avoid any confusion I'm guessing. Does this sound right?

    I'm assuming that the B is good on this model of bass. I've previously been following along with the beliefs (myths) that I need a longer scale length for a good low B, and have generally gone for basses larger than 34" scale...but I wonder if a thicker string is really the answer here perhaps a .135 or a .140 B (and it's increased tension). I like thicker strings anyway, nice and snappy not necessarily rubbery.

    Lastly, I think I'll upgrade the stock hipshot bridge saddles to the GraphTech piezos at some point. Not sure the Carvin piezo is all that great, but I hear great things about the GraphTech and want to try that out. Does anyone know if the bridge is aluminum or brass? Any known differences in tone there?

    Thanks in advance for any info or advice.
  10. mjw


    Jun 12, 2001
    Spring, TX USA

    Congrats on your Carvin. I love mine too. I opted for an LB75P because I prefer a shorter upper horn, but ordered mine with the wider asymetrical neck, so the string spacing is the same as your BB75. Very, very comfortable to play, and it sounds great as well. I've had it for about a year now, and about the only thing I'm considering changing is the neck pickup. I keep hearing how awesome Barts are, so I'm curious to see, or rather "hear" if there's any significant difference. I love the HB2 and the piezos in the hipshot, so those will definately stay.

    Hey, you got the walnut body sides, right? Mines walnut too, with a three piece walnut neck.
    If you're able to, please post a pic, cause' I'd love to see that walnut. Here's what mine looks like:


    Alright, enough rambling.... Enjoy that Carvin! :)
  11. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    warning: long reply:

    I've got a '95ish BB75 that's all mahogany, & have played a few others w/ newer options. I highly recommend this model; love the neck and body shape. Great sounding bass. Let's see if I can field a few of those ?'s...

    1. J99's are good, but will be prone to all the single-coil J-type noise problems. The H50's or HB2 hmbkr are nice too, but if you're going to replace them, guess it doesn't matter too much.

    2. 5 pc neck is nice, but the profile on the BB75 is wider, and asymmetrical. It's a lot of wood, not as thin as the LB series neck.

    3. You can do a 'no-show' NeckThru, I think the option code is NS...

    4. I had a Koa LB70 w/ piezo for a few weeks. Good wood, the tone was very warm and round. Don't know that it was all the koa's fault, but it sounded good overall.

    5. Yeah, be sure to talk w/ a rep, hash out as many details as you can. Sean has a pretty good reputation for being helpful.

    6. With the right set of strings, the B is fine. I think it has more to do w/ string than scale length on this one.

    7. The Carvin piezo is fine. I'd definitely consider that option.

    Hope you find some of this helpful. I've really enjoyed my BB75, and would love a fretless walnut w/ a piezo one day.

    I'll PM you about one other route you might want to look into, especially since you're considering a 'custom' bass. Anybody want to guess what I'm going to recommend?

    And to Alvaro, the original poster, I think Carvin is great too. I have played Alembic and Zon (own 2 Alembics right now), and I think the Carvins compare favorably. I'm not going to say the Carvins are better , but they do what they need to do just fine. The BB series is definitely my favorite!
    enjoy yours.

    and you guys should get over to the Carvin Bass BBS, there's lots of helpful folks over there who'd love to hear your experiences too.
    carvin bass discussion board
  12. Thanks for the scoop. I posted a copy of this over at the Carvin BBS as well. In some ways I think a slightly thicker strap horn would look a little more balanced on the BB75, but other times I think it looks fine the way it is. I definitely want to minimize any sort of neck-dive, and if that longer strap horn helps with that, then it's a good thing. If you look in the catalog, it seems that the Bolt body style has a strap horn that is about as long as the BB75 but it is a little thicker and more blended looking. Hmmm....still weighing the options (not just the Carvin)
  13. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker Banned

    Jun 10, 2001
    I would congratulate Alvaro but since this thread is over 2 years old and he hasn't posted in over a year he may not get the congrats:D
  14. Hey everyone, I just wanted to let you know that I spoke to Alvaro (e-mail) about 3 weeks ago. I ran into him at

    He said that he's very busy now, and that he doesn't visit Talkbass that much lately. He also told me to tell everyone that he said hello.(which like a jerk, I didn't do. :oops: )

    Anyway, if you want to get in touch with him directly, his e-mail is:

    I'm sure he'd love to hear from fellow bassists. Sometimes I don't get e-mail notification when a very old thread like this is resurrected and this might be happening to him also.

    Just for your info.

    Mike J.
  15. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    ha, that's funny.
    good thing I was replying mostly to Randy!
  16. mjw


    Jun 12, 2001
    Spring, TX USA
    Gee, that's embarassing -- I didn't even notice that! :)