Carvin Bolt on 5 vs Carvin neck-thru 5--Help!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dgce, Aug 11, 2004.

  1. dgce


    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    I'm a bit torn between the Carvin B5 (bolt) and the Carvin LB5 (neck-thru). For any of you who've been to one of
    Carvin’s show rooms, please help!

    I figured I'd get the same options for either bass: standard black finish, humbucker in the bridge, and strap locks--simple.

    But which should I go with?

    I'm leaning a bit towards the bolt on version because:
    --Its cheaper
    --It comes stock with tung oil finished neck--buttah! The neck-thru model has a painted neck and requires a $60 (I think) upgrade for tung oil finish.
    --I've heard mixed things about Carvin's one piece neck-thru basses (twisty, turny, doesn’t like abrupt climate changes)—I understand their 5-piece laminate necks remeady this problem, but that thar is one pricey option!

    However the LB5 neck-thru is well…neck thru! I’ve tried a Carvin fretless neck-thru 5 and dug the way it played (not to mention the upper fret access).

    So, has anybody A/B tested these puppies? Anyone own both? Feed back?

  2. T. Alan Smith

    T. Alan Smith

    Sep 9, 2001
    Based on my personal experience with Carvin, I'll never order another neck-thru from them.
  3. quallabone


    Aug 2, 2003
    Carvin's board should be able to help you. I would personally go with a bolt on. My fretted BB70P (sold) had a 2 piece koa neck that moved around more than Will Ferrell with a cowbell. Once they are set up, playability is great on the NT's and I would assume that it is similar on the BO's.

    Here comes the bashing.
  4. DougP


    Sep 4, 2001
    i take my neck through all over the place. it has been to mississippi, chicago, back to california, i took it on a 6 month deployment on an aircraft carrier, and now back to virginia.

    it has been solid as a rock for me. the only time i had to adjust the truss rod is if i change string guages, and i am talking about maybe an eighth of a turn at the most.

    on the other hand i can see the attraction to a bolt on. its cheaper and the neck can be replaced if it is ever messed up.
  5. Jaye


    Jan 30, 2004
    Portland, OR
    I prefer their neck-thru models personally. Which would explain my owning one and having another one in the midst of a custom order. :help:
  6. Schwinn


    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    I never had a problem with my neck-thru. It is a 5 piece maple-koa. But the bolts are great too, I just prefer the access to the upper frets.
  7. alembicfive


    Jan 17, 2003
    I prefer the bolt-on necks. I currently have two B5's (fretted and fretless) and had a LB76A which is a neck-thru. As nice as the LB76A was, I still think the B5's have a bit more punch. The B5 is very versatile, from slap to finger style. And the B5F, hands down is the best sounding fretless I have ever come across, and I have owned allot of them! Here are my two B5's....
  8. mgood


    Sep 29, 2001
    Levelland, Texas
    Glad to see that pair back together!
    I talked to the guy who you traded for the LB76A and he said you and he were talking about trading back.
    Man, those are nice, Ken.

    I got a B4F just because I wanted one bolt-on in the group. I love it and I play it at least as much as any of my other basses. But I still consider myself primarily a neck-through player.

    I feel a picture or three coming on. :smug:
    My B4F, swamp ash body with quilted maple top and quilted maple headstock overlay, under a translucent blue finish.
  9. Mgood, I don't think I've seen the back of your B4 before.

    Very nice! :hyper:

    Nevetheless, I personally prefer neck-throughs.
  10. mgood


    Sep 29, 2001
    Levelland, Texas
    Woops, we were talking about five-strings and that's just a four-banger. :oops:

    Ok, here's my neck-through BB75P :D
  11. mgood


    Sep 29, 2001
    Levelland, Texas
    Thank you. :)
  12. mgood


    Sep 29, 2001
    Levelland, Texas
    Those are my two main basses, so it's difficult for me to say I prefer neck-through or bolt-on because I love both of those and they are about as different as you can get with two Carvins.
    But I'm itching for a fretless BB75, unlined, and mostly koa like the BB75P.

    I prefer the wide-five neck which is standard on the BB75 and optional on the LB75 and XB75. The only reason I'm not very interested in a B5 is that the wide neck is not available on them.
  13. chucko58


    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    I have a couple of LB75s and a B5F. Build quality is superb on all 3. The playability is a wash, but the B5F balances better IMHO. I'd never miss the two extra frets on the LBs. Tone? Heck, they're all good! One LB75 has a wide 5-piece maple/koa neck and koa body wings, and it just thunders. The other is all koa, and it sings. The B5F has a standard maple neck, "blank plank" ebony fingerboard, and alder body, and it has mwah for days.

    Neck stability has not been an issue for me, period. But then I live in a pretty stable climate.

    I'd say you can't go wrong with either a neck-through or bolt-on from Carvin.

    Mike, your B4F is f'n gorgeous. But you knew that, right?
  14. dgce


    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Hey, thanks for all the feed-back. Those Carvin pics are really great. Its really got me psyched to cut the crapola and just buy one. This time around I will not be getting another those swanky exotic wood options like you guys but down the road...hmmm...

    Another question, is there a wide neck (ala Bunny model) option for the bolt-on Carvins? I've only tried the conventional five string Carvin necks; I've never tried the wide spaced model. Is the difference THAT radical?

    And btw, can anyone explain why so many people hate Carvin electronics? I've really liked what I've tried so far.

  15. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    I have a hunch, but of course I could be completely wrong, that Carvin purposely designs their bass electronics and pickups to have a more "neutral" sound to appeal to a broader range of players and styles. They don't offer 8 million flavors and voices of the same style pickup like Seymour Duncan or Bartolini does, but basically (as far as bass pickups go) just one single coil J-style model, one stacked humbucker J-style model, and a MM-style humbucker model, (and a bridge piezo), with no voicing variants (ie, a "Hot" style J, a "Vintage Fender" style J, and so on.) Maybe if they offered pickup variations so customers could choose a "hot" J if they wanted, or a "darker" MM pickup, that could entice more people. May be a little more expensive for customers and Carvin alike though.

    They do have a little more variety in their electric guitar pickups though.
  16. dgce


    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Say Keb, I'm inclined to agree. In fact, I was in on another thread about this love/hate thing with Carvin electronics sometime back. I figured that Carvin's pickups sort of have to act as a jack-of-all-trades, like you said but more so because of the variety of Carvin's wood options. For instance, a pickup that sounds fantastic on a traditional alder body/maple neck combo may not work as well with a koa body with multi lam neck and ebony board. So my guess is that Carvin had to design pickups and a preamp that would basically well at least fairly well everything they offer (they also had to make it cost effective).

    One could always opt to change electronics and still have one slamming bass/guitar with great bang for the buck if they go with a Carvin. Still, I have no beef with Carvin's electronics. I guess its all a matter of personal taste.

  17. Schwinn


    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    keb, I think you have an excellent theory. My impression was that their electronics weren't bad (except for the sound of piezos alone - gats! terrible tone), but rather they're just kind of neutral, or at worst, bland sounding. Anyway, not really the sound I'm looking for, but it could work with other players just fine. I used the Carvin stock electronics with an Ampeg preamp and it sounded great - I loved my tone!!! But I wasn't as happy through a more transparent amp and I wanted the bass to be all it could be. I should be installing my complete bart system tomorrow if all goes well. I can't wait.
  18. BlacksHole


    Mar 22, 2000
    Rockville, MD
    I've got 2 Carvins right now, an LB75F and an LB76. Obviously, both are neck throughs, which I prefer in general (in part, because I like 24 fret necks). My only real issue with both my Carvins is that I think the B string is a bit weak (I'm using the Carvin version of the tapewounds on my 5 and TI roundwounds on my 6. Anybody else find the B string response a bit weak on their Carvins?
  19. LizzyD

    LizzyD Chocoholic

    Oct 15, 2002
    Seattle, WA
    Sadowsky Artist
    This was my experience as well. I loved my LB76 through my Carvin head/Hartke cab rig. Then when I upgraded to a Demeter pre/Stewart amp set up, I wasn't so jazzed about the sound. The hi-fi rig exposed the weakness in the bass. About the same time I got an LB75 P series, which I also wasn't all that thrilled with tone-wise or feel-wise.

    Then I got a couple Roscoes. I don't have either Carvin any more. BUT, I do have a Carvin B5, which I love the feel of. I bypass the stock preamp and run it through a Sadowsky outboard stompbox pre/DI, which makes it sound pretty darn good. I think I prefer Carvin's Bolt on because it's slightly shorter in length (same scale length, but the bridge is closer to the end of the body) so it's really comfy and almost compact. Mine is swamp ash, and very light in weight too.

    I think the pickups are nice enough, but I wish they'd do another preamp upgrade since so many people complain about it, and not just people who've never played/heard a Carvin either. The current ones don't sound like TOTAL crap, IMO, but compared to other preamps just bit lifeless. A choice of preamps would be best, or offer completely passive versions of all models.
  20. dgce


    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    You know that's interesting. I wonder why Carvin only offers passive pickup options for 4 string basses. I wonder if they'd accomidate a request for a passive 5 or 6 for that matter? A choice of preamps would likely involve outside venders which of course would increase the price. However that passive model option is a good idea for people who'd likely upgrade down the road. Anyone ever come across a Carvin 5 without the active electronics?