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Carvin Claro Walnut Series Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JeremyBender, Oct 22, 2002.

  1. JeremyBender


    Oct 22, 2001

    After an extensive search here, it seems a lot of you good people think highly of Carvin basses. I am buying the Claro Walnut, because I happen to think it's a gorgeous instrument, but I hate the fact that I cannot play it first. Does anyone have any pointers? Will Carvin adjust action to specs before delivery? Is there anything I should look out for? The only option I was going to get was the additional humbucker pickup on the bridge, as it comes standard with everything else. I played a bunch of basses (Sadowsky, G&L, Fenders) before deciding to buy a Carvin, so my mind is pretty much made up. Thanks in advance for any advice, as this will be my first major bass purchase, so I don't want to get screwed up. (I have a bunch of MIM Fenders currently)
  2. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    You played a Sadowsky and you decided on a Carvin? I know, people are different, but geez... :D
  3. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    How's about the Piezo bridge? I had a LB70p for a while; I think the piezo option adds a very nice alternative tone- the dynamic range is wider, and it's a nice full sound. I think it's worth the $.

    The one thing I'd suggest is talking to a sales rep.
    Get everything ironed out in person, don't place an order off the website.

    Have you posted at the Carvin BBS? Might want to do that. Lots of owners there who could advise re: your specs...

    My ultimate advice:
    If you order it, but it turns out not to be quite what you wanted...don't settle! Send it back, that's what Carvin is all about. Not that it's likely to happen, but I know a few people who got so anxious while waiting, and then so excited when they received it, that they overlooked a few flaws because they didn't want to wait any longer.
    I say get it perfect, or don't get stuck with it.

    Do you want a 4, 5, or 6 string? Might determine whether someone recommends the BB, XB, or LB series. What sort of tone do you like? Oil, gloss, or matte finish? What body wood? Any ideas yet?
    There's plenty of advice to be given, but knowing your preferences first will help.
  4. JeremyBender


    Oct 22, 2001
    Oysterman.. the Carvin gives me more bang for the buck.. Sadowskys are gorgeous, but I have a budget, and the Carvin, given the options, gives me more what I am looking for in terms of a high quality instrument. I didn't want to spend more than 1500 bucks.

    xush.. No way was I gonna order online. I was going for a Clear Gloss over the Walnut, because I don't know much about Tung Oil and Clear Matte and how they would affect the sound. The Claro Walnut seems pretty much all set up though as far as woods and pickup options.

    I am looking for a 4 string, and I was actually looking forward to 24 frets, and I don't know the advantage of a longer neck with only 20 frets, which is what the XB option offers.

    I also want gold hardware, the Abalone inlays, and the piezo option is not available on the Claro Walnut.
  5. amac


    Oct 9, 2002
    Commerce, Georgia
    I had a claro walnut carvin with the humbucker, piezo pickups, extra wide neck, and extra long scale.


    Beautiful bass!! Tones are good. Neck pickup was very nice - J-bass pickup. The humbucker was a little disappointing though. I was expecting more punch. Piezo added a different flavor to the sound ...and string noise. Passive/Active on the volume knob is a very nice option considering it was an 18-volt system. You can adjust the active volume so it is the same as the passive. B string (35 1/4" scale - XP option) was tight and clear (not as good as my modulus Q6 that replaced it).

    I tried it out long enough to know it wasn't what I wanted in the ways of tone, and I sent it back within the 10 day trial period. I luckily found a new Modulus Q6 for about $100 more than the Carvin.

    Overall - it was a great bass for a good price. But I had different expectations of what sounds I wanted to hear. It definitely stinks that you can't try them out before hand (unless you know someone or find one used), but the $20 return shipping beats a plane ticket to california.
  6. JeremyBender


    Oct 22, 2001
    Hey amac..

    Great pic! Thanks for the info and clarifications. I liked what I heard from the Carvin website's "soundbytes" section as far as the tone of some of the Carvin pickups, so thats really what sold me. I play a lot of different styles I guess, but most revolve around classic rock and some indie kinda. I checked the basses out closest to the style of music I play, and thats what I came up with. Nice to know I can return the Carvin. ONe question though, the 35" 1/4 scale is stuck on 20 frets? Can they make the neck with 24 frets? Also, as for the extra wide neck, is that an option only available to 5 and 6 string models? I know you are not the Carvin sales rep, but the more I know before I call, the more comfortable I'd feel I guess. I just worry about neck width, because my hands are quite big, and I have troubles with my Jazz bass' neck being too skinny for certain things..
  7. amac


    Oct 9, 2002
    Commerce, Georgia
    I'm pretty sure the extra wide neck applies to 5 string models only. The spacing with the wider neck was the same as a 4 string (19mm? - 3" at the 24 fret). Very comfortable for slapping. The assymetrical aspect of the neck (thinner on the treble side) was also very comfortable.

    According to the Carvin website the xB has 22 frets (as did mine). I don't know if the 35 1/4" option allows for 24 frets (ordered mine from the "in stock" basses). The bunny brunel model has the wide neck and has 24 frets. But it is also 34". 35 1/4 scale with 24 frets ??? Don't know.

    At least you'll have some more specific questions for the Carvin sales rep.
  8. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    so-far, you can't get the 35" scale w/ 24 frets.
    The way they're doing the longer scale is to move the bridge back a little, and to stretch the frets across the existing neck. they're using the same necks so as to save $, but made a few little tweaks to get the 35" scale out of it.

    amac's right about the wide neck option, it's available for the 5 strings only.

    PS, I'm pretty sure the Claro Walnut is just a top laminate. You should still be able to get the body wings and necks of your choice.

    Also, I've heard people say they feel the gloss finish tends to sound 'brighter', whereas the oil might be construed as 'warmer' sounding. I don't know that they make that big of a difference. I have both, but prefer the oil for the feel- especially on the back of the neck.
    Gloss offers a little more protection though.
  9. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    If you want the "prettiest girl" to take to the dance - get the Carvin.

    If you want the "sweetest girl" to take to the dance - get the Sadowsky.

    The Carvin will certainly be a step up from your MIM's.
    The Sadowsky will be the whole flight of stairs up from your MIM's.

    "Does anyone have any pointers?...Is there anything I should look out for? The only option I was going to get was the additional humbucker pickup"

    Pointers - Don't be surprised if you don't like the MM-style humbucker. It sure looks like a "real" MM pup but the sound is miles away, IMO.

    - If you get a lot of metallic "clank" out of the Carvin, don't be surprised. Many of us have found them to be the very noisiest basses we ever owned, (strings-on-frets noise). They use very large frets and the J99 pickup, (not a bad pickup, IMO), picks up everything! . Adjusting my technique and action took care of much of that noise

    - Many of us have found the factory strings to be awful. Don't be surprised if you don't like the tone/feel and if they start to seriously die on you in about a week.

    - You'll get a postcard with a "Delivery date" on it. Don't put any faith in it, IME. I emailed them several weeks after I ordered about the accuracy of that date and I got three different answers from 3 different people. All of them were off by at least 2 weeks...(it arrived much earlier).

    - One cool thing I found with Carvin, at least as far as the one I had with a quilted maple top was concerned....you can ask your salesperson for particular figuring on the wood. For instance, I asked for my quilt figure to have "large pillows or clouds" as opposed to the tight, small, quilt that others like. So, if you want a lot of color variation in your walnut, don't be afraid to ask for it. They may not be able to fulfill your request, but they can only provide what Mother Nature makes.

    "Will Carvin adjust action to specs before delivery? "

    They're pretty much a "factory product." They don't ask about your style of playing or any of those individual preferences that a small shop like Roger Sadowsky's will. So, you get a standard, factory, set-up but it's not bad at all, IMO (I always tweak the factory set-ups I've had anyway).

    Either way, you'll have a very well built bass. The biggest difference to me is that a Sadowsky will sound like it's in a totally different league, IMO.
  10. JeremyBender


    Oct 22, 2001
    Ths has been all extremely helpful. I have much to ponder. I cannot afford a Sadowsky, so in essence I can either get the Carvin and take my chances, or save for the Sadowsky. Th only reason I even played a Sadowsky is my bass teacher owns one and is friends with Roger. My bass teacher keeps trying to get me to buy one. I only have 1500 bucks right now. I suppose I'll have to consider my options carefully. He says I'm ready, which pleases me, but my skillset and pockets don't always agree!

    So, I'm not gonna totally discount buying a Carvin just yet, but all of your opinions and facts have been extremely helpful. Thanks!
  11. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    there's some awesome stuff you could get used for $1500, more in the league of the Sadowsky.

    That amount could get you a serious bass if you don't mind shopping used.

    Sadowsky and Carvin aren't the only options... :)
    The folks on this site will be more than happy to share others with you if you are interested.
  12. JeremyBender


    Oct 22, 2001
    Well, I would love to entertain other options. I mentioned those basses because I am a big fan of Fender. G&L and Sadowsky have similar feels and qualities to Fender. Nothing sounds quite a Sadowsky apparently, but as I said, they are pricey. The G&Ls I played at 48th Street Custom didn't really impress me much, and aren't very versatile. I have given much thought to a newer American Deluxe Fender, but have read and heard awful things about their active systems.

    I would be happy to listen if you guys know of a better instrument that I have no knowledge of. I know I dislike Ibanez, but have yet to try a BTB. I owned a Spector many years ago, but it doesnt really fit me anymore. I had a Guild Pilot 5 back in the day also, and I still regret selling it. I really want a traditional looking 4-string bass.

    Anyways, suggest away! (I really appreciate the help)
  13. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    Well, I was going to ask about commissioning a custom, but I see that you like more traditional designs...

    Traditional isn't my forte; I'll defer to those here who are more versed in the classics.

    I have been more than pleased with the custom route myself- the indie luthiers can offer you alot for your money.

    might want to start another thread for input on traditional 4 strings...the Carvin bashers might be skipping this thread. :)

    I'm surprised to hear that you didn't find the G&L's to be very versatile. I thought that's what everybody liked about them. Do you recall which models you tried? I've been jonesing to try one, but they just don't have any down here.
  14. Matt Morgan

    Matt Morgan Fellow Conspirator Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    Plano, TX
    I read over your post and would HIGHLY recommend you look into the Peavey Cirrus in Claro Walnut. Over the years I've played basses from Fender, Yamaha, Carvin, Warwick and Roscoe. I'm now on my 3rd (soon to be 4th) Peavey Cirrus.
    You can look at the Peavey web site for an idea of their appearance but what I can tell you is that they play and sound fantastic. Incredibly well built and available 4,5 and 6 string. They are also well in your price range new and even more so used. They are frequently on Ebay. 35" scale, 24 fret, neck through, 5 piece walnut and maple neck, Claro walnut top, walnut body, 18v 3 band eq, Pau ferro finger board, ABM bridge, etc. They are loaded!
    Seriously, check them out. I just bought a killer flamed maple over alder 6 string fretted for $1300 shipped. I have a Claro 6 fretless on order. New they go for about $1450. Used, they go for under $900.
    Just my two cents.
  15. JeremyBender


    Oct 22, 2001
    xush.. I get ya. Thanks very much. I appreciate the cander, and I may just start a new thread asking for some suggestions. As for the G&L, I played the ASAT for my entire lunch hour last week, and maybe it was me, but I suppose I didn't hear what I wanted to. The ASAT I played was a Butterscotch Blonde beauty with a maple neck and fingerboard. Just like the one pictured on the website. Bright as heck on the tone! But I didn't find the sound I wanted. It very well could have been the crappy Crate combo amp they plugged me into, but I tried my hardest to like it, as it is truly a beautiful instrument. I am going to go back when it's a less crowded time, and try it again though. Sometimes you need a few times before you can really form an opinion.

    mjmorgan.. Thanks for the suggestion. I will go to Peavey's website and do some homework. Sam Ash carries them, so I think I will swing by tommorrow and play one. I didn't even know Peavey still made basses. I feel like a dolt! Ya think a bass player would know the depth of his tools.
  16. Matt Morgan

    Matt Morgan Fellow Conspirator Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    Plano, TX
    The Peavey web site has a dealer locator. I actually found the best prices from smaller, out of the way dealers, but Sam Ash may have some thing in stock that you're looking for.
    You can do a search in these forums on the Cirrus and you can read for yourself what people (lots of them!) think about these basses. They are the only basses I play anymore. For the price they are untouchable. It's just my opinion, but my Cirrus instruments smoke my previous Roscoes and Warwicks.
  17. Blues Bass 2

    Blues Bass 2 Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2001
    Davenport Iowa
    If you are looking at Peavey look at the Milleniums also.They are Peaveys high end bolt on basses and can compete with many higher priced basses.Very nice.The Cirrus basses are great to.Try them both if you can.Also there are Mike Lull basses for sale used once in a while for less than $1500 in the classifieds on this site and others.They are also great basses if you can find one.
  18. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    Yeah, I meant to mention Lull too. He's doing that kind of super Fender traditional vibe too.
    Good stuff.
  19. AbdRahim


    Aug 10, 2002
    I have a Carvin Claro 6 string. Very disappointed. All the knobs and a switch and none other than the bass and treble change the tone to any appreciable extent. I have had it for ~1 year. I think I played it 5 times if that. I am much happier with my Cirrus 5 string.
  20. Not to sound like a downer but, I bought a Carvin LB75AP Anniversary earlier this year, it took me 4 mths. to get a gigable sound out of it. At one point I brought the bass back to the Carvin store I purchased it from and they said because it was past the 10 trial period I was stuck with it. Let me tell you, it can take more than 10 days to see if a bass is going to work for you, I didn't have a gig in 10 days so I didn't have a chance to play it in a live situation - just my luck. Also, the "P" option is worthless to me, if it were a fretless bass, yeah I could see it, but it's a real noisy feature when turned up. The Carvin seems to have a real thin tone and then when I thicken it up, the mids conflict with the keyboard and guitar player's frequency range. I've tried every imaginable way to get the bass to sound like I want, but it was a constant struggle. The amp I'm using is a Carvin SBR1018, so I have lots of room for tone twitching.
    Evenually, I was able to get a useable sound out of it for live situations. I decided to go back to passive, ordered (without ever playing one) a 2008 MIA Fender Jazz V and have never looked back. Outstanding bass, took me 2 days to dial it in, punchy articulate and super solid tone to die for. Anyway, you wanted to hear what I had to say, so there it is. Good luck.:smug:

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