Carvin Custom Basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by barbarian, Sep 15, 2002.

  1. barbarian


    Sep 15, 2002
    Dublin, Ireland
    Hi guys, just found these forums, and maybe I can get some help on the following matter:

    I want to go fretless with a bass. My current setup is pretty poor, as I play on a $150 P-Bass which is so wrecked that... Yeah... Never mind. The point is, I decided my next bass should be a fretless, and after doing 6 months of research, decided that I should order a Carvin Custom 5-string fretless LB75. Naturally, since I've only been playing 3 years, this is no easy move. I have the money, but I really don't want to get something that isn't suited for me. In fact, I'm buying it with a credit card here in Ireland, and my Uncle in America is bringing it over for Christmas. You guys gotta help me. Should I get a $1000 [approx.]? Should I get it fretless? Should I get a goddamned 5-string? I mean, there's few reviews on the net of LB75's, and I read 2 good reviews about one, and one REALLY mean one. :D Please help. Thanks for reading.
  2. I currently play a fretted four string and next month I'll be ordering a Carvin fretless 6. As long as you take it slow on fretless I don't think you'll have a problem. I was reluctant at first as well, but some members here at talked bass reassured me. Since Carvin sells direct, you're gong to get a quality made 5-string at a much lower cost than anywhere else, so keep that in mind. I say go for it! Make the switch! Dedication to your new instrument will be the key to success!
  3. snyderz


    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    I recently got a Carvin fretless 6 string used off of It is near mint, neck through 5 piece, Bartolini J pups. Excellent balance, playability, tone, and B string. I would say to go for it, but also think used. If you have an uncle that is going to bring it over anyway, between the two of you, you could do a private party deal, save $500, and still have him deliver the bass to you. Carvins are always on ebay, and resell pretty cheap for the quality. Just a thought.
  4. jacochops


    Jul 2, 2000
    Suzhou, China
    Buy a used Carvin, change the pickups to Barts, rip out that shi**y preamp and put in a U-Retro, have the frets leveled, and you should be okay.
    Or you could just get a Skyline 44-02!!
    Or sell about 50 pints of plasma, and get an Elrick!
  5. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I wouldn't have a fretless as my main bass. (Don't listen to Gard). If it were me (and it's not), I'd get a fretted 5.

    Now Carvin. I used to live two miles from their factory, so I hung out there often. I can say that they make BEAUTIFUL basses at excellent prices. The craftsmanship, fit and finish are top-notch, favorably comparable to my Laklands. (I know ... Carvin makes Laklands.) As others have said, their weakest link is their electronics. However, I've played a bunch of them, and they don't really suck with the stock pickups, they just don't sound like Bartolinis. I'd say the Carvin is a good choice for you. You can play it to get used to it, then upgrade the pickups (if you feel it necessary) later on.

    If you buy a figured top, their top woods are among the best I've seen, and they put a full one-half-inch slab on there. Truly beautiful instruments.
    Don't buy it with resale in mind, though.
  6. I own a few Carvin basses and have had NO problems at all. I also own a 6-stg fretless with fret lines. They make nice instruments and I'm happy to own them and play them.

    Keep the $150 P-bass, though....If fretless is what you want to buy, I recommend playing one in a store to see if you like it and the way they sound (which is beautiful). I say BUY, BUY, BUY!!!!!
  7. Skavenger


    May 26, 2002
    Stick to fretted basses just a while longer, maybe you should consider a 5 string? Because fretless basses are one hard nut to crack if you haven't played too long. Finally, make your own decision. Does it feel right to get a fretless bass in this early stage? Because when it all comes down to it, YOU are the one who are going to play it in the future.
  8. Sharp


    Jan 27, 2002
    Artists Relations, KMI
    i dunno what they're saying about waiting on the fretless... i started playing one early. i think if you have a somewhat decent ear, you can do alright, it'll probably improve your technique on fretted bass, too.
    maybe im crazy, but i think waiting a while before playing fretless is a bad idea. sure, the intonation should be of paramount interest to any player, but that problem can be fixed pretty easily. playing fretted for a long time before switching may lead you to bad fretless habits, like putting your finger right where you see the side dots and what not.
    good luck on your bass ventures-

  9. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I don't know why some people think that you haven't been playing long enough to get a fretless.

    Violin and string bass students don't started out on fretted violins and basses.
  10. BigBohn


    Sep 29, 2001
    WPB, Florida

    True. Clever insight, Mr. Wade.
  11. I would go for a fretless. I'd also keep a fretted. That allows you to make the best choice for the music, IMO. Looking back, I wish I would have moved to fretless sooner than I did...

    Regarding Carvin, I had a 6 string fretless (anniversary model) made a few years ago. Very good workmanship, but not a great tone. I traded it for a Zon. No comparision, IMO. For the kind of money you are talking about, you should at least try a Zon. I've seen fretless Zons and Pedulas go for less than $1300.

    Good luck!
  12. Knack


    Mar 25, 2002
    New York City
    Although most of your concerns are a matter of personal preference, as an owner of Carvin 4-string fretted and fretless basses I would say get one. Read people's reviews, think about the options you want, and allow some pensive time to mull them over, thinking about what features are really important to you. The fundamentals of fingerboard technique are important whether you get fretless or fretted; I think it's more a matter of whether you want to play like John Entwhistle or John Patitucci.
  13. barbarian


    Sep 15, 2002
    Dublin, Ireland
    Thanks for all the feedback guys.

    Basically, I want a fretless bass either way... So I think I'll go with the Carvin. Thanks again.

    Although, there's a few issues that maybe you experts could resolve. :D :

    I was thinking of customising the LB75, which I may have mentioned and was confused/worried about the electronics. The choices offered are...

    H50 - Replace J99 single coils with H50N stacked humbuckers $20.00

    HB2 - J99 neck pickup with HB series bridge humbucker and coil splitter $40.00

    For a jazzy style, which should I go for? (I don't want to make any early mistakes)

    Also, I plan on getting fret lines drawn on the neck to make it easier for me..

    My final question is about the wood that the bass would be built from.. I have no clue which is superior in resonance or sustain or something. Any ideas as to what I should go for on the neck and body?

    What options should I modify if I want a VERY thin neck? BTW, for any fretless players, is slap/pop available at all on a fretless?

    Here's a link to the LB75 customising page.

    Thanks again guys.
  14. BlacksHole


    Mar 22, 2000
    Rockville, MD
    I have 2 fretless Carvins - a five and a six. Since you are just switching to fretless, lines are a good idea. BTW, Carvin necks are naturally thin and I would suggest the unfinished or oil finished neck. My 5 is a oil finshed koa and my 6 is a quilted maple. The 5 has a deeper bluesier sound and overall, a better sounding bass. The C string on my 6 isn't quite right. The five piece neck is a good option. And yes, you can slap and pop on a fretless, String bass players have done it for more than a century although they use different terminology. Further, Les Claypool uses fretless basses. You can even slap and pop tapewound strings, granted, it's a different sound than a steel roundwound. As for body wood, you may want to consider the Swamp Ash, although it does weigh a little more. As for pickups, I'm not sold on their newer model pickups, but perhaps I haven't given them enough of a chance.
  15. Barbarian, one thing to consider with an LB75 is the string spacing at the bridge. If you're used to the wider string spacing of a 4-string, then you may want to consider the wider asymmetrical neck on the LB75. I have a B5 I'm looking to trade just because I can't get used to the narrow spacing. As for the pickups, it should be easier to replace the regular J99s (or H50s) down the road, but I'm not sure how easily replaceable the HB2 is. I would agree with several others that the electronics are really the only negative point against Carvins (perhaps the inability to get low, low action is another). Anyway, those are my thoughts.:)
  16. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Actually, it is the BB75 that has the wider asymmetrical neck.

    Barbarian, you can slap/pop on a fretless, I do it all the time on my Zon. However, the tone is different than slapping on a fretted instrument.
  17. That "Harlequin Prismatique" finish is...interesting. Does it look any good up close, or kind of lame?

    Ouch- I guess for the price of that upgrade, it had better be nice.
  18. Barbarian --- I currently play a Carvin XB 76 and also own an LB 75. Both of these basses are fretted . but you will undoubtedly be very impressed by Carvin basses. I would recommend going with the new XB series ( 35.25" scale ). The B string is much tighter due to the longer scale length. As far as making the jump from fretted to fretless , the best advice I can give is to get the lines on the neck , and if you have proper technique on a fretted bass ( fretting the instrument on or just before the fret) it should be no different than playing a fretted bass. Good luck !
  19. On a side note...
    Does anybody know that if you order the Claro Walnut series with the matching headstock option(PH), will the headstock be Claro Walnut as well, or just figured walnut or what? I plan on ordering the LB76WF.
  20. BlacksHole


    Mar 22, 2000
    Rockville, MD
    Matching headstocks on Carvins really do match. So while I don't have the claro walnut, I believe that this is what you'll find on the matching headstock.