Carvin custom or Stingray????

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by FLEADOMBOUND, Nov 27, 2001.



    Nov 16, 2001
    Whittier, Ca
    I posted a message awhile ago re: Carvin basses. I love slap bass and I know that MusicMan's are great for this. If you guys had $1300 to spend, would you go Carvin or the Stingray? Please let me know any feedback including any detailed explainations of the two....pros and cons.
  2. SRSiegel

    SRSiegel Guest

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    both basses are great choices, and both are entirely different animals. I have a 2001 LB75PFW, and an Ibanez ATK USA 5 string. the ATK is very similar to a Stingray. SO in a way i have access to both worlds. As far as im aware heres the most important differences:

    The Stingray is a six bolt maple neck. Very rigid, but still a bolt on. i prefer a neck through, but thats just me. it also has a thicker neck than teh carvin. The stingray is a funk players dream, and i would say the carvin is more of an all around bass. the LB75 really shines on jazz and latin tunes. i would say the carvin has a thinner, more confortable, faster neck (my opinion of course) but the stingray neck is more substantial. its your preference.

    Most people do not like the stock electronics in carvins basses. I dont have a problem with them, as they suit my needs fine. I have a J/HB/piezo setup, with an 18v active preamp section. The stingray has a single HB pickup, and a 9v preamp. the 18v is supposed to add headroom, but i dont know if it is necessary. Btoh systems would be easily upgradable with active barts, or seymour duncans. however, fewer peopel replace the Stingray epectronics than the carvin electronics. Both basses are available with piezos and a 3 band active eq. Both are capable of modern and vintage tones. I could be wrong, ands this is only my opinion, but i would say that the carvin is more versatile, and has more tones lurking within. you can turn the active preamp off, and go passive, which chenges toe sound more to a traditional J or P bass, depending on yoru pickup configuration. The carvins electronics are more po0lite and subdued, and the Stingrays electronics are much punchier, aggressive.

    I cannot tell you from experience how a fretted carvin slaps, because mine is fretless, and i ordered the bass unseen. I dont regret it though, as i love it. I can still slap it, but it is an entirely different sound. I did know someone with a fretted LB75, it had koa body sides i believe, with dual J99 single coil pickups. its what got me hooked on carvin. I saw this guy play a slap solo with teh school jazz band one time, before i joined (after he graduated) the carvins slap tone wasnt as aggressive as a stingray would be, but it was such an even smooth response i loved it. it seemed like a truly effortless bass to play. i would describe its slap tone as not unlike a fender J bass, but smoother and more even, but still puncy, and crystal clear. The slap tone I get from my ATK, whcih sounds very similar to any stingray i have played, is VERY aggressive. it has a ton of impact and bite. its not as clear and as clean sounding as the carvin, and it was overall a "noisier bass." my ATK, as well as the stingrays i have played, like to be played agressively, and like to be slapped hard. I felt i could get away with more on the Stingray, and on my ATK. i could play a little sloppier and still get a good sound. the carvin wants to be played precise.

    if you are set to spend 1300 bucks on a bass, and these are your options, you could get a helluva nice carvin bass ( i prefer the quality of carvins woods overall) and add the aftermarket electronics to give it whatever sound you wanted. If youre going for a 4 string, you could order an LB20 (passive, dual J pickups) and then add a high quality active preamp and/or pickups. This would give youa great bass with great electronics at a fairly low price. that kind of money woudl also get some really beautiful woods from carvin. Not to say that the Stingrays arent georgeous basses either, i love em. I just went a different route. Music Man also does some great custom work, but you cant get one in quilten maple... Uf you are highly opposed to replacing the electronics, and are looking for a standard, high end bass out of the box, that plays and sounds aggressive, then I would go with the musicman.

    Personally, if i coudl do it again, and was looking for a 4 string, I would order an LB20, and get some really nice wood options, and then add bartolini pickups and a U retro preamp.

    I realize I may have rambled on for what seems to be eternity, but I faced the same debate about a year ago, and I hope i can be of some help.

  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Judging by your screen name, the Ray is the clear choice, IMO.

    The Carvins are more versatile, (jazz/rock/R&B/et al), but they never sound as aggressive and "beastly" as a Ray. They're more "refined".
  4. craigb

    craigb Supporting Member

    Disclaimer: I am not a slapper, I have slapped - but it wasn't pretty.

    My experience is 2 Stingrays (both 3-band) at different times and 1 Carvin B4 (HB2 & H50N).

    I bought the Carvin B4 trying to get a "Stingray plus a neck pickup" for more depth. The Carvin with HB2 was nowhere near the Stingray in punch, aggressiveness, etc. Overall much more polite. I returned the B4 in the approval period because it was not what I wanted/expected. It was well built and had a slimmer neck than a 'Ray (but a Sterling would probably be similar).

    One beef I had with the Stingrays was that they were somewhat noisy. With the treble at the detent there was some noise and if you boosted the treble it could get ugly. I don't like noise although it's probably not a problem in a live environment.

    One other bass you might want to consider as an alternative the 'Ray is a G&L L-1500. I had a Climax (predecessor to the L-1500). It was the only bass I've had that was similarly punchy and aggressive like the 'Ray. Not exactly the same but very nice and with electronics more like a Sterling for more tonal options.

    Both the 'Ray and the Carvin are good so you can't make a "bad" choice. It's all preference as they are both well made. The Musicman has much better resale value compared with the Carvin if that is of any concern.
  5. I strongly prefir the Stingrays... I have played many of them and always liked them. In my opinion they feel more comfortable and sound much better. To be fair though, I have a pretty limited experience with Carvins. I have played maybe 5 of them, but I just didn't like 'em... no real specific complaints, just didn't feel or sound as good as the Rays to me.

    I did have a Spector with an EMG P and a Carvin J (bought as a back-up and I was too lazy to correct it). I agree with the statements about the electronics... not quite great, but easily upgradable.
  6. FalsehoodBass


    Jul 22, 2001
    Denver, CO
    i've played both extensively and am about to own both. I have an LB-75 and the Stingray 5 is getting made for me during the next few months....

    whatever you do.. DON"T think that since the carvin pickup looks like the ray that it's going to sound at all similiar... i made this mistake... i love my carvin now.. but its not a stingray....

    personally i think the carvin plays better, but that may be because i've owned it, and played it exclusively for 2 years, and haven't gotten used to the ray yet. I like the tightness of the B on the carvin more too.. but I don't know if you're getting a 5 or not.

    as far as slapping, my carvin has the wider neck, but i like slapping more on the Ray.... i double thumb a lot, and that's easier on the ray.. oh one thing about slapping on the carvin.. there's no pickguard, so your fingernails might mess with the wood, or the finish on the wood, depending on what finish you get. I have some little battle scars on mine right under the G-string from my fingernails

    if you play fingerstyle, the carvin gives you more places to anchor your thumb.... and the ray 5's pickup has curved edges which make anchoring your thumb on the pickup quite difficult... not so on the ray 4 though. one little thing.. the carvin's electronics can go passive if your battery dies during a gig... if it dies on a stingray you're SOL until you can get a new one.

    More questions for you... what music styles do you want to play?... If you wanted the carvin, what pickups would you get? Are you looking for a 4 or a 5 string? You should fill out your profile so we know where you live and what amplifier equipment you have, and what your musical interests are. If you live in SOCal, you can try the carvin before you buy... if you don't.. you're gona have to find one used to mess with before you order one. In general, i'd say if you just want a rock tone, get the Ray, if you want anything jazzy, i think the carvin will serve you better, but then there's the sterling.....

    ok i've rambled enough... I'm no bass expert by any means, but i know a lot about the two that you're asking about, so if you wanna know anyhing else... just ask... and welcome to TB.

    Oh, and since we seem to have the same taste in basses, check out the Fender American Deluxe 5 P-bass. I really love that bass.. better sound than the carvin, really fun to play, more versatile than the stingray.
  7. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    Well.. if you are looking for that stingray sound. get the stingray.. you can't emulate it... its the sound of the ray...
  8. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    There are alot of choices. If you're really into one of these 2 basses I'd go with the Ray.

    But if you want to broaden your horizions, try an G&L L-2000. This bass has a REALLY GREAT slap tone. It's is also SUPER versatile, go you can go from slap tone to pick tone to fingerstyle tone @ the flip of a swicth or dial.

    <a href=""><img width=400 src="" border=0></a>


    Nov 16, 2001
    Whittier, Ca
    All of the input you guys gave me was sweet! I have been leaning on the Stingray for about a week and because of the responses I've decided on going with the Ray. To respond to some of you I live in So Cal., near Orange County. Because I love aggressive slap and Hard Rock as well, that is why I made the decision I did. Next big question!!! What stack would you pick with the Ray? I want something that can compliment the Ray, and give me some low end smash.....Don't let me down fellas!


    Nov 16, 2001
    Whittier, Ca
    By the way, how would a RL1018 go with the Ray? I have heard good things about Carvin amps. Would they compliment eachother well? Or should I go with a pricier SWR or Ampeg setup? Used or New?........
  11. KeithPas


    May 16, 2000
    Having previously owned a Carvin I can tell you that I like my Stingray 5 more but that is just my opinion. IMO it is easier to tame an aggresive bass through EQ than put aggresiveness in artificially after the fact. I like Carvin amps and cabinets, I have recently seen used SWR SM400 heads on ebay for aroung $500.00 which is a killer price for a great amp.
  12. SRSiegel

    SRSiegel Guest

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    Good choice in the Stingray, its a great bass, a good value, and judging by the style you want to play its probably the best one for you. Id say you are heading in a good direction with carvins amps, but stay away from their speakers. I have an RC210 combo (R600 head+RL210 cab) the head is great, powerful, and sounds good for slap, jazz, rock, you name it. very versatile. however, I dont like the speakers at all. They are seriously lacking in the low end department.

    check out edens nemesis line, i hear they are light, storng, durable, sound good, and the are affordable.
    Carvin amps are good, cabs are not so great.
    Ampeg makes sealed cabs that may be good for slapping.
    Peavey is very durable, and well priced. their newer stuff is supposed to sound great too.

    either way, best of luck with your new bass, and finding the apropriate rig. let us know how it works out? (maybe post a pic of the bass w/new rig when it comes..hint hint...)
  13. FalsehoodBass


    Jul 22, 2001
    Denver, CO
    this is a little out of the "basses" topic but here we go...

    the classic rock and punk sound is a stingray with an ampeg head and an 810... that's hard to beat...

    I like SWR's 810 more.. its ported so it's not as punchy but has better bass response... my current setup is an ampeg head with an swr 810 and the carvin, soon to be stingray 5.

    Carvin makes decent amplifiers.. the speakers are CRAP if you ask me... i've owned both...

    eden and nemesis are both good brands but the're cleaner.. better for jazz than rock IMO

    you never said whether you were getting a 5 or a 4..
    take your ray to the amp store and play EVERYTHING..... i say give ampeg a lot of attention, but play everything else too..


    Nov 16, 2001
    Whittier, Ca
    Most likely a 4 string. I've played the 5 and I just don't like it as much. I know it is more versatile, but maybe it's just not me. Maybe you can shed some light on the subject. By the way...who are your influences and what has been the key element in you becoming a better bassist? Can of off the wall, but that's my style!
  15. FLEADOMBOUND, i dont like the stingray 5's either. I would prefer the scale to be an inch longer, cause the B string to me flops too much. Plus i hate the looks of the pickguard in the Stringray 5. I love stingray 4's though. Too bad i can't afford one and i am a newbie so i suck too much to deserve one anyways :D :D :D
  16. geoffzilla


    Oct 30, 2001
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification
    I completely agree with falsehood on choosing an amp. Bring YOUR bass to the store and just keep trying stuff. When you hear what you're looking for, you'll know it.
  17. FalsehoodBass


    Jul 22, 2001
    Denver, CO
    yea there's a lot of talk about how stingray 5's are more like sterlings than stingrays... Ray 5's have the pickup switch like sterlings, and some people say that they lack the "stingray sound" I got a 5 because I really need the B string, when i ordered it was in a punk band that tuned to open D and there's no way i'm losing that much string tension, i'll just take the B string.. and yea i agree that the pickup cover looks pretty cheezy... if i can afford it i'm going to see what i can do about getting a metal plate and a teardrop cover on mine, like a 4 string, but i'm not sure how possible that is..

    Regardless... congrats on picking the 4.... what options are you looking at? You'll be pleased with it...

    as far as my influences... i really like bad religion, Nofx, propaghandi, Strung Out although their bassist isn't that noticable, System of a Down, AFI. Lots of punk type bands, especially when they have bassists that really shine... but i listen to some jazz too.. i have all the victor wooten CD's and i listen to Aebersold a little.. As far as tone, stringray with a little bit of tube bite is all i need... i'm getting into tapping more, which IMO requires more of a clear sound. I ordered my Ray 5 with piezos to give me a really nice high end and i'll go full piezo for tapping.. I play with a pick and fingers, but prefer the sound of a pick for its bite, and the ability to play triplets faster than i've ever heard people play with fingers... Listen to Decietful Heartache... one of the songs in my Signature to get an idea of what i mean..

    wow.. that's a lot of talking about myself... hey keep us updated on your amp search... maybe start a new thread in the amps forum, as to not annoy the mods of the basses forum...