Carvin gear

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by shaboda, Aug 6, 2003.

  1. shaboda


    Apr 14, 2002
    What's everyone's general opinion on carvin basses??? (at least the newwer ones). I had one from the early 90s and didnt like it... but I built a B4 a couple years ago (with different pickups and electronics), and it's my main axe. it jams!! -- I also had the old style Pro Bass 500 head with cabinets (before the Red eye's were made) and I gotta tell ya it was the worst experience ever with any amp. Any comments?? Just curious.... cuz I guess I have been thinking "fenders just GOTTA sound good right!?" but everytime I get one, I wind up sellin' it and going back to my Custom Bolt 4.
  2. Obsolex

    Obsolex Guest

    Nov 17, 2002
    I went to a Carvin shop in LA when I was there... And dude, they look nice, but feel like crap, and sound like ass... Seriously man...
    At least try it and see for your self...

    Sound= :bawl:



  3. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I have a B5 fretless, and it plays and sounds great! I don't understand why some people don't like them. I have the J99 pickups, and it sounds very Fender Jazz-like (in fact, it sounds better than my Fender). The pre-amp is quiet and sounds great.

    One thing about Carvin is that there are so many options of wood, pickups and construction (neck thru, bolt on) that one bad sounding Carvin doesn't mean that all Carvins sound bad. Mine has a swamp ash body and bolt on neck, and is very punchy with tons of mwah. A neck thru with a walnut body and MM pickup is going to sound completely different. Add to that the differences in taste, and you are going to have some people that play one, don't like it, and say that Carvins suck. And then you are going to have some people who have never played one that just repeat the "Carvin sucks" mantra that they've heard from other people.

    I do know that Bunny Brunel and Timothy B. Schmidt both play Carvins with factory pickups, and they both have a great sound.

    As far as their amps, I used Carvin bass amps for years and liked them, and I have two Carvin PA heads and a Carvin power amp that sound great, and they are reliable as can be. I've never had a failure with a Carvin bass, amp, or speaker, and I've had some of them for many years.
  4. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Short answer: do a search. This comes up so often that you wouldn't believe it. Most of the things most of us would say have already been said here, more than once.

    Slightly longer answer: I think Carvin basses are very good. Not everyone likes them, but that's cool--there's hardly anything that everybody likes. Their PUs and electronics seem to get dissed a bit; IMO some of that is entirely legit (depending on personal taste), some is referring to older versions of the gear and may not be entirely accurate now, and some, as Showdown suggests, may come from people with no real experience in the matter who are repeating a mantra heard elsewhere. IME the build quality is quite good and the look is fine. A couple points to remember: (1) Because they have so many options, it's possible to put together a bass that doesn't look or sound or behave quite the way you want it to. (2) If you have a problem with your instrument, they will generally try very hard to make it right if they can. IME and IMO.
  5. rumplebunny

    rumplebunny Guest

    Jul 8, 2003
    Houston, TX
    Aside from a couple quirks, I'm pretty happy with my Carvin LB76.

    The neck can be a little touchy, but then again, it's a one-piece neck with six strings's worth of tension in a hot & humid climate. Mine's a '94 model and they didn't offer the 5-piece neck option back then. That's an option I would unquestionably go with now, if I were ordering new.

    The active electronics recently frizzled out, but I didn't really cry about it since I'm not a huge fan of onboard active electronics to begin with. (I just rewired it for passive operation.) From what I've been reading though, their electronics have improved since the era my bass was built.

    I have no complaints about the sound. Very punchy and clear sounding. Mine has the older H50N stacked humbuckers, and it has a maple neck with poplar body sides (no longer offered AFAIK.)
  6. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Unless you're playing something like C&W, soft jazz, or wedding band music, I think you'll want to ditch the pickups/preamp.

    They just don't have the "money" sound that has mass appeal, IME. Carvin's MM-style bucker is an abomination, to me - weak, thin, and "boxy." I got a Basslines MM alnico with the Tone Ciruit and there's no comparison.
  7. rumplebunny

    rumplebunny Guest

    Jul 8, 2003
    Houston, TX
    I think I tend to agree to a degree. My Carvin was originally fretted, and later converted to fretless. When I played back in my old alterna-rock band in the '90s, I always grabbed for my trusty old Rickenbacker 4003 over the Carvin. The Carvin was a little too "polite" sounding for what we were doing. The Rick just bulldozed through everything and made its presence known, but without being overly obnoxious and still fitting within the context of the music.

    I do dig the Carvin's mellower sound for the types of music I like to play now, especially now as I find myself loving fretless more and more. I do still love to crank up that Rick from time to time to shred some wallpaper though. ;)

    EDIT: the Carvin was converted to fretless AFTER those alterna-rock days, so it was indeed a fretted-vs-fretted comparison.
  8. chucko58


    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    I own a few Carvin basses. I think they're good value for the money in a US made bass. The construction quality and materials are excellent. Even if you replace the pickups, they're still less expensive than most other US made basses of comparable quality. And I've found the customer service - on the rare occasions when I needed it - to be friendly and prompt.

    Right now I think I like my B5F fretless best. It has the J99 and MM-style humbucker. The combination makes for a wide variety of tones. It balances nicely and is extremely playable.

    I have put replacement pickups in 2 Carvins. The J99s don't cover all the strings in a 6 string bass, so I replaced them with some Bill Lawrence J-45 pickups. And my primary LB75 has some "Sadowsky" overwound single coils, which I am starting to think about replacing with something else because they're too bass-heavy.

    I don't think they're perfect by any means. My LB75 and LB76 are neck heavy, and the neck profile is a little thin for my tastes. But on the whole I'm happy with my collection of Carvins.

    MAJOR METAL HARVESTER OF SORROW Staff Member Supporting Member

    I had just got one kept it for a week and realized the sound didint sound up to a $1200 BASS.The finish was probably one of the best i had ever seen (Greenburst). The neck was nice but some times the strings would bend over the neck i really didnt like that. If their are any other basses in your thoghts down the road dont get this, you will be lucky if you could get half of what you paid for it. That is what happend to me i was thinking of better basses i wanted whille i was still on the try out period and it just wouldent be practical. Good luck in the search for something you like.
  10. alx564


    Jul 31, 2000
    Emmaus, PA
    I have an older LB75 which is pretty nice. Like most say the electronics aren't quite up to par in terms of the rest of the bass. The construction and finish on the bass is excellent. Its a great five string neck and everything feels right on the bass. Other then the electronics these basses are great.
  11. adouglas


    Jun 23, 2003
    Bridgeport, CT
    Well, I've got a mid-90s LB75 and a much newer BB75FP, and both are just great, especially for the money.

    Carvins are so ubiquitous that they're easy to pick up cheap on ebay. Go for the most deluxe one you can... options don't hold their value well, so you can pick up stuff like premium woods, five-piece necks, etc. for not a lot of bread. The quilted maple top on my LB75 is gorgeous, and I didn't pay all that much for it (don't remember exactly... something like $800???).

    The electronics sound fine to me, but then I don't have a whole lot of experience with high-end pups and electronics. Maybe someday i'll get a case of GAS and redo the electronics on the older one just to see what happens, but I'm pretty happy all in all.
  12. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    I bought a 2002 LB-75F Bass.
    Sent it back.
    Built Well
    Neck spacing to tight.
    Pickup sound like crap.
    Not worth $850.00 I paid for it.
    Everything is subjective!
    Took the $850.00 bought a used Roscoe Beck Bass,
    great bass.
  13. My music teacher has used tons of stuff. He never liked any of the carvin stuff at all. Lighting Joe in Aroyo Grande has also had his fair share of them. The active preamps on their bass apparently stink. The only good active preamps that I have run across that work good with swr are the MEC electronics in warwicks. They look nice but when it comes down to everything else about them they really don't live up what they're supposed to be. I've also read that Carvin is really nice and does everything you want but once they have your money and you get your bass they really just suck at fixing all of the stuff that's messed up on it and even talking to you about it. The speakers are all generic too so I wouldn't trust them there either.
  14. quallabone


    Aug 2, 2003
    I play a BB70P I got this year. And I have another one on the way. They definately aren't as cool as my fury's but they're amazing basses for the money. There is really no other new bass that can touch them. I don't find the MM pickup too pansy assed. Granted the real MM's are quite a bit more ballsy. But hey, if I wanted to sound like a musicman I would have bought one.
  15. If these basses are so bad how did they win best of show in bass player.
  16. quallabone


    Aug 2, 2003
    Well I think their secret is that they aren't actually bad.
  17. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I agree. The pickups may not be agressive sounding enough for some styles of music, but that is true of a lot of basses. It is interesting how some people would think nothing of buying a Fender and replacing the pickups with something that suits their sound better, but with Carvin they think having to replace the pickups is unreasonable!
  18. Schwinn


    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    Ahh Carvins...some people love 'em and others hate 'em.

    IMO, they're not in the same league as Ken Smith or F bass for example, so let's keep it real...for the price they're hard to beat.

    Like everyones been saying, the construction, woods, feel, etc are awesome.

    About the electronics...could be better, but I rather like the 18 volt p series preamp with the individual volume controls for each string. Lots of versatility. And I think the pickups work with certain amps (like my Ampeg SVP). Nothing polite about it, with the eq set right and some tube overdrive. FWIW, I just put a Bart J-pickup in the neck position of mine and it is just as "polite" as the Carvin was. Both sound good to me.

    To sum it up, I think they are very good mid-priced instruments. I'll keep mine!
  19. Jon Burnet

    Jon Burnet

    Jan 21, 2001
    Memphis, TN
    funny you compared it to an f bass because i liked my 6 more than a f bass.... so i bought the i used a sadowsky pre... i love mine.
  20. Nothing personal to our friends who prefer Carvin basses. I for one think times are changing and I'm starting to think the "Good bass for the money" thing with Carvins is getting kinda outdated. Look at all the excellent new basses for under $1,000. Many, many, manufactures come to mind in this price range. I would also consider bumping up by buying used. I just got a mint "used" MM Stingray 5 for $800. I'm not trying to start a MM vs. Carvin thing by any means, but the value and resale value speaks for itself. I live in San Diego where they make Carvins and the resale value is pretty low in the local music classifieds. I also noticed a previous post where the person paid $1,200 for a new Carvin. You can find used Laklands (USA even)on this very site starting at $1,350. Apples and oranges my friends. No need to settle as compitition in the marketplace has made quality quite affordable. This is good for the bass player, but not good for companies like Carvin that get the " good bass for the money" label. Play a Carvin if that's the bass that does it for you, as well you should ( and will!), but times are changing and "for the money" goes a lot further than it used to.

    I could be playing Bass right now and you wouldn't even know it!