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Carvin Icon Bass Questions...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ggc, Apr 29, 2010.

  1. ggc


    Jan 13, 2009
    Hi Folks!

    I'm considering ordering a Carvin IC4W bass (the Claro Walnut active version) and was wondering if I could get some feedback from anyone who owns/has owned one.

    Most of what I have read about Carvin basses in general has been quite good as far as quality, value, and consistency, but I would like to get as much advice as I can before ordering seeing as I can't play one first.

    So...What are your likes/dislikes about it? What options did you choose and why? Are you happy enough with it that you would order one again without reservation?

    Any insights or opinions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks very much in advance!
  2. madbassplaya


    Dec 28, 2007
    I recieved a Carvin Icon in a trade once.

    What I liked about it:

    Played like a dream!
    Very usable EQ
    Was Gorgeous
    Active/Passive EQ

    Was too modern sounding/looking for me at the time.
  3. ggc


    Jan 13, 2009
    Thanks for the response! What do you mean by "modern sounding"? I there another bass that you could compare the sound to? I'm actually trying to find something that sounds somewhat like a Wal bass.
  4. madbassplaya


    Dec 28, 2007
    I am somewhat of an old school type of guy. I like P's and J's a lot and think the Music Man tone is pretty cool as well. I'm not big on "modern" sounding basses. I am pretty sure a Wal will be more on that side of things, however, i cannot compare it directly to the Wal bass because i've never played one.

    ...hope that helps.
  5. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    All Carvin Icons are active. Or more precisely, active/passive.

    Generally speaking, the Icon is in the same tone category as other neck-through instruments with humbucking pickups: i.e. Ken Smith, Spector, and Peavey Cirrus: ultra-clean, hi-fi, ultra-wide frequency response, lots of brightness, cut and sustain.

    I wouldn't expect an Icon to sound much like a Wal. From what I gather, it's going to be tough to replicate that kind of dark, powerful, growly tone from any bass other than a Wal... :meh:

  6. madbassplaya


    Dec 28, 2007

    thanks for chiming in. i really wasn't aware of the tonal characteristics of a Wal. You definately nailed the Icon sound though.
  7. Go to post #23 here, there are links to some Icon samples:


    I really like my 4 string Icon. It's a good bass to take on gigs -sounds great, not too heavy, not as pricey as some of my others. The truss rod usually needs adjustment in the fall and spring when the weather changes (I live in a pretty extreme climate). One minor thing: the lower horn is small and when you're sitting down it almost feels like the bass will slip off. Just thought I'd mention it since it feels different from a Fender.
  8. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    I have played several Icons at the Carvin store in San Diego. I do not own one.

    I played them originally because I thought Carvin finally had "Got it right" on the bass-guitar front, at least based on the appearance and layout...

    Let me tell you: They are beautiful to look at and built VERY well.

    However, I found every one I pulled off of the wall at the factory store very nearly unplayable. They have a very odd action - almost *zero* radius on the fretboard which felt very uncomfortable for me. Given how pretty they were, and how reasonable the price, I *really* had hoped to like them. I did not.

    THAT SAID, I *really* like the SB5000. It isn't as pretty or classy looking as the Icon, but the ones I played played and sounded MUCH better. And by "Much better" I mean an order off magnitude better. Like a boutique Fender clone (Lull/Sadowsky/etc). I can't for the life figure out why the Icons don't work for me, but I know I'm not alone. The ones I played didn't sound very good either.

    I know some folks really dig theirs, so good on them - but I have the whole Icon line a pretty thorough chance to impress me. They did not. But I may well be buying a SB5000 once I sell some idle gear...
  9. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    35" scale 6-string? Nope. I wont buy one.

    Shame, too, because Carvin has ridiculously comfortable neck profiles and their basses balance so well.
  10. I've got a Carvin Icon IC5 (see pic) -

    First off, the quality is top notch. I swapped out the pups with 2 J99AS and J99ASR soapbar pups, the same pups that come on the new SB4000/5000. The new pups sound much better. The original pups that come on the Icon are very nasally sounding and when you slap and pop strings it sounds very harsh to the ear. Almost hurts to listen to them, so that's why I swapped out the pups. The balance of the bass is excellent and the tuning machines are top notch, as with the bridge. The electronics are decent, not blow mind, but very decent. I play the bass always in active mode, I really like the sound of it in active mode, especially with the new J99 pups.

    All in all I'd say it's an excellent bass for the money, tho I wouldn't buy another one, (one is enough for me).:smug:
  11. ggc


    Jan 13, 2009
    Thanks for the opinions folks, I appreciate them. Thanks also for the link to the clips, they are very helpful!
  12. kimstevens


    Nov 12, 2002
    The Icon 6 has a 34" scale.
  13. kimstevens


    Nov 12, 2002

    I have an Icon 5, and agree with you about the lower horn... I really like the bass, which I bought used, but if I were to get a new Carvin, it'd be an LB just for playing comfort while sitting. The Icon 5 and LB75 (or LB70/LB76 for 4 and 6 string versions) are really the same bass, except for body shape, if configured with identical electronics.
  14. Bob C

    Bob C

    Mar 26, 2000
    Duluth, MN

    The pickups are going to be the biggest factor in the overall tone of the bass. So, I would take some time to really decide what sound you want, and how to get it.

    As vinxbass stated, the Icon is available with the soapbars (side by side coil humbuckers) or J99A's (alnico single coils) in the soapbar casing. Stacked humbuckers and MM style pickups are available in other Carvin basses.

    You should search other posts on Talkbass and at the carvin.com BBS to learn more about Carvin's pickups. I think they have soundclips on Carvin's site too.

    About Carvin basses overall, as has been mentioned, they are well built and comfortable to play.
  15. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    It should be noted that, although Carvin has several models of bass guitar pickup from which to choose as a factory option, you are limited to these choices only to the extent that you disregard the many other options available in premium aftermarket pickups... :meh:

    The fact is that the Icon soapbars are configured in a common, industry-standard dimension (4.25" x 1.25" x .75"), and that direct, drop-in replacements are available from numerous quality vendors, including Bartolini, Delano, EMG, Nordstrand, and SGD - among others.

    I'm jus' sayin'... :meh:


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