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Carvin "Icon" vs. other Carvin Basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by SanDiegoHarry, Mar 30, 2009.


  1. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Just wondering - I've never much cared for Carvin basses, but the Icon basses look like a good move into the right direction (both aesthetically and functionally) -

    I'd be interested to hear from any Icon owners who might have checked out their other basses to hear a compare/contrast.


    thanks
     
  2. buckminster

    buckminster Banned

    Apr 29, 2006
    Sacramento, CA
    You could go to the Carvin Factory Store in San Diego and check them out for yourself...The Icon basses only offer a different body style. All the other options are available on their other basses as well.
     
  3. WoodyG3

    WoodyG3

    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    The Icon only comes with the soapbar pickups. The LB, BB and B series basses can be ordered with single coils, MM style humbuckers and a hum canceling jazz sized pickup. Since I don't really like the soapbars, and since I prefer the body style of the LB series, the Icon doesn't do it for me. The preamp on the LB and BB is the same one used on the Icon, now, too, BTW.

    Of course, if the soapbars are the sound you are going for, and you want the body style and fancy wood tops on the Icon, it would be a great choice.
     
  4. buckminster

    buckminster Banned

    Apr 29, 2006
    Sacramento, CA
    Didn't know the Icon only came with the soapbars...You can also order the other basses with a double humbucker option.

    There is also a standard Icon model that comes without the figured maple or walnut top.
     
  5. WoodyG3

    WoodyG3

    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    It's funny with the double MM humbucker, sometimes they do it for people, sometimes they don't. I know people who have been told they won't do it, then others have asked and gotten that build option.

    Anyway, yeah, the Icon only comes with soapbars. You are right, too, you can ask for an Icon without the fancy top and get a reduced price.
     
  6. buckminster

    buckminster Banned

    Apr 29, 2006
    Sacramento, CA
    I am really GASsing for a fretted Icon 6 string standard with an ash body, classic sunburst finish (on headstock too), birdseye maple fingerboard (no dots), and gold hardware.
     
  7. I own an Icon 4 string and have owned a 5 string Carvin kit bass and (briefly) a BB75. The Icon is my favourite due to the electronics, rounded body edges and playability. The other 2 had the old preamp, with the BB75 having H50s pickups and the BK5A having a J99 (neck position) and a humbucker (bridge position). I definitely prefer the soapbars and 18 volt preamp on the Icon. More hifi sounding and versatile. The BB75 played great, I love the asymetrical neck, and the tone was good but not really outstanding. Kind of sterile.

    What is it that you don't like about Carvins? Looks, sound? That would help answer you.

    But if I lived in San Diego I wouldn't be here asking questions, I'd be down at the Carvin store! :hyper:
     
  8. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    I was never wild about the body layout, but I gave them a real try before I went in a different direction (being as they are right here in town!) - - I was unimpressed by how they played and left kind of cold by the tone... Tone can be tweaked with aftermarket electronics, I know... but if the thing doesn't play...

    I really should take a drive to play one of the Icon basses - Carvin is just up the freeway from where work...

    But I wanted to get some feedback from those that own them. They sure seem to be a bit more modern looking.

    So you're happy with the preamp/p'ups? Not rushing to replace with Nordstrands or barts?

    thx
     
  9. spideyjg

    spideyjg

    Mar 19, 2006
    San Diego
    Go up there and try 'em Harry. I wasn't keen on the prior offerings but I like the Icon.

    All the others struck me as nice "smooth jazz" basses but not rock. The Icon was the reverse.

    Jim
     
  10. buckminster

    buckminster Banned

    Apr 29, 2006
    Sacramento, CA
    One thing to note about Carvins is that their stock strings suck and make the basses sound really bad. A new set of DRs does wonders for the tone. And when set up properly they play fantastic and are definitely more than a one-trick pony.

    I have owned several Carvins and I really like the LB series 5-strings I've owned, including the LB75A that I still regret selling. It's been a while since I've played an Icon.
     
  11. Absolutely! I liked the sound immediately when I first played it, which is a good sign for me. I have no plans to swap pickups. Are you looking for a 4 string or 5 string?

    If you want to hear some sound clips let me know and I can send you some.
     
  12. eastcoasteddie

    eastcoasteddie

    Mar 24, 2006
    NoVA
    I have a Carvin catalog from 2008 (i think) and it shows 2 LB's with the HH option. If it was in the catalog, not sure why they wouldn't do it now... maybe it takes too much effort to reset the routing machine for HH, who knows?


    But on the subject of Carvins...I was looking at how the basses are made, being 34" scale and 24 fret, compared to the 22 fret Bolt basses. I think I would prefer a bolt bass because of the wider space between the neck pup and the bottom edge of the fretboard...more room there for slapping (although I don't do it much, I kow I'd be slapping the pickup instead of the strings...)
    compare:
    Bolt
    95639b.

    LB
    101899b.

    But this one is YUMMY....XB75
    107034b.
     
  13. I love the look of that one and the spacing looks fine. Another thing to consider: the wider asymetrical neck makes slapping easier (to me anyway) but is not available on the bolt model.
     
  14. Strings can make a huge difference. I like Carvin strings and they are inexpensive but I replaced the nickel strings that came with the Icon with Carvin stainless steel. Mainly for the lower tension feel of the steel strings.
     
  15. eastcoasteddie

    eastcoasteddie

    Mar 24, 2006
    NoVA
    true. Carvin's standard 5-string spacing is about the same as my G&L (2.75" or so at the bridge) so that's what I'm used to. But I can't handle 2.5" at all.
     
  16. WoodyG3

    WoodyG3

    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    I think it was Roger Sadowsky that made a great comment about strings, he said everyone has a favorite, just like ice cream flavors. I like the Carvin nickels just fine, and that's all I've ever had on one of my Carvin LB70s. I don't like them on my Jazz Bass with DiMarzio Model Js, though. I need a little more zing out of the strings on that bass.
     
  17. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I haven't yet played an Icon, though I've owned three LBs thus far (still have two). But if I had to make a purchasing decision on the basis of how they sound in the Carvin showroom, I'd never have parted with my money in the first place.

    To me, the main value of Carvin basses lies in the precision craftsmanship and high-quality materials. They feel very good in the hands, and play very nicely indeed. And they sound wonderful - with a little extra investment.

    If you buy one, expect to change the strings right away (unless you happen to like the stockers), tweak the setup to taste, and budget for possible upgrades to pickups and/or preamp - at least for instruments with the pre-Icon electronics package. Even factoring in those additional costs, you'll be spending roughly $1,000 - $1,500 to get an instrument easily worth $2,000 - $3,000, or more, in terms of overall value... :meh:

    MM
     

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