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Carvin LB70 - good deal?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TDR1138, Feb 10, 2014.

  1. TDR1138


    Apr 11, 2007
    Section 204
    I've got an offer for a koa Carvin LB70 in exchange for a bass I have on local CL - I won't go into details because I don't have it posted here, but I'm valuing it abound $500. The Carvin is a little older, with the Wilkinson bridge, pointy headstock and a 3-band EQ. I don't know much about Carvins, so I'm not gonna take a stab at age, but it appears to be in pretty good shape overall. So, any thoughts on it as a $500-ish trade?
  2. RickC

    RickC Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2005
    Very fair trade if you just look at market value, and LB70s are typically undervalued so probably an overall win.

  3. Gorn

    Gorn Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Carvins are excellent basses with horrific resale value. $500 is about right for one in pristine condition.
  4. TDR1138


    Apr 11, 2007
    Section 204
    Thanks... Looks to be in great shape, maybe a little pitting on the good hardware, but no obvious dings or anything. Jard case included, too. I guess it was a backup, so not played too much. Still mulling it over... It's a bit of a drive before I can get up to see it in person.
  5. Those are some great basses. As a matter of fact, they're really great basses. By you saying it has the Wilkinson Bridge, I'd venture to say the bass you're considering is circa '92-'96. And, you can narrow it down even more by identifying the tuning keys. If they're Sperzels, I'd say it's from the earlier part of the era I'd mentioned. One piece of advice..... Change that Wilkinson Bridge. Those things blow. The rest of the bass? Amazing, for the money, to say the least. You certainly won't regret it, for sure. My LB75Koa is my main player, and I have some really nice boutique & vintage basses that's worth way more than my Carvin.
  6. Bundie Cenac from the band Mandrill plays locally and uses a late 90's Carvin with the Wilkinson bridge still on it. Sounds great!!
  7. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    It's roughly in the ball park for an early-90s Carvin LB70 - which this instrument almost certainly is. Agreed with millbass5: Get rid of that Wilkinson bridge. It's a piece of crap. I speak from personal experience here.

    The Koa Carvins are reputed to be among the nicest instruments they've made. Koa yields a beautiful, sweet tone which is highly prized. They're very easy on the eyes as well.

  8. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    I can't speak as to the "market value," but I can't imagine a much better bass at $500 than a koa LB-70. My walnut LB-70 has been my main bass for about a dozen years.
  9. I'm not understanding the complaints about the Wilkinson bridge.

    I have a 1992 LB75F with Koa body (no charge option at the time!) with Maple neck and Ebony fingerboard that I ordered new. The Wilkinson bridge has never given me a reason to even think about it. It (A) holds the strings up and (B) adjusts for intonation quite well.

    That's about all I ever ask of a bridge.

    To the OP's question, I would try to get the Carvin for closer to $400.

    Rick B.
  10. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    In my opinion, you should ask more from a bridge than that.

    The Wilkinson bridge I owned had small screws that protruded down vertically from the underside of the saddles - used for saddle height adjustment. Problem is, those tiny screws were the ONLY direct point of contact between the saddles and the base plate underneath.

    If you consciously tried to design a bass bridge to minimize the effect of attack, sustain and resonance as much as possible, you could hardly make it much worse than this one. Is that one also the Wilkinson design that you own?

  11. Ben B

    Ben B Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Yes, $500ish in trade sounds fair for a Koa LB-70. Great bass.

    +1. The one that came on my LB-70 rattled on the G string saddle. Nothing could make it go away. I replaced the Wilkinson with a Schaller roller bridge which Carvin had used prior to the Wilkinson.
  12. Mvilmany


    Mar 13, 2013
    Upstate NY
    My local shop (not guitar center) has a nice used LB70. They're asking $699. It's one of the best basses I've played in that store. Neck is great.
  13. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Great basses and $500 sounds about right to me as well.

    I passed up a fretless koa LB-50 in a Philadelphia pawn shop 17 years ago that was up for $400 (which was on the high side at that time) and I'm still kicking myself for it. I still remember what the neck felt like. It was perfect. The LB-70 is a much-improved design over the LB-50 and it would be hard to touch equal quality to a Carvin for $500 anywhere.
  14. TDR1138


    Apr 11, 2007
    Section 204
    Good input, thanks.

    Two things keeping me on the fence right now... First, I'd be giving up my only 5 for another 4. But I rarely play it. Second, I'm used to G&Ls and Fenders, tonally, so this would be a departure from my comfort zone. Not necessarily a bad thing, though.

    So, regarding the bridge, is it a universal mounting pattern, or would replacing it require plugging and drilling for new holes?
  15. I have a six string version and the hole pattern is exactly the same as a 4 string Fender 5 hole.
  16. Ben B

    Ben B Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    No redrilling nor plugging for the Shaller roller bridge. The Wilkinson has 3 screws near the ball end of the strings and 2 more screws near the neck end. The Shaller bridge screw holes line up with the 3 holes and it hides the other 2 holes.

    Depending upon your preferred string height, the Shaller bridge may be a little low at it's highest height adjustment. The bridge comes with a 3mm spacer. I had to add additional 3 mm spacer to get it to my desired height (I play upright and wack the hell out of electric bass strings :p) . The spacer only costs about $10.
  17. alexgeddy

    alexgeddy Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2007
    Hi.. I have a carvin icon 4 string. even though carvin resale value is not good. I would burn the bass before I would sell it for 500 . but if u get a good deal great!!

  18. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member

    The saddles are not solidly mounted and are free to rotate and slide up and down killing sustain and tone.

    They also do not have enough break angle on the strings causing all kinds of issues.
  19. WoodyG3


    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    The break angle is fine if you use the lower slot for the string ball ends. Many people use the upper slot and don't know the lower slot is even available. To me, the bridge is adequate. I'd rather have a Hipshot any day, though.
  20. RickC

    RickC Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2005
    LB70 in action. I find the active/neck thru vibe a nice complement to my passive bolt-ons. There are some projects (like this one) where it just seems to be the "right" bass.