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Carvin Users

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by gallienkrueger, Oct 8, 2002.

  1. are carvins worth their money, i notice the prices are ones that dont burn a hole in your wallet. do you carvin users like the sound and quality of the contruction? I appreciate your input and if you have a picture of you carvin can you show me.

  2. Mine's an early to mid '90s LB75 with wider asymmetrical neck (which I prefer). It was made when they used Sperzel tuners and Wilkinson bridges. Mine also has a Koa body and H50 pickups, and I like the sound. I'd have to say they are worth the money. They're solidly constructed, play nicely, and sound good. Of course, nowadays there's a lot of competition (Lakland Skyline Series for example), so choose wisely and consider your options.;)
  3. bassguy675

    bassguy675 Guest

    Apr 8, 2002

    I have a Carvin LB75PF Fretless Lefty. I bought it in March. I love how it works itself out. The only problem I have is with how the B buzzes since I put on roundwound strings. But other than that, I love the thing. It can never match up to my Acacia, but what the hey, it's an awesome bass.

  4. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    I think pretty much any Carvin user on here is going to say they're good for the $. That's why we own them.

    Those who don't own/use Carvin(or used to) well, they're going to have reasons for disliking them; then the whole debate rages about 'the weak link/electronics/p'ups/they're not really custom'...
    for everyone who says they dislike a certain aspect of the bass, someone else chimes in with the opposite opinion.

    There are quite a few threads you can search that pretty much hash it all out.

    I think pretty much what you'll find is that
    most Carvin owners like Carvins, and most Carvin dislikers don't own Carvins. I suppose you can pretty much substitute any brand-name there as well, it's not exclusive to Carvin.

    It's hard to avoid hyperbole, so I'll just say I like most of the Carvins I've played, they're pretty good. I don't think anyone can tell you that you're going to love one though, you just have to check them out yourself, which can be a little tricky to do.
  5. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    Sound: I've said it before, I'll say it again, I'm not too fond of the pickups and electronics. Rather bland tone. The preamp is kind of harsh. That said, I *can* get a good sound out of mine, with bridge pickup soloed and the preamp set flat. Very woody, full and definitely usable fretless tone there... with the right touch of course.

    Construction quality: Flawless, or close to it (the low B on mine is pretty weak). I don't think you can do much better at this price point.

    Need a competent, roadworthy bass that never lets you down? Then Carvin's a good choice. Need a bass that has the ultimate tone? You probably won't find it in a Carvin.

    EDIT: I type too slowly.
  6. SCH


    May 3, 2002
    San Antonio, Texas
    I got an LB-70 about 2 years ago. The body is Koa and the neck has the tung oil finish. The bass is beautiful, and the fit and finish is excellent. I confess that when I first played it I was disappointed with the sound. To my ears it sounded a little thin. I also noticed that the frets were noisy with round wound strings. Improving the setup and my technique alleviated some of the noise, but not all of it.

    Carvin makes a solid bass. A lot of folks love them. There are also a lot of folks here who think Carvin skimps on the electrics; hence the thin sound.

    Ever since I bought a Lakland (Bob Glaub) I never play my Carvin. I strongly recommend giving the Lakland Skyline basses a long look before you plunk your money down on a Carvin.
  7. I'm not sure about the newer Carvins, they may have fixed this issue, but I know they used to have really bad bridges. If this is still the case, you may want to pop a badass on there once you get it. Otherwise, I think they're lovely basses, especially for the price.
  8. sobie18


    May 5, 2002
    Shaw AFB, SC
    I own 3 LB-76s, an AC-40, and a BK-4F and I've had NO problems with them. They are nice, play nice, sound good, and I recommend 'em....Good luck!
  9. chucko58


    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    You want pictures? See my Carvins here.

    I think for the most part they're well constructed from good quality wood (check out the quilt on the LB76!), probably the best value you're going to find in a mid-priced US made bass. I've had minor problems with nuts that were too deeply slotted, but a trip to a local luthier solved that.

    Customer support has been superb IME. If I need a schematic or a part, I just call the 800 number and I have it in a couple of days. Carvin does honor their 5-year warranty, and they've been in business a long time.

    The one real weakness has been the J-style pickups. (I haven't tried the HB2 humbuckers or the P series piezos yet, so I'm withholding judgment on those.) The 6-string and the maple/koa 5-string came with J99 single coils, which I found to be lacking in bass response. The J99s, IMHO, can't effectively cover 6 strings!

    Fortunately J-style replacements are readily available. The LB76 on my page now has a pair of Bill Lawrence J-45s in it; they radically improved the tone. Likewise, I found a pair of single-coil pickups for the koa/maple LB75 that make it sound fat, fat, fat! The all-koa LB75 ("Woody") has the older H50 stacked humbuckers, which are quiet but sound even thinner; Woody will get a pair of Barts, once I get around to replacing the old style preamp.

    Speaking of preamps, the current 3-band preamp is nothing spectacular, but it's really not bad at all. And if you don't like it or the battery dies, just pull up on the volume knob and you're passive. The older version in Woody can't be bypassed, doesn't have the cool mid control, is noisier, and has about half the battery life, which is why I'll probably replace it.

    The current model bridges are made by Hipshot and are pretty solid. They allow through-body stringing, which IMHO adds to the tone, and they seem to hold adjustments well. The old Wilkinson bridges are flimsy, also IMHO, and I am eager to replace the one on Woody, probably with a big brass ABM bridge because it could stand a little more mass.

    The current tuners appear to be Gotohs. I haven't owned the newer basses long enough to know how they will last. Woody has a set of Sperzel locking tuners, which are close to worn out - but then this was an 8-year-old eBay bass, which had been rode hard and put to bed wet before I ever got her.

    Judging by the few I've held in my hands (thanks to Steve "Dude" Barr!), the Lakland Skyline series are fine instruments, and a steal at the price. But they're Korean-made. And besides, my head throbs when I think about the concept of "bargain boutique bolt-on basses"! I prefer to spend my hard earned US dollars on US-made instruments.

    So if the tone of the stock pickups suits you, I think you'll find Carvin basses are a great deal. If not, swap in your favorite brand of pickups - the Bill Lawrence J-45s would be my bang-for-the-buck pick - and I think you'll still come out ahead.
  10. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I don't own any Carvins, but I've played a slew of them at the factory. Carvins are worth every penny you pay for them. The topwoods, fit, and finish are superb. Yeah, yeah ... the electronics. They ain't Barts, and that's for sure. My suggestion? Buy one that suits your taste, something beauty-full, and play it for a while. If you find the tone lacking, upgrade the electronics with Barts or whatever. You'll still be ahead of the game.
  11. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    IME, they're kind of an "oddball" bass.

    The construction, woods, the inlays, truss rod, shielding, and hardware are superb. But in comparison to basses with "the money tone" they have a funny feel to them - not bad, just "different" IMO - small, thin, body and headstock, kind of "wimpy" feel. I love their thin, fast necks, though.

    As Oyster said, whomever designed their pickups and preamps needs to go back to school and get into the correct century. They're well made, but it's a very old company that started out serving the country and western musicians, just like Fender and Gretsch, and they don't seem to be able to get a grip on cutting edge rock tones (if that's what you're after; of course, Fender has kept up with the tones that market wants). For jazz or country/western, a Carvin would be a great choice, IMO.

    The J99 single coil was a very decent pickup to me - strong and tonally flexible.....not Bartolini/Basslines quality, but still quite good.
    I also had their HB2 MM copy pickup and I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. It was gawdawful! Ever hear a small dog puke??? That's the Carvin HB2.
    They require you to pay the extra bucks to get the rounded body option if you get the HB MM-style pickup for some unknown reason.

    Carvin just doesn't seem to quite get it when it comes to modern rock tone. Even the strings they sell under the Carvin name are abysmal and that's one thing most companies make sure they get right. That's not just my opinion - look at the Bass Gear Review website.....they rate them "lowest of the low."

    All in all, a Carvin with different pickups/preamp could be deadly.
  12. bizzaro


    Aug 21, 2000
    If you buy one go used. They do not hold their value and you can get one in mint condition for half or less than the cost of a new one. Construction is excellent. A great neck. But as stated the electronics are marginal at best.
  13. Chucko, so the Bill Lawrence pickups were direct replacements? With an older Carvin (my LB75 has Sperzel tuners and a Wilkinson bridge), would new pickups or a preamp make a bigger difference? I typically run the bass EQ flat and adjust EQ on my amp. Also, does anybody know a direct replacement for the Wilkinson bridges (my LB75 also has the wider asymmetrical neck if that matters)?
  14. I've never owned a Carvin bass because the ones I've played just didn't do it for me. But, I do own a Carvin powered mixer which has served me very well. I also think that the quality control of Carvin stuff is pretty high as well. I've also been told that the customer service at Carvin is 1st class. In other words, I don't think you will get burned.
  15. K-Frog


    Feb 6, 2002
    Camden, AR, USA
    Bassplayer7770, I have the same bass as you, with the wider neck. I absolutely love it. Do you know any other basses with a similar neck or at least a similar feel(which I suppose is what matters)?
    I like my Carvin as-is, run my EQ flat mostly, pickups in the middle. I've heard people say that Carvins(stock) are non-characteristic. That's what I like about it. It doesn't sound like a P-bass or a J-bass, it just sounds like clean, clear bass. I get the coloration when I tweak the bass controls or amp settings. The ebony board sings.
    I love it, what else can I say?
  16. chucko58


    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    Yessir, they just drop right in (though you may have to do something with the mounting springs, the Carvins require longer springs than most other J-style pickups). The Carvin J pickups are all the same dimensions as a Fender Jazz Bass bridge pickup (3-3/4" long), so you need to order a pair of the longer pickups.

    Does your bass have 5 knobs? If so, you already have the late model preamp, which IMHO is just fine.

    I think new pickups would make a bigger difference in either case, but if you have the 4 knob preamp, I'd replace it first. That preamp has an uncommon differential input circuit that I wouldn't expect to work well with 2-wire pickups (like the J-45s, Barts, etc.) It's really meant for pickups that have 2 wires and a shield... like the Carvins and a few others. The newer preamp is more compatible with 2-wire pickups.

    Gotoh still makes these bridges under license. I don't know where to get them offhand. Maybe someone else here does.
  17. I don't know of any basses with a similar feel, but I haven't played a lot of 5-strings. I play my Carvin the same as you, and I like the sound of it for now at least.
  18. Thanks!

    My bass has 4 knobs.

    It will be a while before I change anything, but thanks.

  19. *pisses in pants*

    WOW, i guess there are somethings we must sacrifice a tree for. those are nice? i would imagine you payed in all about 2200-2400 for all three of them?
  20. well i was just on their website customizing the bass to what i want and it will come to like 1100.

    I wanted a XB75 with:
    Stack Humbucker in place of the j-pickup
    maple neck and walnut body
    Maple finish
    Gold Hardware
    Tung oil neck finish
    Etc. i could make an endless list but i wont.

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