Carvin vs. Lakland vs. MusicMan. Please Help

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ckulasekere, Oct 28, 2005.

  1. First of, I want to thank all who responded to my previous threads. I had an intersting experience today. I had previously asked all you knowledgable people about purchasing an SR5 over a TRB. Today I went to Sunset blvd to compare those to instruments. I played a musicman and reassured myself that i love that instrument, however right across from the GC was a Mesa Boogie store which happened to carry the Lakland Skyline 55-02. I was totally impressed because it had the large MM style pickup with selector switch like SR5 but in addition had the jazz style neck PUP too. It just seemed like a step up from the MM. Then I walked in the neighboring Carvin store and was once again impressed by thier instruments, especially a Bunny Brunel five string. Their guitars are beautiful to look at, made in USA, and they have the MM style pup, the jazz style pup, and also the piezo. It just seemed that the MM was the most primitive of the three instruments with the 55-02 being next best and the carvin the best as far as features go. Now am I wrong in the evolution analogy and would you more experinced players still not go with a Carvin or the Lakland? If so why? I am not knocking the MM, I love the sound and I know it is not reproducable but it jsut seems that the other two instruments are more modern and refined with the Carvin looking hte nicest and haveing the most flexibility. Please advice because I am all confussed now. I almost purchased a MM off ebay for $795 but not I feel I should wait and see what you guys have to say. thanks in advance
  2. arbitrary

    arbitrary Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    Boston, MA
    I would think the lakland to be the nicest of the three. But thats just what I think. I have a carvin and love it (2 jazz pups) and then I have a flea w/ a MM pup. I might be basing this on the fact that I would like a lakland, but play what works best with you.
  3. thnks for the response. i did a search and was reading previous threads dealing with carvin. the common concensus is that they are good instruments but buy used because for their new price you can buy something else used that might be superior.
  4. arbitrary

    arbitrary Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    Boston, MA
    I think carvin has it in the bang for buck category. The carvin prices are going to vary with the options you add. How much was the lakland going for?
  5. the lakland was $1300 something, i don't have the exact figure here with me, and the bunny brunel carvin was also right around that price, maybe a tad less cause they were giving me a case with it
  6. arbitrary

    arbitrary Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    Boston, MA
    If it were me I'd pick the lakland up, but I do already have the carvin and some form of a musicman. I'd compare the parts, construction, pickups, preamps and feel.
    The carvin electronics are under scrutiny and some people love them. I replaced the pups and pre in mine though. Now I love it even more.
  7. thanks all for the advice. from what i gathered from all other threads posted in the past, people love the construction and fit and fihish but since the electronics are under suspicion, a lot of people put in barts or emg or some other big name pup maker. i was thinking that if i find a 6 string carvin for a crazy good price i might pick it up and play it till i'm tired of the sound and then up grade the electronics, and then go ahead and pick up the 5 string lakland. i don't know if this sounds like a good idea to anyone
  8. arbitrary, what electronics did you put in yours, and why was that?
  9. arbitrary

    arbitrary Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    Boston, MA
    Some bart pickups 9k-1's and aguilar obp-3 preamp.
    The carvin pickups hummed (single coil), weren't terribly clear and not enough support in the lows for me, a lot of upper mids, had this certain tone that I didn't care for (entirely personal preferance). I haven't played their MM pups though.
    I replaced the pre becasue I didn't like the frequenct cutoff points.
    I'm not sure if I would pick that bart pups again, maybe instead some nordstrands (but they're like 240$ a set)
    I do love my carvin though (a few months old) and now it sounds (to me at least) as good as it feels.
  10. naja


    Oct 14, 2005
    East TN
    alot of mention regarding electronics, but I don't see any mention of necks.....I mention necks becuase the MMs I've played had much thicker necks than my carvin. Since I have small hands and like thin necks, that pretty much knocks the MM out for me. I hear the sterlings have thinner, jazz style necks, so that they may be a differnet beast.

    I have an LB75, and my only problem with it is that the electronics don't have much character from them. I can dial in any tone I want, but once I'm dialed in I can't get as much character variation when changing right hand positions that I would with a jazz.

  11. karrot-x

    karrot-x Banned

    Feb 21, 2004
    Omicron Persei 8
    Lakland 55-02 :bassist:

    Just my vote.
  12. i think i am tending more and more towards the lakland but please keep the discussion going
  13. MichaelScott


    Jul 27, 2004
    Moorpark CA
    I was in a similar situation as you- I spent a lot of time on that stretch of road in Hollywood jumping between the Carvin store, the GC, and the Sam Ash store.

    I ended up buying a 4 string Carvin fretless that day (Red tagged for $600)- after playing maybe 45 different basses.

    The Carvins feel really good in my hands- I didn't like the sound of the pups on a fretted (too bright IMO) but they sounded great on a fretless.

    Good luck!
  14. In all honesty... I would say scour Ebay for either a used MM or Carvin.

    MM produces the most consistent level of quality with a really idiosyncratic tone that cuts through in any environment.

    Carvin produces good "bang for your buck" material but only if you happen to take the used route.

    Personally, I do not like Lakland 4/55 line of instruments.
  15. Akami

    Akami Four on the floor

    I didn't see anything about what you thought of the three instruments regarding sound, feel and playability.

    These are the most important factors in choosing your instrument and not the number of pickups.
    Also, even though the Lakland and Carvin may be close in price, if you replace the pickups and electronics then your going to end up spending way more on the Carvin and not know exactly what you're getting until you spent and bunch of money and time on it.

    You really need to develop an opinion of the basses yourself otherwise your in danger of buying someone elses dream which doesn't necessarily fit your reality.

    That said, I'm leaning toward either the Lakland or the MM! :)
  16. craigb

    craigb Supporting Member

    +1000 on this

    Don't worry about number of pickups, percieved "flexibility" due to switches/EQ/etc., position on the evolutionary ladder or anything else. Worry about

    - which feels "right" in your hands, which one will you not want to put down because it just feels so nice to play
    - which one sounds "right" to you, even if it's just "that one sound" that has you suddenly finding out it's 2:30 AM and you have to get up in a few hours

    I've been down similar paths in the past and lately my favorite bass is a passive 2-pickup bass without a tone control. But it feels "right" and sounds "right" - so it's the right one for me.

    All three of your choices are well made and sound good. You just have to figure out which one is "right" for you.

    Of those 3 I've tried 2 and neither of them was right for me. YMMV so I'm not going to tell you my opinions of them (other than they are all well-made and worthy of consideration IMO).
  17. wow, thanks all for you response. there was some really good points made. craigb i really did like the feel and bart sound of the lakland. i liked the smooth neck, the fretboard and the flexibility of the electronics.
  18. T. Alan Smith

    T. Alan Smith

    Sep 9, 2001

    What HE said. Go back and try all the basses again with your eyes closed. Try them unplugged at first and then plugged in.
    I owned a very nice Carvin BunnyB, but now own a 'Ray 5. The Carvin needed hot rodding to give it the mojo of the 'Ray. Buy what inspires you!