Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by barroso, Apr 19, 2001.

  1. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    where i live, italy, carvin basses are really unknown. can you help me with your experience with these basses to let me know something more about their quality and sound?

  2. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    Build quality is excellent for the money. Sound is decent, but not thrilling. Appearance is very attractive. Playability is very good.

    For the money, I recommend them. They look and play nice and there are countless things you can do to improve the sound(replace pups, EQ, strings, etc).

    The problem is that their electronics are not their strong suit. Given some decent pups and a better onboard preamp, they are the one of the best bargains in their price range.

    Their resale value is sometimes not as high because it is not as 'fashionable' to play one.
  3. jcadmus


    Apr 2, 2000
    Been pretty happy with mine. The best bass for the price -- in fact you could probably pay 50 percent more to get a bass this good.

    IMO, the best "factory" bass you can buy.

    I tend to disagree with Seamus on the sound. I played at an open jam about a week ago, and there were guys there playing a Sadowsky and a Stingray (all through the same rig -- an SWR 350 and and Eden 2X10). I thought my LB75 sounded on par with the Sadowsky and WAY better than the Stingray. Just my opinion and my ears, though.
  4. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    seamus is right on the mark, IME. I wasn't totally pleased with the sound of my LB75, (built in Nov-Dec of 2000). It's just fine with other instruments, but it has that "beautiful" sound that so many newer basses have - kind of high voiced, very articulate, punchy. That's okay for me, because I just wanted a well made 5 string to use in clubs. Ed Friedland of Bass Player loves his.

    But, on it's own, with its HB5 and J99 pups, sort of one-dimensional, in that I only use enough of the HB blended in with the J to put in some mids and guts.

    Giving it a little thought, it was apparent it is an extremely well made instrument with fine tone woods, (koa, quilted maple, maple, alder, ebony fingerboard), neck through body construction, and Hipshot bridge. All it really needs is some beefed up pups/preamp and it's a killer bass.

    The neck-through is very stable compared to my Rickenbac(h)ker. Cosmetics are comparable to or exceed anything on the market, other than custom.

    As for the resale, their value is somewhat below that of a brand that offers local authorized dealers and repairs, two reasons for the lower initial price. However, they DO RESELL because they are clearly superior to a similarly priced used instrument, unless the other used instrument is a beat-up Modulus/Pedulla/Zon or some other top name.

    There is one right now on eBay for immediate sale at $1100 bucks, US, which is very close to the original price if the seller gets the reserve price met.

    One of the Carvin guys at their discussion board says they are taking a beating on the 50% off options they have been offering for a while, and wishes they would stop, even though they are selling very well.

    Carvin started making instruments and amps in the 1940's, a few months after Fender began, so they must be doing something right to last this long.
  5. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    From a quality standpoint, Carvin is easily one of the leaders in the under $1000 market. The fretwork in particular is excellent at the lower price points; Carvin doesn't seem to discriminate when doing fretwork on a $500 bolt or something that sells for twice that.

    I wouldn't feel too sorry for the folks at Carvin for the 50% off offer. They're the Dell of the guitar market; they keep lots of interchangeable parts but carry virtually no inventory, so they rarely lose money on anything that they sell. Also, I don't think they have the cachet to keep buyers in the fold if they increase prices above $1000, particularly when Asian manufacturers are now catching onto the allure of exotic woods.
  6. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Christopher - That's precisely where they said they're getting butt-bit; the koa, the fancy block inlays, the 5-piece necks, etc. I don't know if the piezo is offered as an add-on yet (the catalog doesn't reflect all that they can do for you). I know you can get a retrofit for around $260 and if they will halve that.

    I agree with you on the customer profile. From what I see, a lot of the owners seem to focus more on the cosmetics than the substance. For instance, I've seen where some of them will get a personalized truss rod cover/gold hardware/abalone inlay instead of putting it towards pickup upgrade, or even installed Dunlop straplocks for $5.

    The options list definitely skews to how it looks rather than how it sounds. They get some bitching about that from folks at their board, (including me, even though mine is pimped out).
  7. How difficult is it to swap out the electronics in an LB75 for example? Is the cavity capable of inserting upgraded preamp? Specifically what other upgrades can be performed to maximize the sound of these basses? Does Carvin offer the use of higher end pick-ups?
  8. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Groove - The pups upgrade I referred to was going with their newer models, like the J99 with the HB series humbucker in the bridge position with a coil splitter as opposed to 2 J99's or older H50N's.

    Even with that upgrade, I may need to get a decent MM style pickup on it. The catalog says "thick, monsterous" tone in reference to the HB. Personally, I think "boxy and dimunitive" is more accurate. But, then again, it may be the onboards. I never repaced those on any bass to know the difference, only the raves that I've read.

    Then again, maybe it needs new preamp and a pup. The J99 is pretty strong and deep.