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Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bass_drum, May 4, 2005.

  1. bass_drum


    Feb 13, 2005
    Hey guys!

    I jsut looked into carvins and I gotta say they look amazing!

    They look like 1000$+ instruments, but on their site they say they sell for like 800 bucks!

    How do they sound?

    Do their six string basses have tight string spacing?

    Wich pickup convo would best suit heavy/prog rock / metal. I was thinking the MM/J since the MM would be good for rock, and the J would get a nice jazzy sound, am I right?

  2. Starwind


    Mar 26, 2005
    I had a LB75F and love it. switched to fretted so sold it... but I still miss it a lot.
  3. bass_drum


    Feb 13, 2005
    Can you only buy custom built ones by them? or do they have a "production" line aswell?
  4. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    800 is base price, once u add a few extras you're easily at 1000 but worth every penny. Construction and fit and finish is top notch. the sixes are a little tight spaced (well i think its 17-18mm) I find it very comfortable. I don't find the low B is very good (follpy & muddy) But I seem to be the only one with this problem. I don't like their Jazz pickup so I would either go double MM humbucker or single (which is not 100% sure they will do it for you, you may have to ask a few different reps). You may one buy used as they lose about 50% on the resale so you can get real steals!
  5. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    "custom" only but they have in stock models, just check the web site you'll see.
  6. bass_drum


    Feb 13, 2005
    I dotn see any stock models...just pics of different options :confused:
  7. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    They are indeed excellent values but they have a curse, Poor Resale Value. My suggestion, turn the curse into a blessing, get on the net and hunt for a used one. I've seen LB 76's for 450$! That way you let some one else take the hit, you get to try, if you like, you can blow the wad on a new one latter.
  8. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass **** Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    I have yet to like one, but have only played 6 or 7 used ones over the years, and that is just my personal tast as there are alot of happy "Carvin-ites" around. They have been reported to be rather "hit and miss", not unlike many basses on the market today, and their pick-ups seem to be a topic of concern(pretty sterile). I don't think the low resale value plays any part in quality or value. Almost any "custom order" bass will have a much lower resale value because of a perspective buyer's ability to just order whatever THEY want instead of settling for what YOU wanted.
    I would highly recommend trying to get you hands around a Carvin first before making your decision. If you are satisfied with what you feel and hear then it is tough to argue against it price wise.
    I don't know if this helps but from the players I have spoken with over the years I have understood that the biggest reason for moving away from their Carvin eventually was the need for a tonal "identity", a tone and vibe that one could " hang their hat on" so to speak. Something with character that could give their notes and lines a bit more meaning...
  9. I've got a bb75p and had a xb76p, both are/were very fine intstruments and you can read my review of the bb75p on http://www.harmony-central.com under reviews/bass/carvin, 3rd review under BB75. The six string had fairly tight string spacing, and a meaty neck. I had sold it because i needed the money at the time. One thing i can definitely say is they've got top notch construction for the pricing. A negative in my opinion is that the electronics and pickups don't sound as good as the bartolini gear i've had/played in the past, but it's their not bad, they just don't sound as "sweet" to my ears. Good luck though.
  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
    To get it looking like the ad, you're going to be over $1K. They are very well constructed, and typically have topwoods that match or exceed the high-end builders. There top laminates are one-half inch thick. The electronics are the weak spot, but some nice Barts or EMGs will cure that. They sound pretty good stock, though. Resale is not too hot on them, but they are very nice basses.

    They do have basses in stock in all of their stores, mostly on the west coast. I like to go in there and drool from time to time. I've played a slew of them, but never bought one though.
  11. e-money


    Apr 20, 2005
    i have one of there bolt on 4 strings. i like it so much i really don't have the desire to get another 4 string. i'm not saying they are right for every one, but the one i got just sounds like me. haha the tung oild walnut is even the same color as me. it may not be right for you but you should give them a good once over.
  12. I have a Carvin LB76F and the string spacing is about the same as any other 6 or 5 string Ive played they feel and sound great IMO, if you get one make sure you get the tung oiled neck its worth it
  13. Check it.
  14. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    I've had two Carvins (an LB76 6-string for 11 years and currently a fretless 4-string made from one of their bass kits) and I'd have to say they're good stuff.

    There's no real "stock" model; ordering a Carvin is like ordering a pizza: choose your basic "crust" and then choose which "toppings" you like.
  15. I've owned several of their 6s and think they're very good basses, though I've since moved on (to unfortunately more expensive customs). The build quality and the woods used are better than the price would indicate. I did have a problem with one, but Carvin took care of it in a completely acceptable way.

    The string spacing on the 6s is on the tighter side of the standard range IMO--about 16.5, maybe 17 mm. Certainly not 18. I don't mind the electronics; the current PUs and preamps are good enough quality IMO, though personal preferences may lead you in another direction. I've heard of people replacing the stock PUs with Barts, EMGs, and Bill Lawrences; then again, I've come a cross a number of people (including me) who were perfectly happy with the stock stuff. It's just preference. I don't buy the idea that Carvin's PUs are somehow inherently "sterile" and other PUs somehow inherently aren't. To me that's a term that has no real meaning, as I've never seen anyone define it in any way that made any sense. I think there's just tone you like and tone you don't, and that's about it.

    The pizza analogy is a good one! They don't have stock models as such. However, on the site, under guitars and basses, you'll see a section called something like guitars in stock. Here is where they list a bunch of instruments they have available for immediate sale. The advantages of this are (1) that you may get a modest price break and (2) that you can get an instrument immediately, without having to wait for one to be built. The disadvantage is that you have to buy the instrument as it has already been spec'd; you can't change any of the options (well, maybe they might switch StrapLoks for the standard knobs, but probably nothing more involved than that).

    I concur with the suggestion to consider used Carvins; you always have the option of ordering a new one just the way you want it if you can't find an attractive used one.
  16. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I recommend the Carvins as well. I currently own two. A third one is on its way...

    As mentioned, the construction quality & materials are first-rate. I'm not too keen on the pickups or electronics, and I don't much care for the standard Hipshot bridge. So I'm getting my two new ones retrofitted with BadAss bridges, DiMarzio/Nordstrand pickups & Aguilar/Bartolini preamps.

    With the extra investment, the instruments should easily be comparable to basses costing 2-3 times as much as I paid. True, if I ever decide to sell, I'll get only a fraction of this value back. But I have no intention of ever sellling - these instruments are exactly what I want & need...

    One thing to keep in mind that hasn't yet been mentioned: Carvin offers something like a 10-day money-back guarantee. So if you order one - spec'ed out exactly as you want it - play it for a few days and decide it's not what you want, you can return it for refund or exchange - no questions asked. That's pretty hard to beat...

    I suggest you go for it... :bassist:

  17. chucko58


    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    I've had pretty good luck with the Carvins I've bought new. The current (I guess '98-up) bridge and preamp are a dramatic improvement over earlier models. The build quality is uniformly excellent. My minor gripes with them have been in balance (the LB body styles tend to neck dive on me) and some of the electronic components.

    I'm one of those who prefers Bill Lawrence pickups. Both Carvin and Bill Lawrence offer tremendous bang for the buck in a US-made product. The combination is superb.

    If I didn't already own a boutique 6-string bass, another BB76 would be on my wish list.
  18. Dirty Dave

    Dirty Dave Supporting Member

    Oct 17, 2004
    Boston, MA
    After my first Carvin purchase, I sold all my other basses and bought more Carvins. Three LB70's and an AC40 later, I find myself GAS free in the bass guitar department. I have not a single issue with any of them. Love the look, feel, sound etc. I can't even begin to tell you how many compliments I have gotten on them from other musicians. If I do eventually have the desire for a new bass, I know there's only one place I'll have to look:


    Carvin ROCKS!!
  19. Commreman

    Commreman Faith, Family, Fitness, and Frets Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2005
    New Jersey
    I have had a lot of basses in my playing career (28 years +). I took the used Carvin plunge a year and a half ago as an inexpensive way to jump to 5 string. My LB 75 is simply a great instrument, no matter what you pay. It is my main go to axe. The stock electronics are fine, as are the pickups (J99's in mine). I get tons of compliments on my tone. The only way that I would swap out the electronics and pickups would be for curiosity's sake, not because they are inferior in any way. String spacing on my five string is identical to a Sting Ray 5. You can get a wider neck option if you wish. As far as getting a Carvin goes, I say go for it. You won't be disappointed. Like me, you will be very pleasantly suprised.
  20. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    I love my B4. Mahog body, satin finish, 2 passive J99's. I don't find the tone "sterile" at all. It's basically a seriously beefed-up jazz bass, which was what I was looking for. Very versatile basses, and no pickup hum that's noticeable, Carvin does an excellent shielding job along with their great construction. I have had one problem though, my truss rod cover is buzzing, which is something I guess is totally unique. No biggie, gonna take it to my local tech and get a couple more screws in there.

    So with my B4, I'm all set for 4 string fretted basses. Now all I need is that Zon Sonus Studio fretless 4 and a Nordstrand SC 6 . . .

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