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Have Carvin lost it??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Limo, Mar 3, 2006.

  1. Limo


    Sep 22, 2002
    Reykjavik Iceland
    OK, it will probably sound like a Carvin bashing thread but it's really just a question because I thought they were offerijg a good quality basses for a reasonable price. Would any of you guys pay 2200 and up for a Carvin when you can get a handbuilt instrument from a Luthier for the same price? I mean it has been said before that the electronics are bad and IME the acoustic sound of a Carvin is "hollow" also I have had a few cosmetic issues with my basses in the past. I don't want to explain my experience of Carvin, I just want to know you guys's opinions.

  2. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    Oh yeah, the Elite is a "ripoff" but if you stick to the LB/BB/XB, and I think the Icons are well priced, they are great.
  3. KenToby


    Aug 15, 2002
    My friend, do yourself a favor and try not to get caught up in the myth being perpetuated about Carvin "electronics", ect.
    Some practical experience playing Carvin basses will indeed tell you that they build a world class bass for about half of a comparable new bass.
    I too have seen the new Elite series (and the Claro series, etc.) bass and I'll tell you what, for the money no one can touch the wood or build quality. I really like the stock electronics in my 1999 LB75 and now that they offer a new electronics package, I may like it even more.
    Like Mike Lull told me no more than a week ago, "... they build a great bass and because they deal direct it's tough to beat the price..."

  4. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006

  5. If you don't want to pay that price, don't pay it. It's that simple, and it's not a matter of rocket science. They still do make good basses at a reasonable price. That didn't change just because they added a high-priced model.

    Also, just because some people have "said" the electronics are bad, that doesn't make it a universal truth--it just makes it some people's opinion, no more or less than that.
  6. 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 agree. I have seen and played a LOT of Carvin basses (I used to live two miles from the factory), and their construction quality is among the best (check my profile to see what I'm comparing them against). Their topwoods are typically superior to the AAA to AAAAA tops of other builders, and the topwood is one-half inch thick, not the one-eighth to one-fourth you see on other high-end basses.

    IMO, Carvins have been underpriced for a long time. It looks like they're now trying to see how much money they've been leaving on the table. It remains to be seen where the market will set their prices. As far as the electronics, I've never felt they sucked ... I could always get a decent tone out of them ... but I think there are better electronics out there. Perhaps they'll upgrade those to fully compete with the big kids.

    Keep in mind that their basses are cut on CNC machines just like Sadowsky, Lakland, Lull, and many others. Those three makers all sub their finishing out to Pat Wilkins. All I can say is I've never seen a flaw in Carvin's finishes ... they're just beautiful.
  7. Limo


    Sep 22, 2002
    Reykjavik Iceland
    Yeah, to a certain point I do agree but from a marketing point of wiew, they've been known for their direct sale and low prices. I'm thinking if this will be a good idea because of the reputation. And as I said IMHO they're all beautiful but I've had 2 basses and they really didn't sound good. Kind of hollow and thin sounding. But that's just my opinion/experience.

    And Richard Lindsey: In all due respect you don't have to be so condecending (pardon my spelling) I expected something more from you to say about the matter instead of pointing out the obvious. Maybe you're having a bad day;)
  8. west*coast*bass

    west*coast*bass Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2003
    Agoura Hills, CA
    I think that they have a good enough selection for every price point.

    I would not spend over $2K for a Carvin, but $1200 for a nicely equipped BB70 or 75 would be workable.
  9. Sound Chaser

    Sound Chaser

    Mar 19, 2005
    Lockport, NY
    I would never buy any of the basses Carvin currently offer. Love the guitars, hate the basses. Not to say they haven't built some nice ones in the past, but these just kind of suck.
  10. Limo


    Sep 22, 2002
    Reykjavik Iceland
    and why do you say that?
  11. joegeezer


    Mar 9, 2005
    Northern Wisconsin
    Avatar Club#12 Eden Club Lucky# 13--USA Peavey Club#37 Carvin Club#5
    I think Carvin has gotten a bad rap over the years. I remember as a kid starting out if you didn't have Fender stuff, you just weren't cool, and a local kid players Dad, who was a country player told us way back then(thelate60s) why he bought all Carvin stuff. I wish now that I would have listened to him at that time. Would have saved me alot of GAS over the years.
  12. I wasn't trying to be condescending. I don't have more to say about the matter because, well, it seemed to me the only thing to say is in fact the obvious. Carvin added a high-priced bass to their lineup, but the rest of the lineup was unchanged (they've since added the Icons). They didn't discontinue the more moderately priced stuff. If the Bs and LBs were good values before, they're still good values; if they weren't, they're still not. So I guess I don't know why you think adding the Elite basses would change that. I don't think it does. Or perhaps I'm misunderstanding your point, in which case my apologies.

    As for the Elites in particular, no, I wouldn't pay that money for that bass, but not out of some idea that $2200 is supposedly too much for a Carvin. I wouldn't pay it solely because that particular bass doesn't have what I want. From a workmanship POV, Carvins stand up to many $2K basses I've seen. From a tonal POV, I don't think Carvins are the ultimate (but then, I don't think anything is the ultimate--I've heard every make you can think of sound both good and not so good). However, I've gotten what I consider to be pro results out of stock Carvins, and I imagine I could have gotten even better results with relatively minor changes. I, for one, don't agree that the basses sound bad. I got compliments on my tone many times when I had my LB76s.

    Having said that, I now play Shuker basses. I got a great deal when the exchange rate with the pound was better, and I got some things Carvin couldn't give me.
  13. Limo


    Sep 22, 2002
    Reykjavik Iceland
    Thank you for that detailed answer, far more delightful to read that than your previous post.:)
  14. lug


    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    I had also "heard" Carvin electronics are lifeless. Here's a clip from my Bunny Brunnel I recently got. Doesn't sound lifeless to me, in fact it sounds like a Stingray to me.

    (my appologies to Tony Levin for the butchery)
  15. Blues Cat

    Blues Cat Payson Fanned Bass Strings Owner Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 28, 2005
    Katy, Tx
    Payson Fanned Bass Strings Owner
    Carvin is not terrible. A good bang for the buck But- Every Carvin bass I've recieved has had to go back for something to get fixed. One bass was made perfectly, double inspected & the guy who boxed the bass put it in upside down. The bass shot through the case during shipping dinging the headstock. I guess it's way easier to slip the box over the case then lift the bass into the box.
    My fretless was actually a rebuild of a bass that shouldn't have left the factory. Headstock overlay that didn't meet up correctly under the fretboard basically leaving a small amount of day light @ the nut from the B side to G.
    Broken TR nut which is the same repair as a broken TR. They had to route off fretboard but that was kinda cool because they mismarked the side dots in the first place. They marked the 7th fret w/ 3dots & twelfth w/one.
    The wait time is easily w/repairs into the Custom bass territory.
    So I ordered a Dingwall ABII-5. Time to move on.
    I love their new B series amps & cabs & I recommend them.

    I'm not trying to bash but want share truthfully my experience w/the basses.
  16. Busk


    Jan 31, 2002
    I doubt they'll sell many of those.
  17. Sound Chaser

    Sound Chaser

    Mar 19, 2005
    Lockport, NY
    Well, the body shapes are horrible...I just can't get past them. Also, I'd really like the option of having P-Bass pickups.
  18. Sound Chaser

    Sound Chaser

    Mar 19, 2005
    Lockport, NY
    ^That's another good reason. Stuff ALWAYS happens to my gear when I order it, and I really don't want to try a company with such a horrible record.

    Also, my church's drummer's electronic kit's amp is...was...a Carvin. It died in the middle of the service two weeks ago.
  19. Doesn't sound like a stingray to me.
    Sounds better.
    I want one now.
  20. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Given that many "mid-tique" semi-custom builders have upped the prices of their lower-end into the 2000s (Pedulla, Roscoe, Hanewinckel, Gadow, Stambaugh etc.), I think Carvin's still competitive with them.

    Carvin basses may not have have the cachet of these makers, but for that money, you're getting Carvin's most pimped-out model, so it's not a horrible deal. It's no different from buying, say, a top-of-the-line Yamaha or Ibanez bass.