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My new Carvin Icon 6 Fretless - Pics and review

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by doctorjazz, Jun 23, 2007.


  1. doctorjazz

    doctorjazz

    Oct 22, 2006
    Wilmington, NC
    After 4 months of waiting, my Carvin 6 string is finally here. Many of you have been privileged to hear me complaining constantly about the custom bass that's being held up in production for so long. Now you won't hear me saying much at all, because I've been spending most of my time holed up in front of my bass amp playing the thing. Check it:

    LongShot.jpg

    Body-straight.jpg

    Body-45.jpg

    Body-90.jpg

    Headstock.jpg

    LongShot-Rear.jpg

    Body-Rear.jpg

    NeckGrain.jpg

    TopFlame.jpg

    BottomFlame.jpg

    Pictures don't do this thing justice, it's absolutely beautiful. The top is one of the best-looking pieces of walnut I've ever seen, I had to try really hard to get the figuring to show up as well on the photograph as it does in person. It looks better than I ever expected it would.

    It sounds absolutely massive, the low B string is tight and awesomely thunderous. I'll have to get one of my Roscoe-owning friends to let me try their bass to get an A/B with the famous Roscoe B, but this is the best B I've played on a 34" scale bass. The highs are very clear and crisp, as to be expected from walnut and ebony. The overall sound is mid-heavy, but with a great solid low end as well. The piezo bridge adds a little acoustic character to the sound, and when I move the pan all the way back I can get a reasonable imitation of an upright - not as good as an Ashbory, but decent - as long as I stick to the top few strings. Probably get even closer with flatwounds, but everything else sounds so great with the stock nickel rounds that I'm keeping them on. It's got a nice intense mwah that will bring tears to your eyes, and it can go from beautiful to snarling and rip-your-head-off aggressive with just a little alteration in technique and hand position.

    The 18V preamp is very nice, I was able to dial in a great tone without even touching my amp's EQ. The mid sweep is particularly helpful in getting the sound just right. Given Carvin's reputation for subpar pickups I was worried that I was going to have to swap in some Bartolinis, but I'm happy to report that the stock soapbars are wonderful. Passive sound is really about as good as with the pre switched on, perhaps even better in some respects, although you can no longer mix in the piezos. The levels on both are matched so that there is no change in volume when switching from active to passive.

    The neck is fast and comfortable, definitely slim but not paper-thin, and the action is some of the lowest I've ever seen fresh out of the factory. I might be able to get it just a touch lower, but the stock setup is good enough that I'm not going to tweak anything for now. The string spacing is a little on the tight side, and I tripped over it a couple times when I was first getting used to the bass, but now I'd say I find it more comfortable than normal spacing. It's a little neck-heavy while sitting unstrapped, but it sits at just the right angle with the strap on, and weighs in at around 9.5-10 lbs according to my trusty bathroom scale.

    Overall I'd give this one a 10/10. I can't think of a single thing I dislike about this bass, and it made it pretty easy for me to find the ever-elusive "sound I hear in my head." Definitely a steal for $1725 shipped.

    Specs:

    Walnut top
    Koa neck and center block w/ maple stringers
    Alder body
    Ebony fingerboard
    18V preamp: Vol, Neck/bridge pan, Soabpar/piezo pan, Treble/Bass stack, Mid/Mid frequency stack
    Piezo bridge, can be top loaded or strung through body
    Sunsetburst edges, Poly finish on body, tung oil on neck
     
  2. Denial54

    Denial54

    Jan 26, 2007
    That thing is awsome,
    congrats
     
  3. ibanezcollector

    ibanezcollector Yoyo's Hurt When You Crank It Into Your Face

    Feb 18, 2007
    Cleveland Ohio
    that neck is stunning.. Wow..

    Awesome bass, what is the spacing on Carvins 17mm?
     
  4. I love it... that is some beautiful wood. I wish I could justify something like that. The wait was worth the price of admission I would say!

    Ox.
     
  5. That looks great. Really nice finish and combination of woods. I wish I could try out an Icon, they seem so awesome.
     
  6. pixelpounder

    pixelpounder

    Aug 26, 2006
    Chitown area
    Congrats! One of the best looking basses I have ever seen. :eek:
     
  7. Man.

    Easily the nicest Carvin I have ever seen.
     
  8. doctorjazz

    doctorjazz

    Oct 22, 2006
    Wilmington, NC
    I'm not entirely sure, but that sounds about right.

    Thanks for the comments everyone. :bassist:
     
  9. Neck through... string through... enough!!! I keep looking at this d@mn post... I love this bass. It is truly a work of art.

    Lets hears some jammin'! Lets hear a clip. Please? Purty please?

    Ox.
     
  10. Knives

    Knives

    Mar 18, 2005
    Athens, Ga
    I don't normally sit in front of my computer with my mouth open (something about attracting flies) but this bass made me drop my jaw. I am considering getting a six string made but I would want a fretted, your bass provides something of an archetype.
    Kevin W.
     
  11. Grant22

    Grant22 Groovin' the gospel

    Oct 29, 2005
    Winter Garden FL
    Wow I thought my LB75 was the most beautiful Carvin I had seen, yours beats mine by so much it isn't even funny.
     
  12. v-12

    v-12

    Mar 3, 2005
    FL Panhandle
    :eek: +1!

    that neck is amazing!!!
     
  13. motleystew

    motleystew

    Apr 29, 2006
    Lewisville, TX
    Beautiful bass! Some Carvin basses just ooze CLASS..I have never tried one, but I get the idea just by seeing yours that it would be sweet to play! Rock On!
     
  14. doctorjazz

    doctorjazz

    Oct 22, 2006
    Wilmington, NC
    UPDATE:

    After spending a good amount of time with the bass, I've finally developed one minor quibble that might take some fixing:

    The pickups are nice and transparent, I can really hear the natural sound of the bass without a lot of color added in from the electronics. Problem is, I have a piezo bridge on it too, which gives me... the natural sound of the bass without a lot of color added in from the electronics. The only major difference I hear when panning from one to the other is a slight decrease in volume as I approach the center detent and an increase toward the outsides of the knob as each of the pickup systems comes on full power.

    There are some minor tonal differences between the two, but they're just that - minor. I can get one to sound just like the other with only a little tweaking on the preamp. That says a lot about the tone shaping ability of the preamp, I don't even touch the controls on my amp anymore, but it doesn't say a whole lot about the soaps. There have been times when the knob's been set at full pan for the bridge and I've thought it was the pups, and vice versa, I didn't notice until I actually checked the position of the knob.

    At this point, I'm seriously considering getting some Barts that fit in the soapbar routs so I can have both the Bartolini sound that I love so much as well as the natural woody tone that both the bridge AND the current soaps seem to give me.

    Don't interpret this as me saying that the pickups sound bad - the bass sounds wonderful as is, and if I didn't have the piezo, I'd probably leave the stock soaps in. It's also dependent on how much you like your electronics to color your sound. For those of you who like things really transparent, this bass is right up your alley. The bass is also quite versatile due to that wonderful preamp, I'm just a freak for having instruments that are able to span the entire gamut of possible tones. For further proof of this, see my large collection of saxophone mouthpieces.

    I'm happy to report that I'm still as satisfied with everything else on this bass as I was on Day One. It still plays like a dream, and hasn't required any further setup work. The neck feels great, and the string spacing is very comfortable for my right hand.

    Again, don't interpret any of this as a diminution of my recommendation of this bass or even a sign that I'm unhappy with it. At this point, I'm just being a nitpicky little bitch and fixing what isn't really broken, optimizing things for my own personal taste. Lots of others who have bought or are thinking of buying this bass probably wouldn't dream of getting rid of the stock pups (and to be honest neither would I if I didn't have that bridge), so your mileage may vary, etc. Just giving out a little further information now that I'm out of the honeymoon phase.
     
  15. Gorgeous bass! I have a 4 string Icon and I like it so much I've toyed with the idea of getting a 5 string with piezos. I quite like Carvin's asymetrical neck.

    That ebony board looks jet black!!
     
  16. IconBasser

    IconBasser Scuba Viking

    Feb 28, 2007
    Fontana, California
    hm... I may have to disagree with the "transperant pickups" statement.

    IME the Carvin Soaps cover lots of natural sound with intesive high-mids. I've listened to them with all sorta wood configs, but that high-mid twang is always prevelant.

    If you like that sorta thing, pickups are perfect. I'm personally hunting for replacements.
     
  17. Andre_gt7

    Andre_gt7

    Jan 4, 2005
    Atlanta - GA
    Man that thing is claaaaassy. Congratulations. Sound Clips?
     
  18. 82Daion

    82Daion

    Nov 14, 2006
    43085
    +1

    The neck wood and finish are awesome.

    Play it in good health!

    :cool:
     
  19. tbone409

    tbone409

    Feb 17, 2007
    kenosha, wi
    +10000 love the walnut/koa haven't seen that combo much but i like it. scratch that i love it. nice bass, now i have six string and fretless gas:help:
     
  20. Normally I do not like gold hardware... but damn, that is one of the most beautiful basses I've ever seen. The browns, blacks and gold compliment each other so nicely. Enjoy that baby! Congratz!
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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