NBD - Black Carvin BL40

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Webtroll, Jul 20, 2013.

  1. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    CL find, no case. I haven't cleaned it or anything, only played it a couple of mins at the seller's house plugged into a guitar amp. Neck seem narrow like a Jazz, but feels very deep. I need to find my caliper to verify. Weight feels to be around 9.5-10 pounds however I make no claim to being a human scale.

  2. dedpool1052


    Jan 10, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    nice. always like those lb-40s/50s. kinda wish they would bring'em back.
  3. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    I love anything with Carvin on the headstock. A classic, discontinued model? Double-cool! :cool::cool:

  4. Quackhead


    Jan 17, 2012
    Elk Grove, CA
    They are simple, no-frills basses, but made very well. Great solid tones. Occasionally I see these come up for sale with koa tops.
  5. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    For 200 I figured if I didn't like it I could flip it. That was not an indication that I'm taking offers, so please don't. Not that you're thinking about it.
  6. Freez


    Nov 8, 2008
    2 bills; outstanding! Let us know your thoughts after you give it a good workout.
  7. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Practice on Wednesday. Strings in good enough shape that they don't need immediate replacement. I do need a case tho, may order a Carvin bag for it.

    Quick family picture. Missing a couple of P projects, an ill fated Tobias 5 project, and an Ergo 5 string. And non basses :p

  8. Herrick


    Jul 21, 2010
    Munchkin Land
    Cool-looking bass. I've never seen a Carvin like that before. Nice!
  9. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    According to the Carvin museum site it was introduced in '83 and replaced with the LB90 in '87:


    What I'm not sure of is the switch. From what I'm reading it's supposed to be a dual/single coil switch, but it has 3 positions. Both coils individually and together? It seems redundant.
  10. TheAnalogKid

    TheAnalogKid Yer Doin' GREAT!!!!

    Dec 7, 2011

    Ahhh, that takes me back to my youth, at 13/14 years old and having a serious bass jones for Carvins. I had been a product catalog subscriber from 1985-1990. Every spring in those years, I would find the 40-some-odd- page booklet in my mail, with the reasonably priced LB40 and LB50 basses.

    Looking back, I can't believe that they had options then for 24K gold plated hardware. With the Eastern hardrock maple bodies, you'd think they would be an anchor, but not bad in the weight department at 10 lbs. Great score!!

    Yeah, I still want one of these!
  11. A lil' off-topic, but..... Hey OP, what's the story on the Tobias? Nice Carvin, btw.
  12. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    It appears the switch is a 2 way but feels like it's breaking, so maybe a new 3 way is in it's future. I'm also going to have to get it setup properly; it's playable, but the action is a bit high and I'm not sure if it can be brought down much. The saddles are huge and close to laying on the bridge plate. The guy I bought it from was a guitar player with a little studio out in BFE, so I don't know how many actual bass players have played it in recent years. He thought it was setup to play great, and if you like medium action he may be right, but I like my action low.

    The Tobias was already converted when I bought it in the TB classifieds for what felt like a silly low price. New strings and a pro setup later and I was digging it except for the green finish and the EQ being backwards from what I'm used to (first knob being bass and not treble). I had a vinyl wrap put on the top which was edged with black pinstriping, and when the electronics were put back in the shielding was cleaned up and the knobs put in the order I wanted them. I primarily play the 8 string or the white SUB when I'm jamming.

    The basses from left to right are the LB40, Tobias Renegade (converted 4 to 8), U.S. SUB 4, U.S. SUB 5, modded Vaccaro X-Ray 5, Squier Active Jazz V converted to VI, Warwick Streamer LX5 fretless, '63 Precision (refin)
  13. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Okay. Played it with the strings that are on it (high tension and needing replacement) and didn't like the way it felt. It needs a proper setup, a good set of strings, and the strings need to be wrapped around the posts properly so they come off the bottom.

    I didn't care for the neck profile. While the narrow Jazz bass like width was nice, the depth seemed a bit excessive when compared to my other basses and caused discomfort. I know other players feel differently about depth, but that's how I feel about it.

    The finish is in reasonably good shape with little nicks and dents all over, even on the back of the neck. Nothing big so it would probably be easy to fill in and refinish without having to strip it. It's a bit on the heavy side, without a scale I'm still guessing about 10.5 pounds, but I could be off as ergonomics can make basses feel heavier or lighter.

    The switch that felt broken actually works. It's a little loose in one position leading to the confusion and could probably use replacing, but it functioned fine. The tuners work fine (played it for a couple of hours with no issues). Volume was smooth and clean, never touched the tone (left wide open).

    And now the tone. In single coil mode it was acceptable. I wasn't blown away, but then I'm not into Jazz basses either, and that's what the tone kind of reminded me of. In humbucker mode it was beautiful. It drove my Mesa D-180 beautifully and was full and articulate. This was the saving grace for me on the bass; despite being uncomfortable for me to play I really liked the sound it was putting out.

    Conclusion? Expect to see it in the classifieds soon. I just can't get around the feel of the neck. Personal rating:

    Appearance: 8
    Features: 6
    Playability: 6
    Sound: 8
    Value: 7
  14. thevarinator


    Jun 24, 2013
    I am wondering if you know of a suitable replacement bridge. My hex screws are stripped and the OEM bridge.... quite frankly sucks! Love the rest though....any ideas would be most appreciated.

    BTW This is the 1983 Nat LB 40 I refer to.
  15. thevarinator


    Jun 24, 2013
    BTW it is a two way switch ...single to a double
  16. Showdown


    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Back in the day (30 years ago) I was young and broke. I would go through the Carvin catalog and dream of buying one of those. Just seeing the picture makes me want one again.
  17. BoomBoomOGTL

    BoomBoomOGTL Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2012
    York SC
    Nice bass and great score as I'm a big Carvin fan. I too grew up drooling over the catalogs and was lucky enough to order a couple amps in the early 80s, but no guitars or basses. Once I did play my first Carvin, I've been hooked and have owned several and still currently own an old DN612 in solid flame maple and a LB76WFP.

    I'd also like to thank you for acknowledging the price you had paid for it. Nothing is more baffling when someone states what a great deal they had, yet doesn't post what that deal is so we can all praise and/or loathe :) you.
  18. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Well it was an hour drive each way to get it in a SUV, so despite the posted price there's a bit of gas added to that. Yeah the switch is 2 way and it works, but it feels wonky. The bass sounds great, but I'm not loving the feel. Not sure why I'm not liking it, the profile isn't particularly different from the Ric I recently got, but I like the Ric a lot more. I've decided to sell it, but I'm not excited about shipping it without a case. I know wrapping it well negates the need for a case, we'll see. That and my Squier Active Jazz V>VI are on the shopping block for sure.

    * This is not a sale thread, please do not respond to it as such. When I do decide to sell and how I'm going to do it (price, local/ship/ship in case) I'll put it in the classifieds. Please respect this.
  19. Quackhead


    Jan 17, 2012
    Elk Grove, CA
    If set up properly those basses are great. Although the neck may not be for you.
  20. jeff7bass

    jeff7bass Inactive

    Apr 9, 2009
    New strings and a proper setup would be a fairly cheap way to improve the scores. When I looked at it I thought, "bet it's kind a nice HB tone", especially considering where the PU's are located.