Opinions on Carvin Acoustic Basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ii7-V7, Nov 29, 2005.

  1. ii7-V7


    Aug 4, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    You know the Carvin AC40 and AC50.

    I'm looking for opinions about those basses from people who have owned or played them.

    Whats the sound like? I'm worried that having a piezo only pickup will be problematic. What the preamp like? Is there a variety of tones?

  2. If you go to the carvin website they have a soundclip of the ac series of bass. I have a buddy who bought the 4 string version and he said the neck dive was pretty substantial. They are nicely made and I wouldn't worry about having only a piezo, the main deal killer for me when he wanted to sell it was the poor balance.
  3. DemoEtc


    Aug 18, 2004
    Badgrandad: It sounds like you've researched this. I'm thinking of getting an acoustic bass guitar soon. Which ones have you found have little or no neck-dive?

  4. groove100


    Jan 22, 2005
    i heard breedlove makes preety good acoustic basses.
    I havent tried the basses yet, but they prove themselves on acoustic guitars.

    check on manrtin and co. they make good ones too (this one ive tried) nice balance and clear acoustic tone.
  5. DemoEtc,

    Sure don't claim to have extensively checked it out but I have been tinkering with the idea of a fretless acoustic to use when I do weddings or play with an acoustic ensemble.

    The basses that are shaped like acoustic guitars are pretty good about no neck dive but the full sized bodies are clumsy (at least for me) to play. The rounded backed acoustic/electric basses are more comfortable but I really disliked the harsh sound they produced.

    The slimline and semi-hollow body electric basses seemed to me to be the most comfortable and sound great. The only drawback being that you can't really play them "acoustically" in a jam type situation you must play through an amp.

    The only acoustic type bass tha is supposed to be loud enough is the Tacoma Thunderchief (and clones). Oh Yeah, I tried one of those "Hofner" Beatle Violin shaped Basses and had bad neck dive as well.
  6. bass_drum


    Feb 13, 2005
    Well I was looking for ana coustic bass a while ago. I tried Takamines, Washburns, all sorts of stuff, and th best one I could find was (believe it or not) the Beaver Creek. It was plenty loud to jam with an agressive acoustic guitar player, and I loved the tone (very bright, great for melodic playing (it had nickels on it IIRC)) , acoustically and it sounded ok plugged in, a little to trebly for my tastes, but if you substantially cut the highs it sounds pretty darn good. BY FAR the best acoustic bass I've EVER played and only for around 500 canadian i think. Keep in mind I have never played a Tacoma Thunderchief bass, so I'm not sure wich is better, although I assume the tacoma would be a bit better, then again it is about twice the price ;) .

    I've only ever played the one beaver creek bass, but the worker at the store said all of the beaver creek basses he has had in have all played that nicely and sounded like that.
  7. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    I ordered an AC50 not too long ago (mahogany body and neck and figured koa top, fretless with lines). It took them about 2 months to deliver it, so that was really good.

    -Great quality of materials for the price -- it was really pretty.

    -Unbalanced volume between strings (G and B strings were noticeably quieter).

    -Upper horn not long enough, making the playing position uncomfortable (but this is true for bass designs like Warwick, for example).

    -Unusable B string. Whatever the reason is (34" scale, hollow, etc.) the B string was nothing but overtones.

    -Less-than-perfect fretboard, so when setting for low action there were high spots here and there.

    -String spacing too tight for my taste (17mm, but this is standard in many brands).
  8. the whole bass only weighs 6.5 pounds (AC40)...neck dive is really not an issue...it sits a little weird in that you'll find the first fret a little bit away from you, so the neck feels long...but it certainly doesn't "dive". I play my basses at a reasonable upward neck angle, and I think this helps any bass "sit" a little better and not want to dive.

    I absolutely love the heck out of mine...it has a mellow sound that mixes very well with acoustic guitars, but has the clarity that makes it a good mix for almost any type of light jazz or ballads. It doesn't do rock, or funk very well...but it wasn't designed for it either.

    I'm wanting a fretless sister to my AC40 in a bad way. (maybe when I get back to the US).

    to answer some more of your questions

    variety of tones? no...the preamp is ok, it's a quiet 2 band...
    I find that I'm pushing up the bass a hair on mine and cutting back the highs...but when I mix with a band, I tend to flatten it back out more as this is what sounds best with acoustic guitars and pianos.

    piezo a problem...no...it's a fishman ribbon sensor and it works very well...
  9. I have an AC40F, and don't have any problem at all with neck dive. Then again, I do most of my playing on a Thumb, and that doesn't give me much neck dive trouble either. The Carvin is extremely comfortable for me, sitting or standing.

    The Carvin is not truly acoustic, and unamplified it has only slightly more volume than an unplugged electric. Very different thing from the fully hollow, true acoustic bass. (I also have a couple of those.) The piezo is fine for a woody, growly tone. I guess it doesn't have a huge range of tones to choose from, but it does what it does fairly well. I agree, it's not meant for loud rock & roll, but for smooth jazz and acoustic stuff, it's great.

    The winters are dry and the summers very humid where I live, and the Carvin's truss rod needs an adjustment at least twice a year. Not hard to do, but I have to do it more often than with any other bass I have. The neck also has a slight dead spot (G string, 7th position). The workmanship is good, but the matte finish has turned a little strange where I rest my thumb just above the fingerboard. Gloss might hold up better.

    I tried a Godin before buying the Carvin, and I like the feel and the look of the Carvin better. It works fine in its own niche, but if I played in that niche more often, I'd spend a little more and get a Rob Allen.
  10. NoNoise

    NoNoise Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2005
    New Jersey
    I have a Takamine with Labella deep talkin' bass strings that I really love. I went to my local GC the other day and played a Koa Fender Victor Bailey Signature that was awesome, though. I may end up getting a fretless acoustic soon.
  11. very good review...nailed down my sentiments without being as verbose as myself.

    Yeah, I find that I have to tweak the TR a couple of times a year where on other basses, I hardly ever touch them...but the neck responds readlity to tweaks and generally it only takes about 3 minutes to get the neck into playing shape.
  12. Well, I deserve public humiliation for violating the cardinal rule of commenting on a bass I had not actually played myself (but I do trust the comments of the guy I know who had one!)! I was curious if any of you AC 40 or AC 50 owners have tried different strings than the nylon tapewound that come on the bass and if so was it an improvement?
  13. DemoEtc


    Aug 18, 2004

    Hey thanks for the answer: I'll have to check these out too. I'll probably wind up getting an Agile (from rondomusic), just for the price. I do most of my playing - and performing - sitting down, so...maybe the neck dive thing won't be an issue. It's not a problem with the Turser Beatle I use. It's Hawaiian 'sit-down and have a good time' sorta music - acoustic - but sometimes I like to have something I don't have to actually plug into anything.

    This thread's really pretty informative though - about acoustic bass guitars in general. I'm going to keep checking back, that's for sure.

    Best regards.