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Passive Carvins...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by AAA, Jun 7, 2002.

  1. AAA

    AAA Guest

    Jun 4, 2002
    I was hoping to find out a bit about Carvin basses.

    Specifically their passive models and how they compare to other passives on the market and how they compare to their actives and of course how they just sound in general.

    If you've had any experience with these I'd appreciate the input. Also let me know what it was constructed of and what pickups were on there, etc... Details, details...

    Thanks -


  2. Blux


    Feb 5, 2002
    Philadelphia, Pa.
    I have a used Carvin that I got for $470 with Swamp Ash body, smoked tobacco finish, stacked jazz H50N humbucker at bridge and J99 at the neck pickup. It has 34" neck through, but it is active.
    When played in passive mode it is still a very versatile bass and can immolate roughly any sound you like. The newer electronic are even better. Many people do not think highly of Carvin electronics and I can only imagine they are comparing to a much more expensive bass, more than the $900+ original price of this Carvin. Played flat is has a very good sound and the EQ works wonders in tweaking the sound.
    I would, some day, like have a MM Stingray, a G&L L2000, a Lull and maybe a few other excellent basses (most likely all used ones). But I have to learn to play much better than I do now to get these great basses

    Good luck in your choice.
  3. SCH


    May 3, 2002
    San Antonio, Texas
    My first bass was a Carvin LB-70. I still own it, but don't play it much anymore since I got a Lakland Bob Glaub P-bass.

    Carvin makes good basses. The fit and finish on mine is excellent. It's a beautiful bass (koa body sides, ebony fret board). Mine is an active bass, with a passive option. It has two J-99 single coil pickups. It's a solid and dependable bass, but I've always found the tone disappointing. It's thin sounding to me. The other problem I encountered is a lot of clicky-clacky fret noise. I was able to neutralize the fret noise my improving my technique and using flat wound strings.

    Carvins are regularly criticized for having weak electronics, and I would have to agree with that assessment. Playing the Carvin convinced me that what I was looking for tone wise could only be found in a good P-bass. Now that I have the Lakland I'm a happy camper.
  4. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    That's one scary bass.
  5. chucko58


    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    Carvin's active circuit isn't bad. It's quiet, doesn't gobble batteries, and offers useful tone controls.

    Where Carvins fall down is on the pickups. I have an LB75 with the wide neck option. The J99 pickups were just OK, a little weak down low. I found a set of Sadowsky single coils for cheap, and swapped them in. BIG difference! The new pups have huge bottom end.

    Carvin makes some fine instruments. I only wish they'd upgrade their pickups, so I wouldn't have to.
  6. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    "Hey dude, check this lick out!"
    -thuppita thuppita wackityFWOOOF!!!-
    "...oh, sorry dude!"
  7. Knack


    Mar 25, 2002
    New York City
    I have an LB20, all koa, with the older H50 stacked humbuckers. The tone is sweet, smooth, woody, and mildly resonant, but the pickups lack punch and range. However, when I run the bass into my Sadowsky outboard preamp, the sound comes to life and sounds awesome, punchy and full, yet natural. I have no problems with clacketyness nor immolation ;) The only problem I do have is the treble tone pot is a little scratchy when turned, but I just set it and leave it anyway.
  8. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts

    The Carvins with preamps all have passive bypass. They do lack a passive tone control, so they sound exactly like the pasisve models if you run the tone on 10.

    All 5 and 6 string models come only with the preamp, so it's only the 4 string models that can be bought passive only.

    I have not heard the newer humbucker they now offer (the one that looks like a StingRay pickup) but the standard J-style pickups make the bass sound like a J-bass, basically. Whether they sound better or worse than other J-style basses is up to your ears, though.

    The next person who says that an electric bass sounds "natural" by the way is gonna get smacked :D What does that mean, anyway?
  9. Knack


    Mar 25, 2002
    New York City
    I use "natural" to mean having a sound come out of the output jack that closely reflects the characteristics of the sound waves that the pickups are picking up. Can you hear the "sound of the wood", differentiate between the tonal qualities of different strings and adjustments in instrument action, or does it always sound like some techno-modified, synthesized bass sound? For example, if I were to smack you upside your head, would the sound eminating off the welt on your cheek have the same tone, color and resonant characteristics as the noise that rattles through your brain? If so, that is natural.

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