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Should I send my Carvin back and go Warwick?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Domino, Jan 9, 2001.

  1. Domino


    Dec 5, 2000
    I need your bass expert advice!

    I know is that I really need a top-quality bass quickly for around $1200 or less. I have a Yamaha RBX460 that has been a good starter bass but not cutting it anymore. My band is starting to get big gigs and I just don't get the tone out of the Yamaha on stage that I want.

    I ordered a Carvin LB70 and I'm expecting delivery in a month. I went on the bass player magazine recommendations, and the recommendations of my band's lead guitarist who has a Carvin guitar and knows a bass player that has a Carvin bass and they both swear by them. So I took the chance and ordered it without playing one and got it with a Hipshot Detuner, Dunlop Straploks, black hardware, the HB2 Bass Humbucker with J99 pickup, tung oil neck, and rounded body edges in blueburst with matching headstock - cost came to $874 with a case.

    Since I've ordered it I've visited some bigger cities that had Warwick dealers. I've played a few and WOW - I really like the Streamer, Corvette, and FNA models! Now I'm confused and starting to think I should have bought a Warwick! They are bad-@ss machines!

    My band plays a range of modern rock music from soft to hard styles. Listening to our songs sounds like a compilation of Bush, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, White Zombie, to Three Doors Down and Matchbox 20 type of styles. We cover the whole range of pop to heavy rock.

    I read somewhere (can't remember where) that the Carvin wasn't very good for the heavier stuff but was very good for the lighter styles. Is this true?

    I'm just confused, inexperienced (only been playing for a year and a half), and need some advice here. I think I'm falling in love with those Warwicks but I haven't even received my Carvin yet. Obviously I'm going to play the heck out of it when I get it and try and determine if it's for me - I have a feeling it's going to be hard to decide if I should keep it or go with a Warwick. Someday I'll be able to afford both, but not now.

    What would you do in my situation?

  2. Kaotic


    Jan 4, 2001

    I plan on totally using the 10 day trial period. You should take your carvin to the music store and compare the two side by side using the same amp.
  3. 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
    OK, here's my dos centavos. Warwick ain't all THAT hot in the grand scheme of things. For one thing, they're heavier than a mofo (however heavy that is), and their tone is kind of one-dimensional. I live near the Carvin factory, and have seen and played scads of their basses. They make a superb instrument, and I'll bet you'll like it, especially with the pickup options you've ordered. Don't bail on Carvin without playing it first. You never know, you may like it way more than the Warwicks. Or, as Kaotic says, you can return it within 10 days if you don't like it. Good luck!
  4. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    It's a free trial...try it. It'll cost you shipping.
  5. LeMonJello420

    LeMonJello420 Guest

    Jan 9, 2001
    Tampa, FL
    I had a Carvin bass, and yes it was nice, but I now have 2 Warwicks, a thumb and a FNA. I think you should do a side by side comparison when your Carvin comes in and decide for yourself
  6. Domino


    Dec 5, 2000
    So are you saying that for you the Carvin couldn't compare to the Warwicks (since you don't have it anymore and have 3 Warwicks)?

    Which brand is better for my style of music (from the originial message)?

  7. craigb

    craigb G&L churnmeister Supporting Member

    What I'd do - wait for the Carvin to arrive. Check it out at home, in rehearsal and then take it to the music store and compare it to the Warwick. Buy/keep the one you like best.

    Ya know, that's what I did (except not with a Warwick). I ordered a Carvin and when it arrived it just did not do it for me. It was a well-built, nice feeling, quality axe but just not quite right for me. I returned it and got a G&L L2000 which is awesome (for me). I went through a number of basses in that price range and it was only on the 4th that I found the right one for me. I had no problem returning the Carvin but you do end up paying for shipping.

    It's painful and expensive to buy and resell/trade. If you can figure out what you like best, buy it and be happy then that's the best route. Or if you can afford to keep 'em all and build a collection.
  8. Domino


    Dec 5, 2000
    I'm definetly going to play the heck out of the Carvin when it arrives. The trouble is that in my area there is only a few music stores and they all carry the same standard brands that are everywhere (Fender, Ibanez, Yamaha, etc). To test a Warwick I have to drive 2+ hours to Detroit. But both times I've tested a couple of Warwicks some of those models really jumped at me and a little voice inside my head said "this bass rocks". Not a fan of the Bubinga wood though - way too heavy. The other models without that wood were great though.

    G&L is another brand that is up there on my list. I also tried an Ernie Ball Musicman - which was decent but just didn't jump out and grab me (honestly I think they are way overpriced). I definetly decided I want two pickups for sure, so if I get a G&L 4 someday it will be an L-2000.

    I'm thinking long term I want a Warwick Corvette Proline 4, a Carvin LB70, and a G&L 2500 5 string. If only I had so much $$$. I have to decide what's best for me now without having a chance to play these fine intstuments very much.
  9. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Since more is better, (sometimes), I'll support what of lot of other folks have said here before. I've played a slew of basses in 35 years of "bassing" and the $1100 Carvin LB75 I recently received with about all the possible options, (except my name on the truss rod cover), is one of the most versatile basses I've encountered. It is essentially the same bass as the one you are having built.

    I've found Warwicks are wonderful instruments as well, and would like to own one in addition to my other basses,(that bois melange body option is just too hot to pass up). However, as Munjibunga mentioned, I have also found them rather limited in regard to how many "voices" they have. But they are extremely good at what they do.

    Once I replaced the Carvin factory strings, the bass "woke up." I can get everything from a serious Marcus Miller bone tone to a percussive Stu Hamm treble. With your high-quality amp, I think you may find it will fill the bill for you.

    By the by, you mentioned that you are expecting delivery in a month. If that based on the postcard they sent to you, expect it at least one week earlier. Mine arrived over two weeks earlier than what they told me in e-mail correspondence. I have heard other Carvin owners say theirs arrived at least one week early.

    Let us know what happens.

    [Edited by rickbass1 on 01-11-2001 at 10:23 AM]
  10. Domino


    Dec 5, 2000
    rickbass1 thanks for the GREAT info. That's just what I needed to hear. Eventually I'll probably have a Carvin and a Warwick. I definetly love some models of the Warwick. I'm hoping that my Carvin will blow me away too and that it will fit for the hard rock type of music I mostly play.
  11. Larzito


    Aug 1, 2000
    Dallas, Texas
    Play the Carvin at a gig before you decide! I bought a bass this summer. Sounded great at the store and at home. Took it to the gig and it sucked! You will only know if it works if you play it in a band setting...especially with the more aggressive rock you are playing. Compare it to the Yamaha first. Get the Warwick too when you have the money. You can never have too many basses.
  12. Domino


    Dec 5, 2000
    I wish I could play it at a gig. I doubt we'll have a show planned during my 10-day trial period. Really the only thing I'll be able to do is play it on my rig in our practice space and try it out in a store.

    I just talked to a good friend that's been playing for years, he said get the Warwick as it's the "top of the line". He said Carvins are also good, but Warwicks are like unbeatable.

    I wish Bass Player magazine had a direct comparison between say, a Carvin LB70 and a Warwick Corvette.
  13. Larzito


    Aug 1, 2000
    Dallas, Texas
    Your have to realize that top of the line is different for different people. Other top of the line basses include Alembic, Smith, Pedulla, MTD, Modulas, etc. What works for YOU is the key! When you get the Carvin, spend a lot of time with the band. Figure out what you like and don't like in that setting. Also, if you like the Yamaha, but don't like its sound, consider replacing the elctronics. I'm diggin on my Pedulla's Bartolini's right now. A few months from now I may start diggin my MusicMan just because it is different from the Pedulla. By the way MusicMans are not overpriced...but they are a pretty traditionally constructed ax. I used to think that about Pedulla. Well made instruments often don't look much different from lower priced models until you start to look at all the little details. All in all, how the instrument sounds and plays to YOU is the deal. Trust your own eyes and ears above anyone elses.
  14. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    That wouldn't help you. You have to feel them yourself, don't you see? Make the 2 hour drive, and if you feel for the Warwick more, pay the shipping to send the Carvin back! It's better to waste a few dollars on gas and shipment than later on discovering how much you REALLY want that Warwick and try to sell the Carvin on E-Bay for $500.

    I haven't played a Carvin, only heard them, but I think their sound a bit faceless and... weak. The Warwicks are in my ears also weak and difficult to get usable sounds from, but have a very interesting character to them. Warwicks stick out, Carvin's don't. Again, this is strictly IN MY OPINION! So don't listen to me! :D

    [Edited by Oysterman on 01-10-2001 at 05:54 PM]
  15. nunk6


    Jul 29, 2000
    im also interested in a carvin...
    ive been looking up on them for a few months and in most posts i read the carvin "just wasnt for me",
    id appreciate it if someone would give some specifics as to why, something about the sound put you off?, something wrong with construction? im sure that would help all those interested in carvins; seeing how its hard to come by one
  16. lump


    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    Of all the "apples vs. oranges" discussions we've had here, Carvin vs. Warwick has got to be one of the most apple-ish vs. orange-ish. :) They are TOTALLY different animals (fruits?). The neck profiles are nowhere close to being alike. For ME, the Carvin's thin profile is a dream and the clubby Warwick is next to unplayable. And although the Carvin is very versatile, there is no way you can get it to sound like a Warwick (and although I like the Warwick sound, I can live without it).

    The Carvin sound is not likely to blow you away right out of the box (although the looks and construction might). And to me that's one of it's strengths - it doesn't have a super-distinct, pick-it-out-of-the-mix, that's-a-Carvin tone, like a Warwick. But it can come very CLOSE to the distinctive tones of other axes, especially a J-bass or a Ric. For someone like me who plays a wide variety of styles, that's a huge benefit, since I can't afford nor have the inclination to collect a huge stable of "perfect tone for ______ kind of music" basses.

    Yeah, you tend to see more jazz and country artists use Carvins than rock players, but that doesn't mean a Carvin doesn't have a good rock tone. It does, and it can definitely compete with a certain POS rock bass du jour that rhymes with "I've a fez." :D BUT...if you're looking for a stand-alone perfect rock tone axe, a Warwick may well be a better bet for you.

    Another BUT...don't let the solo tone of any bass fool you. A bass that has a nice, warm solo sound might get totally lost in the mix (Warwick generally isn't one of those though). Playing it by yourself really doesn't give you a good indication of what it really sounds like - you don't know which overtones your band is going to eat up. Like the others said, if you can, at least play it at a rehearsal and see what your friends think before you send it back.

    Good luck, and go with what's best for YOU.
  17. craigb

    craigb G&L churnmeister Supporting Member

    I sent back my Carvin. The main "why" is because the sound just did not "grab me" in the first couple of days. It was the third bass in that price range that I had bought (sequentially, I couldn't afford to keep more than 1 at a time) and when I received it, plugged it in and played it there just wasn't any "excitement" based on how it sounded.

    The construction seemed great, definitely in the same league as the other, similar basses I went through (Am Deluxe Fender, Stingray) before it. If I could have kept it for a while it may have grown on me, but I knew I needed to make a decision in the 10-day return period on it because of the awful resale value. I'd taken enough of a bath on the Fender (I traded the Stingray straight up for the Fender).

    But the sound thing is very personal. I started with a Stingray. Awesome sound. But I couldn't do anything close to the traditional P-sound for Jamerson-like stuff. So I traded it for a Fender American P Deluxe. Nice, very close to what I wanted with a decent P-sound and something close to the Stingray sound with the bridge humbucker. But not quite there. So I tried the Carvin - didn't sound Stingray or P to me (I had the HB2 bridge humbucker and H50 in the neck). Then the G&L L-2000. That was it for me. Nice deep mellow P-like sound, plenty of bite with the bridge humbucker (but not quite Stingray). For me, this bass continues to make me want to play. I also love the oiled, wider neck on it.

    For Domino the Warwick may be "it" for him. For you it may be the Carvin. For me it's the L-2000, although GAS never completely goes away.

    I think Carvins are well made. I think their resale value sucks, but it's a reflection on their "desirability/name recognition" factor, not the quality. I wonder about Bass Player's love of them (but they seem to very much be J-bass guys which I am not) and comparing their direct price to other manufacturer's MSRP (instead of street price). I'd like to have my Carvin back to use for about 6 months to really understand how well it would work for me but I only had 10 days to decide.

    It's kind of like having someone put together a Warmoth parts bass for you. You get exactly what you want (if they have what you want) but the immediate depreciation hit is much larger than with a big name bass.
  18. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

  19. rickreyn


    Jun 16, 2000
    Lutz, Florida
    Carvins are versitile. Great for all types of music. A couple of adjustments, and you've got the right sound. Since I sold my LB-75, the humbuckers and piezo's have been introduced. Now even more sounds are available. Quality-wise, they can't be beat for the money.

    I briefly owned a Corvette FNA 4. The pickup was like the Music Man with a pull-up knob to scoop out the mids. This bass sounded great slapped. It would also work well for the modern fat in-your-face sound.

    I now have an active Corvette Standard 5-string with two passive jazz pickups. It's woody and clear as a bell, but offers limited versitility. There are no mid-range controls, but it can go to a passive setting. Those wanting the fat sound with more bite may not find it without the right amplification, but the Fender enthusiasts may fine the more classic sound readily available. The bass also sounds great slapped, but maybe not as good as the FNA.

    Bottomline, I probably would stick with Warwick but go with a guitar with the 3-way active setup (Thumb). I would also like to try the new Carvin "P" series basses.

    Domino, I suspect you would be very happy with a Corvette FNA based on the style of music you will play.
  20. craigb

    craigb G&L churnmeister Supporting Member


    I'm not a big single-coil fan. I also exchanged some email with Ed Friedland (Carvin endorser, BP columnist) who, at least at that time, liked the H50N with the HB2. Your comment about the strings is interesting - that's why I'd like to have one for a while to see if it would grow on me. It's capable of a lot of things and with a change of strings and some time to get accustomed it might be super. The MM-style HB plus J-neck seems like a great combination. If Carvin still sold the HB2 in the BK4 kit I'd be really tempted to put one together myself to keep around for a while.

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