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Starting to Dislike My New Carvin, Help!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Seanto, Feb 8, 2006.

  1. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    Yo guys.

    So I got a new bass a few weeks ago, Carvin LB70P:
    Stainless steel frets, no inlays on fretboard, HB2 upgrade.

    The build of the bass is fantastic(except for the neck backbow, presumably from shipping), but its starting to wear on me. Here are some reasons why...

    1. Doesn't feel "smooth" enough when playing. I like to lay down some Jamiroquai like funk, it doesn't give me that feel. The strings feel rather stiff. This could simply be the strings though, I havn't put new ones on yet. I think they ship with nickel strings.

    2. The sound is not smooth enough. Sounds alot like my Spector NS20005(old bass) did. Too trebly at times, almost feels empty in the mid section. My funk and jazz suffers because of this.

    3. I can't get the action low without it sounding like ass. Buzzing will commence. This could be due to some sort of neck bow. Did a good 1/4 turn counterclockwise on the truss rod today according the Carvin's recommendation. Didn't really fix the problem, gonna try again tomorrow. It seems the buzzing is coming from above the 12th fret. My MIM Jazz bass had much lower action and ease of play.

    Pretty much I'm having the same problem with this bass as my Spector. I bought the Spector as a replacement for my MIM Jazz Bass...ended up resorting to the Jazz most of the time, but the fact that the Spector cost more than twice as much made me want to believe it was the better bass. I bought this bass in en effort to replace all those bass's and hopefully get rid of them. Now I feel like I'd rather be playing my MIM Jazz again, but this Carvin cost 1000$ more, I can't just resort back to the Jazz. Too much money!

    Here's where I need help. What can I do with this Carvin to make it fit me more? Apparently a Jazz style bass is what I've wanted all along and never knew it, now I'm stuck with this Carvin as my 10-day trial is over. This Carvin was also a gift from my father, I don't want to sell it right away, I don't want my dad to think he wasted good money on this thing and that I'm not happy, all he wants to do is see my happy. I want to make this bass tolerable for about a year before getting rid of it. So what can I do here? New strings? What kind? Any other suggestions to make it more to my liking? I am open to just about anything right now. Also some tips on this truss rod thing might be helpful, I'd rather not take it to a tech as I have a decent understanding of how the truss rod works.

    Sorry for the essay long post, but I really care about my bass playing. Bass is my life, if i'm not happy with my bass I won't be a happy person. Help!

  2. Definitely, definitely try new strings.

    They will make a world of difference for your sound.
  3. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    They have a 30 day return policy

  4. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    New strings. And a setup, which is where I am moving this.
  5. Spend the 40 - 50 bucks and take her to a qualified luthier, should be able to take care of your set-up woes for sure. You just spent a bunch of money on a bass - don't get cheap now!
  6. strings and a setup WILL make it feel quite different...

    for decent low action, relief must be slight and it must be forward (no backbow). In addition, frets must be level.

    Buzzing on the neck closer to the nut is either not enough relief, or high fret(s)...buzzing closer to the bridge is either too low of an action or high fret(s)...

    string tension and touch also play HUGE into how low you can go with your action.

    Strings also play a big part on the tone...

    all in all, however, if you really don't like the bass...return it...
    if you resort to your MIM Jazz all the time, why don't you spend your money on making that Jazz the best it can be? Pups, and a good fret dressing and setup from a highly-recommended luthier?
  7. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    New York, NY

    Send it back, get your money back, NOW. A Fender Jazz will sound 100x better.
  8. ArwinH

    ArwinH run rabbit run

    Dec 1, 2005
    Southern California
    i just want to warn that you take the risk of taking a huge hit on the resale value of that bass. If your in warranty you might want to play it safe and return it and continue your search. A setup wouldn't hurt though, I think that might be the real issue.
  9. arbitrary

    arbitrary Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    Boston, MA
    Heres what I did to my carvin and I like it a bunch more than before:
    Replaced the preamp and pickups.
    Next I'm going to swap the bridge and add a ramp in between the two pups and behind the bridge.

    I recomend for you to take it to get a setup, but also try stringing it through the bridge instead of through the body. That might affect the string playability.

    I've also learned through much experience and others, that carvin necks are somewhat sensative. So treat the neck nice and work in baby steps with it.

    Good luck
  10. New things take time to get used to and sometimes we are not willing to take the time. Get the new strings. Try flats by D'Addario, they are cheap enough.
  11. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    If you are looking for a good string for that sound you might want to try a set of the DR Fat Beams. I had a set on my Read J when I got it and they were very groovy sounding.

    +1 on a setup.
  12. eots


    Dec 18, 2004
    Morris, IL.
    Call Carvin 1st.
    Try to sort it out with them before spending $$ on fixes. It is a custom (somewhat) instrument and should fit your needs or else send it back. They may make some recommendations to try.
    FWIW, I love the sound of my LB70P. I did send it back for a repair however. Within days of receiving it, the fret edges were poking thru the clearcoat on a few frets. Maybe a year later after many neck adjustments ( 5 pc neck) and yet more clearcoat popping fret edges, I sent it and got it back after about 3 weeks with a 'set up', fret edges repaired and a free of charge gouge on the top edge of the body. I sent pics to show them.
    Their response was to send back for repair (another $30 shipping and 3 weeks wait) or get $50 off some merchandise.
    I was too pissed to cash in. I thought they should have sent a UPS truck to pick it up themselves.

    Anyway, Don't do anything to void your warranty. They may still honor the '10' day return policy.
  13. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    Thanks for the info guys. I think a professional setup and new set of strings are just what I need to turn it into a great player. After all, I'm not completely dissatisfied with the bass. It has great hardware, looks incredible, and the neck is very nice. I suppose my next challenge is finding a quality luthier to do the work for me, I live in the Richmond area. Any ideas on going about finding one?

  14. RoVaughn


    Oct 8, 2005
    I guess Im the only one asking the question but oh well..here goes........

    IF you had 1000 plus to put towards a bass what made you go Carvin...? You could have got an MIA Fender and if you like the MIM...

    Now that I got that off my chest a GOOD setup will definatley Cure those ills. If your ever in NYC I have a few guys you could go to to make it happen.
  15. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I agree. A professional setup by a really good luthier and a set of strings (the same ones you have on your MIM Jazz) are in order. Bring in your Jazz and say "this is the playability I'm after".

    MIM Jazz basses are often underappreciated. I think they offer an outstanding value. If you get a really good MIM Fender, you have to spend a great deal more money to get any improvement.

    You took a big chance buying a Carvin. Sometimes basses just don't turn your screws even though it seems like they should. Carvin stuff is high quality and well made, but personally I do not like it. Maybe you don't either. Tough way to find out.
  16. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Frankly, I agree. Both with the premise and the amount of salt needed (as everyone has different preferences).
  17. Don't let the "stock" sound of the bass worry you too much either, Carvins seem to be set up to sound very neutral, you really do need to use the tone controls to get it to sound like you want. Generally they do ship with nickel strings unless you order otherwise, and I have found that I prefer to favor the sound of my bass with the bridge pickup favored slightly and the volume not fully cranked.
  18. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005

    I'll explain why I chose the Carvin in the end, I was indeed thinking of getting an America Made Jazz or something similar in style. A big seller for me was the piezo pickups and stainless steel frets. I own a Parker Fly Mojo, so I figured the stainless steel frets would be right up my ally. I also thought I can get a better value on the bass as Carvin is factory direct. With all the upgrades I got I figured getting a good Jazz sound wouldn't be too hard(coil tap). I was right to most extents, its just these minor issues that are making me dislike the bass, but I think they can be fixed pretty easily. Half the problem here is probably attributed to the strings on the bass, it sounded damn good when I got it, but the strings died within a week and I havn't gotten around to buying a new set. I'm keeping the bass, maybe saving up for yet another bass though, nothing wrong with starting a collection.;)

  19. Seanto, what ever decision you make, and this goes for life in general, will work for you if you believe it and see it through. Even if at first it doesn't seem like it. Carvin has been making instruments for years now and if they were building unlikeable ones, they would be out of business. Just be patient. Its new and your used to something else. I think thats just the way it is. I bought a P bass back in October and although I loved it at first it soon became "unplayable" and "Boring sounding" Guess what. I love it. It is playable and it sounds exactly the way its supposed to. It took time to get used to.

    Ill tell you something else. These forums can mess your head up. After a while, you never seem to have what you want because the bass forums are loaded with people with different likes and dislikes. It can become confusing. Take some time off and play the shizinsky out of the bass.

    Good Luck
  20. RoVaughn


    Oct 8, 2005
    I agree these forums can mess you up so many opions...I asked that question cause you said you like the MIM jazz I got nothing against Carvins. The only one I heard sounded good. Luckily the problems you described are easily fixed so I hope that does it for....Post a sound clip when you get it setup.