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Thoughts on late model Carvin basses?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by MarkTrace, Mar 24, 2013.

  1. MarkTrace


    Dec 5, 2010
    I mainly play a GL Tribute L2000 for most of our bands songs with the occasional use of a Yamaha BBG5 when our guitar player goes to a drop D tuning. I like the tone choices of the Tribute but it has it's quirks. The Yamaha has great tone as well and a thunderous B string but it is a tank and the neck is a bit too wide for my taste. Although that's probably part of the reason why that neck is the most stable I have ever had.

    Since Carvins are not generally found in music stores I am looking for some input on the quality, tone adjustability, etc. I like a good growl and like to throw in some slap here and there. We mainly play a rock / progressive blues style of music. This will give you an idea. www.reverbnation.com/thebuzzcontenders

    I am very intrigued by the thru neck designs. Looking at the Icon or LB series 4 or 5 string, not sure yet. Leaning towards a 5 if I can find a neck that fits me better than the Yamaha. Anybody have time in the saddle with these?
  2. WoodyG3


    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    My main/favorite bass is an LB70 with single coil pickups. The newest version of the J99 single coil pickups are Jazz style pickups with a little more aggressive tone, and I know a lot of people who slap like these pickups. If that's what you are looking for, the Carvins might fit you tonally.

    I don't play 5-stringers, but I know the asymmetrical neck is highly regarded as very comfortable. One of the things that has sold me on Carvin through the years is the comfort of their necks and the high quality of the workmanship.

    There are quite a few threads on Carvins, so if you haven't tried a search yet, you might find a good bit of info that way.
  3. MarkTrace


    Dec 5, 2010
    Thanks Woody, that's good stuff. After reading more this afternoon I'm thinking LB as well. I did read also the asymmetrical neck on the 5s is supposed to be helpful. I also noticed the neck width at the 24th fret is a good 1/8" narrower on the Carvin vs my Yamaha and just the opposite at the nut. I'm guessing that neck won't feel so large as a result. Glad to hear the quality is there.

    What's your experience been with the intonation at the 12th fret and beyond? Is it constantly changing with string age, change of strings, temp, humidity, etc or is it stable?
  4. MCS4


    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    My main bass is also an LB70 and has been for more than 10 years now. The neck is nice and slim, and both the neck and the body are extremely comfortable (definitely spring for the "rounded body sides" option). The majority of my gigging bands have been in various hard rock/metal genres, and I've found that my Carvin always sits well in the mix -- I would not say it has a "typical" sound for those genres, but I view that as a point in favor of the Carvin.

    I've never had any particular issues with intonation, although I certainly check it and adjust it now and then. I've changed tunings semi-frequently over the years and typically intonate whenever I change, so it's difficult to say how frequently I actually would need to adjust if my tunings and string gauges were more consistent... but I don't recall ever discovering that the intonation had gone out by any significant degree. I've also never had any problems with any particular area of the neck (i.e. beyond the 12th fret), if that's your question.
  5. MarkTrace


    Dec 5, 2010
    Thanks MCS4. I'm will poke around for some sound clips of the LB series. I suspect with the electronics options and pickups I can get a good punchy sound depending what I choose. I suppose I should check the Carvin website first. :) I only asked the intonation question because one of my basses is bad about intonation depending on it's mood. Are you running the Carvin through a MarkBass head? I see MarkBass in your sig. Curious as I use a Little Mark II
  6. MCS4


    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    PM me and I'll send you some clips from prior band recordings, if you want a reference for rock/metal playing in a full-band mix.

    I use Markbass's 4x10 rear-ported cab, but my main head is a BBE BMax preamp running through a giant Carvin power amp. I did briefly buy a Little Mark head (I forget which exact model) as a backup and for smaller gigs, and it sounded great with the LB70. I ended up returning the Little Mark in favor of a Carvin BX500, but only because the Little Mark was a little too expensive for a backup head and the Carvin was a reasonably similar lightweight amp for much cheaper (although admittedly the tone isn't quite as nice).
  7. You can't lose with Carvin! If you do the homework to choose the correct body/top/fretboard woods as well as the correct pickups that will naturally produce the tone you're looking for, you'll be set and get to enjoy a workhorse of a bass for years and years to come (I bought my Carvin LB75 used 10 years ago and it's still going strong).
  8. steelin4u

    steelin4u Supporting Member

    Since no fivers have chimed in yet...

    Bought my lb75 in 1998, and I've been in love with carvin's wide asymmetrical neck since. It is super comfortable to me! I had only owned one cheap 5-string before I built my Carvin, but since then I've owned several 3k+ Warwicks and custom basses. Nothing feels as comfy to me as that carvin.

    As far as tone, I liked the pickup placement (mine is j99 and bridge humbucker), but I wore tired of the tone after about 12 years. I swapped in a Nordstrand 3-band and a bart cb single coil at the neck, and now I'm in love with the tone. You know, tonal tastes and aural skills develop after awhile ;)

    The reason I upgraded it (I will never sell my Carvin) is because of that neck and the overall build quality. The good part for you is that you can customize the woods for your tonal and cosmetic needs. PM me if you'd lile any specific input on their builds (I own or have owned LB75(wide), BB75, & LB76F). Hope this helps!
  9. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    Not with the 5, unfortunately, but I have 2 Bunnies, a 4 and a 6 (pic below). These are more or less the LB basses with the Bunny wings. To my knowledge the neck blanks and electronics are the same as the LB's.

    The build quality is of course ga-ga on both, even with only standard options, so you can get near boutique-level quality for really cheap if you leave out the extra cosmetic options like exotic tops and finishes etc. Mine are both meat&potatoes maple neck, alder sides, ebony boards and that's it. The 5 piece neck is the only option I chose on mine.

    The only option I didn't get that I should have if I were playing in the style of your band (great stuff BTW) is the single-coil switch for the bridge humbucker. As-is, the Carvin MM humbucker on the 4 string is a bit wooly and it'd be nice to go single-coil for a more punchy tone if needed.

    The 6 has a much sharper, hi-fi tone even without the single-coil switch. It's far and away the tone I prefer tho.

    So I'd say the LB should work fine, but it might be good to get either single coils at the bridge or get the single-coil switch if you get the MM humbucker. Just for the extra versatility in the tone.


    Attached Files:

  10. I've got a Walnut LB20 and the build quality is exceptional. The good news is you can have it built to your specs. The bad news is you can have it built to your specs. :) Mine looks a bit cheesy with a claro walnut top with gold hardware. I couldn't really visualize how it would look until I spent almost $1,400 having it built. Even so, the sound and quality are great.
  11. Jarrett


    Jan 19, 2004
    Waxahachie, Tx
    I be likesin' my SB5000's
  12. ctufankjian


    Sep 28, 2007
    Endorsing Artist: Unicornbass.se
    ...band sounds good!

  13. jim777

    jim777 Tarantula Lobbyist

    Aug 7, 2006
    South Jersey
    I love my BB75, it is one of those very special basses you luck into once in a great while. It does basically everything, and sounds fantastic with the stock soaps in it.

    It's in this pic at the top of the chain, as is the actual case :)

  14. MarkTrace


    Dec 5, 2010
    Thanks for all the great responses. I didn't expect to see any more responses when I came back to the site because I never received email notifications like I did on the first few responses,,,, nice surprise.

    So it sounds unanimous, the quality is excellent; first hurdle, check. Sounds like the asymmetrical neck is also another feather for the 5'er. I will do some homework on the build combos and yes Steelin4u I will PM you as any input about combinations would be great. Curious about the sound you got with the PU swap as well.

    UncleJane's suggestion for the single coil switch sounds like a good one as well. I do like how humbuckers beef up the sound so that combination with the J99 and maybe the single coil switch would give good flexibility. Flexibility is a good thing too especially in a 3-piece band where every instrument is more discernible.

    Thanks for the band kudos.
  15. My LB75 has dual bassline (SMB5D) MusicMan pickups with coil taps on both. It really is an "all-in-one bass" with the flexibility afforded by the pickup pan knob and coil tap capability.
  16. Hipshack

    Hipshack Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2011
    Charlotte, NC
    Carvin Sb5000 is the bomb!
  17. woodyng


    Dec 19, 2007
    Oregon coast
    I just picked up afretless AC40,which totally blew me away with the build quality and feel. I used it at practice last night,and once i figured out how to dial in the amp for the piezo pickup,it sounded great. I've owned a boatload of nice basses over the years,and never had checked out a Carvin personally. If its good enough for Chris Squire (he has 2 Carvins),i'm sold.
  18. I built a 5-string bass with a Carvin neck that is the same one used on the Sb-series basses. I really like the neck - it's nice and thin like my '92 LB75, but the spacing is .75" like the Yamaha so the OP might not like it. I played a Yamaha 5 in a store years ago and found it difficult to reach across to the B string. The Carvin Sb neck that I have now is much easier to play on due to the thinner profile.

    Rick B.
  19. MarkTrace


    Dec 5, 2010
    Thanks everyone for the input. To stick my toe in the water I found a clean used LB75 made of Koa with the asymmetrical neck. Has two upgraded J pickups plus the originals are in the case. Was hoping for a the J and HB configuration but sometimes you have to make comprimises when buying used. I will live with this for 6 months and then decided what I want to order. :)
  20. Raymeous


    Jul 2, 2010
    San Diego
    Grats on your excellent find.

    I have had my LB76 for several years now and hopefully your new bass will bring you as much happiness as mine has brought me.

    When you decide to order YOUR bass, the folks at the Carvin Forum will be more than happy to help out with suggestions, or point out any options that cancel eachother out.

    Again have fun.

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