What's not to like about Carvin basses?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by IotaNet, Nov 18, 2005.

  1. I think Carvins are beautiful in pictures -- I've thought so for years but I've never seen one in person. On the other hand, I am always hearing about people selling them and I've also seen people pooh-pooh them.

    I'm just wondering, for the people who don't like them, why not?

    Is it cost?
    Do you feel that they look outdated?
    Are the electronics (pups/reamps) substandard?

    I'm not trying to start a flame-fest, I am just interested in hearing opinions. If I were able, I'd go play one myself but you don't see them everyday at retail stores so I don't have that option.
  2. tiefling


    Aug 19, 2003
    Washington DC
    I've played a few and they are well made but I just don't like the body style or the headstock. its a style issue for me.
  3. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    Two words: resale value

    Also, IMHO, they'r making it worse by cranking their prices to the stratosphere on their higher end line.

    I have absolutely no issues with their instruments, but I don't think they can start bringing in big bux until they shake the "factory direct" business model, as I think that just pidgeonholes them into the low end discount mentality.

    Again, just IMHO.
  4. SteveC

    SteveC Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    NE ND
    I had a Carvin fretless 6 and it was great - except for the electronics. Then again, some people love the electronics.

    Resale does suck.

    Well built though.
  5. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
  6. Greetings

    I've alway like Carvin I played one for a while and had no real complaints.

    But thier re-sale valve is low and the High Ends are now pricey, but I think they concluded that many people pay a lot for the high end basses so they'll cash in as well.

    I'd like to see other builders sell direct at much better rates, there's no reason to have a middle man in many cases.

    Sadowsky is a good example of someone who sell direct and through middle men, give the loyal buyers the middle man prices.

    I know all the middlemen will hate me now :crying:
  7. Marcus

    Marcus Guest

    Dec 26, 2004
    NYC & Vancouver, BC

    Should one really take resale value into account when buying an instrument though???

    If you're already thinking about what you could fetch for it, do you really want to buy it?

    Personally, their preamp was troublesome.

    It boosted the mids to the point of it acting as an entirely seperate volume. Once you cut the mids, the party ends.

    The high end was rather brittle as well, and did not really produce a defined sound when slapped, and so on. This was tested with DR High Beams, Fat Beams and a Marcus Miller set.

    The bass was somewhat boomy as well.

    On an entirely seperate note, I can say however that the playability, crafstmanship, and feel are remarkable. If they could only dig themselves out the pigeonhole of mediocre electronics, they would really crank out a lot more instruments.

    I loved my BB70P, and BB75, not so much the LB75, but they were all good instruments... the sound produced was just too indistinct for my liking. I still happen to own a LB70PF, and I've found it to be a fantastic fretless, but at some point in the future, I plan on swapping out the preamp for something a little more transparent to let the actual bass speak.

    Hope that helps.
  8. Oysterman

    Oysterman Guest

    Mar 30, 2000
    Bland, faceless tone. That's why I sold mine (LB76F). I tried and really wanted to like it, but it just wasn't meant to be.
  9. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    WOW! I would NEVER call Sadowsky's pricing "middle man" pricing. In fact, at the risk of offending Sadowsky owners (which I do NOT intend to do... they're awesome basses, BUT...) I think they're probably the most expensive in their class by a VERY LARGE margin.
  10. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    What is Sadowsky's class? If you mean Fender style basses, they are not the most expensive, Celinder costs more since it comes from Denmark. Lulls with full active electronics cost more than Metros, and Atelier Z runs about like a Metro. I don't know about Lowend Basses, but I know USA Lakland is expensive too.

    If you mean boutique basses in general, Sadowsky is cheaper than MTD, and way cheaper than Fodera or Ritter. I don't own a Sadowsky or have even played one, I just wanted to state the facts as I know them.
  11. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    IMHO, yes. I don't know about you, but...

    1.) Most of the basses I own I never really had the chance to really play one for a while and get to really know it before having to purchase it. I just can't imagine that, at least for me, there's that one bass that is, and always will be, everything I'll ever need and want. I'm not sure if that's most people, but it's definitely the case with me.

    2.) Over time, my tastes and needs change, so I need my gear to be "viable" enough to go along with that model. I don't want to lock myself into any gear. I accept a certain amount of sensible "depreciation", or "cost of ownership", but I won't put myself under something I'll have to potentially take a complete soaking on.

    In other words, personally (BIG IMHO here) I'll never buy a Carvin new, I'll never have a new Warmoth built for me, etc..
  12. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2000
    SF Bay Area
    Personally, all else being equal, I'd consider resale as a factor in a purchase, but my take (not, apparently, widely shared) is that absolute depreciation is more important than relative depreciation. I mean, if you resell a $2000 bass for $1500 one time, and a $1000 bass for $500, you've taken the same soaking either way, because you've lost $500. It may be consoling that the resale value is better on a percentage basis for the first bass, but that doesn't lessen the absolute loss of doallar value. For me it's about how many dollars I've lost--to the extent that I worry about it at all, that is.

    As far as liking or not liking Carvins, I played their fretted and fretless sixes for years and never had problems with playability, tone, or reliability. In fact, I often got compliments on the tone I was getting. I eventually went custom because I finally could (nice IRS refund) and because I came to want certain tweaks in design that an individual builder could do and that Carvin, as a factory (though one with more options than any other factory I know of) couldn't do. For me, my current basses are a definite step up from Carvins, but then, I paid more for them--so they had better be better! ;) I don't have a problem with Carvins and still consider them good basses and good value.
  13. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    Uh oh, I knew this would happen. :)

    Keep in mind, it's IMHO, but here we go...

    Yep. The Sadowsky's may be the best of the best at it, but yeah, at the end of the day, it's just a sooper dooper Jazz bass.

    Ok, "one of the most expensive by far" then. However, I'm not sure comparing something suffering international exchange/shipping issues is fair, but I'll go this far.

    I can't believe you said this. Lulls are not imports, Metros are. Not fair at all. IMHO, a correct comparison would be a Lull vs NYC Sadowsky, and I think that puts Sadowsky about 1000 more. I'd consider that to be a darn large margin.

    Ok, first, let's leave Metro out. I was talking about the NYC, but if you must, then you'd have to compare the Metro to the Skyline Laklands, and again, about 1000 diff. Large, IMHO.

    Also, the Fodera and Ritter are in a totally different class than the Sadowsky, IMHO(!!). Totally different type of construction/design model. I'm NOT going to get into the whole "Warmoth Sadowsky" thing (because I also don't think that's fair to Roger... too many huge undeserved negatives), but "sorta" along those lines, I don't think Roger goes out and hand selects body and figured top woods, matches them, cuts and shapes by hand, etc...

    Roger's goal is clear. Build the absolute best Fender Jazz style bass out there, bar none. Fodera and Ritter are out there primarily to build something unique as well as top quality. Different deal, IMHO. Yes, I know Fodera has done Jazz style basses before, but that's not their primary business, and clearly, not one that survived over time, since I don't think they do them any more.

    Also, you can get a brand new 535 for about the same money or maybe even less than a modern 24 last time I checked. You can get a new 535 for about 3000-3500.
  14. Lo end PUNCH

    Lo end PUNCH

    Jan 28, 2005
    Well for me it's the lack of wider string spacing options and choices of pups options. More body shapes wouldnt hurt either but I'd buy one if they offered wider string spacing.
  15. diptixon


    Oct 29, 2004
    OK, owned a mahogany Carvin 6 string a few years back, quality was impeccable, bass was gorgeous, but the electronics really didn't allow for much variety sound-wise - even with active electronics and a 3-band EQ... but then again, neither does my Fender Jazz...
    so, bottom-line, Carvin suffers from the same syndrome as Peavey, and that is that it is looked upon as 'budget'-orineted and is not 'hip'.. .and I'm not sure that it'll ever change for either company...
    kinda sad... :rollno:
  16. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    Dead on...

    However, "kinda' sad" is a matter of perspective. Maybe sad from the company's perspective, and maybe for those buying "new" and taking the eventual "hit" if they ever sell, but on the other hand, it's also what keeps a used/mint high quality bass accessible to the masses, which can be a good thing.

    I still remember what an absolute pleasure it was to experience a Cirrus the first time and being amazed at what I got for under 1K. :)
  17. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    I think the guitars look alot nicer than the basses, just my .02.
  18. Dan Knowlton

    Dan Knowlton Sometimes you're the dog, sometimes the tree Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2000
    Palm Coast, FL
    It comes down to two things for me - the string spacing is too tight and I don't like the tone of the electronics. Both personal choices, they certainly are less expensive than the choices I made!

    Dan K.
  19. I had a fretless 4 stringer awhile back that I got in a trade. It was well built, the action was nice, and it sounded pretty good. I had it for a few weeks only, I wasn't really looking for a fretless, but I did have fun messing around with it.

    The best part about it was the neck, imo. I was playing Fender Js at the time I had it, and it was wider and thinner with a flat fretboard. Very fast neck, and felt really solid too.

    It's amazing how I can forget my car keys or forget to send in my bills but I remember how every bass I've ever played felt.

    Bottom line: If I found a good deal on a used fretted one, I would seriously consider it, but new they just cost alot for something I wouldn't be completely happy with. I think the styling is kind of bland and dated.

    Also, what kind of sadistic person would order the solid paint color neck thrus? The paint line on the neck thru just looks kinda cheese.

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    That was my expirence as well and i couldent believe at what low out put it was playing at, i figured it would be better to send it back whille i still could and get the full price back then to get less then half selling later. It was my carvin expirence that showed me just pay the extra money and get a bass that really does it for me so then i became a Sadowsky Guy ! :bassist: