Why are Carvin's have such low resale?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Sam Marshall, Sep 7, 2017.

  1. Sam Marshall

    Sam Marshall

    Nov 2, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Hey guys, been away for a long time but I'm back! I just found a used late 90's Carvin LB76, mahogany, from Guitar Center, mint condition with the matching hard case. The price was marked $450! My guess is that someone bought it and it just sat in a case for 10-20 years...

    I've never understood why Carvin's resale value is sooo low. I've owned a couple LB's and they're fantastic! Plays great, punchy, beefy low B and vibrant upper register. I don't care much for the Icon, sure, but the 90's Carvins are some of my favorite basses for the money. Any thoughts?

    Attached Files:

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  2. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    For the same reason used G&L basses sell for incredibly low prices.
    Don't question it, just take advantage of it.
    I did with my SB-2 and I consider the day I bought it a red-letter day
  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Yeah I had an LB76 from that same era I wound up selling for about that much myself. It was in great shape too.

    Just is what it is.
  4. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    Carvin/Keisel's are custom built to order, so when it comes time to sell it chances are few people want those same exact features. If you bling out a Keisel with fancy woods and such and run the price up to $2500, don't expect to get $2000 for it in a month even though it's $500 less. The same bass without the fancy woods is $1200. And if you buy a $1200 one and try to sell it for $1000..why would I buy your used $1000 bass when I can get a brand new one with the features I want for $1200?
    CoolBassvibes, MDBass, devo1 and 15 others like this.
  5. mmon77

    mmon77 Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2008
    Southern MN
    I think it's just because people can't go out to their local music store and try one, so they don't know how nice they are.

    I have a Carvin DC747 7-String guitar, and the fit, finish, fretwork and everything is beautiful. Sounds great too. For some reason though, I've always preferred the neck on my Ibanez 7 string, so the Carvin doesn't get played as much. I'd sell it, but I know the hit I'd take, and it's hard to swallow.

    I wouldn't hesitate to pick up a used Carvin, but I'd never buy a new one again.
    Reedt2000 likes this.
  6. ONYX


    Apr 14, 2000
    I think Carvin has a stigma due to the fact that, for most potential customers, the can't take one off the wall and try it out. It's a "buy it and try it" policy. For some reason, people think that this is an indicator of low quality. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    I myself own two Carvins, a fretless and it's slightly younger fretted brother (my number 1), that I purchased in the 90's. I knew within 5 minutes of taking delivery on each one that they were never going back to the factory.
  7. Yeah G&L does have a very low resell and can take forever to sell. I had a L1500 on Craigslist 11 months and reverb before it sold on reverb.
    byoung93888 likes this.
  8. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    It's my opinion that they are overpriced new and equalize to true value in the used market. Not trying to besmirch any brand, just an opinion.
    DukeOfBass, RandM, FenderB and 8 others like this.
  9. mmon77

    mmon77 Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2008
    Southern MN
    I don't know about that. If you don't go crazy with the exotic wood options, you get beautiful well built instrument that's set up far better than anything you'll get from Fender for the price. The problem is, it doesn't say "Fender" on the headstock.
  10. bluegreenturtle


    Mar 15, 2003

    Hmmm, maybe I shouldn't have just bought that G&L! Didn't know that.
  11. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    Carvin is a latter day Peavey in my opinion. Not particularly well known and certainly not in demand, but high quality, solid stuff. When you consider what they will build for the price they charge, it's reasonable if that's what you want. Resale reflects the fact that it was custom made for a specific person and may not be ideal for anybody else.
  12. DavC


    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    2 things ...

    supply & demand

    Carvins usually cost a bit less to begin with ... kinda like Peavey gear from the old days .. !
    M.R. Ogle and smogg like this.
  13. Handyman


    Sep 4, 2007
    Austin, TX
    The more traditional Carvin models (think their P and J basses) tend to depreciate less than their fancier models, for whatever reason. Optional bling also adds very, very little to resale. If you drop $300 on a fancy figured top, expect to get almost none of that back if you sell the bass.

    Basic builds of their simple models seem to hold their value extremely well when you consider you can have a new PB4 built for under $1000 including case and shipping. The equivalent Fender runs $1,500 new and resells for about $900?

    So if you can sell a basic used PB4 for $630 you're doing as well as a Fender. The comps I can find in the emporium are going for more than that.

    Given what I'm seeing in the TB classifieds, Carvins seem to be doing awfully well on resale, at least for their P and J variants when compared to recent American Fenders.

    The older and especially pointy-era neck through models seem to go for comparatively little.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
  14. twc1313

    twc1313 Practice is the cure for GAS...or so I've heard.

    Oct 28, 2013
    Pittsburgh, Pa
    I think Carvins are high-quality, well built basses.

    Not to offend individual tastes of anyone, but I think we're currently still in the vintage style trend era and the more fancy woods/tops/designs aren't as en vogue.
    LiquidMidnight, ONYX, Ekulati and 4 others like this.
  15. Corevalay

    Corevalay Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2009
    New Jersey
    I think you hit the nail on the head. They're reasonable enough to build a custom instrument new, most aren't going to pay much used.
    hrodbert696 likes this.
  16. roller

    roller Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    Unfamiliarity + wariness.

    Since their existence, Carvins and Kiesels haven't been hanging in every music store across the globe, be them privately owned stores or corporate big boxes. Plus, there hasn't been a Jimmy Page... or a Clapton... or an Eddie Van Halen... or a Kurt Cobain (hyper-influential artist or musician) that has fully embraced the brand and made it part of their brand. As a result, the masses have been a little hesitant to jump on one.

    For the Carvins and Kiesels that sold and are floating around out there, the low selling price (which many identify as being cheap and/or shoddy) + everything mentioned above just has the world saying, "Nope, don't care... not gonna bother." Yes, it's a shame it's unfolded like this as it appears to be a quality product with a dedicated base of owners who love them.

    Although I'm not an owner, I applaud what the Carvin/Kiesel company has done, especially the low price point. Many companies in existence today do everything that Carvin/Kiesel has done but go in the opposite direction on the price and charge RIDICULOUS (and yes, stupid) amounts of money for their products... and they mildly sell to a certain group of buyers. But there are many people out there who shop electric basses who simply believe that more money = better bass (especially AFTER they purchase one of these beasts)... and this isn't always the case.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
  17. if you like it resell doesn't matter but if you don't then a 1500 is a tough sell, I got lucky mine even sold for my poster price on reverb. A 1500 is a hard sell if you got a 2000 or sb2 or sb1 it's a much easier sell
  18. MojoPenguin


    Jul 11, 2014
    Europe Bro'
    They're not Gibson or Fender. Have a Kiesel Bass and love it.
    jfh2112 likes this.
  19. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member

    Yep, that's it. When I see a used Carvin/Kiesel for sale, what goes through my head is, "Do I want to buy this guy's custom dream bass, or do I want to save up a few hundred more and order my OWN custom dream bass?" So that forces the market price down some to compensate.

    Couldn't disagree more. I would only consider them overpriced if you go overboard blinging them up with unnecessary features and run the price up over $2000 or $3000 or something. I got mine for about $1200. It's attractive but not overdone, has exactly the features and look I wanted, and can stand up to any MIA Fender you would spend $1350 or more on. But while you'd probably get $900 or 1000 for that Fender used, I'm sure I'd wind up taking $600 or 700 at most for my Carvin if I ever wanted to sell it.

  20. tlc1976


    Aug 2, 2016
    I've always understood them to be a very well built instrument (due to tight quality control and machining and assembly line tolerances, not time poured into a handmade instrument). Even though you can get them pretty much any way you want, they're not exactly made by the hands of a luthier. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's my understanding of them anyway. They play excellent, and have a good balanced sound that can work in many musical situations. So on the same token, there isn't really anything unique that makes them stand out. I know some well known players like Timothy B Schmit endorse them. But I can't think of an instance of wanting to have THAT sound, after hearing a Carvin (or knowing I heard a Carvin). Like I would a Rick, Spector, P, J, Pedulla, etc.