Carvin LB75P Reviews
This ax is a fretless 5-string with a piezo bridge, a neck J-PU and a bridge MM-PU. It has 18v 3-band EQ, and a coil splitter for the MM-PU. FB is black ebony, with dots and lines.
It seemed like the perfect ax for my style, which is small ensemble/duo, in small venues, playing with no drummer. IOW, my tone is nakedly audible. This one has a koa top, and my other koa-topped ax has an excellent tone for my needs ... but no piezos :-(
Anyway, I had high hopes when I ordered this used ax online, but I wound up returning it. Guitar Center was very cooperative about that. No problem there.
At $700 with molded Carvin case, in near-pristine condition, it would have been a very good buy if it were a keeper. a new one would be about double that amount. I ordered it from the Rockville MD GC and had it delivered to the Albany NY GC.
Altho I don't use the uppermost [highest notes] end of the FB, I like the full 2-octave [24 'fret'] FB cuz I pluck over the end of it, and it serves me as a ramp.
A piezo bridge is a number-one selling point for me. The gain trimmer pots for each piezo saddle is a definite plus, as is having a MM-PU by the bridge.
18v 3-band EQ, cool. Push-pull active-passive switch on the gain knob, cool. PU balancer instead of indiviual volume pots, *very* cool. Coil splitter, cool.
Even the battery chambers are superior. None of that fragile pop-up stuff. Just stationary chambers with hinged doors. IOW they will work even if you happen break off the only moving part [the door].
The cavity is fully copper lined and its lid is fitted with machine screws and threaded inserts.
It's neck-thru. I know this is *supposed* to be desirable. I was willing to tolerate/risk having a neck-thru bass, given the very promising nature of all it's other features. Usually I choose bolt-on.
There is no dummy coil when the MM-PU is split to SC mode. The neck-J is also a simple, non-humbucking J. Not terrible, but not the best in this price range.
The dual acting truss rod had only limited effect and I could not get anywhere near the setup I wanted. It's a used piece, so the jury remains hung on that point.
Other than the truss rod, the deficiency of the piezo system was the main reason to return it. The design is vulnerable to flawed 120v AC wiring, which is more common than it should be, and I hafta be able to play in older buildings with sketchy wiring. 'Neutral-side back-feed' on AC lines is illegal, altho pretty common ! It produces a loud, moaning AC hum in the piezo circuit. Some piezo systems are immune, some are not. I've encountered other piezos that were even worse than this Carvin on that score ... but any clearly audible degree of the problem is too much, and the Carvin's vulnerability is VERY audible.
I am not 'expecting miracles' in the presence of faulty building wiring. I have similar systems from THREE other brands of bass, and all are quite resistant, or even immune, to the problem. FYI, the 'winners' are EBMM, Warwick, and Ibanez. That is SEVEN individual basses. Yup I *really* dig this type of piezos.
Finally, this bass, when used successfully [meaning with proper house wiring] is just toadally BLAH. The piezo tone is not woody-stringy. The mag-PU tone is 'ultra vanilla'. When operating properly, this ax is simply boring ! Koa over maple with ebony FB ? Might as well be plywood. My *least* promising piezo FL, wood-wise, has an all-basswood body and pau ferro FB [EBMM, FYI], but it's got the cool woody-stringy voice [and it's immune to bad AC lines].
It's beautifully built and finished. The koa is not visually outstanding, but I was innerressed in its tone more than its looks. The electronics are its downfall, despite the full shielding and ultra-neat scene inside the cavity. The piezo hum problem is intolerable, obliterating all other output ! Also, there's a future hassle when you'd need to replace any worn pots. Three pots are surface mounted to the wood [normal and typical] ... but the other three [vol, mag balancer, and piezo blend] are all integral to a circuit board. Neat assembly, but a maintenance nightmare in the future. This becoming more common, so it's not a proprietary Carvin thing. EBMM Bongos are similar. It's not an automatic deal-breaker, but it IS a concern.
The specifications and the woodwork are outstanding, especially for the price. But the final result explains why Carvin is just another second tier name.
I should repeat here that Guitar Center was fully cooperative and not part of the problem. Thru them, I am even aware that I am not the first person to buy and promptly return this bass. I knew that even before I bought it. FL basses are often bought and quicky returned, cuz they're FL. So I still gave this one a try. That was truly a waste of time, except for a bit of 'Live and Learn' effect.
GC @ Albany NY - Cool
GC @ Rockville MD - Cool
Fishman piezos - Cool
Carvin Basses - Uncool
I have never rated anything a '1' until now. But despite it's promising specs, this ax is boring where it works and useless where it doesn't. Thaz a zero ... but the review scale here starts at '1'.Golem
rated this unit
Quality for Price
One thing I was unhappy with was the wait for the product. Such is a custom order. The only other thing I can think of is where the tung oil neck meets the gloss body finish. It was a very harsh transition.
Neck through,fretless,tobacco sunburst,tung oil neck,gloss back. Very nice.
Over all I am pleased with the product. No real complaints with my purchase and would do so again.J Bailey
rated this unit