the webmaster for the Museum, and I like to think I have a pretty eclectic
collection of Carvin instruments.
I've actually owned Carvin basses & guitars non-stop since 1983, and except for
an occasional passing curiosity, I've played Carvins exclusively.
Below are the details of all the Carvin gear in my collection, including ones
I've since (regrettably) sold.
A shot of the music room, with an SB4000 in clear gloss on swamp ash (hanging on the amp), and from left to right, an LB70 in
flamed koa, a BB70EP in dragonburst on quilted maple with matching quilted maple back, an XB75 in vintage yellow on quilted maple, and
an IC5P in clear satin on flamed maple. The rig is an RL1018 1000W bass amp and a BX500 500W ultralight bass amp with an XP4 digital effects processor, U7500 UHF wireless, an AC120 power conditioner and
a Sabine RT-7000 tuner. The PA consists of
a C1648P 2000W powered mixer with internal wireless for instruments/mics, a pair of LS2153 speakers, and a pair of LS1202M monitors. Next to that is the amazing V3M micro amp
with a 212 cab, and below it (not shown) is an SX200 guitar amp. Also not pictured is a Korg M50 synth which runs through te board.
Another studio shot, with my solid quilted maple V440 and my pearl purple doubleneck DN440T. The framed articles are these basses (and my DN640K) from Vintage Guitar magazine.
Still another studio shot, with (from left) a 1977 LB70 bass, a fretless XB76WPF in clear gloss on figured walnut, a IC4 in deep purple on flamed maple, a DC6M in deep red on quilted maple (this is an original prototype),
a CT6T in deep tiger's eye on flamed maple, and a V220C Elite model in dragonburst on quilted maple with a matching quilted maple back.
Below is my 2009 DC6M double cutaway carved top guitar. This is actually a prototype of this model, built
as a proof-of-concept, so it's not exactly like the production model. Primarily, the horns are shaped a little bit different.
Because this is a prototype, it's a great addition to my collection. It's finished in deep red on quilted maple with a matching headstock,
mahogany neck & body, MOP signature inlays and gold hardware.
This is my 2009 SB4000 bass, which is the first one off the production line. It has a
swamp ash body, gloss maple neck, maple fingerboard with MOP diamond inlays, Carvin's new Alnico J9A single
coil pickups in cream with active electronics, gold hardware, metal handguard, inlaid knobs, and gold logo. The
J9A pickups sound simply amazing - a huge leap forward from the ceramic-magnet H50S stacked humbuckers used by
Carvin for so many years. The cream covers are a welcome addition, as well, allowing bassists to pick something
other than black. The new locking bridge is also a welcome change, as it is completely plated in gold, versus
just having plating on the saddles as on older bridges.
This is an amazing example of a 1986/87 Carvin V440 bass. The V440 was only made for two years, and there aren't
many examples of these models still floating around. But this one has features never before seen on a V440 - specifically,
a solid quilted body with a flamed maple neck, like what was offered on the DC160 guitar from the same era. Unlike contemporary
Carvin guitars and basses that have a thick quilted top, this V440 is made from a solid pice of quilted maple, which was more
readily available in the 1980s than it is today. Other features of this extraordinary bass include an ebony fingerboard,
MOP dot inlays and gold hadware. A very welcome addition to the Museum collection!
This instrument was featured in the July 2010 issue of Vintage Guitar - click the cover to see the article. This
was my third appearance in the magazine.
Early in 2007, Carvin made a move that was welcomed by many of their
customers - the re-introduction of the V220 and Ultra V, two models that
were hugely popular in the 1980s. My V220C Elite was one of the
first made, and is a twin to my BB70P Elite (below). Like the BB70EP, it
has a bookmatched quilted front and back, maple body, pointed inline
headstock and chrome hardware. Other features include stainless
steel jumbo frets, abalone diamond inlays, and a 5 piece maple/walnut
These basses are a great part of my collection, and are nice examples of
vintage Carvin. On the left is a 1973 SB40 bass. It's a
short-scale instrument, with a maple neck, ash body (most likely) and
dual ABP4 humbucking pickups with 2 volume and 2 tone controls.
This one was in pretty good shape for it's age, but it does show a
On the right is a 1977 LB70, in pristine condition. The LB70 was
offered in two versions - a basic model, and an upgraded model with
stereo wiring, phase switches and coil splitters (which is what this one
is). It has dual APH-4S humbucking pickups with chrome covers (the
only year this was offered), a maple body and neck, rosewood fingerboard
and Schaller tuners.
The LB70 was featured in the July 2011 issue of Vintage Guitar - click the cover to see the article. This
was my fourth appearance in the magazine. ||
This 2007 XB76WPF was generously donated to the Museum. This is a great example of a contemporary Carvin bass, with interesting wood options. It has
an unlined extended-scale ebony fingerboard, with "no-show" California Claro walnut top, alder body, and 5-piece walnut neck with 2 maple stripes. Electronics
consist of a pair of Carvin SP soapbar pickups with piezo bridge. Thanks very much to the person who donated it to the Museum collection!
This is a rare piece of Carvin history. It's a 1946 Kiesel lap
steel guitar. Kiesel was the precursor to Carvin, founded by
Lowell Kiesel in 1946, which makes this one of the earliest Carvin
instruments ever made. Production on this model was pretty
limited, and there are probably less than a dozen examples still around.
This one is in excellent condition, and it all original, including the
case. Like other early Kiesel instruments, it's made from Bakelite
synthetic plastic patented in 1907), with a Lucite fingerboard.
The scale length is 22.5". I added this to the Museum collection
in January 2008.
Here is another rare piece of Carvin's early history. This is a 1948 model
Kiesel lap steel, in unusual red pearl finish. Unlike the '46 model above, this was a "budget model", with the fingerboard
consisting of simple painted lines on the body. Like similar instruments of the era, this model ha a volume and tone control,
and a basic plastic body with a wood block inside for stability and resonance.
Right on the heels of the Kiesel lap steel above, I found this
very cool 1966 #1-MB mandolin. In those days, the bodies were made
in Japan, then assembled by Carvin in the US. This one is in
pretty good condition for it's age, with a few dings and wear here and
there. Overall, though, very nice. And it has the original
hardshell case, which is especially rare on a model of this vintage.
Along with the Kiesel lap steel above, this ranks up there with my
rarest pieces. This is a 1976 AS120 12-string guitar, which was
only offered for that one year. However, it has the chrome-covered
APH-6S pickups that were found on the 1977 models, meaning this was a
late '76 model - and maybe the only one made, since 12-string guitars
weren't that popular to begin with. Like other Carvins of that
era, it's made from Höfner components - specifically, the Höfner 4572.
As noted in other places on the site, the double-diamond headstock
inlay, headstock shape, zero-fret - these are all Höfner standards, as
is the body. It's got a nice flamed maple back and sides, with a
spruce top and mother-of-pearl block inlays. Other features
include front and back body binding, dual volume and tone contols and
This is my Carved Top CT6T, bought from the
Guitars-in-Stock section of Carvin.com in June of 2006. It's
finished in deep triple-step Tiger Eye stain on flamed maple with
matching headstock, and the back is stained in crimson red.
The neck and body are mahogany, and the fingerboard is ebony with
abalone block inlays. Other features include gold Sperzel
locking tuners and Wilkinson tremolo. Pickups are C22s.
||Here is the first
official Icon bass ordered. It's an IC4, and was ordered on
December 30th, 2005, and received on March 22nd, 2006. It's got a
maple body and maple neck, with a flamed maple top finished in deep
triple-step purple. Other features include a Birdseye maple
fingerboard with black dots, black chrome hardware, soapbar pickups and
the new A-style bridge.
This one is special in just about every way
possible. It officially is a BB70EP, but it's totally unique in every
way. The Elite Series was introduced late in 2005, and this is
one of the first ones made, and it is the first BB Elite model.
What makes the Elite different from the standard models is that it
has a quilted front and back, as well as the front and back of the
headstock. The body and headstock also have a thin
phenolic layer between
the body and the quilt - very classy. They also come standard
with a walnut body, matching truss rod cover and 5-piece
this one has a maple body, 5-piece all maple neck with "pointy"
headstock, ebony fingerboard with abalone block inlays, Hipshot
detuner, Straploks and chrome hardware. I had the older, large
Carvin logo used on the headstock, and the Bunny Brunel logo applied
to the back. Electronics consist of a single HB2 pickup with a
pan pot that pans between each coil (like my XB75 below). It
also has a piezo bridge, with a blend control to blend it with the
This bass sounds fantastic, and plays wonderfully. It's a real
work of art.
can click each of these photos to see a larger version.
This LB70 (below)
was ordered in September 2004, and received in November, and is one of the more exotic
of my collection, however, it's reasonably stock, without any of the custom
electronics or other features of some of my others. Still, it was my
design, and Carvin made it perfectly. Most obviously, it has a flamed koa
top with matching headstock, that just can't be adequately portrayed in a
photograph - it looks much better "live". The body and neck are also koa.
It has a Birdseye maple fingerboard, with no position markers, which make for a
clean look. I was going for a very traditional look, so it has a 2X2
headstock, and non-rounded body sides. Electronics consist of a pair of
H50 stacked humbuckers with active pre-amp. Other amenities include gold
hardware, straplocks, and 24K gold Carvin logo on the headstock. Another
stunning example of what comes out of the Custom Shop. In 2009, I upgraded the H50S
pickups with Carvin's new H5A Alnico stacked humbuckers, which really made this bass come alive.
bass was ordered in late 2003. I have to say, as good of a job
as Carvin did with my other (unusual) requests, they really went above and
beyond with this one. A real testament to their "can-do" attitude, not to
mention the skills of their craftsmen. So, here's the deal - this is an
XB75, mahogany body and neck with quilted top and headstock, finished in
Vintage Yellow. And that's where the similarity to every other XB75 ends.
Most obvious is the pickup and controls. Yes, only one HB5 pickup - to the
best of my knowledge, the only factory-built Carvin with a single HB5 humbucker
(but I hear that after seeing mine, someone has ordered one - maybe this will
become a standard option?). The lower knobs are the same as other Carvin
basses - bass boost, treble & midrange, and the forward top knob is a standard
volume. However, the pan control actually pans between the coils of the HB,
allowing a single-coil tone in two positions, or a blend of both. Also,
notice the headstock - it's a hand-made flying V style, a feature that's not
offered on 5-string basses. A beautiful Birdseye maple fingerboard with
abalone dots and gold hardware round out the package.
acquisition is the epitome of a late 80's Carvin bass. A
wild color (in this case, Pearl Purple), a Kahler bass tremolo, and
obviously, it's a DN440 double-neck. A great bass,
and a really rare find. Additionally, this one has some history -
it was originally ordered in November of 1987 by Steve McDonald of Redd
Kross. Since it was
ordering late '87, and this model wasn't officially introduced until
1988, this may be the first actual production model made. Regardless,
it's a rare and cool instrument!
It was also used
in Redd Kross' "Annie's Gone" video, which was a staple of MTV's
"120 Minutes" and other early alternative video
can see the video
right here (Quicktime,
This DN440 was featured in the June 2009 issue of Vintage Guitar - my second appearance in the magazine (my DN640K below was in the March 2005 issue). It
was a real thrill to have another one of my instruments featured in such an important magazine. Click the cover to read the article.
I sold my blueburst AC40
to buy this 2002 model AC40. I happened to see this one in a
local music store, and just had to have it. The blueburst one was
very nice, but this had a much more traditional look to it, which I
thought was better suited to an acoustic. It has a mahogany neck
and body, flamed maple top with a clear gloss finish, and koa headstock
overlay. I made the matching koa truss rod cover. Other
features include tortoiseshell body binding and gold hardware.
Subsequent to buying it, I
found out it was formerly owned by Lynn Wamp, wife of, and bassist with
local bluegrass mainstay
I've actually become good friends with the Wamp's, who I met through my
The Lovell Sisters Band.
Prismatique is one of the most unusual finishes ever offered, by Carvin or any
other manufacturer. This 2002 model was the first new Carvin bass I had
ordered in 20 years, and it's my main instrument. Photographing it is
tough - you could burn a whole roll of film and still not capture all the
"looks" it has. The HP finish actually changes color, depending on the
lighting, and that makes it a great stage bass that always grabs attention.
In addition to the finish, other features include rounded body sides, a 5-piece maple/walnut neck,
reverse inline headstock with drop-shadow logo, abalone dot inlays, black chrome
hardware and HB2/H50N pickups. The Macassar ebony truss rod cover I made
Unfortunately, Harlequin Prismatique was discontinued shortly after
I ordered this one, so if you have the chance to get one, jump at
is the one that started my love affair with Carvin basses. I ordered
this directly from the factory way back in 1983. Cost was about $1150, which was pretty
pricey for back then. It's made of solid Koa, with Koa
set-necks. Hardware is gold, and the electronics consist of the
venerable M22 pickups, with coil splitters and phase switches all around.
It originally had black bezels, but I ordered cream ones about a year after
I received it. It also has inlaid logos on the headstocks.
I've been refitting this one for the past
couple of months. I was luckily able to find original gold plated
Schaller tuners for both necks - and they weren't cheap! The guitar
tuners were $80 for a set, the bass tuners were $150. I haven't been
able to find original bridges for either - a got a very close Schaller
bass bridge, which looks very much like the original, and a new Carvin
bridge for the guitar. The tailpiece on the guitar is the tough
one, but I found a NOS one on eBay that had never been used - got it for
less than 10 bucks, which was a real bargain.
This DN640 was
also featured in the March 2005 issue of Vintage Guitar magazine - click on the
cover to see the article.
This is a 2006
model C450T Cobalt acoustic bass. It has a mahogany back,
sides and satin-finished neck, with a spruce top, rosewood
fingerboard, and abalone soundhole purfling. Electronics
consist of a Fishman Matrix pickup and Fishman Prefix Plus-T
module with built-in tuner.
below are instruments that were once in my collection, but have since been sold
(mainly to buy other instruments!)
I love this one! By sheer
dumb luck, I found it on Classifieds2000, an old site that has since been
absorbed by the big giant heads at Yahoo. It's a V440T, with
the Kahler bass trem, that was made after official production ended, or at
least right near the end of the run. These were made in '86 and '87, but
it has the '88 block logo on the headstock, and the seller told me that he had
custom paint mixed for it - it's a very deep metallic blue. It plays
wonderfully, but is a little body-heavy. And if you're wondering, the
Kahler bass tremolo stays in perfect tune. I had wanted one of these when they were
first introduced, but never got around to ordering one - then *poof*, they were
gone. They're can be found on eBay now, but not always in as good
condition as this one. When I stumbled across it in 1999, I was just amazed.
This 2003 BB76P was a custom order.
Black stain on quilt, minimal black burst, solid black back, no
coil-splitters, dual HB6 pups, 5-piece neck, abalone dots, no BB logo.
And it's perfect - they nailed the construction. It's *exactly*
what I ordered, and just gorgeous. And the black
stain indeed looks black - there has been some discussion about black stain looking
brown, but that is just in photography. It looks great. Plays great, too - super
fast, and very low action.
bought this 2003 LB76A from the In-Stock section of Carvin.com while
I was waiting for my BB76P to be completed. Ironically, they
arrived on the same day. This one is a real beauty, with the
3-piece body that's standard on the Anniversary Series - in this
case, alder body, flamed maple top, with a thin walnut center.
The neck is maple and koa, and it has a matching flamed koa
headstock. Other features include black chrome hardware, and
recently sold this 1987 LB60 to my good friend
Matt. It's a great bass, but I needed to
make room for some new ones.
At the time it was
produced, the LB60 was Carvin's top-of-the-line bass, and this one has all the
features that made it so. It's heavy, with a maple body and maple set neck, and like
all Carvin basses of the era, it has an ebony fingerboard. Most unusual
about this bass is the Platinum Pearl Pink finish, which was only used in 1987
(although Hot Pearl Pink was used in 1986, and just Pearl Pink was used in
1988). There are very few of these floating around in this color, which is
why the pinks weren't used but for a couple of years. Other features
include stereo wiring on the H11B pickups and chrome hardware.
Yeah, it's not a bass, but it's
cool. I scored this '88 DN612 on eBay in 2002
for about $750 - a little pricey, but you just don't see too many of these,
especially with the ultra-odd 12-inline headstock. The picture
doesn't really show how cool the pearlescent white finish is, but in
person, it's pretty sweet. It's a real pain to tune - the 12 tuners
are so close together, that it's tough to tune one without accidentally
hitting the adjacent ones. Still, it's a great guitar, and a good
example of the long-gone doublenecks.
I sold this one to fund
Next up is my
This was my primary instrument for quite awhile after I scored it on GBase
in 2000. Unfortunately, I had to trade my white DN640 to get
it - the seller was asking something like $1300, but I just had to have
The DN640 I traded was just a backup for my DN640K, and I had no
particular attachment to it. Since I didn't have $1300 laying around
at the time, this was the only way I could swing the deal, and I'm so glad
I did. This one features a fretless (with fretlines) neck (top) and
a standard fretted neck. The necks themselves are maple, with Koa
body wings. It plays and sounds great, and although it weighs in at
14 pounds, it has been my main bass most of the time - being able to
switch from fretless to fretted mid-tune is a great advantage.
Plus, it's just an impressive instrument!
sold this one to buy the Pearl Purple DN440T above.
I am a huge fan of vintage Carvin doublenecks. There are so
few manufacturers that make a doubleneck, much less a bass/guitar
doubleneck. This one is an eBay score - a '92 DN640
(left). Yes, I already had one DN640, but this is totally
different. Most obviously, the bass is on top, not on the
bottom as on older, set-neck DN640s. But that's just the
beginning. Like my DN440, this is a neck-through model,
whereas my '83 has set necks. The real coup on this one,
however, is the dual tremolos. On the bass neck, a Kahler bass
trem, and on the guitar neck, a Carvin-licensed Floyd Rose.
Another great E-Bay find.
I think I paid around $400 for this '92 X220. I was actually
looking for a V220 to match the V440 and stumbled across this one.
And it's in great condition, and is all original except for the red
Duncan Screamin' Demon (but the seller sent me the original M22, as
gold hardware looks great with the black finish, and my guitar player
buddies rave about how well it plays.
This one too has gone on to a better
home. Guitars are meant to be played, and I just didn't play this one
enough to justify keeping it.
Shortly after having the
Custom Shop build my LB70, I decided to order the AC40 from the
Guitar-in-Stock section. OK, it's not what I'd've ordered if I was
going to have it custom-made - in fact, I was real unsure if I'd even
like the blueburst on quilt finish. But let me tell you - it's
gorgeous! My first choice would've been vintage yellow on quilt,
but this is going to be a seldom-used, but necessary, instrument, so I
decided to save a few bucks, and give a good home to a bass that was
sitting in the warehouse. And I'm glad I did! I actually
really like the blueburst finish, and the quilting is great. It's a
very nice bass, as is the new AC40, and I thought this
photo did great justice to it. It's now part of
Dirty Dave's collection.