Carvin rang in 2003 with all sorts of new
toys for musicians: KB series keyboard amps, SX series guitar
amps, the SX preamp, Ground Effects pedals, the Contour 66 guitar
and Bolt+ and Bolt+C guitars. Bassists were also treated to
something totally new, the TBS4 signature bass, based on Eagles bassist
Timothy B. Schmit's long-used custom LB20. In recognition of this,
Timothy was also featured on the January 2003 catalog cover. There
was also a subtle headstock redesign that appeared in mid-2003, and the
Carvin logo was added to the battery compartment on active-equipped
Additionally, new colors were added to the already extensive palette
- Sunsetburst, Translucent White, Burnt Umber Stain, Baby Blue, and
Seafoam Green. All in all, a great way
to start the year for any Carvin fan!
The 2003 catalogs featured a record 11
pages of bass guitar products (plus 4 pages of bass amps), showcasing a whopping
basic models (B4, B5, LB20, LB70, LB75, LB76, XB75, XB76, BB70,
BB75, BB76, Claro Walnut, Anniversary, TBS4, AC40 & AC50). A
far cry from the 2 or 3 models available in the 70s and 80s! With
the wide variety of colors, woods, quilted tops, flame tops and many
other options, this meant thousands of possible combinations and
variations were available, suiting any style and taste.
Also in mid-2003, all Carvin guitar and
bass pages in the catalog got a makeover, which coincided with a similar
make over on the website. Instead of the primarily earth-tone
backgrounds that had been used for many years, a sleek black background
was used, giving a high-tech appearance. This new layout would
pave the way for the reintroduction of the large-format catalog in 2004.
As in 2002, Carvin offered 50% off cases
and options out of the Custom Shop. There were some price
increases on the base models in mid-2003.
Click on any of the photos for a larger
Check out the Carvin
booth at NAMM 2003! You can also take the Carvin
And here it is, the new TBS4.
This was the first signature model bass to come out of San Diego
since the Bunny Brunel BB series was introduced in 1992.
Built in conjunction with long-time Carvin endorser Timothy B. Schmit,
this model is essentially a stripped down LB20, featuring H50N stacked
humbuckers controlled by a single volume knob. Other standard features
are tung-oil on the back of the neck, no inlays (side dots only), and a
neck that's 1/16" thinner than a standard LB20. Quilted or
flame top, in any color, was also standard.
The TBS4 was priced at $899, in either
fretted or fretless versions.
The photo at the left is from the July 2003 catalog, and shows the TBS4 in
Ruby Red Stain on quilt.
The B4 and B5 also benefited
from the new colors, as illustrated by the Baby Blue B4 shown in the
catalog, and the Trans White on swamp ash B4 in the inset. Interestingly, this B4 is also shown with
passive electronics, with two volume, one tone and a coil splitter for the
venerable HB2 bridge pickup, versus the active electronics model usually
depicted in the catalog.
Prices went up for the B4 and
the B5, to $595 and $719, respectively.
The photo at the right is from the July 2003 catalog, and show the B4 in
Trans White on swamp ash, J99/HB2 pickups and gold hardware, and the B5 in
Sapphire Blue on swamp ash with J99/HB2 pickups and black hardware.
The passive LB20 and active
LB70 remained unchanged for 2003. The only change (apart
from the 2 new colors) was a new catalog photo, which showed the same
LB70 as '02, but was paired with a different LB20.
The LB20 was priced at $669, and the LB70
was priced at $749. The LB70P was priced at $849.
The photo at the left is from the July 2003 catalog, and shows the LB20 in walnut with rounded body sides, and
the LB70 is a P Series model in Tobacco Sunburst on swamp ash.
Also unchanged, the LB75 was
featured on a page by itself, unlike 2002, when it was paired with an
The LB75 was priced at $799. The LB75P was priced at
The photo at the right is from the
January 2003 catalog, and features an LB75 with Blue Burst finish on
swamp ash, with an HB2 and rounded body sides, and an LB75 in Classic
Sunburst on swamp ash with an HB2 and rounded body sides.
Like the LB75, the LB76
was given a page of it's own, and the XB76 it was paired with in 2002
was given it's own spot with an XB75 (see below). Other than that,
there were no changes to this model.
The LB76 and LB76P were priced at $899 and
The photo at the left is from the July 2003 catalog, and shows an LB76 in Sapphire Blue on swamp ash with an
HB2 and rounded body sides, and an LB76P in Cherry Sunburst on quilted
maple with matching headstock, mother-of-pearl block inlays and gold
Carvin's LB70, LB75 and LB76
continued to be available in the Claro Walnut Series (W Series),
and had no changes from 2002.
The catalog inset shows the
Anniversary model (A Series), which was also unchanged for 2003.
The base price on the LB70W/A sold for
and $1249 for the "P" option. The LB75W/A was $1199, and
$1299 for the "P" option, and the LB76W/A was $1299, or $1399 (from $1449)
for the "P" option.
The photo at the right is from the July 2003 catalog.
The 2003 catalog featured new photos of
the long-running BB70 and BB75 four and five string
models. The BB76 was not pictured.
The BB70 was $849, and $949 for the
"P" option. The BB75 was $899, and $999 for the
"P" option. The BB76 was $999, and $1099 for the
The photo at the left is from the July 2003 catalog, and shows a
BB70P in Antique Brown Stain on quilt with matching
headstock, Hipshot detuner and gold hardware, and a BB75 in figured
walnut with 5-piece neck, HB2 bridge pickup and black hardware.
You can visit
Bunny's official website here.
The XB Series were moved to their own
page in 2003, rather than being on the same page with their
similar-stringed counterparts. All features and options were the
same as 2002.
The XB75 was base-priced at $869,
and $969 for the P Series option, and the XB76 was $969, and
$1069 for the P Series option.
The photo at the right is from the July 2003 catalog, and shows an XB75PF in walnut, and an XB76 in
Sapphire Blue over flamed maple with matching headstock, HB2 PU and gold
The AC40 and AC50
were also unchanged for 2003, and continued to offer bassists a high
quality acoustic model with all the features and options of a Custom
The AC40 was priced at $799, and the AC50
was priced at $849.
The photo at the right is from the July 2003 catalog, and shows an AC40 in Classic Sunburst on flamed
maple, with matching traditional (2+2) headstock, body binding, abalone
block inlays and black hardware, and an AC50 in Sapphire Blue on quilt
with matching headstock, body binding, abalone block inlays and gold