The 1966 Carvin catalog
cover featured the
#74-BG bass, as well as a #65-SGB guitar, and endorsers/players (top
to bottom) Joe Maphis, Larry Collins, Billy Mize, and Hawaiian steel
guitarist Pua Almeida. The 22-page black-and-white catalog
included a variety of steel guitars, amps, stringed instruments and
Click each picture to see the entire
1960's were an interesting time in the world of guitars.
Gibson & Fender dominated the US market, but import guitars
from Japan, Germany and Italy began to flood the American music
scene. Most of these instruments were made by just a handful
of companies, who licensed the guitars to be sold under a variety of
names in different overseas markets. The Japanese company
Teisco was the king of these companies, selling guitars under such
names as Teisco Del Ray, Beltone, Kingston, Silvertone, and Kimberly
in the US, and Arbiter, Audition & Kay in Europe. Carvin was a part of this,
as well, selling a bass that was most likely distributed by Beltone,
and was in turn made my Teisco (like the
#I-906 was identical to this no-named Beltone/Teisco bass.
Carvin didn't put their name on the headstock; they were simply a
reseller like many other companies.
information, see the
Bass Identification Guide.
The #73-BG bass that was introduced in
1965 was retired, and replaced by the upgraded #74-BG.
The most obvious difference between these models was the new, full
size pickguard and slanted pickups, a feature that was common on
Carvin basses and guitars of the era.
The remainder of the features were essentially
the same as the '65 model, with AP-6 (adjustable) or APB-4
(non-adjustable) pickups, dual volume & tone controls, and a
pickup selector switch. The Sunburst-finish body and neck were
made from maple. Interestingly, the catalog said: "Perhaps
some day you may wish to sell your guitar and the fine sunburst finish
will always have a much better resale than a gaudy color."
My, how things change! But at the time, sunburst finishes were
Other features included a rosewood
fretboard with double-dot pearl inlays, nickel tailpiece,
nickel-plated tuners and a steel truss rod.
The #74-BG, with adjustable pickups,
sold for $125, and the #84BG, with non-adjustable pickups, sold for
$105. The plush-lined #21-SGC hardshell case was $23.90, and the
felt-lined #22-SGC hardshell case was $19.90.
In the sixties, Carvin offered low-cost
imports in addition to the instruments made at Covina. This
bass, the model #I-906 (left), replaced
the #I-901 that was offered in
1965. This bass was made of solid mahogany with "dark finish",
and had an unspecified wood neck
with rosewood fingerboard. A
single pickup with volume and tone
controls, adjustable bridge, jumbo
tuners, thumb-rest and chrome bridge cover rounded out the package.
Price on the #I-906 was $99.90, and the
#I-905 soft case was $29.90.
The model #4-BS doubleneck
Spanish guitar/bass (right) retained the same basic shape as it had at the beginning
of the decade, but with improved features. Pickups were
available in adjustable or non-adjustable configurations, and the
electronics were rounded out by a single tone and volume control, with
individual on-off switches for each one, allowing any combination of
pickups to be used.
The #4-BS with adjustable pickups sold
for $229.90, and the #5-BS, with non-adjustable pickups, sold for
$199.90. A Bigsby vibrato tailpiece could be added for an
additional $29.90. The #6-CBS hardshell case was an additional
What a difference 35 years
makes! Back in the 60's, if you wanted to buy a Carvin, there
was one way to do it - fill in the order form on the back cover of the
catalog. There was no 800 number - no phone number of any
sort. Just this order form, and a PO Box number in Covina.