Basses 

1973 saw a rather dramatic change in Carvin's catalogs - in a word, color!  This 32-page catalog featured a color cover, and color center spread featuring the '73 lineup of guitars and basses.  Granted, it was only 3 pages, but it was a step in the right direction.

1973 Guitars

1973 Guitar Amps

1973 Bass Amps

You can also see Carvin's bass amps from 1973 right here.

Click each picture for a larger version.

1973 Carvin Catalog Cover

The center spread featured all of Carvin's guitar and bass models for 1973.  Notice the wide variation of styles, most of which were similar in one way or another to instruments made by other manufacturers.  On the guitar side (left), the AS50B, which was similar to a Gibson ES-335.  Next, the CM95, which had obvious similarities to the Les Paul, and the SS75B & SS65B, which were similar to the Fender Strat, all the way down to the headstock.  On the other hand, Carvin's solidbody basses were relatively unique in design, although the semi-hollow AB45 was similar in appearance to Gibson's early 70's hollowbody bass.

On the far right of the bass page is the SB60, which had minor changes from 1972, including a chome cover on the bridge pickup and an inlaid design on the headstock.  The SB60 was made from solid Eastern hardrock maple, with a clear satin finish.  It had the short-scale 22 fret Höfner bolt-on neck with rosewood fingerboard, APB4 humbucking pickups, and aluminum bridge and tailpiece.  Electronics included a 3-way pickup selector switch, and volume and tone controls for each pickup.  Price on the SB60 was $169.95, or $179.95 for a lefthanded model, plus $29.95 for the SC18 hardshell case.

Next is the SB40, which had similar changes from the 1972 model as the SB60.  This model sported the same electronics and neck of the SB60, but was made from unspecified wood - probably some variant of plywood, and was finished in sunburst.  The SB40 sold for $149.95, and wasn't available in a left model.  

The last model was the AB45 semi-hollow-body bass, which was unchanged from 1972, with the exception of the headstock design.  This bass also featured the same Höfner neck and electronics of it's solidbody counterparts, with aluminum bridge and tailpiece, MOP pickguard, and sunburst finish with white binding.  The AB45 sold for $169.95, or $179.95 for a left-handed model.  The AC21 softcase was $16.95.

Click here to see the actual catalog page featuring the descriptions.

1973 Carvin DBS98B Doubleneck Guitar/Bass

Although the standard guitars and basses got the full-color treatment, Carvin's doublenecks and Hawaiian steel guitars were still shown in black-and-white.  The model shown here is a DBS98B doubleneck, which was a combination bass/Spanish guitar, and had been in production under a variety of model names since the early 60's.

The features of the DBS98B were basically the same as the SB60 bass, and the SS75 guitar - that is, Hofner bolt-on necks with rosewood fingerboards, APB4 pickup (bass) and AP6 pickups (guitar) with 3-way selector switch.  Additionally, the necks were wired independently of each other, so each neck could be plugged into a different amp.  The guitar neck was available with or without the Bigsby vibrola.

An interesting feature of this model, and many older Carvin double-necks like it, is that the neck for the bass was the same short scale as for the guitar.  This would be very convenient for guitar players to play, but it required special, extra-thick bass strings.  At this time, La Bella flatwounds were standard on all Carvin basses.

The DNS98B sold for $279.95, and the DNS98 (without the Bigsby) sold for $249.95.  A left-handed model was not available.  The SC27 hardshell case was $34.95.

Lastly, the back cover contained various ordering information, as well as an order form, which would be a mainstay of Carvin's catalogs for years to come.  Note in red the details of the 10-day trial period, which has been one of Carvin's strongest selling points.

1973 Carvin Order Form