The 1980's arrived with Carvin building
a head of steam in the guitar and bass arenas. Although the
catalog still focused primarily on pro audio gear, the instrument
lines began an expansion that would continue to the present day, and
the foundation was being established for a reputation that many would
consider to be the finest US-made guitars and basses on the
The catalog cover itself heralded the
rebirth of the doubleneck line, which went on a redesign hiatus after
the 1979 model year. There were 4 basic models of guitars available (the DC150,
DC160, CM140 & CM160), as well as the DN612 and DN640 doublenecks,
and the LB50 bass - but the line was about to explode with new
models, new colors, new features and many new options.
Click each picture to see the full
Like 1979, Carvin's only bass was the
LB50, and it's variants. This bass would prove to be Carvin's
most successful model ever, until the "pointy"
movement began to take off in 1985. It was available as the LB50BE
(left), which featured a black body and ebony fingerboard, the LB50CM
(right), which featured a maple body and maple fingerboard, or the LB50CE,
which featured a maple body and ebony fingerboard. All models
had standard chrome hardware, MOP dot inlays, Schaller #M4 tuners and
a 34" scale, 20-fret neck, and M22B humbucking pickups.
Base price on the LB50 CM was $380.00,
with the LB50CE and LB50BE models costing $400.00. All three
models were available in lefty versions for an additional
$30.00. 24K gold hardware was available for an additional
$50.00, and stereo wiring (like 1979's LB60) was available for an
The HC14 hardshell case sold for $60.00
1980 saw the return of doublenecks to
Carvin's lineup, both of which were
entirely different from their 70's counterparts, sporting sleek looks,
set necks, and a standard scale 20-fret fingerboard on the bass side.
Interestingly, the DN series featured the body style that would be the
template for the hugely popular DC200 series of guitars that would be
introduced in 1981, and the LB60 bass that would appear in 1986.
The DN640 (left) was available in black
or natural finishes, both with ebony fingerboards, MOP dot inlays,
chrome hardware and mono wiring, with an input for each neck.
Price on the DN640 was $890.00 (either finish), and optional gold
hardware was an additional $100.00. The HC16 case was an
All Carvin guitars and basses featured
the same control layout on the 1980 models. Volume controls for
each pickup, a master tone control, master phase switch, dual/single
coil splitter for each pickup, and a pickup selector switch.
This layout would be unchanged until 1982, when individual tone
controls were added for each pickup (with the exception of the
doublenecks, which would continue to have a single master tone
Click the diagram to see the entire