1981 Carvin Catalog Cover



As had been the case for the past few years, bassists didn't have much to choose from in 1981.  In fact, there was only one choice, the LB50, plus the DN640 for those who preferred a doubleneck.  The LB50 had some modifications over the previous model, and this was just the beginning of the sweeping changes that would occur throughout the 1980's.

1981 Carvin History

1981 Guitars

1981 Guitar Amps

1981 Bass Amps

The 1981 catalog sported new photography for the LB50 - instead of just describing the 3 variants, all 3 models were shown in a single photograph.  There were some changes to the LB50 from the previous year - it now sported dual volume and dual tone controls, versus the one master tone control of the '79 and '80 models (a great way of narrowing down the year of a particular instrument).  To facilitate this additional control, the coil splitters and phase switch was moved to a position behind the volume and tone knobs (they were in front of the controls in previous years, like the DN640 below).  As in 1980, the LB50 was available in black with an ebony fingerboard (LB50BE, left), clear maple with maple fingerboard (LB50CM, right) or clear maple finish with an ebony fingerboard (LB50CE, center).  Any of these could be ordered with stereo wiring and/or gold hardware, and the LB50BE and LB50CE could be ordered left-handed.  The LB50CM sold for a very reasonable $375, and the BE and CE models were $395.  Left-handed models were an additional $30, and a fretless model could be ordered for $415.  Stereo wiring was $20, and gold hardware was an additional $50.  The HC14 case was $60.

Click the picture for the full catalog page.

1981 Carvin LB50 Bass
1981 Carvin DN612 & DN640 Doublenecks

Also available in 1981 was the DN640 (and DN612, for the guitarist), which was basically the same as the 1980 model, with the exception of the control layout on the 6-string neck.  Take a look at the knobs on the '80 model - the guitar and bass volume/tone controls were a mirror image of each other, whereas the '81 (and later) used the same layout.  This was the design that would remain for these models until neck-thru design was introduced in 1988.

The DN640, in black or clear finish, sold for $765.  The DN612, also available in black or clear finish, was $795.  Gold hardware was an additional $100, and the HC15 case was $75.  Left-handed models or maple fingerboards were not available.

Click the picture to see the full catalog page.