was a banner year for Carvin basses. One model went away (more or
less), and two new ones joined the ranks. Additionally, new colors
were added, as were new hardware options.
each picture for a larger version.
Out with the old, in with the
new. The LB50, which had been around since 1979, was phased out of
production. The catalog did have a tiny blurb stating it was still
available, and anyone interested should contact Carvin for specs and other
However, it was clear the
direction Carvin was heading by the mid 80's. One word:
pointy. In the age of hair bands, new wave and heavy metal,
rounded basses like the LB50 just didn't have the style that players
wanted. So, keeping up with the times, Carvin introduced the LB60.
Re-introduced, actually. There was a model called the LB60 in
1979, which was basically an upscale LB50. The new LB60 was a
marriage of the LB50 and LB40. It featured the electronics of the
LB50, with the body style of the LB40. The LB40 (black and
white basses in the photo) retained the single pickup with one
volume/one tone/coil splitter, while the LB60 (Koa bass in photo) had 2
pickups, dual volume & tone, coil splitter and phase switches.
Both these models came standard in clear
gloss, black, white or red finish, chrome hardware, and ebony
fingerboard. Maple fingerboards were no longer available. In
addition to gold hardware as an option, black chrome hardware was
offered for the first time. And for the first time since the
beginning of the decade, new colors were offered, in a "Pearl"
finish. For an extra $20, you could order either of these models
in Pearl White, Candy Apple Red, Hot Pearl Pink or Deep Pearl
Blue. These options would point the way to the future for Carvin
basses - with 8 colors, Koa wood, 3 choices for hardware finish, as well
as lefties and fretless, there were many combinations available to suit
most any taste and style.
Despite being the replacement for the LB50, the
LB60 was actually less expensive. Base price was $419 (versus $439 for the
'85 LB50), and the LB40 also came down in price, to $369 (from $389).
Other options cost the same as detailed below under the V440. Only the
LB60 was available as a leftie, and either were available fretless at no extra
In 1984, Carvin introduced the V220 guitar, an
instrument that was ahead of it's time. But the 80's caught up quickly
with the V220, and by the time MTV was predominated by hair and metal, V220's
could be seen everywhere. It would take 2 more years for Carvin basses to
catch up, but in 1986, bassist got their equivalent with the introduction of the
Although noticeably absent from
the catalog cover, Carvin gave the V440 a two-page spread inside the catalog.
was available in all the finishes of the LB40 & LB60, and could be had
with black chrome or gold hardware, in addition to the standard chrome
hardware, and with a Kahler bass trem (which had dropped in price to
$120). Unlike other Carvin basses, metal knobs were standard. It
featured a pair of Carvin M22B pickups, two volume/one tone control, and coil
splitters for each pickup. Base price on the V440 was $399, and the
V440T (with Kahler) was $519. Koa wood was $40, pearl finishes were
$20. Gold hardware was $40, and black chrome was $20. The HC20
case was $79. Left-handed and fretless options were not available.
The DN612 and DN640 were still part of
the lineup, and the same photo that had been used since 1982 showed
the models. However, Carvin had moved away from the Schaller
bridge/tailpiece shown in the photo, so most likely, and made at this
time didn't really look like this. Although Carvin guitars were
no longer using this bridge/tailpiece, it was still offered on the
"parts" page, so it's possible some were made with
these. For the first time, a Kahler Pro tremolo was offered on
the 6-string guitar necks (presumably on either model). The
prices on these models actually dropped, to $799 each. Koa wood
was $60, gold hardware was $80, black chrome hardware/pickups was $40,
and the Kahler Pro trem was $120. The HC15 case was $89.