1988 was an important year for Carvin -
maybe the most important in their history (especially from a design perspective).
Cosmetically, Carvin guitars & basses were sporting new colors and a new headstock
design. But most significantly, this was the year Carvin instruments were
first built using neck-thru construction. Rather than having a neck that
was glued in or bolted on, the wood that the neck was shaped from was
cut extra long, and the body "wings" were then glued along the
sides. This arrangement was very stable and allowed for excellent
sustain, as the nut and bridge were both attached to the same piece of
to the neck-thru construction, the '88 models
also introduced a full 24 fret, two octave neck. Carvin's new H13B
stacked humbuckers were standard, as were Carvin 22:1
chrome hardware, graphite nut, and mother-or-pearl side and top dot
inlays. Standard color choices were black, white, red or clear
maple. There were quite a few options available, including
fretless (with or without fret lines), lefties, gold or black hardware,
Kahler bass tremolo, "V" headstock, koa body sides and pearl
The are more details of the new options and
finishes on the 1988 Guitar Page.
each picture for a larger version.
reintroduced as a replacement to the LB60 to
become the flagship Carvin bass. At 9 ½ pounds, it was light and extremely
well-balanced, despite the longer neck. Electronics consisted of
dual H13B stacked humbuckers, dual volume/tone controls, coil
splitters, phase switch and 3-way pickup selector. The LB70 started at $519,
plus $69 for the case.
And for the first time, Carvin also offered
a 5-string model, the LB75 (right). The LB75
offered the same features and options as the LB70, with the exception of
the "V" headstock, and fretless neck. Also, if you were a
lefty and wanted a LB75, you were out of luck. The LB75 started at $599, plus $69 for the
(left) was Carvin's "entry-level" bass for '88. Despite
costing less then the LB70, it still sported the same pro features, but
with stripped down electronics (single volume and tone controls, and no
phase switches, mono output). The "V" headstock was
standard, but the inline headstock could be ordered as an option.
Carvin also offered the LB95, which was a 5-string version with
an inline headstock. The body of both these models was a rounded
"P-Bass" style, versus the DC200 inspired body on the LB70 and
LB75. The LB90 could be ordered fretless, but not the LB95, and neither
model was available in a left-handed version. The LB90 base price was $469, and the LB95 base price
In addition to the other models, Carvin introduced the
DN440 (above, right), a doubleneck
bass available in a variety of configurations. The model shown here
is a fretless/fretted, with a Kahler bass tremolo. This model would
stay the same for 1989, and have a new control configuration for 1990.
This is the only photo of a DN440 that appeared in a Carvin catalog
throughout it's run.
New for 1988 was the H13B stacked humbucker pickup. This replaced
the H11B stacked humbucker that was used in 1987, but itself would only
be used in 1988 and 1989, before being replaced by the H50B in 1990.
This is the hand-written control schematic that was included
with new guitars and basses in 1988. The original printed
control schematic was also included (the same one as had been
used since the early 80's), but with the new electronics
configurations that were offered in 1988, this diagram had to be
drawn up and included with new purchases.