So, you're thinking about buying an LB70, but you need a little more convincing?  Well, here's what the folks at Bass Player Online had to say when they awarded the Carvin LB70 the "Best of Show" in their 1998 Shootout of 4-string basses priced from $799 to $1000.  Thanks very much to Bass Player Online for graciously allowing me to reproduce their review here.



How does a company sell a bass with beautiful wood, expert setup, and great active electronics for $799? Why, it sells it direct. You can't play an LB-70 in a store unless you find yourself close to one of Carvin's Southern California showrooms, though. (Just for the record, Carvin's catalog-published list price for the LB-70 without any options is $1,299.) But like all Carvin products, it comes with a ten-day money-back guarantee.

Our natural polyester-finished LB-70 came to us with the following options: two-piece koa body sides, fully rounded body edges, and a maple headstock veneer. The LB-70 was one of the few neck-through-body basses in our Shootout; it was also one of two instruments that featured string-through-body construction for better tone. (The bass also features Hipshot's new bass bridge, which is great.)


Our test LB-70 displayed excellent construction details. The finish was perfectly buffed (except for the difficult-to-polish area around the end of the neck), and the flatsawn maple neck boasted a nice slab of ebony with 24 expertly dressed frets. Some players didn't like the polyurethane on the back of neck, but others didn't mind it. (Carvin offers a tung-oil neck finish for $60.)  

Carvin's H50N humbucking J-style pickups provide hum-free performance, but they still offer J-like tone. (The pickups are located back about an inch from standard J-placement due to the 24-fret neck.) A 9-volt battery sits inside a pop-up compartment and powers a Carvin active preamp that's shielded by a copper-foil-lined cavity. The controls are simple: master volume with pull passive mode, blend, and 3-band EQ. All of the controls on our tester worked well, although the volume pot sounded as if there was a bit of DC on it, which caused a thuddy, scratchy sound when turning the knob. (Carvin's Dave Flores says, "We are baffled at the problem you experienced. If this happened to a customer, we would offer them the choice of us sending them a prewired control module overnight for their tech to install, with a service labor allowance, or would pay shipping both ways for the bass to be shipped to us for repair. The ten-day trial period would then begin once the bass is returned.") Also, one staffer didn't like the treble contour, saying it seemed to offer more cut than boost.

Jazz Bass lovers will dig the LB-70. It has good growl and a nice slap tone with both pickups on. We were also able to coax sparkly solo sounds, in-your-face midrange howl, and dub rumble from its electronics. Overall, the LB-70 has a rich, balanced sound that pleased players of all styles (including some of the most jaded staff members). Comments: "Nails that Jaco staccato tone with the bridge pickup soloed." "Makes you want to turn it up and funk." "Could play this bass on a variety of gigs." "Great low-down groover."

Copyright 1998 Miller Freeman Inc./United Business Media. All Rights Reserved.
Reproduced by permission.