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.