Anyone that knows me knows that I am a fanatic for Roger Sadowsky bass guitars. I’ve been playing the same M5-24 since 2006. I call her Brownie because of her Sunburst color and she gets virtually NO downtime and has had one vaction in 5 years (when I played a Sadowsky MV-5 for a tour in South America)!! We’ve toured 5 continents together and prayerfully we’ll be able to do more. With all of that being said, I think it’s time to get her a little relief!!
I’ve been searching for another bass to try that could be a great backup to Brownie. I know that the obvious solution would be to get another Sadowsky, which I will one day, but for now that price tag puts this idea a little out of reach. The prices of those wonderful instruments have increased over the last five years and I have to admit that I faced a bit of sticker shock when I went back to start pricing basses. I totally understand it though.
In the interim, I’ve researched almost EVERY bass manufacturer that exists. I’ve even bought inexpensive basses and have modified them in search of a great backup/alternate bass. The new Fenders are inconsistent in sound/feel, the older Fenders cost just as much as the new ones, the Squier’s feel/sound great passive but do not have any realistically usable preamps (if any at all), G&L’s are great but just don’t suit my taste or work load, Warwick necks are too small for my hands, and I’m not a fan of the Shecters, ESP’s, Epiphone’s etc. So that leaves a few options that could work in my world… Ibanez Premiums, the new Lakland AJ’s and the Carvin SB5000 / B50.
Of the last three basses mentioned, I figured I’d just take a first stab with Carvin. I met Sekou Bunch at a Jazz Festival in California last year. We were in the slot right before the band he was with that night. As we were leaving the stage he invited me to his trailer to check out this new bass, the Carvin SB5000. He raved that this was an incredible instrument and that I should come play his bass. I must say that I’ve never owned anything from Carvin before and I had always received those magazines from the company that just seemed to magically follow me wherever I moved! So I was familiar with the brand through media, but this was my first time up close. The neck on this bass felt incredible and when he played it on stage the sound was big and round yet articulate for every note. I was really feeling this bass, except for one thing… the body shape.
I’m just more of a traditional when it comes to bass body styles. This design is close to a traditional shape, but that upper horn on the bass just didn’t appeal to me. I went to the website anyway to check out the specs, and it was then that I found out that Carvin offers the SB5000 bass and many others as a custom build. My Sadowsky was a metro model, so this custom thing really intrigued me and I was very elated to know that I would have a unique bass. A little more delving into the site lead me to the Carvin B50 which has the SB500 electronics with a more traditional body shape:
Discovering this bass sold me on trying Carvin first. Everything about this bass is appealing to me. I honestly don’t think that too many people are aware that the B50 is basically the same as the SB5000. Web searches yielded little to no information about the latest B50 models. So when I get my bass I’ll do reviews and YouTube clips on how the bass sounds. I just made the order on Cyber Monday, which ironically was the last day to receive close to $200 off the price of the bass at the time, but has been since extended for a week. The base price is somewhere around $860 and price fluctuates with the options you choose for your build. Build time is currently running about 7 weeks. This is great considering that many smaller companies average about 6 months.
Please visit Carvin and check out these basses. I’ll keep you posted on the process!!