Carvin has gone through a lot of changes since Lowell Kiesel founded it, in 1946, as a guitar pickup manufacturer under the name of L. C. Kiesel Company. Renamed after Lowell’s sons, Carson and Gavin, the family-owned operation began producing electric guitars and basses – at first using Hofner bodies and necks – in the 1950s. Today Carvin is known for its high-quality, original instruments that offer the customer a surprising number of options – including choice of woods – on even their basic instruments.
Carvin basses stand out in a number of ways, one being the use (in some models) of through-neck construction which increases sustain and allows for a slimmer neck heel. Another Carvin specialty is their kits: if you are prepared to do a little work yourself, you can have a great Carvin electric bass at a very reasonable cost. Four- and five-string bass kits start well under $500 and shipping is included!
Carvin sells only by direct shipment to its customers (shipping is always free) which helps keep costs down by eliminating middle-men. Because you can’t play the instrument before buying it (unless you live near one of their California locations) Carvin will let you return it for a full refund if after ten days if it doesn’t suit you.
To this day Carvin remains one of the few family-owned musical instrument companies in the US. You will see Carvin basses in the hands of some of the greatest bass players ever, including jazz great Bunny Brunel and multi-instrumentalist, multi-genre-playing David Bromberg. And many bass players who use instruments from other manufacturers insist on having Carvin strings on their basses. Something to think about.