1988 Carvin Catalog Cover 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 wood. 

1988 Guitars

1988 Guitar Amps

1988 Bass Amps

In addition 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 machine heads, 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 finishes.

The are more details of the new options and finishes on the 1988 Guitar Page

Click each picture for a larger version.

1988 Carvin Guitar & Bass Finishes

1988 Carvin LB70 Bass


The LB70 (left) was reintroduced as a replacement to the LB60 to become the flagship Carvin bass.  At 9 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 case.

1988 Carvin LB75 Bass
1988 Carvin LB90 Bass

The LB90 (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 was $549.


1988 Carvin DN440 Doubleneck Bass
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.
1988 Carviun H13B Pickup

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.