to hear audio clips of the bass at
pickups produce a more even tone without the volume imbalances that occur
with flattop pickups. Powered by two 9V
batteries, the pickups are controlled by a
highly intuitive array of knobs for volume,
pickup blend, stacked concentric bass and
high frequency, stacked concentric mid-frequency, and sweep.
Embedded in the bridge is a piezo pickup that can be blended with the magnetic
pickups via its own control. Interestingly,
the high-impedance volume pot is wired
to unload the pickups at will, which produces a wider, percussive tone with added
top end—perfect for those who play slap
and pop styles requiring a snappy tone
and quick response. And since it’s a Carvin
instrument, the amount of customizable
choices available is huge, with different finish options, wood types, inlays, and even an
upgrade to their RH2 alnico humbuckers
for more aggressive, thicker tones.
A man of many hats
If I were to choose two words to best
describe the B24P, they’d be smooth and
smooth. This isn’t to drive home any specific point, but to highlight just how well
the instrument plays and feels, in addition
to the deep, velvety tones it produces.
Through a Verellen Meat Smoke amp
and two Hartke HyDrive 4x10 cabinets, the
B24P instantly felt like a dream to play. The
neck is one of the most comfortable I’ve
encountered in awhile. Even though it is a
little on the thin side, there is enough mass
to hang on to for effortlessly moving my
fretting hand around quickly and precisely.
20: 1 tuners and
Ebony fretboard with medium-jumbo nickel frets
And thanks to the B24P’s well-proportioned
design, every fret was easily accessible when
sitting down. I felt no strain when reaching
towards the lower registers.
The tonal nature of the B24P closely
matched its playability, providing a heavy
infusion of smooth and precise sounds
throughout the entire frequency range.
Even with the high end boosted, the instrument’s voicing remained round and punchy,
and there were no razor-like edges to speak
of. Though this is a major selling point
for bassists who like a tight, focused, and
refined set of tones, it may not be for rockers who want a little roughness around the
edges of their bass sound. To be fair, that’s
really not what this bass was designed for.
The B24P is a great tool for studio cats
who need to cover a wide range of contemporary, refined genres—more in the funkier
vein of latter-era Red Hot Chili Peppers
than, say, Motörhead.
That’s not to say the B24P can’t stand
up and be noticed in the mix. Boosting the
onboard mid and treble controls gave my
slapping and popping a precise, clean quality. This setting kicked out quite a bit of air
from the cabs with each pop of my middle
and ring fingers. The B24P’s onboard mid-sweep came in handy by allowing me to tailor exactly where I wanted the midrange to
sit. It also provided some really cool, wah-like sweep tones when I sustained a note
and cranked the knob up and down.
One of the initial concerns I had was how
clean the signal would remain when I turned
up the EQ controls. A common problem for
basses with active electronics and onboard
EQ is that the tone can get really muffled
with generous amounts of frequency boost—
making one wonder why a bass would have
that much boost on tap in the first place.
Thankfully, the B24P’s expertly voiced EQ
retained its highly articulate and meaty
tone in almost all areas, even if I had some
ridiculously high midrange or treble setting
in play. Sure, there were times where each
EQ control’s massive sweep could go a little
too far. In one case, a high level of boosted
bass was just too overpowering for the slinky,
John Paul Jones lines I was feeding the fret-
board. But the tone never fell apart, which
illustrated just how dialed in the electronics
are on the B24P.
Together, Carvin and Brian Bromberg have
designed quite a bass with the B24P. It’s an
impressive sounding instrument that has a
focused tone, without any sort of harshness
or wire-brush abrasion. Though its tones
might sound a little too processed for the
rebellious rocker, it’s a killer choice for bassists who want the thick and juicy tones so
prevalent in the modern styles of jam-based
or funk music.
Pros: Precise, focused tone. Great playability.
Huge EQ range.
Carvin, Brian Bromberg B24P Signature Bass, $1,329 (direct),
Cons: Modern voicing has very little edge for
dirtier or more aggressive styles.