The photos and specifications of Carvin's guitar lineup was the same as the 1984 catalog, but there were new customer comments on most of the pages, as well as the price increases mentioned above. However, when the new Summer edition came out, there were a few new things for guitarists to get excited about. In addition to a new model, black hardware was added as an option to go with standard chrome or optional gold.
The long running and popular Les Paul-inspired CM Series guitars were retired in the summer of 1985. Up to this point, they had been Carvin's most successful model, but the decision was made to focus on Carvin-designed instruments like the DC Series. The Les Paul Special styled DC150 and DC160 would remain, but only for a few more years.
The new DC125 Lead Guitar was designed for the guitarist that wanted a no-frills, straight-ahead rock-n-roll guitar, and also debuted in the summer edition. It was basically a single pickup DC200. Other manufacturers had some success selling similar stripped down models, but none offered the high-quality materials or craftsmanship of Carvin. The body and set neck of the DC125 was hardrock maple, and the fingerboard was ebony with MOP dot inlays. The DC125 also borrowed the headstock from the V220, for a more lean, aggressive appearance. Electronics consisted of a single M22SD pickup, single volume control and coil splitter.
The V220 could be seen throughout the 1985 catalog. Like the DC160, it was given a two-page spread, as well as a new customer comments page. It also adorned the back cover of the catalog, as was featured in several endorser's photos. It had one minor change, and that was the replacement of the plastic knobs with new chrome or gold metal knobs. Like other models, it's price increased to $419 (from $399) for the hardtail version, or $569 (versus $549) for the Kahler-equipped model. Optional koa wood increased to $50.
The SH225 was omitted from the winter catalog, but in the summer edition, it was shown in white (a first) and with a Kahler Pro tremolo (another first). The SH225 would only be available for a few more years before being discontinued.
Like the other guitar models, the DN612 & DN640 used the same picture as in previous years, but had new customer comments and new pricing.
The back cover of the 1985 catalog featured a white V220 with Kahler tremolo in front of an X-100B tube stack amp. Beginning in 1984, Carvin catalogs had a very heavy card-stock cover, making for a nice, protective folder for the catalog.
Apart from some minor price increases, there were no significant changes to the lineup for the winter 1985 catalog, except one: the Kahler bass tremolo. It was available on either the LB40 or the LB50 for an additional $170. The catalog did not explicitly state whether it was available in gold or not. Kahler did make them in gold, and later model Carvins did have them in gold (and black), but presumably, chrome was the only choice initially.
With the exception from the Kahler bass tremolo, everything in the winter catalog remained the same as 1984 except the pricing. The base LB50 with an ebony fretboard was $439, and $419 for the LB50CM (maple neck/gloss finish). There was a $20 upcharge for red or white. The LB50K was $489. The LB40 base price was $389, in black, white, red, or clear gloss finish. The Koa model was $439. The photos in the catalog were the same as the '84 catalog. The DN640 remained the same price as '84, and the same photo as had been used in previous years was used in the catalog.
However, in the Summer edition, it was out with the old, in with the new. The LB50, which had been around since 1979, was phased out of production. The catalog did have a tiny blurb stating it was still available, and anyone interested should contact Carvin for specs and other details. However, it was clear the direction Carvin was heading by the mid 80's. One word: pointy. In the age of hair bands, new wave and heavy metal, rounded basses like the LB50 just didn't have the style that players wanted. So, keeping up with the times, Carvin introduced the LB60. Re-introduced, actually. There was a model called the LB60 in 1979, which was basically an upscale LB50. The new LB60 was a marriage of the LB50 and LB40. It featured the electronics of the LB50, with the body style of the LB40. The LB40 retained the single pickup with one volume/one tone/coil splitter, while the LB60 (Koa bass in photo) had 2 pickups, dual volume & tone, coil splitter and phase switches. Both these models came standard in clear gloss, black, white or red finish, chrome hardware, and ebony fingerboard. Maple fingerboards were no longer available. In addition to gold hardware as an option, black chrome hardware was offered for the first time.
In 1984, Carvin introduced the V220 guitar, an instrument that was ahead of it's time. But the 80's caught up quickly with the V220, and by the time MTV was predominated by hair and metal, V220s could be seen everywhere. It would take another 18 months for Carvin basses to catch up, but in the Summer of 1985, bassist got their equivalent with the introduction of the V440. Although noticeably absent from the catalog cover, Carvin gave the V440 a two-page spread inside the catalog. It was available in all the finishes of the LB40 & LB60, and could be had with black chrome or gold hardware, in addition to the standard chrome hardware, and with a Kahler bass tremolo. Unlike other Carvin basses, metal knobs were standard. It featured a pair of Carvin M22B pickups, two volume/one tone control, and coil splitters for each pickup. Base price on the V440 was $399, and the V440T (with Kahler) was $519. Koa wood was $40. Gold hardware was $40, and black chrome was $20. The HC20 case was $79. Left-handed and fretless options were not available.