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Carvin Guitars--what's the REAL story?


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I am enjoying my Holdsworth Signature Fatboy 2.

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My only beef with it is the neck is sensitive to humidity changes, so I've had to get after the truss rod a fair amount. But it was a fresh from the factory order, so perhaps it will settle out over time. The S22 pickups sound fine to me, both split and in humbucking mode.

This one has caught my eye:

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Both guitarists in my band have a Carvin.

Different guitar models, but the same 22 pole pickups.

I don't like the sound of either one.

They sound brittle, & harsh.

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I custom ordered a TL60 a few years back. Waited about six months for it and it took less than six hours of playing it to know it was a dud so it went right back for a refund. It looked beautiful but the tone was dead dead dead.

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I have a 1977 double neck with the M22 pickups I bought new. It's rock maple with bolt on maple neck. Well made. Weighs a ton. Play it maybe once a year.

They must know people don't like the pickups... why don't they change them?

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I'm about 15 miles from their factory and have never felt the slightest urge to go check it out. I've never played one, yet don't feel like I'm missing anything.

They may be great guitars, but nothing in their branding/marketing has ever made me want to find out.

Yes. I do owe it to myself to try one or a few. I like the made-in-USA angle, the fact that they kind of do their own thing. But the website is hideous. 3D type, explosions, hype like the "rapid play neck assures the best possible string action..." all add up to an "as seen on TV, act now, not sold in stores" vibe that scares me away. I know this is about the guitars not their marketing but their image isn't very appealing to me. Compare to the Hamer site or the Suhr site, which come across as quietly high quality. But I'm old fashioned.

I think that has to do with the whole "buy direct" business model. Their ads have been like that as far back as I can remember (late 80s), and I think they just instilled a certain idea about themselves with that tone. Almost like they were trying too hard (which they probably were since you couldn't just walk down the street and go try one out).

If the pickups are the bad part, that's an easy fix. Heck, there's only one guitar I own that I actually really LIKE the pickups that it came with (my flamed Cali). The OBLs in my iri cali don't do it for me, and someone violated my Chapparal with EMG Selects before I got it.

I did get the chance to dink on a new Carvin for a few minutes back in February. Neck felt nice, but I didn't get to plug it in. The guitar's owner kept the original pickups(C22?), but they are also under covers. It was the CT624M with a 2x4 reverse headstock(which I have to say is the first Carvin model I really dig).

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I've played a couple. I thought the necks were awesome, actually, very easy to play. Can't really comment on the sounds as it takes a while to really 'hear' what a guitar can sound like through various rigs etc...but I recall they didn't sound unusable to me

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It was the CT624M

what's up w/ companies making a sexy product like an electric guitar and then naming it like its an air filter? ibanez is bad about that too, my newer guitar is called something like RGEX$@#EHFM...

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Yes they should be named after race tracks.

It was the CT624M

what's up w/ companies making a sexy product like an electric guitar and then naming it like its an air filter? ibanez is bad about that too, my newer guitar is called something like RGEX$@#EHFM...

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Carvins are like the kid that is always hanging out but never really makes a damn bit of difference in what's going on.

Unless it is refinished in "Swirl".

The guitar, not the kid.

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Carvins are like the kid that is always hanging out but never really makes a damn bit of difference in what's going on.

Unless it is refinished in "Swirl".

The guitar, not the kid.

Why waste good paint?

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I'd have to agree with most of the negative aspersions cast on Carvin guitars. They are built to very strict tolerances/consistencies, but many tend to lack "personality", for lack of a better word. I have played some nice ones, and those were usually the ones with replaced pickups.

I'm going to check out this one when my friend gets back from Mexico:

Stainless steel jumbos

Maple neck-through/rosewood board

OFR

Locking Sperzels

I've been looking for a "dedicated E-flat guitar." Hey, made in the USA for $600 w/HSC? I at least owe it to myself to check it out...

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This has made me think about getting a Carvin, now.

There is no better way to get exactly what I would want:

ebony fretboard, HSS, Floyd Rose, black hardware: easy.

But to specify Swamp Ash body, no fretboard inlays, and a ruby over AAA quilted maple with blackburst edges? You could wait a lifetime before seeing that on eBay, and of course I'm not getting that from Westone or Hamer, both of them being defunct.

I guess Jon Kammerer could do it for me, as well, but that would be Custom, and as such would be more expensive.

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Seen and played a bunch of Carvins. They were nice lookers but kind of machiney (?) feeling. My guess is Carvin might not have enough real "guitarhead" craftsman running the CNC machines and sanders. Their same guys could probably make a pretty nice flame maple rocking chair with a few CNC tweaques. And why not, they already make too much other stuff. Imo, higher end guitars need real, put your stink on it, guitarhead craftsmen in the mix.

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$600 for that Carvin on my Craig's would not sell. Please check around for used costs..

Not sure it would sell for $350 even.

I'm not trying to be an ass.. that's just what I've seen..

Here's a current list of Carvins that will not sell here:

http://sacramento.craigslist.org/msg/3982105647.html - this one has been posted for two weeks

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/msg/3993319433.html

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/msg/3985754667.html

Best of luck!

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Speaking of SH-225s.....One available locally.

http://portland.craigslist.org/wsc/msg/3993094745.html

That is probably the one I sold a year or so ago. Forgot the sales price, but it was a good bit more than that. If it got cheap enough, it might be worth trying it with pickup upgrades(?)

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I've never plugged in a Carvin so I cannot comment on their tone, but their styling has always been off to me. They always look like a first draft/├četa product, waiting for a final design change... that they never get.

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$600 for that Carvin on my Craig's would not sell. Please check around for used costs..

Not sure it would sell for $350 even.

I'm not trying to be an ass.. that's just what I've seen...

Point well taken, hum. $600 is what my buddy paid for the guitar, is what I should have stated. If I like it, you can be assured that ain't what I'm gonna pay! :D

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I don't like Carvins because I think I recall seeing on the Internet that they were built by Oompa-Loompas in sweatshop conditions. That would explain the tone issues, but I kind of doubt it, as Veruca Salt's father bought all of the O-Ls after Willy Wonka was killed in an unfortunate taste test and the unforgiving Mr. Salt had them turned into school lunchmeat and sold off as sex slaves to a resort in the South Pacific.

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