Carvin Guitars

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Scrapinger
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Carvin Guitars

Post by Scrapinger » Fri Jan 14, 2011 2:00 pm

Hey All

Anybody have experience with Carvin guitars? I purchased on recently that was a very beautiful, very well made guitar, but I just thought the tone was rather poor. It was a DC127T, walnut neck thru-body with walnut body wings and a maple top. It came with Carvin M22 pups. Compared to my Gibsons (Explorer and LP) it just sounded dead. There was no depth or warmth to the tone.

I sent it back and am currently expecting one of their Bolt (strat) models with single coil AP11 pups and a twin blade in the bridge position.

So I am writing here to gather more info on either model or just general experiences with Carvins, their tone and especially their pickups.

Thanks
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Don
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Re: Carvin Guitars

Post by Don » Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:29 pm

I have a DC150 that sounds fantastic. I'd consider it to be on the warm side, even though it has stainless steel frets on an ebony fretboard. It's great for a lot of styles of music from jazz to metal. I can cop some great ES335 sounds out of it!

The thru neck and body wings are made of mahogany, which I assume would sound a lot warmer than walnut, though it has a maple top. Even unplugged, the guitar has a strong, warm, smooth sound (I don't really know how to describe it, but it's the type of sound that I expect from a mahogany guitar).

I liked it a lot with the stock Carvin pickups (C22B and C22J - again, these are different than yours and are probably warmer sounding).

I replaced the pickups with Duncan Seth Lovers mostly because I didn't like the combined sound of the hot bridge pickup along with the milder neck pickup combined (also because I already owned the Seth Lovers).

Overall, the guitar's tone is fairly similar to my Les Paul's with a bit more tonal versatility.

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Re: Carvin Guitars

Post by dbone » Sat Jan 15, 2011 2:48 am

There's a good thread down the page a bit about Carvins.
They also have a active discussion board as well, a good resource for build ideas and pickup selection.
As beutiful as the walnut can be it does not seem to be a go to tone wood for guitarist yet seems fairly popular for bassists. From what I've gathered its dense/heavy maybe not as resonant as some other woods? Still pickups in a solid body are going to be a major factor maybe the M22's just weren't for you.
What configuration did you spec for the bolt?
I got two AP11 and a bucker (can't remember which one) but sounds real nice.
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Re: Carvin Guitars

Post by guitar99 » Sun Jan 16, 2011 1:57 pm

Ive owned three in the last twenty years, and found that although they were solidly built, and quality instruments, they all sounded a little dead to me.
I was told many times on the carvin boards to change pickups to SD's to get the guitars to speak, but instead I just traded them off.

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gonzo
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Re: Carvin Guitars

Post by gonzo » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:52 am

Image

my '84 DC200K

after 27 years and 5 other electrics, this is still my main axe.

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Re: Carvin Guitars

Post by Guitar GeeK » Sun Feb 12, 2012 5:30 pm

gonzo wrote:Image

my '84 DC200K
Dude, you must really love that Carvin! Every other post I've seen from you has that guitar!! I love that guitar! But at this rate, you've might as well just set that photo as your sig!

To reply to the original post, if you got the cash, definitely check it out. The make some crazy cool stuff, all for under $1750, even heavily optioned out.
]v[ E G A D E T ]-[

ಠ_ರೃ

///M

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gonzo
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Re: Carvin Guitars

Post by gonzo » Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:56 pm

well, i also love this guitar:
Image

and this one:

Image
Image


why?
cuz they're custom built.
the strat came in at under $1200, and the Cherryburst strat hybrid, just under $2000

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Re: Carvin Guitars

Post by purpledc » Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:28 pm

guitar99 wrote:Ive owned three in the last twenty years, and found that although they were solidly built, and quality instruments, they all sounded a little dead to me.
I was told many times on the carvin boards to change pickups to SD's to get the guitars to speak, but instead I just traded them off.
That was your loss. Carvin pickups are notorious for making great instruments sound bad. Some people love carvin pickups and others dont. Thats like me selling my house because I dont like the furniture.

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elvis
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Re: Carvin Guitars

Post by elvis » Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:48 pm

I've never liked Carvin's pickups. The guitars are very nice, though.
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TimeSignature
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Re: Carvin Guitars

Post by TimeSignature » Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:34 pm

Carvin pickups are pretty weak sounding. Not sure why. I had to pull them out of mine and swap 'em for some nice Dimarzios.
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gonzo
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Re: Carvin Guitars

Post by gonzo » Thu Feb 16, 2012 10:36 am

the holdsworth models are not weak sounding.

i have a Duncan Custom Custom in the bridge of mine (perfect)

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Re: Carvin Guitars

Post by scottkahn » Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:38 pm

I have only praise for Carvin guitars. They build fantastic instruments at great prices. But I too, haven't loved their pickups. That is the easiest thing to change, though, if you're not satisfied with their pickups. The build quality, finishes, hardware... all top flight stuff.

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TimeSignature
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Re: Carvin Guitars

Post by TimeSignature » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:43 am

gonzo wrote:the holdsworth models are not weak sounding.

i have a Duncan Custom Custom in the bridge of mine (perfect)
Perhaps, but the stock PUPs in the CT6M are pretty bad.
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Re: Carvin Guitars

Post by bandit2013 » Sun Feb 24, 2013 2:02 pm

I have been a Carvin fan and owner since 2000. I found a used DC200 Koa in a small guitar shop in PA. After playing it, I just could not leave the shop without taking it home. The only part of that guitar I disliked was the bridge. It did not take long before I installed a Kahler 2300. I finally decided to upgrade the guitar with a new Kahler 7300 as well as replace the active electronics with the most recent available from Carvin. I still have the original M22V and M22T pups. They sound great and better than the pups I had in a Charvel model 4 (which has seen its share of Seymore Duncan pup of many types, last pup I put into that was SD Trembucker). I retired the Charvel a few months ago but kept the pup.

My next Carvin was a vintage DC100 (eBay). I did not care for the pup in that guitar (Bill Lance dual blades). The DC100 is solid hard rock maple which is extremely brite in tone. I upgraded the pups to Carvin M22N, and M22SD. It was difficult to tame the tone on this guitar. Way too much treble. That was cured with the old electronics I removed from the DC200.

My third Carvin, DC400A (eBay) Standard options with alder body with maple walnut neck, quilted maple cap. PUPs are C22J and C22B. I believe the fretboard radius is 12". This guitar has some great tones which are different than the DC200 and DC100. I bought this guitar after I ordered a DC400W from Carvin.

My favorite and first new Carvin, DC400W. Claro walnut top, black walnut body and mape/walnut neck. I ordered this build with the M22N and M22SD pups. That was not a good choice for a Walnut guitar. I replaced the pups with Carvin S22J and S22B (metal coverd pup) and what a difference that made. Sings like my old 84 Les Paul (that I can remember).

All of the guitars have Ebony Fretboards. Both of the DC400's have SS medium jumbo frets. When it comes to the Carvin pick ups, it makes a difference what type of woods the guitar is made from. Mahogany, Koa, will give you nice warm tones so almost any pick up would work well. Alder wood is not as robust in tone (my opinion) and sort of gives you a strat type sound. Walnut, that is a different beast on its own. bright highs and growling lows. Best to use mild pups for that. All maple guitar is simliar to walnut but with more brightness. I like the walnut dc400 I may get another one. I am considering something a bit different, like Carvin CS624 with walnut cap.

When I went to GC to buy another Mesa Amp (originally after the Roadster but liked the MKV better) I played a few PRS, Ernie Ball, Gibson semi hollow model ( all of them priced over $3000) and I did not care for any of them. The tech who helped me out said I could pick any of the guitars I wanted to play through the amp. Both the Gibson and PRS were in a locked glass cabinet. To me, the carvins fit me better, overall I feel the Carvin quality surpassed the expensive PRS. Also it took me over an hour to find where they kept the Mesa Amps (hiddend in the same room the overpriced guitars were.)

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gonzo
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Re: Carvin Guitars

Post by gonzo » Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:21 pm

whoa, back from the dead!

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