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 Post subject: Re: Carvin Guitars
PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 8:14 am 
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Dual Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Posts: 2583
Location: North Carolina
I have noticed a definite tone difference between the two Claro Walnut DC400's. The one I bought new from Carvin had the option for the top wood to cover the neck through wood. The one I bought on Ebay has the neck showing. With that in mind, having a maple neck through guitar is similar to having the entire guitar made from maple, with slight tone variation due to the side woods. When you opt for the thick top wood to cover the neck, the tone will be much different and will take on the tone characteristic of the top wood than the neck wood. The new DC400W has pronounced bass and bright highs. The used one I bought is similar but not as deep in bass, sounds more like the DC100 which is all maple. I can get some really warm tones from the new guitar, as well as nice growling lows. The new DC400W has me in awe, it is just amazing how it sounds compared to the others. I have set up the used DC400W to be identical to the new one (same pickups and same gain setting on the active tone controls), just has a different tone.

Now for the Koa DC200, not as full bodied as the DC400W. I had considered installing the M22SD in the bridge just to get an idea what it would sound like, Since I had a preference for the metal covered S22 pups, I pulled the C22's from the DC400A and installed them on the Koa DC200. I found that the C22's are better pups than the M series. The M22SD's have a odd frequency response, a bit on the bright side with enhanced mid's, not so heavy on the bass. All of my Carvin guitars have the same active controls. I replaced the one in the DC200, and the same active control fit the DC100 without the single coil and phase switch circuit board so I had room for the battery.

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 Post subject: Re: Carvin Guitars
PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:15 am 
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Mark I

Joined: Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:35 am
Posts: 24
Location: Greensboro, NC
I haven't ever played a Carvin(or seen one in real life for that matter lol) but I have many a time built a ct model on their website lol...they are just great looking guitars to me. I have also tossed the idea around of getting one of the neck-thru blanks and attempting to build something around it but that I probably a distant future kinda venture lol


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 Post subject: Re: Carvin Guitars
PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:43 pm 
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Mark III
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Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2006 7:24 pm
Posts: 459
Location: Wyckoff, NJ
TheMichaelAbe,
Go for it... a CT6M rivals a PRS Custom 24, and to me feels better in every possible way. Here's mine:

Image

Image

I also have a DC600 which is a perfect shred machine that is a cross between a Suhr Modern and Jackson Soloist.

Image

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http://www.musicplayers.com/PR/MGR_Book_Info.php

MusicPlayers.com: The (free) online magazine for serious musicians
http://www.musicplayers.com


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 Post subject: Re: Carvin Guitars
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 10:41 am 
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Dual Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Posts: 2583
Location: North Carolina
You may be able to save some coin if you find one on Ebay to your liking. I acquired three great playing guitars by this method. I too was unsure about buying through Carvin without being able to play it first. In 2000 a friend of mine told me where I could try out a Carvin that was used. At the time, I had a few other guitars of different makes. Now all I have are Carvins. Over the years, Carvin had different neck profiles. Early 80's, the necks were moderate in thickness. More of a D profile than a rounded bat. Mid 90's they were thin. Now they are similar to the 80's. I purchased a new Carvin last year which is my favorite axe, not just for the looks, but tone, feel, and every thing in between. All but one is a neck through. This year I plan on getting two Carved top models CT and CS which are set necks. Once in a while I may go to the not so local guitar shop (closest location is 80 miles that has more than just low end instruments). I will play what ever looks of interest and compare to my Carvins. I have yet to play another guitar that I would consider to be close or above in quality of workmanship, tone or feel. Just like any guitar available, some will like them some will not. There are not many guitar manufacturers that give you options, Carvin is build to order or you can select from Guitars in stock. I prefer the 14" fret board radius, but I have one that is 10" and one that is 12". All of my guitars have Medium Jumbo Frets, there are options for those two. I prefer the Stainless over the Nickel. Three of my guitars have Stainless and two of the older ones have Nickel. I have no complaints go give about any of them.

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 Post subject: Re: Carvin Guitars
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 12:32 pm 
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Mark I

Joined: Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:35 am
Posts: 24
Location: Greensboro, NC
scottkahn,

Your CT6 looks awesome! I am glad that you seem to be into it. I am digging the tribal inlays and blue that you have on both of your guitars(the DC600 looks sick but I don't have the fusion/Vai/80's chops to wield such a fine shred machine. I am more of a fake Slash/Joe Perry wannabe type myself lol) I really have been in the market for a guitar like the CT and probably need to just go through with it and get one but the sight unseen thing is a bit daunting to me. For the price that my Carvin builds come up with I could get a used(I actually haven't ever bought a guitar brand new) PRS Custom 242/24 or McCarty here on the local Craigslist, but something about the Carvin has always been so alluring to me. Bottom line I am looking to diversify my tonal range and there gets to be a point that you actually can have to many Les Pauls lol

Bandit,
I am hearing what you are saying man and it sounds like you have some great guitars there... I guess that for me at least, there is something to be said about changing playing style to suit a guitar. I wouldn't even know where to start with all the options available on these CT builds radius/finish/stainless vs nickle frets!...one of the things that has stopped me from the purchase is my noncommittal nature lol

The biggest problem that I have with Carvins(on paper at least) is that there are just to many options! lol


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 Post subject: Re: Carvin Guitars
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 8:57 pm 
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Mark III
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Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2006 7:24 pm
Posts: 459
Location: Wyckoff, NJ
TheMichaelAbe wrote:
scottkahn,

Your CT6 looks awesome! I am glad that you seem to be into it. I am digging the tribal inlays and blue that you have on both of your guitars(the DC600 looks sick but I don't have the fusion/Vai/80's chops to wield such a fine shred machine. I am more of a fake Slash/Joe Perry wannabe type myself lol) I really have been in the market for a guitar like the CT and probably need to just go through with it and get one but the sight unseen thing is a bit daunting to me. For the price that my Carvin builds come up with I could get a used(I actually haven't ever bought a guitar brand new) PRS Custom 242/24 or McCarty here on the local Craigslist, but something about the Carvin has always been so alluring to me. Bottom line I am looking to diversify my tonal range and there gets to be a point that you actually can have to many Les Pauls lol

The biggest problem that I have with Carvins(on paper at least) is that there are just to many options! lol


Two of my senior editors at MusicPlayers.com have PRS guitars -- a Custom 24 and a Custom 22. I could have bought a PRS... I definitely prefer the CT624 to the Custom 24. There's just something I prefer about the way it feels to me, and I love that it's custom to my specs instead of the same limited range of color options that PRS provides in a production line guitar.

The key to happiness is getting neck specs that you'll like. Figure out what guitar feels most comfortable to you playing-wise in your collection or at the store and then find out what its neck specs are: radius, scale length, and size of the frets. Jumbo frets are great if you love big bluesy string bends or tapping, for example...

The inlays I picked are Carvin's custom inlay -- it's their signature inlay, so to speak.

And don't be scared because they really do have a two week money-back guaranty. No other boutique builder lets you return a custom ordered instrument for a full refund. They just add the guitar to the gallery of instruments available for immediate shipping.

Scott

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Author, Modern Guitar Rigs: The Tone Fanatic's Guide to Integrating Amps & Effects
http://www.musicplayers.com/PR/MGR_Book_Info.php

MusicPlayers.com: The (free) online magazine for serious musicians
http://www.musicplayers.com


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 Post subject: Re: Carvin Guitars
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 8:59 pm 
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Mark III
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Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2006 7:24 pm
Posts: 459
Location: Wyckoff, NJ
Here's my formal review of the CT-624:

http://musicplayers.com/reviews/guitars ... nCT624.php

and the DC-600:

http://musicplayers.com/reviews/guitars ... _DC600.php

Scott

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http://www.musicplayers.com/PR/MGR_Book_Info.php

MusicPlayers.com: The (free) online magazine for serious musicians
http://www.musicplayers.com


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 Post subject: Re: Carvin Guitars
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:27 am 
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Mark I

Joined: Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:35 am
Posts: 24
Location: Greensboro, NC
scottkahn,

you should work for Carvin because you make a convincing argument in their behalf lol...I know a guy that is a PRS collector(he has like eleven different USA models and five or six imports) and I am really digging the CE series the most(with the bolt on maple neck and trem) I have more Les Pauls than any one person should have and while I love them I want something a little more versatile and liked the idea of a humbucker guitar(only like tele's for single coils) with a trem...I personally prefer to avoid Floyd Rose systems if possible but Carvin only offers the Wilkinson trem as an alternative. I had a Wilkinson on a guitar and that bridge completely fell apart and never really worked right so I am leaning more towards the good old a tune-o-matic, but getting that would cut down a little on the guitar's versatility and role as a different flavor in my already silly arsenal lol


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 Post subject: Re: Carvin Guitars
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:43 am 
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Mark III
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Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2006 7:24 pm
Posts: 459
Location: Wyckoff, NJ
Keep in mind I only wrote the CT624 review -- not the DC600 one, and all of our big guitar gear reviews involve the gear going before a panel of multiple senior editors for comments/feedback, so when an opinion is voiced -- particularly an extremely positive one -- we make sure that multiple senior staffers share that opinion.

I had one guitar with the Wilkinson and didn't have a problem -- maybe you had a bum unit or perhaps a knockoff that wasn't the real deal on an import guitar? Or maybe with the kind of abuse you give a whammy you really need a floyd? :-)

I got my CT624 with the fixed bridge so that I would have the versatility of a guitar that I can do alternate tunings on whenever I need to, whereas guitars with floating trems need new setups when you deviate on the tuning more than a string and a step...

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Author, Modern Guitar Rigs: The Tone Fanatic's Guide to Integrating Amps & Effects
http://www.musicplayers.com/PR/MGR_Book_Info.php

MusicPlayers.com: The (free) online magazine for serious musicians
http://www.musicplayers.com


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 Post subject: Re: Carvin Guitars
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:27 pm 
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Mark I

Joined: Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:35 am
Posts: 24
Location: Greensboro, NC
scottkahn,

Thanks for all the helpful info I will def keep your insight in mind moving forward :)


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 Post subject: Re: Carvin Guitars
PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 2:10 pm 
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Mark III

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 5:32 pm
Posts: 170
This thread inspired me to check out the Carvin website for the first time in a long time. I am truly impressed with the number of new guitar models they have created in the last ~5 yrs, including the DC600 and Holdsworth Steinberger style headless guitars, not to mention the more traditional large bodied guitars, they have an exhausting selection at this point! :shock: They used to have a rather slim lineup with the DC400 at the top, but that has effectively become more of a midrange guitar for them in recent years.

A long time sore point has been the stock M series pickups, which tend to be rather thin-sounding, although they improved this quite a bit with the C series (and the active preamp adds a nice boost for any of their passives, although all of their 22 pole piece pups have a rather industrial look). I haven't tried their actives yet, but would love to hear them in person. I have to say that there are some rather lustful pieces on their website! I'm sure I'll ending up with another Carvin of some type fairly soon, although one of their more thick-bodied guitars, and probably with a fixed bridge (I think a Floyd blows the Wilkinson away). One of the things I've always loved about their guitars and basses from an aesthetic point of view has been the variety of beautiful tung oil finished models. Too bad they REALLY stick it to you on the options, which is where their true profit comes from ($400 to have a koa neck and body!! :shock: ). You can easily get up into used PRS territory by the time you option out a nice Carvin, but the PRS would have sold for $3000+ new and will be worth a lot more in the future, so you just have to accept it as something you want and go for it.

There are some real steals on ebay, but the naive owners always seem to start asking over the top prices before they finally come down to reality...a big part of that lack of cache is that some owners choose one or two dubious options that can make the guitar fugly as-is...almost like a gaudy '70s custom van with shag carpeted walls. :lol: Especially when they overdo the gold hardware, inlays and purple finishes or the like.

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 Post subject: Re: Carvin Guitars
PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 11:02 am 
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Dual Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Posts: 2583
Location: North Carolina
The tone wood and pickup combination can make or break a guitar. I made the mistake of ordering a DC400 Claro Walnut with the M22SD and M22V pups. Had I realized the type of tone Walnut construction would provide along with a maple neck through design, I would have selected different pups. When I got the guitar, I could not stand the tone, also at the same time my Mark V was not performing at its peak as it was HF dominant and sounded like crap regardless of what guitar I used.

I fixed the amp issue with new tubes and speakers. Never been happier. Corrected the problem with the pups too. Replaced them with the S22's (metal covered ) which sound awesome. I also have a DC400 that had the c22 pups and they sounded killer. Since I liked the S22's so much I got a set for all of the DC400 guitars I own. The C22's found their way onto my DC200 along with the updated electronics. The old pups from the DC200 found their way to the DC100 (also has the same electronics upgrade but without the coil taps). M22SD I still have, but not in use at the moment. I believe they would perform better on a bolt on guitar than a neck through or set neck. I did have the M22SD installed on my DC100 for a while. The old M22V and M22T sounded better on a solid maple DC100 guitar (solid maple is okay, but not an option I would order).

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Current amps:
TC-50, JP-2C, MK V, Roadster, RA100
Old friends I sometimes miss:
Mk III (blue stripe), Mark IVb-WB


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 Post subject: Re: Carvin Guitars
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 12:49 pm 
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Mark III

Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 4:29 am
Posts: 155
Location: Austin, TX
I debated a Carvin for a long time and when I researched it I regularly found that people like to change out the pickups. That to me neither hurts or helps Carvin, many people change out pickups on guitars such as Gibson, Fender & Ibanez. The thing I think you can fault Carvin for is that they should offer at least one or two popular sets of pickup combos from at least one (ideally more) of the pickup makers such as Duncan or Dimarzio.

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 Post subject: Re: Carvin Guitars
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 5:21 am 
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Dual Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Posts: 2583
Location: North Carolina
The Carvin pickups are not all that bad. However, some do have a high resonant peak frequency which can make the guitar sound on the brittle side. There are some pups I do not like and others I do. Most if not all of my HB pups are the metal coverd S22's (even though the RPF is moderately higher than some of the others, the overall tone is not brittle when compared to the C22 series that is used with the S22. I currently have 9 Carvin electric guitars. There are only two that I do not have Carvin Pickups which are the Bolt guitars. I did like the overall tone of the S60A but I wanted more range beyond the blues so I changed them for Lace Sensor Hot Gold versions. Now I can run my amps at high gain without ice pick. If I had a Fender Strat, I would have done the same thing. A few of my Carvin guitars were adopted though Ebay and some had other brands of pups. SD Pearly Gats were on one of them, sounded good but I felt the Carvin S22 were far better. Considering I have two superstrats (Carvin Bolt C), three DC400 (neck though strat shaped body) one CT6 and one CS6 and a few older models. My favorites are the superstrats. To be honest, I did not like Floyd Rose bridges and had a dislike for bolt on necks but that was until I bought a used Bolt C (original owner did not care for the Floyd Rose bridge). I actually bonded with it and loved the guitar so much I ordered a new one (Deep Moss Green, Flame maple top and a Black Limba body, typical maple and walnut neck with burled maple fret board.) I have never had a guitar that had so much sustain, and it sounds incredible as a heavy metal shredder too (required pup change for that).

My two favorite guitars from Carvin: Bolt C and the DC400W. Both of these guitars were ordered though Carvin. The Bolt C has a 14" radius fret board, Medium Stainless Steel Frets, gold hardware, Floyd Rose Bridge, Flamed Maple cap over a Black Limba body. I Replaced the pups with Lace Sensor Hot Golds. This Axe is world class in my opinion. The DC400W is the basic Claro Walnut model, Medium Stainless Steel Frets, 14" radius fret board, S22 pups.

Image

Image

A shot of both bolts together (colors do clash since one is moss and the other is Teal)

Image

My CS and CT guitars were also bought used. Considering the cost to order new, I wanted to make sure I actually liked the guitars. The tone of the CS is perfect. The CT is also a great guitar. Both are 22 fret models. I have more of a preference for a strat style guitar than the other. The CS is the Gibson Les Paul styled guitar. Ebony, 14" radius fret board, Abalone inlays, Mahogany Neck and Body with Flamed Maple cap, Note color looks like a red accent, it is actually more of a light brown tone than red. The CT is the other , Quilted Maple cap over mahogany body, neck is also mahogany with Ebony fret board. Stainless Super Jumbo frets and only side makers on the neck (no inlays). Carvin S22 pups on both as well.

Image

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Current amps:
TC-50, JP-2C, MK V, Roadster, RA100
Old friends I sometimes miss:
Mk III (blue stripe), Mark IVb-WB


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 Post subject: Re: Carvin Guitars
PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2016 10:54 am 
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Bottle Rocket

Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 9:17 am
Posts: 2
I love my Carvin. I ordered it back in 2009, and with all the other guitars I have, it's still my favorite. This April, I will be ordering another. This time it will be a DC600C.

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