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Old 11-26-2012, 06:52 AM   #1
Arjun_M
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Buying a Carvin ST300/DC145 in India

This is not an immediate purchase, but I intend to be ready for one when I can buy one.

The Jackson USA line is just too expensive to buy new. Cheap ones selling used get snapped up quickly, and I don't trust Guitar Center that much either with shipping quotes, shipping method, condition reports or even listing images. Looking at other super-strat options of American origin, I came across Carvin, who can build a Soloist-style guitar at the price of a Fender American Special Strat. I had once spoken to a Carvin owner in my city in search of an American Fender Strat, but that was long ago, and now he doesn't take calls. I don't know how to set up the Carvin World website, and they have a dealer in neighbouring Sri Lanka, but I still can't get any prices or shipping quotes.

What can I do to get one built? I wish to get one decently priced, and lower shipping costs. A mail forwarding agency quotes $110-135 for a guitar from the United States. Maybe it will work out cheaper if I get it done through Carvin's Sri Lankan dealership?

If you own a Carvin and have heard (or owned) guitars by big-ticket American brands, how does the Carvin fare in comparison? Would you recommend a Carvin to a prospective Fender/Jackson/PRS/Gibson customer? I'd like a few ownership stories.
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:24 AM   #2
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I don't own a Carvin, but I know several people who do. They are all extremely happy owning them. The Carvins I have played were all well-made, beautiful guitars.

About the only knock I have heard about Carvin- and not from any owners- is that some people think their pickups are not all that great, kind of average. Other than that, the general consensus is that they offer great value for money.
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Old 11-26-2012, 01:20 PM   #3
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Carvin does good work. I don't particularly like them, not because of the quality or anything, they just seem dull to me. I do think they make a quality product, though, and certainly the prices are very good. The pickups are crap, but that's easy to fix.

I've exported a Carvin for an international buyer before. It ended up being quite a bit cheaper than the international price. If you can import one for $100-200 I think you'll still be saving a fair amount.
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Old 11-27-2012, 03:20 AM   #4
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@Roc8995- How did that work out? I'd like to hear more about saving while buying one. Even a pointed headstock raises the cost by $30, and a Floyd Rose can take it over a hundred dollars.
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Old 11-27-2012, 03:31 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roc8995
Carvin does good work. I don't particularly like them, not because of the quality or anything, they just seem dull to me. I do think they make a quality product, though, and certainly the prices are very good. The pickups are crap, but that's easy to fix.

I've exported a Carvin for an international buyer before. It ended up being quite a bit cheaper than the international price. If you can import one for $100-200 I think you'll still be saving a fair amount.


i agree with every word. top notch build, very good finishes, and are the best option for going to more of a 'custom' thing.

but they don't feel right for me either. i think they are a love/hate for a lot of people, but they do make a nice guitar, just they are not for me.
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:50 AM   #6
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A few are selling between $500 and $700 at Guitar Center. Maybe I'll pick one that's just right- either a DC200/DC145/DC400 or ST300. There are some interesting options. What do I check when asking for one?

How much does the guitar weigh in its hardcase? That will also affect shipping charges.
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Old 12-02-2012, 12:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arjun_M
A few are selling between $500 and $700 at Guitar Center. Maybe I'll pick one that's just right- either a DC200/DC145/DC400 or ST300. There are some interesting options. What do I check when asking for one?

How much does the guitar weigh in its hardcase? That will also affect shipping charges.


a guitar and a case can be very different in weight i have a case that is half the weight of another. also you have to pack the box with the case and ship it worldwide which increases the size, hell shipping a guitar in case halfway accross the states is $70 or so.

and another concern would be shipping a guitar transcontinental, honestly i wouldn't do it, there are lot more things to be concerned with shipping a guitar accross the world, a lot more can go wrong, and it is probably unpacked in customs, i don't think they would likely pack it as good as the sender.

i haven't done it, just get it all squared away before you buy something.
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Old 12-02-2012, 03:04 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arjun_M
@Roc8995- How did that work out? I'd like to hear more about saving while buying one. Even a pointed headstock raises the cost by $30, and a Floyd Rose can take it over a hundred dollars.

I don't remember all of the specifics, but it was a lot cheaper. It was a DC727 that ended up costing about $1000. I think the international quote was something like 1700? It cost $100 to ship.
The easiest thing to do would be to go on the Carvin site and pretend you're in the US and spec your guitar out on the American site. Then add $100-200 for shipping and that's your price. If you can't access the US site you can post the specs you want and someone here can punch the right keys for you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arjun_M
A few are selling between $500 and $700 at Guitar Center. Maybe I'll pick one that's just right- either a DC200/DC145/DC400 or ST300. There are some interesting options. What do I check when asking for one?

How much does the guitar weigh in its hardcase? That will also affect shipping charges.

Carvin have low resale value, so a used one is a good idea if it matches the specs you want. I'd email the GC and ask for the specs. When you order a Carvin you get a long list of the specs since there are a bunch of options for everything. They might still have that sheet, otherwise you could probably call Carvin with the serial number and have them send it to you.

I forget exactly how much it weighed all loaded up. I want to say it was either 15 or 20 pounds. The box might trigger size restrictions depending on your postal service. USPS shipped it fine but FedEx didn't even want to touch it for international shipping.
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:40 AM   #9
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can you go on the carvin US site and do the guitar builder? if you click on a model to the right will say build you guitar and you can play with the options.

have you tried calling carvin in the USA (cali....so that would be a crazy time difference) and asking them what they recommend and if there is another location or reseller?

yes - carvin guitars are made very well, and few are unhappy. i personally know a guy who got a custom 8 string fully loaded and the only grip is that he wished he didnt get the carvin brand active pups - or there was another option.

as a general consensus - many complain about the wiring / electronics and pups. this doesnt mean its bad, but what it means for a comparable USA guitar that probably comes with gibson pickups, fender, seymour duncan name brand stuff, many find carvin slightly behind the ball. some think they are fine.

however, the build quality you get, with the features, and at the price is almost unbeatable. look at the options and prices - there is almost NOBODY who can build a comparable spec'ed guitar for that price.

check these out. look to the right, there are about 8 of them and walk you through the build process.

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Old 12-03-2012, 02:35 AM   #10
Arjun_M
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trashedlostfdup
a guitar and a case can be very different in weight i have a case that is half the weight of another. also you have to pack the box with the case and ship it worldwide which increases the size, hell shipping a guitar in case halfway accross the states is $70 or so.
The weight for most Fender guitars in cases is 22lb, but I don't know how much this will weigh in its case. I may ask for forwarding, so that the shipping cost is a lot lower than what Carvin or the people running GC stores stocking used Carvins will quote.
Quote:
Originally Posted by trashedlostfdup
and another concern would be shipping a guitar transcontinental, honestly i wouldn't do it, there are lot more things to be concerned with shipping a guitar accross the world, a lot more can go wrong, and it is probably unpacked in customs, i don't think they would likely pack it as good as the sender.
Shipping transcontinental is the only option I have for buying a Carvin, as I cannot travel over to the United States just to buy a guitar, as that will double the cost. That's why I have plenty of questions on shipping (separate thread, maybe?) so that I have all those bases covered. I do hope Carvin will provide proper paperwork, so that the customs officers don't need to get too nosy. People tell me to avoid using/facing them at all costs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roc8995
The easiest thing to do would be to go on the Carvin site and pretend you're in the US and spec your guitar out on the American site. Then add $100-200 for shipping and that's your price. If you can't access the US site you can post the specs you want and someone here can punch the right keys for you.
That's the only way I can get any price quote. Quite reasonable. I can then add the shipping charges, and the slightly dubious customs figure (the Government site says it is 29%, but guitar buyers and sellers across India say it is 35%) and still end up with something comparable to a similar guitar by a preferred American brand. I figured it would cost less if I ordered it locally, but the Carvin World site isn't very user-friendly- for the Sri Lankan site option, it doesn't provide prices at all!
Quote:
Originally Posted by ikey_
however, the build quality you get, with the features, and at the price is almost unbeatable. look at the options and prices - there is almost NOBODY who can build a comparable spec'ed guitar for that price.
That's exactly why I'm looking at Carvin as a Jackson alternative. I'll get the local guitar tech to fit in the Duncans, if changing pickups is so essential.

Do the Floyd Rose variants come with Original Floyd Rose or the FRT-O2000 from upper mid-range guitars? I just hope it is not a Carvin trem Licensed Under Floyd Rose Patents.
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:55 AM   #11
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Bear in mind that having the guitar properly imported by a shop or distributor will be the only way to really save money. Simply buying the guitar and having it shipped over yourself will incur large import taxes. I believe the rate for India is 12% of the total value (guitar + shipping + any insurance), plus 7% if the package comes in over a particular weight or size, plus whatever handling fee the courier/postal service charges.
So, what little money you save by buying from America, you might lose again by importing privately. Find a Carvin distributor as near to you as possible and get them to buy the guitar in for you.

If you're happy to take a gamble on a brand you can't try before you purchase, then you might as well take a look at some other brands that may be easier for you to get hold of; EU brands like Mayones and Japanese brands like ESP might be easier and cheaper for your to buy in, and are of equal quality (many would argue, superior quality) to a brand like Carvin.

edit: oh, and Carvin use Original Floyd Rose units on their 6-string guitars and a licensed Floyd, made in Korea, for 7-string guitars.
As far as pickups go, bear in mind that a Seymour Duncan Trembucker, for Floyd-equipped guitars, won't fit in Carvin pickup mounting rings, pickguards or body routes. Regular Seymour Duncan humbuckers, for hardtail bridges, will fit, as will all DiMarzio pickups (for either hardtails or Floyds; DiMarzio pickups have the same dimensions regardless). But also remember that Carvin started out as a pickup manufacturer, and their stock pickups are very good anyway.
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Last edited by MrFlibble : 12-03-2012 at 05:59 AM.
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Old 12-03-2012, 06:21 AM   #12
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I'm Dannyalcatraz, and I endorse MrFlibble's post.

Addendum: the only complaints I've really heard about Carvins is that some people don't care for their pickups. The only people I have heard say that are not Carvin owners. I suspect it's just a matter of personal taste, that the Carvins are not "hot" enough.
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Old 12-03-2012, 06:49 AM   #13
samuraigoomba
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I visited the Carvin website and now I really want a DC600 in Ferrari red. So cool. My next guitar is definitely going to be a custom shop Carvin.
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Old 12-03-2012, 04:20 PM   #14
Arjun_M
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ESP is one brand on which I don't wish to spend my hard-earned money, in a country whose guitar market is plagued by limitation of choice and inflation of price. Strictly no ESP, Ibanez, Schecter or Dean here. I'd rather buy the cheapest American guitar than anything from these overpriced Asian brands. In fact, I'm looking at Carvin as an affordable USA-made alternative to the expensive USA Jackson line of guitars.

Since there's a serious limitation on what we can buy, there's no chance of Mayones (or even another sought-after brand, Jackson) selling here. There isn't even a Carvin dealer in India, so on the site, I have to set it to Sri Lanka, but they still don't quote the prices. So I don't know how much I will pay.
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