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Old 07-19-2013, 05:56 PM   #1
dillon.pudge
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Buying a Carvin?

Hey everyone,
So after seeing my idols like Jason Becker and Neil Zaza using Carvins I'm considering buying one for my next guitar (Looking at a CT624) I've been quoted £1800 for one that has my chosen specs.
Are these Guitars really as good as everyone says? Or is it just hype? I've never played one so I'd like some opinions before dropping that much on a guitar. (No where near my stocks them to try so I have to order direct from Carvin)

Cheers
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Old 07-19-2013, 06:06 PM   #2
Dave_Mc
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i've never tried one, but there's a pretty hefty markup outside of the USA.

(read between the lines for what I mean here)
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Old 07-19-2013, 09:09 PM   #3
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They are very good guitars. I know several Carvin owners who are blissfully happy with theirs.

But near as I can tell, the international prices are high enough to kill their biggest selling point- bang for the buck.

If you're not in the USA, you're better off buying a European or Asian guitar in the same price range.
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Old 07-20-2013, 02:54 AM   #4
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No one stocks Carvins because they're generally a special order/custom built item.
Send me your spec choices and I'll plug them into the US site and tell you what the price is here in US dollars.

I have half a dozen Carvin guitars and a Carvin bass, and I'm VERY happy with them. But I'm in LA and can simply drop into the Carvin store on Sunset, or even drive down to the factory (about 100 miles south). My last Carvin order was shipped (free) from the factory to the store, and I picked it up there. The boys got to see me open the case for the first time, so they knew that whatever issues I might have had were there from the get go.
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Old 07-20-2013, 08:09 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannyalcatraz
But near as I can tell, the international prices are high enough to kill their biggest selling point- bang for the buck.


yeah that's the problem.
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Old 07-20-2013, 11:07 AM   #6
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The price wasn't as bad as I was expecting. If these Guitars really are as good as everyone says them I'm willing to spend it (Looking at a DC also so those are a bit cheaper)

Anyone know what advantages one has over the other (DC vs CT) I know DC is Neck though and CT is set neck but people are saying that the CT sounds better?

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Old 07-20-2013, 02:13 PM   #7
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most of the people who are saying how good they are are basing that on USA prices, though. I mean at £1800 you can, more or less, get whatever you want from almost any manufacturer.
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Old 07-20-2013, 02:25 PM   #8
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In a sense, Carvins are the Agile of the high-end market. They deliver an extremely well made MIA guitar for a decent price. The main knocks on them are:

1) vanilla pickups- its a matter of taste, but their pickups, while good, are nothing special. And a lot of people- the ones online, at least- plunking down $1000+ are looking for the pickups to be as stellar as the bodywork and so forth. But that is part of how Carvin keeps cross down- they don't use boutique pickups.

2) price outside of the USA. Not much they can do there. It's a factor of import regulations and their business model. They don't do a lot of international shipping, so every time they do, it costs them a bit more than it might for other companies their size. Those other MIA guitar companies with lower international markups are either eating some of those costs or have better international distribution channels.
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Old 07-20-2013, 03:03 PM   #9
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Could you guys please recommend me other brands to look at if Carvin is by the sounds of it over priced? I currently have a Ibanez RG Prestige that I love but I want something a bit different.
I was looking at ESP but I've heard that they are great for metal but pretty crap for anything else.
The only other company I have really considered going for other than Carvin and ESP is Mayones.
Ideas?

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Old 07-20-2013, 03:06 PM   #10
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I had one, it was pretty solidly built, but I ended up returning it for a couple reasons. 1 was the Wilkinson bridge, it was god awful. Worst vibrato bridge I've used in my life. They use a very cheap version of the Wilkinson. Another similar issue was the flat chrome hardware. It looked cheap and tacky. Now all of these things are easily fixable, but on principle I'm not going to spend money on a brand new guitar only to change things like that.

The other was the tone. I knew that I wasn't gonna get super warm tones out of a maple neck thru 24 fret guitar, but jesus. Even the neck pickup was shrill and harsh, no adjustments seemed to work. Would I order a Carvin again? Yeah, I would. I'd know a little more what to expect and what to stay away from though. They have great customer service and accepted my return promptly with no issues. They're good people.
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Old 07-20-2013, 04:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Could you guys please recommend me other brands to look at if Carvin is by the sounds of it over priced?


Just to be clear, overpriced only for people outside of the USA.

New Mayones have been getting a lot of positive reviews.
http://www.mayones.com/en/dokumenty/guitars

Vigier is extremely good, but I don't know their prices in Europe, just what I'll have to pay in the USA.
http://www.vigierguitars.com/

I know I have seen English luthiers with prices in the £700-2000 range, depending on what you want, specifically. MacPherson, Stevens, Eggles...there are lots.
http://www.macphersonguitars.com/
http://www.stevenscustomguitars.co.uk/index.html
http://www.patrickeggleguitars.com/

More mainstream, you might consider a higher-end Godin, one of the G&L USA models, a MIJ Fernandes, or one of the Fret-King Blue, Green or even STVDIO models- all kinds of quality to be had, there.
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Old 07-20-2013, 05:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by griffin888

The other was the tone. I knew that I wasn't gonna get super warm tones out of a maple neck thru 24 fret guitar, but jesus. Even the neck pickup was shrill and harsh, no adjustments seemed to work.


I'm curious if you remember which pickups you ordered, what the body wood was, how long ago was your guitar ordered and what kind of an amp were you running it through?

There are several variants on the "M' series (M22N, M22T, M22SD, etc.), on the C22 series and on the H22 series. Those are the humbuckers, of course, and then there are the single coils, the stacked humbuckers and more.
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Old 07-20-2013, 05:56 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dillon.pudge
I was looking at ESP but I've heard that they are great for metal but pretty crap for anything else.
The only other company I have really considered going for other than Carvin and ESP is Mayones.


That's ridiculous. I wouldn't pay much attention to anyone who seriously says that. Most companies offer a wide range of products.






Anyway, I have never heard a bad thing about Mayones. At that price point, I don't think you can go wrong with either, you just have to find out which one is better for you somehow. Either company will give you much, much more bang for buck in Europe than Carvin though. They're also both just flat out higher quality instruments, in my experience (I live in SoCal as well, I've been to the Carvin shop in Hollywood).



At the end of the day, what your guitar is limited to sonically, not counting your playing ability and your other gear, is the pickups. Don't let pickups limit you, there are hundreds to choose aftermarket. Sticking to the small handful that are offered stock is silly.
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Old 07-20-2013, 07:30 PM   #14
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never tried a mayones but they're meant to be good. I think guitar guitar is a dealer so you could maybe try one first.

lots of good luthiers in the UK (I haven't tried all of these)- legra, feline, stormshadow, etc. etc. etc. there are loads more than that, that's just off the top of my head.

vigier is really good but their prices shot up a while back. lag is another french maker which might be worth considering (i've only tried their non-french-made guitars, though).

suhr, tyler, tom anderson, nik huber, etc. etc. are all worth a look. again, there are loads more high end guitars than that, that's just off the top of my head.

prices across the board have been rising with the recession, though. i still think carvin takes the biscuit, though (if you're outside the USA). I agree with dannyalcatraz, if you ask me, it doesn't make much sense to go with the "value" high end brand if you're paying the same price as the "premium" high end brands...

also agree with offworld, not all esps are aimed at metal. they'd be worth a look. ditto jackson USA. and even ibanez j custom if you can find one (and it's not too close to your prestige).

you have a load of options, really.
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Old 07-21-2013, 06:58 AM   #15
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Carvin is practically unbeatable for it's price inside the US. Outside the USA I wouldn't bother, because there is better (or at least as good as) for less (or at least the same amount). If you're in Europe, definatly try Mayones, one of my favorite brands. I've owned guitars of nearly any big brand, and for me Mayones has been the revelation regarding quality for the price. Recently (read: in the last 12-15 years), their quality has gone up incredibly. Quality wise, they are definatly a step up from ESP (except for older cockstock ESP's who were sweet as f*ck for a lot less then you pay now)
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Old 07-21-2013, 08:02 PM   #16
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i just ordered a CT624 for the exact reason that i cannot find a guitar that comes close to my specs and quality for the price.

if the pups suck, fine. ill upgrade them. 200-300 more would be a huge PAIN, but think of how good it would sound then! also, if i ever sold it, i would rip out the pups and keep them so its still a good investment.
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@Dannyalcatraz - i have heard one of the biggest complains on carvins besides the pups is the wilkinson. and really, winklinsons are really never a great design so why not just avoid the idea all together. i stayed away. carvins are meant for hardtails and floyds.

as i mentioned above, you are right. but something has to give here. if there start adding on parts that would cost 300 + more, then everyone would just but a PRS.

BUT - your comment on the chrome really scares me. thats what i got.
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Old 07-21-2013, 08:27 PM   #17
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I actually have a Fret-King Super 60HB with a Wilkinson. As far as I'm concerned, the only problem with it is that it is a pain to fully secure the arm- it involves using an Allen wrench to tighten a screw on the tail-end of the bridge.

But the tremolo it self is brilliant. I've had the thing for half a year now, and the only tuning slippage I've experienced has been the result of the tuners themselves getting knocked around or temperature changes. Just using the Wllkinson itself doesn't result in a noticeable loss of tuning stability.

Of course, it may not be the same Wilkinson.
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Old 07-21-2013, 09:55 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dspellman
I'm curious if you remember which pickups you ordered, what the body wood was, how long ago was your guitar ordered and what kind of an amp were you running it through?

There are several variants on the "M' series (M22N, M22T, M22SD, etc.), on the C22 series and on the H22 series. Those are the humbuckers, of course, and then there are the single coils, the stacked humbuckers and more.


It was a maple neck thru with alder wings. I don't recall what model pickups, probably just the standard ones they offer. I intended on just swapping them out anyway, but due to the other issues I had with the guitar I just returned it.
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:21 PM   #19
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i was very concerned with the design of a neck through maple, with cheaper wood wings (the cheaper options are brighter tone woods), and then any form of maple or ebony board, 24 fret, etc....all the makings of a very bright guitar. that and all the demo i heard all had a very characteristic shrillness to them.

i decided for the carved top. its a tried and true formula of a carved maple top on a mahogany back, set neck.

i was going for a 22 fret in fear the neck pup would be too birght, but then again its a PRS style, and the original PRS was 24 frets. no reason it cant get a sexy smooth tone. if not, ill change the pups.
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:50 PM   #20
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And now we await your NGD!
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