dillon.pudge
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2013
245 IQ
#1
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
Dave_Mc
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Join date: Mar 2005
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#2
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)
Quote by classicrocker01
Only on UG would I say I got engaged and bought a jet city and get congratulated on the amp


dannyalcatraz
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#3
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.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


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dspellman
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#4
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.
Dave_Mc
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#5
Quote 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.
Quote by classicrocker01
Only on UG would I say I got engaged and bought a jet city and get congratulated on the amp


dillon.pudge
Registered User
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#6
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?
Last edited by dillon.pudge at Jul 20, 2013,
Dave_Mc
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#7
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.
Quote by classicrocker01
Only on UG would I say I got engaged and bought a jet city and get congratulated on the amp


dannyalcatraz
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#8
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.
dillon.pudge
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Join date: Jul 2013
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#9
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?
Last edited by dillon.pudge at Jul 20, 2013,
griffin888
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Join date: Jun 2011
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#10
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.
dannyalcatraz
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#11
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.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
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Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Jul 20, 2013,
dspellman
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#12
Quote 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.
Offworld92
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#13
Quote 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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Last edited by Offworld92 at Jul 20, 2013,
Dave_Mc
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#14
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.
Quote by classicrocker01
Only on UG would I say I got engaged and bought a jet city and get congratulated on the amp


LP_CL
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#15
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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ikey_
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#16
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.
_______________

@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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dannyalcatraz
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#17
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.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
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Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Jul 21, 2013,
griffin888
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#18
Quote 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.
ikey_
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#19
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.
Carvin CT624
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(crybaby, Fairfield circuitry Comp, GFS tuner, Vick Audio 73 Ram's Head, Xotic AC booster, lovepedal trem, TC Flashback, PGS Trinity Reverb, Walrus Audio Aetos power)
dannyalcatraz
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#20
And now we await your NGD!
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
ananthapriya
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Join date: Jul 2013
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#21
My question is to you In the first step in buying a Carvin guitar is deciding which model of instrument you want. The company offers a wide array of options concerning wood, and also you know one thing Carvin sells directly to the customer, and new Carvins are not available in music stores.


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Last edited by ananthapriya at Aug 22, 2013,
Dave_Mc
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#22
Quote by dannyalcatraz
And now we await your NGD!


+1
Quote by classicrocker01
Only on UG would I say I got engaged and bought a jet city and get congratulated on the amp


Mister A.J.
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#23
I would willingly bite the hand off of anybody who so much as touches either of my Carvins.

A word of warning, one that seems to be pretty common here; the international markup sucks.
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johnyere
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#24
congrats on the order, i recently ordered one too, can't wait till it gets here!
Mister A.J.
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#25
God, I'm getting excited about all the Carvin NGDs coming this way. Hope all of your orders turn out more amazing than you expected!
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ikey_
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#26
expected completion sept. 4th
Carvin CT624
Walden G630ce Acoustic
Carvin V3M, Avatar 2x12 WGS Reaper, vet 30
(crybaby, Fairfield circuitry Comp, GFS tuner, Vick Audio 73 Ram's Head, Xotic AC booster, lovepedal trem, TC Flashback, PGS Trinity Reverb, Walrus Audio Aetos power)
dogismycopilot
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#27
Hi dillon. I'm also in the market for a guitar and have recently determined that Carvin guitars were within my price range for the exact specs that I wanted. Fortunately for me, I am at an advantage because I live in San Diego by the Carvin factory. I have gone there 3-5 times in the last few months to try a few of the bodies, necks, pickups, fret sizes, amps and many other things that I could choose to have as custom work.

Before I, or you, plop down that much money, you should really try to get an idea of what you're buying in terms of feeling and sound. My biggest hurdle was getting over the thinner neck of the Carvin, which I think is similar to a "wizard" neck on the RG series (more of a D shaped back of neck as opposed to a C like on a strat). As an aside, I have played Ibanez guitars my entire like (about 13 years, most recently a JS1000) and decided to go this route because I didn't like the upper-fret access and the color of my guitar. I also didn't really like the moreAlso, I wanted something that could produce a few more sounds. Be that as it may, I have spent HOURs on the carvinbbs forums looking at the differences between all of the pickups - which are hand wound by one woman who works there 3 days a week - the bridges and fret radii.

I, personally, am not a fan of the neck through or the set neck models because they finish the backs of the necks, which are hard to play with since your fingers can get caught up on them. You may although, have the option of doing a natural wood + tongue oil finish.

So to end:

Find a guitar in your area with neck dimensions similar to that of the Carvin you're interested in and play it. Try a 10", 12" and 14" radius neck (254mm, 304.8mm, and 355.6mm respectively) to see what you like.

The pickup guide is solid, and this address to the forums really gives you a great idea of what you're looking at for Carvin. http://carvinbbs.com/viewtopic.php?t=38839

If you have any questions, please let me know. I'm not plopping down $1300 for a piece of wood for nothing ;-)

--- I'm getting a bolt classic that is absolutely loaded. Mayhaps i'll post pictures of it when I get it in a couple months :-P -----
Last edited by dogismycopilot at Nov 6, 2013,
ikey_
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#28
great to know the pups are hand wound! i am liking the bridge, believe its a C22B. very bright, but its got growl and twang! the neck? meh. it works. not thrilled.

you can most definitely get a tung oiled finish on the set neck CT series, and i think it is custom order on the DC (might not have a 10 day trail period if you do custom work). its harder because they paint the whole guitar and the neck its through the body.

at least the set necks are 2 pieces, body separate. but i specifically wanted 25 scale, so a bolt was out for me.

i have to say that after a few weeks to month of playing my guitar, i definitely ply better and more accurately. the guitar fits me like a glove, the neck is heaven, the body shape is so much better than a les paul. seriously why does anybody play les pauls.

i have 2 complaints: 1 - the wiring is meh. my volume pot isn't very high quality. bad taper, hard to turn.

the neck pickup is meh. but it sounds GREAT in middle mode and in split mode, so i am hesitant to take it out on a gamble ( i mean really, how do you try pups these days?)
Carvin CT624
Walden G630ce Acoustic
Carvin V3M, Avatar 2x12 WGS Reaper, vet 30
(crybaby, Fairfield circuitry Comp, GFS tuner, Vick Audio 73 Ram's Head, Xotic AC booster, lovepedal trem, TC Flashback, PGS Trinity Reverb, Walrus Audio Aetos power)
Last edited by ikey_ at Nov 6, 2013,
dspellman
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#29
Quote by ikey_
great to know the pups are hand wound! i am liking the bridge, believe its a C22B. very bright, but its got growl and twang! the neck? meh. it works. not thrilled.

you can most definitely get a tung oiled finish on the set neck CT series, and i think it is custom order on the DC (might not have a 10 day trail period if you do custom work). its harder because they paint the whole guitar and the neck its through the body.

at least the set necks are 2 pieces, body separate. but i specifically wanted 25 scale, so a bolt was out for me.


Actually, there's no biggie connected with getting the neck on a DC finished in either tung oil or satin (which would be my preference). The guitar has a masked-off point where the transition occurs, that's all. It's not all that custom; there's a check box for it.

Here's my take: I've got a solid maple V220 (explorer-ish) with an ebony fretboard. I expected extremely bright, but it's got some serious punch with an M22SD in the bridge. I've got a koa body/neck DC-150 (the old version, but this is a neck-through rather than a set-neck; they shifted over just before they discontinued them in '92). It's got a flame maple cap, ebony fretboard, abalone inlays and an H-S-H layout with M22N and T pickups. It's sorta mellow sounding. Nice. I've also got a solid maple neck-through DC-150, ebony f/b with a Kahler and none-more-black hardware. This is an H-H with an M22SD in the bridge and maybe an M22V in the neck, but there's an active preamp on this sucker with a master bass and master treble with an active boost/cut of 15 dB in either direction, plus coil taps and a phase switch and a blend knob. This is a king $h!t rock and roll guitar (and heavy!). I've got a '93 solid mahogany DC135 (HSS) neck-through in black with gold hardware. The bridge pickup is, again, an M22SD and the single-coil size pickups are actually stacked humbuckers. This is anything but sterile. I've also got a '91 DC145 (HSH, again) in solid koa neck-through, but this one's got a 22-fret 25.5" neck, one of the rarest of Carvins, since they did it just that one year. This one has C22 pickups and an AP-11 single coil. Not what it came with originally, but the previous owner so screwed up the original pickups that we just shook out the hardware and started over. Awesome playing guitar and I can NOT get Carvin to build me a backup for it no matter how I beg. And then there's the most recent DC145 (HSH), a solid mahogany neck-through with a fancy quilt top, gold hardware and that Wilkinson trem that nobody likes (except me, I guess). 25" scale, 24 frets (everything but the '91 has 24 frets). Same pickups and controls exactly as the '91, but they sound a bit different (koa vs. hog? 25.5" vs. 25"? dunno). With this bunch of very different-from-each-other-sounding guitars, it tickles me a bit that people can make blanket statements about pickups. If they come over to the house and I hand them each of those guitars, they quickly get the picture, though.

And finally, there's an '89 LB75 5-string bass. Red, probably maple, neck-through, Jackson headstock, active preamp and a very wide range of tone options.

I've ignored the CS's (I've got Les Pauls and Agiles that fill that slot) and the CTs (I have a couple of PRS's, so why bother building a lookalike Carvin for that?), but I'm looking *really* hard at getting one of the Holdsworth headless guitars. I could wish that the neck was a little thinner on those. And I wouldn't mind a neck-through, but what the hell, it's an extremely compact 25.5" scale guitar with 24 frets, and it's very light and very fast to play.
dogismycopilot
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#30
DUI, my dad had one almost exactly like that, only it was black. He got rid of it recently though, he's more of an acoustic guy.

Those were quite the ticket when he was playing in the 80s lol.
ikey_
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#31
damn that model is awesome. wish they still had it.
Carvin CT624
Walden G630ce Acoustic
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(crybaby, Fairfield circuitry Comp, GFS tuner, Vick Audio 73 Ram's Head, Xotic AC booster, lovepedal trem, TC Flashback, PGS Trinity Reverb, Walrus Audio Aetos power)
dspellman
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#32
Quote by ikey_
damn that model is awesome. wish they still had it.


At one point, that was their top of the line model. It's SOLID curly (quilted) maple, body and neck. Abalone inlays (including the headstock inlays), ebony board, brass nut. Even in the '70's, this one had a pair of coil taps and a phase switch. The body is a bit smaller than an LP, but it's *heavy*. There were a few of those done in solid koa as well. Not as heavy, but solid tone and difficult to find these days.
dspellman
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#33
Quote by DUISparky

My second Carvin was a black 1982 DN612 which, like the DC160, I've put through hell and it keeps coming back for more. Those two are among the axes I will never part with in this lifetime.


REEEEeeeeaaaalllly....
Please inform your next of kin that I'd like right of first refusal on those, and that I'll be seeing them sometime next week with cash and condolences.


You should put up pictures of the DN 612 (for those who don't know, DN = Double Neck, 612 = 6 string and 12-string). That was a gorgeous guitar in its day. And since it was also solid maple, you needed four Nubian slaves to carry it on stage for you. I had one of those. Miss it.