#1
Would someone please educate me on Carvin guitars?
How good are they? What are they most comparable to?
Are they as smooth as say an '80s Charvel model series? US San Dimas? American Strat? Older Gibson? Versatility?
There's always a good deal on used ones but of course you can't just go play a few and check them out.
I've played mostly Japanese guitars and love them. Charvel, Jackson, Ibanez, Fernandes/burny and one American strat deluxe. Any comparisons to these would be most helpful.

Thanks!
Last edited by Jcrider303 at Dec 8, 2014,
#2
I have two. A goldtop CS4, which is a Les Paul kind of this. And a SC90 which is a telespaul kind of offspring.

The CS4 smokes every Gibson Les Paul I've played, ever. New or old. I use this guitar for anything I do in D Standard or lower. Its my #1.

The SC90 is a single cut that looks like a tele and a Les Paul had a baby. I have it with coil taps, and I use it for sessions, singer/songwriter gigs, school, and whenever I feel like using it for heavier stuff.

They are two of the best purchases I've made.
(()____(Main Rig)____())>

Carvin CS4 Goldtop
PRS Santana SE
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Washburn Taurus 5-string Bass
Peavey 6505
Carvin v3m
Carvin 2x12
Spider Valve Cab
Plenty of Pedals.
#3
Thanks McLeod. I've never been a big Gibson fan. Gibby and Fender are just too big. I like to travel the less beaten path.
What type of music do you play? I'm mostly into '80s & '90s rock and metal but enjoy some slower bluesy stuff now and then. All my guitars are bolt ons and I'd like a neck through but with a natural finish on the back of neck. Not a fan of painted necks. Just doesn't feel right. Carvin seems to be one of the few quality makers that offer that.
Last edited by Jcrider303 at Dec 8, 2014,
#4
I don't own a Carvin, but I've been around a few. My buddies who have them love them to pieces. They're extremely well made. Comfy. Good looking.

About the only downside is that their pickups are kinda vanilla. But don't let that stop you- a pickup swap is pretty inexpensive, comparatively. (Personally, I want to get a SH550 and drop some TV Jones in it...)
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#5
Own a C66, played about a half dozen.

How good are they? Very. Outstanding quality, especially for the price.

What are they comparable to? Depends on how you design it

Never played a San Dimas or an 80s Charvel, but it feels like a smoother Gibson to me. A bit better than my American Standard strat, too.

How versatile depends on your configuration. That's the beauty of customization, friend I went bonkers on the electronics of mine, so it can do virtually any style you'd want a guitar in.

As far as comparisons, the neck to me feels like a slightly thinner, slightly flatter version of the C-necks on most strats. Not sure what other details you want to know about that won't vary based on your customization. I did record a comparison of my HSH C66 to my strat, if you want I'll upload it a little later.
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#6
I ordered this CS6 new in 2009. It has it's own thing going for it. It's more of a PRS vibe than a Les Paul. I got the 12" neck radius and jumbo stainless frets. I also drpped in a set of SD Alnico PROs. Very blues and classic hard rock sound. The 25" scale allows for easy bends with 10s on it. I would say that my only gripe would be that the pots are mini's. Had to get new ones for the pickup swap because I dont like the coil tap thing.

Last edited by chilirainbow at Dec 8, 2014,
#7




Carvin CS6 and Ultra V

I think the body construction is superb. I'm a little less in love with the stock electronics (as chilirainbow mentions), but they work and I'm lazy. I REALLY like the fact that you get to pick so many options on most of these models. Hell, I wouldn't buy an SG for years because I could only ever find one in red! On the Ultra V, I did what they call an "Option 50" which is their lingo for asking for a non-catalog option. In this case I had to talk to their tech to see if there was enough room to put a second volume knob on, as I like blending my pups for the middle position.

These guys take a lot of pride in their work, I think and although these haven't replaced my main guitars I think they're very well built and I like them a lot. It's weird, my Ultra V sounds kind of like my Les Paul and sustains forever despite the Floyd.
#8
heres mine
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1615856

i can only find 2 brands of non custom builds that touch it. Music man and PRS. ill probably give you the fender EVH line. ill also give you a J - Custom. okay, Parker can hang. other than those, i can think of very very few factory guitars that can even touch a carvin's build quality. not even sniff it. what is the common theme? all of those guitars generally start around 2000 + and the core carvin build can be had for around 800-1000 and most of the add ons are looks and preference. it is remarkable. .... okay, do Suhr and tom anderson count as non custom builds? those too.

i wont sugar coat it. Carvin skimps on pickups and wiring. straight up. pickups? perhaps 140-300. new wiring, even custom coil taps etc, about 100ish. even then, you have a guitar that is among the best in the work at perhaps a fraction of the price.

what appealed to me was USA made and custom to my specs. i chose everything about my guitar. really, there is very very little i would change if i could. it literally is about as perfect as it can be. perhaps if it were to get better, i would just get a very very similar type guitar from Suhr or PRS and spend about 2000-3000 more just to get a "marginally" better instrument. i would like to own a parker fly too. those are crazy guitars. but i cant swing about 4000 bucks right now. but for a typical guitar with no secret tricks and midi etc onder the hood, my carvin is about as good as it gets for wood, pickups and strings.
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#9
Thank you everyone. Great tips. Great pics! I'd love to customize one but that's not happening, yet. I found a sweet used one with something I've been searching for since, well, a long ass time. I want a neck through without a painted neck. I love Charvel and Jackson neck through models but they paint the back of the neck. Unless you go custom shop, then it's at least $4000 and a 3 year wait.
#10
Quote by Jcrider303
Thank you everyone. Great tips. Great pics! I'd love to customize one but that's not happening, yet. I found a sweet used one with something I've been searching for since, well, a long ass time. I want a neck through without a painted neck. I love Charvel and Jackson neck through models but they paint the back of the neck. Unless you go custom shop, then it's at least $4000 and a 3 year wait.


Carvin finishes all of their necks.
Their choices for the "unfinished neck" feel are tung oil finish and a poly satin. Tung oil finish is essentially a wiping varnish that polymerizes in the fibers of the wood. It's not as protective as the satin poly, and I really don't recommend it (I've got a Carvin with an overall tung oil finish, including the body). The satin poly is excellent. In both cases, they tape off the neck above the neck/body transition if you have a gloss body, and you'll usually be able to feel and see the taped-off point.
#11
Quote by ikey_
okay, do Suhr and tom anderson count as non custom builds? those too.

i wont sugar coat it. Carvin skimps on pickups and wiring. straight up. pickups? perhaps 140-300. new wiring, even custom coil taps etc, about 100ish. even then, you have a guitar that is among the best in the work at perhaps a fraction of the price.



I'm not sure that I understand the business about pickups and wiring.

Carvin has been building pickups for over 60 years. It was their primary business at one point, and they were the go-to custom pickup builder before there was a Seymour Duncan.

They certainly don't "skimp" -- their magnets and wire sources are no different from Gibson or Duncan, and they build all of their pickups in-house. They do charge less for them, but bear in mind that no pickup (with the exception of the ones that SD makes with silver wire) costs more than a buck or two in materials in bulk. Everything else is packaging/profit/advertising/corporate costs/endorsement deals, etc. Carvin sells direct, spends almost nothing in advertising and endorsement (trust me, I know). Their pickups have been called "bland" and "hi-fi" and "sterile" by people who've never touched a Carvin or heard one in person, or by people who've never heard but a single set.

The pickups that come standard on most of their guitars are very balanced, but if you order an M22SD for the bridge, you'll get a seriously raucous 13K AlnicoV rock and roll pickup. It also coil taps beautifully. Carvin was putting coil taps and phase switches on almost everything sold back in the '70's.

There's nothing about their pots that are second-rate. "Full size" pots have nothing on smaller-size pots and, in fact, there are smaller pots that are actually higher quality than CTS. We've just become so accustomed to full-size that when we see something else, we assume it's "less" somehow. I've got half a dozen Carvin guitars (plus one bass), some of which were built around 1988-1989, and both pickups and wiring are in perfect shape, going strong and sounding great. Necks are straight, action is very low, playability is outstanding.

I *do* have one guitar, however that I bought used and shook everything electronic out of (it was all stock Carvin) and started over with fresh and new. The previous owner sold the guitar as "all original," but he'd swapped out the pickups at some point, cutting off the leads at around 3". When he sold the guitar, he put the original gear back in, and did a terrible job. There were pickups shorting out, terrible solder joints, etc. But when I shook out the old stuff, I replaced it with brand new Carvin pickups, pots and switches.
#12
so in the CT series - i had a tung oil as a standard option. it was a check box. and its fantastic. IMO thats probably the best thing about my guitar and frankly, i melt for a good tung oil finish on necks. any custom guitar i purchase will have that. i will honestly not buy a guitar for that reason.

___

skimping on the wiring - i like the sound of my guitar, but let me put it this way if there room for improvement it sertainly isnt in anything else. they are "acceptable". the wiring? good. it is good, but on caliber with custom guitars? heck no. the pots are these crappy feeling mini pots, i didnt get a good vibe from the look of some things. i think if you analyzed PRS wiring and pickups, you would find better work. not only that, they route teh body so that the pots are so close to the walls, the guitar will only acommodate mini pots. that is assinine. that is just silly and a poor design. there is SOOOO much room in that cavity they could have easily changed it.

95% sure i know why - they make 1 body mold for all options they make. it makes business sense. so when they cram thier active electric components, etc into there, they may need the mini pots to make room. again - these are examples you probably dont get with Suhr and PRS. its also why those guitars cost 1000-2000 more than a carvin.

im really splitting hairs and comparing a 1600 dollar carvin to a 4000 dollar suhr or PRS. thats a tall order. my comment is that a carvin can do a lot better by paying for some custom rewiring work.

i had a push pull phase split put in and the guy upgraded some caps, etc etc and i like it a lot better.

in terms of user interface, i dont think the actual build quality of pots and switch feel as smooth and robust as parts i touch on Music man guitars or PRS. i dont know what pots they use, but they are top notch. Carvin is probably using some run of the mill old bulk pots.

thats really the only nit pick about the guitar and really all of that is still just fine. im rocking it. the rest of the build is literally perfect.
Carvin CT624
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#13
Quote by ikey_
so in the CT series - i had a tung oil as a standard option. it was a check box. and its fantastic. IMO thats probably the best thing about my guitar and frankly, i melt for a good tung oil finish on necks. any custom guitar i purchase will have that. i will honestly not buy a guitar for that reason.


Tung oil is fine on a guitar that will not be heavily used or gigged, ie., a closet queen. It's too soft a finish (damages easily) and picks up moisture, dirt, sweat and acids too easily for heavy use. I'd really recommend the satin poly finishes for most guitar necks.

___
Quote by ikey_

skimping on the wiring

95% sure i know why - they make 1 body mold for all options they make. it makes business sense. so when they cram thier active electric components, etc into there, they may need the mini pots to make room. again - these are examples you probably dont get with Suhr and PRS. its also why those guitars cost 1000-2000 more than a carvin.

im really splitting hairs and comparing a 1600 dollar carvin to a 4000 dollar suhr or PRS. thats a tall order. my comment is that a carvin can do a lot better by paying for some custom rewiring work.



The active components really don't take that much space, and they don't get crammed; they're edge-on PCBs with the pots integrated:

The Suhr plant is right down in Lake Elsinore (down the road from my office in Corona, and one of the biggest dealers is Wild West Guitars in Riverside, just up the 91. Don't be influenced by pricing. Suhrs are very good, but because Suhr sells through dealers, they can't price their guitars under what a dealer would charge, even if you're getting the guitar directly from Suhr. In short, you're paying dealer price for a Suhr (usually at least 40% higher) rather than manufacturer direct, as you do with Carvin. Readjust the pricing and THEN run the comparison. One of the biggest differences is that Suhr does mostly no neck-through guitars. He does bolt necks and a few set-necks; that's it. Carvin has been doing set-necks since the '70's and neck-through guitars since the late '80's.
#14
Quote by dannyalcatraz
About the only downside is that their pickups are kinda vanilla.

Oh, not anymore...

They've actually been developing new pickups to replace their older ones. They are VERY good. Every Carvin I've ever owned, the main downfall was the crappy pickups. The Kiesel pickups in new builds are so good that you may find yourself liking them better than the big name pickups out there
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#15
Quote by MatrixClaw
Oh, not anymore...

They've actually been developing new pickups to replace their older ones. They are VERY good. Every Carvin I've ever owned, the main downfall was the crappy pickups. The Kiesel pickups in new builds are so good that you may find yourself liking them better than the big name pickups out there

Cool!

I always thought they were adequate, just not as good as the rest of the guitar.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

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Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#16
Quote by dannyalcatraz
Cool!

I always thought they were adequate, just not as good as the rest of the guitar.

I dug their old offerings for low gain stuff, but I always felt they were too muddy for lots of distortion. Cool for a big sound, but not if you need lots of definition.

My DC727 had probably the best cleans I've ever heard out of a guitar, but it made a 5150's lead channel sound like a 3-channel Recto in the bass frequencies It'd be cool for hard rock and lots of power chords, but no bueno for metal or technical lead work.
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





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#17
Quote by MatrixClaw
I dug their old offerings for low gain stuff, but I always felt they were too muddy for lots of distortion. Cool for a big sound, but not if you need lots of definition.


This is kind of my feel on how mine sound, not that they're terribly old. I have the (I think) S22's in both of mine.
#18
okay well however EVH guitars and music man finish thier necks. seems a lot like tung oil. it may be a very thin and fine finish of satin nitro. whatever it is, i like that feel.
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#19
Is there any way to get these Kiesel pickups aftermarket? I like the sound of them, and my C66 still has its stock pickups in.
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#20
Quote by necrosis1193
Is there any way to get these Kiesel pickups aftermarket? I like the sound of them, and my C66 still has its stock pickups in.

Not sure tbh. I think their 6 string pickups are still in development.
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#21
i was googling it yesterday and i dont see any way to buy. i suppose most are just prototypes or in a very limited amount of the jeff keisel guy's custom guitar work. it is tempted though. it would do them very good to add them in every guitar as an upgrade. i would pay it.

again, not that my pickups are bad, but if there is one thing left to upgrade on my guitar its the pups. they are one of the weaker links given that the rest of the guitar is godly.
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#22
Quote by ikey_
i was googling it yesterday and i dont see any way to buy. i suppose most are just prototypes or in a very limited amount of the jeff keisel guy's custom guitar work. it is tempted though. it would do them very good to add them in every guitar as an upgrade. i would pay it.

again, not that my pickups are bad, but if there is one thing left to upgrade on my guitar its the pups. they are one of the weaker links given that the rest of the guitar is godly.

I'm honestly not sure if they're replacing all of their current line up with these new Kiesel pickups or if they'll just be an optional upgrade in the future. I was under the impression that they will be the standard pickups in their guitars after they're officially released, but who knows. I'd email one of their guitar sales guys and see what the deal is with them. Last I heard, the 6 string pickups were still in development, but the 8 and 7 strings are mostly done, aside from some small tweaking with the feedback of customers who have received them.
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#23
Quote by ikey_
okay well however EVH guitars and music man finish thier necks. seems a lot like tung oil. it may be a very thin and fine finish of satin nitro. whatever it is, i like that feel.


You may like the feel of an unfinished (or oil finished) neck, but it may answer why Chip from EVH wonders why their necks warp like hell. Warmoth, for years, refused to warrant their necks against warpage if they were unfinished or oil finished. I don't know that's changed.

There's at least one video out there featuring a Music Man "engineer" who recommends using an oil soap to clean the "unfinished" neck. Then he sands the neck, then waxes it "to seal in all the good oils that have soaked into the wood from the oil soap." This confirms that these guys just don't know what they're doing.

First, oil soap does not contain oil; it contains potassium soap manufactured from vegetable oil. It's excellent for cleaning wood surfaces, but no oils soak into the wood because there aren't any.

He then sands the neck with 600 grit, followed by 1000 grit sandpaper, because it's rough and nasty (this is the other thing that happens when you don't have protection from sweat and filth on the neck). Fact is, the grain on a truly unfinished neck can even raise and splinter.

Once he's got the neck smooth (wonder what happened to those "soaked-in" oils during the sanding process?), he follows it up with gunstock wax (a little dab'll do ya), allows it to dry and then wipes the remainder off. First good thing he's done to that neck, but he should have used carnauba.

You're welcome to "like that feel," but you should be prepared for a lot of maintenance (and frequent sanding), for the neck to warp, for the neck to become really filthy and for grain raises, splits and splintering over time, especially if the guitar is used heavily.
#24
Quote by MatrixClaw
I'm honestly not sure if they're replacing all of their current line up with these new Kiesel pickups or if they'll just be an optional upgrade in the future.


For those who don't know, Carvin is a family-owned business, and the family's last name is Kiesel. Carvin was named for Carson and Gavin Kiesel, Lowell's (the founder's) sons. Jeff Kiesel is one of the youngest grandsons, and has the title of Director of National Sales, or did, last time I paid attention.

Lowell died in 2009.

The family has exhibited some strange quirks over the years.

The 22-pole pickups were originally designed that way to reduce dropoffs between the pole pieces that they felt were happening with standard pickups.

They were left with a bitter taste in their mouths when Kahler folded (with their money in hand) 25 years ago, and to this day, you can't get them to even consider putting a Kahler product in their guitars.

For years, all of their guitars were hard rock maple; no mahogany. At one point they introduced 100% koa guitars as a premium item, but still no mahogany. Guitars were clear coated, or painted (mostly) black, white or red with a rare "other" color. In the very late '80's, there was a huge family shift when they moved from set neck guitars to neck-throughs for the majority of their line, and when they introduced the Carvin "custom shop" which allowed for a wide variety of woods and finishes. I have two of the only DC-150 style (original style, that is) guitars that are neck-through (they were discontinued in '92, but the name was re-introduced on an entirely different guitar several years later).

They've traditionally built 24.75" and (with much tooth-pulling) 25" scales in their neck-through guitars. They've had 25.5" scales on bolt necks, and the set neck Allan Holdsworth guitars are 25.5". Why no 25.5" neck-throughs? In 1991, they introduced a neck-through 25.5" guitar with 22 frets and a strat body with three single coil pickups. Unfortunately, the Carvin Customer was NOT ready for less than 24 frets and wasn't interested in the strat-ish scale. It was a dismal failure and only a few guitars were built. The remainder necks were repurposed and showed up in some one-off guitars; a V220, and my solid koa DC-145 (an HSH superstrat body, 25.5" 22-fret neck and a tilted-pointy headstock). It's a great-playing guitar and sounds amazing, but Carvin never made those guitars after 1991 and no amount of pleading on my part (I'm dying for a backup) has ever been able to get them to make another. I was recently told by someone at Carvin to keep asking, that things are changing.

Their "plank" guitars were a mainstay, and were responsible for developing the notion that resale was low on Carvin guitars. The truth was, the same guitar might be an '85 or a 2015, and even if the older guitars were actually selling for MORE than their original purchase price, they tended to drag the price of used guitars only 2-4 years old down. This all changed when Carvin introduced the upscale carved-top guitars, such as the PRS-alike CT and the LP-alike CS series. Those guitars established a new baseline (higher) for pricing, and the rising tide floated all boats. Older Carvins were suddenly perceived as being worth more money as well, and used prices on those went way up (doubling and more).

Fast forward to current day: Jeff Kiesel seems to have a tentative free rein in some areas to "make a break" with the status quo. Just as Honda and Toyota broke the public perception of their brands in the US as econobox purveyors with the introduction of the Acura and Lexus luxury brand names (even though Acura is just Honda in the rest of the world), we're seeing a "Kiesel" branding as potentially being used to break old public perceptions of the Carvin brand and get guitarists to refocus.

There have quietly been some very small runs of guitars showing up with the "Keisel" brand (the logo itself is still in its infancy), and these have been different designs, even more exotic woods and higher-end finishing.

That, coupled with the "Kiesel" branded pickups (and changes in voicings, etc.) may be intended to break the pattern that has internet wonks proclaiming that Carvin resale sucks and that the pickups are sterile (whether they've ever actually played or purchased a Carvin). The marketing intention may be to hold up a "halo" model (as the Viper and Corvette were for Chrysler and GM) that will give the rest of the line cachet OR it maybe a market feeler to see what more upscale buyers might want (and then filter those down to the other models as options). At the moment, it's all "wait and see." And it might work as an end-run around some hide-bound family members who have too-long memories of past successes and failures.
#25
Ok. @dspellman - you really seem to know your sht. I'm looking at a used Carvin DC on ebay. By unfinished neck I meant not painted. All of my bolt ons have natural gloss finish. I have a set neck Fernandes and the back of neck is painted. Great guitar but not a fan of the painted neck. I don't know if this neck is tung oiled or what. And I can't tell by the pics. Seller doesn't know either. So WTF am I getting myself into here. Is it really that bad??
#26
Quote by Jcrider303
Ok. @dspellman - you really seem to know your sht. I'm looking at a used Carvin DC on ebay. By unfinished neck I meant not painted. All of my bolt ons have natural gloss finish. I have a set neck Fernandes and the back of neck is painted. Great guitar but not a fan of the painted neck. I don't know if this neck is tung oiled or what. And I can't tell by the pics. Seller doesn't know either. So WTF am I getting myself into here. Is it really that bad??


If the neck on a Carvin DC is factory and satin finished, it's either tung oil finish or satin poly. Older DCs will have a tung oil finish, newer DCs will have either.

A lot of folks simply de-gloss their necks with a bit of ScotchBrite. it doesn't break through the actual paint film, but it does reduce the sort of surface tension that makes a neck seem sticky when you have sweaty hands. With most guitars, the necks will become less sticky over time as your hand puts micro-scratches into the paint surface, accomplishing pretty much the same thing.
#27
well thats sucks if they do cause i want those pups then, can i get a rebate? darn.
___

im not saying a touring musician may not have an issue with unifinished necks. i hear angus young has destroyed so many SGs over teh years from gallons of filth and sweat pour all of his guitars.

im saying to a normal guy, i think an unfinished neck is fine. many premium guitars from fender, gibson etc have some form of satin nitro, or oiled neck. almost ALL guitars from music man have them. i dont think music man offers painted necks. and they are some of the most premium factory guitars on the market.

yeah if what you say is true, then thats rediculous about the wood soap. i know some basic wood working when i did some fabrication years back. im no expert, but i dont see anything wrong with a properly finished, oiled wood. no its not meant to stand the elements, its meant to feel nice in your hand and stand "some light elements".

i have no problems gigging with my guitar. im sure even if i poured sweat into it, it would take me years to damage it because its built so well. and if i played my carvin sooooo much, and gigged so much it broke, so be it. im a beast, had a lot of fun, time for a new guitar!
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)
#28
Quote by dspellman
For those who don't know, Carvin is a family-owned business, and the family's last name is Kiesel. Carvin was named for Carson and Gavin Kiesel, Lowell's (the founder's) sons. Jeff Kiesel is one of the youngest grandsons, and has the title of Director of National Sales, or did, last time I paid attention.

Lowell died in 2009.

The family has exhibited some strange quirks over the years.

The 22-pole pickups were originally designed that way to reduce dropoffs between the pole pieces that they felt were happening with standard pickups.

They were left with a bitter taste in their mouths when Kahler folded (with their money in hand) 25 years ago, and to this day, you can't get them to even consider putting a Kahler product in their guitars.

For years, all of their guitars were hard rock maple; no mahogany. At one point they introduced 100% koa guitars as a premium item, but still no mahogany. Guitars were clear coated, or painted (mostly) black, white or red with a rare "other" color. In the very late '80's, there was a huge family shift when they moved from set neck guitars to neck-throughs for the majority of their line, and when they introduced the Carvin "custom shop" which allowed for a wide variety of woods and finishes. I have two of the only DC-150 style (original style, that is) guitars that are neck-through (they were discontinued in '92, but the name was re-introduced on an entirely different guitar several years later).

They've traditionally built 24.75" and (with much tooth-pulling) 25" scales in their neck-through guitars. They've had 25.5" scales on bolt necks, and the set neck Allan Holdsworth guitars are 25.5". Why no 25.5" neck-throughs? In 1991, they introduced a neck-through 25.5" guitar with 22 frets and a strat body with three single coil pickups. Unfortunately, the Carvin Customer was NOT ready for less than 24 frets and wasn't interested in the strat-ish scale. It was a dismal failure and only a few guitars were built. The remainder necks were repurposed and showed up in some one-off guitars; a V220, and my solid koa DC-145 (an HSH superstrat body, 25.5" 22-fret neck and a tilted-pointy headstock). It's a great-playing guitar and sounds amazing, but Carvin never made those guitars after 1991 and no amount of pleading on my part (I'm dying for a backup) has ever been able to get them to make another. I was recently told by someone at Carvin to keep asking, that things are changing.

Their "plank" guitars were a mainstay, and were responsible for developing the notion that resale was low on Carvin guitars. The truth was, the same guitar might be an '85 or a 2015, and even if the older guitars were actually selling for MORE than their original purchase price, they tended to drag the price of used guitars only 2-4 years old down. This all changed when Carvin introduced the upscale carved-top guitars, such as the PRS-alike CT and the LP-alike CS series. Those guitars established a new baseline (higher) for pricing, and the rising tide floated all boats. Older Carvins were suddenly perceived as being worth more money as well, and used prices on those went way up (doubling and more).

Fast forward to current day: Jeff Kiesel seems to have a tentative free rein in some areas to "make a break" with the status quo. Just as Honda and Toyota broke the public perception of their brands in the US as econobox purveyors with the introduction of the Acura and Lexus luxury brand names (even though Acura is just Honda in the rest of the world), we're seeing a "Kiesel" branding as potentially being used to break old public perceptions of the Carvin brand and get guitarists to refocus.

There have quietly been some very small runs of guitars showing up with the "Keisel" brand (the logo itself is still in its infancy), and these have been different designs, even more exotic woods and higher-end finishing.

That, coupled with the "Kiesel" branded pickups (and changes in voicings, etc.) may be intended to break the pattern that has internet wonks proclaiming that Carvin resale sucks and that the pickups are sterile (whether they've ever actually played or purchased a Carvin). The marketing intention may be to hold up a "halo" model (as the Viper and Corvette were for Chrysler and GM) that will give the rest of the line cachet OR it maybe a market feeler to see what more upscale buyers might want (and then filter those down to the other models as options). At the moment, it's all "wait and see." And it might work as an end-run around some hide-bound family members who have too-long memories of past successes and failures.


Interesting. Thanks for the history lesson!

I'm definitely impressed with their new pickup line so far. Really excited to see what Jeff puts out in the future. I have a friend with a Kiesel Edition guitar and its pretty freaking epic. Definitely a game changer in my perception of what the name Carvin brings.
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www.SanctityStudios.com
#29
Carvin is one of the best kept secrets in the music industry if you ask me ..... very hard to beat for the money , I will probably get a CS4M or a CT3M for my first Carvin guitar ..... I'm really digging there amps to , loving my V3m micro head and just ordered a VT50 head today .... Carvin is having some blow-outs deals on the Carvin ebay store right now