Price paid: € 1580
Purchased from: Dijkmans
Sound — 9
I play it over a Blackheart Handsome Devil 15w tube amp, with a Harley Benton G212 (Celestion V30) at home, getting a new amp soon. The guitar sounds really nice and full. It can do everything from jazz to metal, from classic rock to funk. The guitar has immense sustain, and the pickups are lovely - some people dislike them, but I love them. The guitar has a lot of character; the sound is very warm, but it has enough clarity for high-gain metal. It is obviously based on PRS guitars, but that's not a bad thing - it can do loads of styles and it sounds good in each and every one of them. The only reason I rate it a 9 is that the pickups aren't for everyone. I personally love them because the humbuckers have 22 poles (hence C22), which in my experience leads to infinite sustain and loads of character.
Overall Impression — 10
Fell in love the first time I saw it. I've been playing for 5 years now, and I have yet to see a guitar under 3000 beat this one. It can do every style you throw at it, and they paid a lot of attention to details - the letters of the word "CARVIN" in the headstock are plated with 24k gold, the locker tuners work like a charm, the upperfret access is perfect. Carvin has a few things one could dislike though. I've mentioned the pickups before (though the CT6 comes with some of the best sounding pups they make imo). The prices in Europe aren't as good as in the USA, and the overall resale value is horrible, but that makes sense - if you can buy a new custom guitar for just over $1000, then why would you buy a secondhand guitar?
Reliability & Durability — 10
It's built like a tank. After half a year of playing hours and hours a day, along with the occasional gig, it's still immaculate. I might still bring two guitars to a gig, but that's just because I like to use different tunings a lot.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Guitar was set up perfectly when I bought it. Stays in tune all the time, very low action, no fret buzz (even in lower tunings - I play in C# standard or drop B), hands down the best neck I've ever played. I'd say it's somewhat like a PRS or an ESP - not Ibanez thin, but definitely not thick. It's really smooth and still comfortable after hours and hours of playing. No errors or whatsoever. Flawless from the start. Also, the finish is absolutely stunning. It's a very deep, red/black quilt. Looks awesome in the sunlight.
Features — 10
It's kind of Carvin's PRS. The store I bought it from is the only store in the country (the Netherlands) that sells Carvins. This one was already done when I bought it, but it's specced exactly the way I would: Super Strat with 22 frets, Rosewood fingerboard, neck and body both from the best mahogany they have at Carvin, along with an exotic AAAA quilted maple top. Sperzel locking tuners, Tune-o-matic bridge, Carvin C22 pickups, H-H configuration, with the tone knob also functioning as a coil tap if you pull it, a volume knob and a 3-way toggleswitch. Came with a matching Carvin hardcase.