Price paid: $ 1200
Purchased from: Carvin Custom Shop
Features — 8
Date of manufacture: December, 2011. Standard features for this instrument include 25" scale 24 fret ebony fingerboard, 12" radius (14" is now standard, 10, 12, and 20" are optional) medium jumbo frets, Sperzel locking tuners, Carvin C22B bridge pickup, C22J neck pickup, three way pickup selector switch, two mini coil splitter switches, one volume and one tone control, mother-of-pear dot inlays, maple neck-thru construction with alder body sides, your choice of several paint finishes or clear coat, chrome hardware, 10 gauge Elixer Nano Web strings. Options I choose include locking nut, jet black painted finish, black chrome hardware, no inlays on the finger board, Dunlop strap locks, stainless steel med. Jumbo frets, 14" radius (now standard), black logo. This guitar is black on black on black and I've named it Darth Vader. Fit and finish are top notch, consistent with Carvin's reputation. My guitar arrived set up perfectly, action as good or better than anything out there, and, believe or not, arrived in near perfect tune after a nearly 2000 mile journey via UPS. The guitar is very comfortable to play, well balanced on the strap and comfortable when sitting. It is a highly resonant instrument and is very sensitive to bumps and thumps, especially when overdriven. The control knobs are smooth with enough resistance to give them a feel of quality. The electronics I would rate as very good, but not great. The 3 way p/u selector is noisy and resonates through the pickups when switched. To be clear, this is not an electronic crackle, the switch hits metal on metal when thrown to bridge or neck position and is noisy because the guitar is so resonant. However, this isn't an issue when the volume is turned off or if you switch it while playing. Stability is second to none. When I install new strings I stretch them good with the Floyd Rose. Once the nut is locked down only occasional fine tuning is needed using the fine tuners on the bridge. To be clear, in nearly two years, I've never had to unlock the nut to tune this guitar, except for string changes. The Sperzels' do their job but I rarely use them. About 5 weeks after I received the guitar the truss rod needed adjusted, which Carvin says in normal. No issues in this area since then. The neck shape is comfortable, with a slight C shape. Thinner than a Fender, but much thicker than an Ibanez Wizard profile. The neck heal is nicely done and very unobtrusive, and, along with a generous lower body cut, provides easy access to the highest frets. Fretwork and fingerboard I would rate as excellent. I have the action set very low with no buzzing. Dunlop strap locks do what their supposed to. I've had to tighten the nut on the input jack once since I've owned it.
Sound — 10
I would describe the tone as modern. It may be brighter and more trebly than some like but this is easily addressed by rolling back the volume and/or tone a bit, if your into the vintage, more muffled sound like a PRS delivers. I play through a Boss GT10 and a 100 watt Rogue tube combo. Where this guitar really shines is it's versatility. Every thing from classic humbucker to sweet single coil. If you absolutely have to have Slash's "Sweet Child o' Mine" sound, then go buy a Les Paul. Likewise, if it's vital to nail Clapton's live tone, then get yourself a Fender. However, if your looking for one guitar that does a great job of producing a wide range of tones, than the DC127 is for you. Very high quality sounds in all pickup settings. In fact, I would say that no other dual coil pickup sounds as good as the C22's do in single coil mode. They simply sound like quality single coils. Very full and sonic, unlike lesser humbuckers sound when split. With the amp overdriven the humbuckers provide great bite and give a good rock vibe. The bridge p/u is very harmonic and chunky with excellent clarity, definition, and sustain. Chords in OD sound rich and detailed rather than fuzzy. The neck pickup is warm and nasaly producing very sonorous, singing sustain. I don't there is a guitar at any price that is capable of producing as wide a range of tones at this quality than the DC127. From Fender to SG, this thing covers it all with its own flavor. Metal players would want to build theirs with Carvin's M22SD or their new active pups that they've designed for that style of music.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
There is nothing poor about any aspect of this guitars build. As good or better than any guitar at any price. If I could do it all over again I would choose to have inlays on the fretboard, rather than the no inlays I went with... However it looks really cool. Anyone considering a Carvin should have no worries about quality. It comes down to weather you like the looks and sound of the instrument. I will add that the experience of choosing your options and having it built to your specs is great fun and I will never forget the anticipation while I waited for my Carvin to arrive. It's a great experience. My guitar took 7 weeks to build and ship.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Everything is solid and reliable and I'm confident that my 2 1/2 Y.O. son will inherit a quality instrument many years from now. No issues to report outside of having to tighten the nut on the input jack. Adjusted the truss rod once, as Carvin indicated is normal. Didn't go with a fancy flame maple top, but the paint job seems top notch with no flaws front or back. Carvin uses the best hardware available such as original Floyd Rose, Sperzel tuners, and Dunlop strap locks. Worth noting that Carvin has recently begun installing their own locking tuners and I can not speak to the quality of those, but it wouldn't keep me from getting another Carvin. This is my main ax as it is my only guitar at the moment. I've owned a Les Paul and another Carvin DC135 in the past, as well as numerous crappy guitars when I was a beginner. Played an American Made Fender for countless hours and have had my hands on a few Ibanez's I'll take my DC127 over any of those, easily. With new strings I would have no problem taking only my DC127 to a gig. Not playing live these days but have done it plenty in the past.
Overall Impression — 10
I play a little of everything, except jazz. Only a little metal. Not much country, but some. Blues, rock, hard rock, classic rock, hair metal, alternative... you name it. This guitar covers all genres beautifully, but, as I said, metal players may want different pickups. I would definitely get another Carvin if this one was stolen and intend to buy different Carvin models in the future. I wish I choose the piezo acoustic P/U option that was available on the Floyd Rose at the time. I also wish I hadn't choose the black logo on black paint because Carvin deserves to have their logo prominently displayed, as this is a very high quality guitar. At some point I might throw in a Holdsworth pickup in the neck position... Just to try it out. My favorite features are the overall tone as well as it versatility. The neck feels great in my hands and I love the string tension associated with the scale length. Also love the great harmonics this thing kicks out... Fun dive bombs with the Floyd and sustain for days. Looks are subjective, but for me the DC body shape is very sexy while functional.