DC145 review by Carvin

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.6 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.9 (8 votes)
Carvin: DC145

Sound — 9
I play blues, rock, and occasionally I delve into metal. This guitar does it all. I have played it through many amps, and every time it has sounded great. Currently I am playing through a Peavey Valveking 212 though. Every pickup has it's own characteristics, and it really reacts to changes with tone and volume. The neck pickup is great for smooth clean sounds and creamy distortion. The bridge pickup is bright and can handle many different genres. With the coil splitters, I can get a great single coil tone, especially in the neck position. It can be either RHCP clean or SRV bluesy. However, I do need a volume booster when I flip on the single coils because there is an output drop-off. On the other hand, I would not suggest the standard pickups for metal. Although the bridge pickup sounds fine with heavy distortion, I would suggest getting a higher output pickup to handle it.

Overall Impression — 10
I have been playing for 4 years now, and the Carvin DC145 is the perfect choice for me. Whether you play blues or rock, this guitar shines. If this was lost or stolen, I would probably opt for something cheaper as I don't have the financial means to purchase another expensive guitar. But don't be fooled; this guitar is worth every cent. I would definitely try to get another Carvin. And to help put my mind at ease, Carvin installs Snagg microchips on their so if it is stolen and recovered by someone else, it's rightful owner can be identified. I absolutely love everything about this guitar, I have yet to find a single thing wrong with it yet.

Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar is solid. I have not had one issue with reliability yet. It has fallen over a few times, and there is no visible damage to anything on it. The finish doesn't seem like it will be wearing off anytime soon. HOWEVER, the finish on did get scratched once, and I am not sure how or why it happened. I ordered Dunlop Straplocks for it, so I doubt I would have any problems with it falling. I would never gig without a backup, but having this guitar would definitely make me feel a lot more comfortable in knowing that I can rely on it.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The action on the guitar is flawless. The strings are low, but not too low as to make fret buzz. My uncle, who has played for roughly 40 years, described it as having one of the lowest actions he has ever seen. The finish is perfect. I do not see any problems with the hardware, even a year later. The pickup poles were also adjusted correctly.

Features — 10
Made in September/November 2008. The DC145 is Carvin's 3 pickup (HSH), Strat-shaped, 6 string guitar. Made in the US at Carvin's shop. The features on this guitar are limitless. Because Carvin allows you to choose your own features on your guitar, I can't find any fault with them on the guitar itself. That's one of the reasons why I went with a Carvin, instead of something like a Fender or an Ibanez. The pickups are made by Carvin, and they sound great. They have 11 poles each, which eliminates note drop-off when bending. I have the standard humbuckers in the neck and the bridge position, and a single-coil sized TBH humbucker in the middle position. Although I cannot personally vouch for this, the TBH supposedly sounds better than the standard AP11 single coils. The neck and bridge pickups have coil splitters, which have IMMENSELY widened the array of sounds I can get out of this thing. I also had a phase switch installed, which I never really use. However, I can get a great electric-acoustic sound out this guitar because of the phase switch, but I never really need this sound. The is one volume knob and one tone knob. The bridge is an Original Floyd Rose, by my choice. There are several bridge options that Carvin offers for varying prices. Along with it, I chose a locking nut. The tuners are locking Sperzels, which I have fallen in love with. The body is mahogany and the neck is maple. Because it is a neck thru body, it has a light blue stripe (in contrast to the dark blue surrounding it) running down to the bottom of the guitar. The fretboard has 24 frets and is made of ebony. The neck finish is satin, which feels AMAZING. And as a final detail, I ordered a personalized truss rod cover with my initials. Once again, because Carvin allows the buyer to choose their features they want on their guitar, I have to give this a 10.

17 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I don't how this happened but the silver guitar in the two review pictures is mine. I DO agree with the review though and I have seen the pics of the reviewer's DC145 he referenced in his profile so I am in no way insinuating deception on anyone's part. I'd like to tell the readers a bit about the specific silver DC145 in these pictures. I had it built by Carvin in 2002 after selling a similar DC135 that just didn't do it for me. I was wanting a jack-of-all-guitars with an emphasis on the Les Paul thing. The DC135 had dual-coil single-width but the sound was too airy and just not thick enough. The DC145 I ordered in 2002 to replace the DC135 does the Gibson solid-body thing remarkably well after modifications. Details: Pearl Silver paint, mahogany body wings, 25.5" scale mahogany (thru)neck, ebony fingerboard w/Dunlop low, wide fretwire, standard pickups, one volume one tone, two coil split switches, one phase switch (rewired as a coil selector later). Price back in the day was $880 (today would be $1360). Not exactly thrilled with the M22 humbuckers that came on it, I spoke to Bill Lawrence over the phone and he made me two custom L-500's for the bridge and neck. I also bought his standard L-290SM for the middle. The coil split switches still did their original purpose but I rewired the bottom phase switch to act as a coil selector for the L500's. After the electronics swap, this thing out Les Pauls most Les Paul as far a rich, full sound goes. Very lively and the gooey depth is almost like it was stolen from Gibson. The one exception is that I chose to not add a neck/bridge pickup combo option. I could add that using a push/pull pot but decided not to. Having the single coil L290SM in the middle is more useful to me than the outer combo setting. The single coil modes deliver a nice deep transparent thin tone and can almost approximate a good vintage Strat or Tele depending on which coil(s) are selected and type and position of pick attack. The sound is close enough to an older Fender for my use. The bridge is the 2002-era Original Floyd paired with a Carvin graphite nut and Sperzel locking tuners. I can go completely slack or pull back all the way with this setup and return dead-on every time provided the strings are properly stretched and the wind is less than 3/4 around the Sperzel. I consider myself a pretty good player and also a competant guitar tech. My technical bonafides include writing and maintaining a few floating bridge setup and tips pages you may have run across. Google floyd rose setup or kahler setup and look for the glowingtubes page. Heh... they are clunky, dated pages I made in the late 1990's and I purposely avoided modernizing them because I've grown fond of their clunkiness. Those pages have given me contact with some famous people in the business. Anyway... the DC145. Nice guitar!
    What's the point of a locking nut AND locking tuners? Seems a bit of a waste of money...those tuners are expensive
    I just uploaded a few more pics of it, along with more of my other gear.
    ha this was a great review...and not just cuz my name describes my love for carvins haha. Excellent review and good choice with the floyd rose. I love how ebony fingerboards and locking tuners come standard in a carvin guitar..FOR FREEEEE
    I got it for roughly 1300 USD. I know that seems like a lot, but that includes case, shipping, and costs outside of the guitar. I got it in blueburst, which I'm sure added to the price. Weird, I though I put that in there. As far as the whole locking tuners/locking nut, I like having both. The locking nut provides more tuning stability with the Floyd Rose, so it won't go out of tune from excessive whammy bar use. The locking tuners, on the other hand, just hold the strings into the post. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's what I understand from it. I have pictures of it on my profile if you guys want a look. Also, this is my first review, do don't be too rough.
    The tuners make things easy since you don't have to have to bother wrapping the strings around the post when changing them. My Carvin's fretboard recently cracked, right through the inlays too. I think it couldn't handle the stress from the floyd rose or something, but that sh*t shouldn't happen I'll probably have to send it back for repair. :|
    Nick184 wrote: What's the point of a locking nut AND locking tuners? Seems a bit of a waste of money...those tuners are expensive
    In theory, you should only need one or the other...the Floyd Rose usually locks at the bridge and the nut (hence the term "double locking tremolo"). But since the tuners lock, you should be able to get by without the locking nut. The Sperzel tuners come standard on Carvins, so they're NOT a waste of money ;
    Direct from the Spokesman for Carvin. Jokin. Anyway, looks fuggin nice :o oddly, its the plain guitars that can look the best sometimes. And you got it custom? How much was it? O.o
    Carvin is a great company. I've ordered 3 guitars from them. My main axe is a DC127 with all the bells & whistles. The tung oil finish on the neck is so slick and comfortable! Nice review and glad to see another Carvin supporter!
    Great guitar, as well as a great concept for guitar building/selling by Carvin. Low prices, customizable, and high quality. Terrific brand.
    locking tuners and locking nut on the same guitar is redundant. my dc145 has locking tuners w/ a floyd rose and while I don't play 'yo-yo' w/ my bar, i do abuse it sometimes and for the most part, this guitar stays in tune. will always recommend carvin - great equipment!