DC200T review by Carvin

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.1 (24 votes)
Carvin: DC200T

Price paid: $ 900

Purchased from: US Forces PBX, Frankfurt

Sound — 10
I play soft and hard blues, rock and pop for which this guitar is ideal. That said the versatility of pick up configurations is so extensive I can set it to be as thin as a bridge pick up on a Strat to the full, fat sound of a Les Paul. I've played it through a wide range of valve and solid state amps and a plethora of effects and there are no extraneous noises whatsoever.

Overall Impression — 10
My other electric guitars are a Gibson ES335 dot neck reissue and a Vintage Strat copy. I've played Strats, Teles, Les Paul's, GSs, ESPs, PRSs, Yamahas, etc and my Carvin beats them all hands down. This was my first electric guitar. In the store I was torn between an Epiphone Les Paul, a US made Tele and/or a Mexican Strat and then I laid eyes on a display model Carvin and found it could be made to sound like all the others only better. It looks beautiful. I love everything about it but if I must chose one thing then it would be that you can wrench the tremolo arm around and when you release it, the guitar is still in tune. Hate: very expensive to buy in the UK, and because Carvin make the guitars to order, it took months to arrive.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I've been playing this guitar at live gigs for the past 16 years. It let me down once when the battery went flat. It won't play at all with a flat battery fitted; however, remove the flat battery and you can carry on playing without the active electronics. You lose the full versatility of the selection switches but still have volume and tone controls and pick up selector. I now carry a spare battery with my spare set of strings, plectrums, etc! I fitted strap locks. As it is natural wood there won't be a problem with the finish. One criticism, I have had to resolder the wires to the battery container twice. Hence the 9 instead of 10.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Made in the US and shipped to Germany, it arrived in tune with a perfect set up and in flawless condition (I hope someone from Gibson reads this review: compare with my review of my Gibson ES335).

Features — 10
Made in the US in 1995. 24 frets. Solid maple with through neck and ebony finger board. Natural tang oil wood finish. Stratish style body. Active twin humbucker pick ups, Locking Sperzel tuners, Floyd Rose tremolo: the guitar is actually a DC200T - the T stands for "tremolo". Selectors: knobs for master volume, tone for both pick ups and balance between pick ups; switches for selecting bridge or neck pick ups and for selecting single or double coil and in/out of phase between bridge or neck. Came with a Tweed custom made hard case.

18 comments sorted by best / new / date

    is this how UG user ratings go? rate down a guitar because the reviewer gave it 10s across the board? it's a CARVIN it's a GOOD FUCKING GUITAR...
    I've never liked gold hardware, but in a different colour scheme that would be a beautiful guitar.
    Hmm, gold hardware looks a bit tacky, but, in the other pictures there's one there in blue with black hardware. THAT I would buy =D
    UMMMM dude! He said he's been playing this guitar for 16 YEARS! Yes, they ARE that good!
    Vinushka wrote: Wish I could find somewhere to buy these in England. Had a look on their website and the DC series looks so damn good.
    Aren't they mail-only? ._.
    Wish I could find somewhere to buy these in England. Had a look on their website and the DC series looks so damn good.
    A beautiful guitar with amazing buitd quality and wonderful setup from the factory. The whammy bar is STUPID good! I love the guitar but the pickups are a tad too heavy even when used in passive mode. I can't use it in active mode at all. I've been playing rock for 51 years and this is one of my all time favorite feeling guitars. I do not use it on stage because of the pickups.
    JonBon_Ramboni wrote: Carvins must be great b/c I've never heard of them
    Carvin is a U.S. guitar and amplifier manufacturer with I believe only 1 retail store in the same town as their factory. They make Steve Vai's signature amplifiers among other great amps. Their guitars can be bought in the store or on their site from stock, but most people choose customized options and get exactly what they want. They are extremely high quality. I had a friend that had a strat custom made by Carvin and it is was immaculate in every way. I personally have been thinking about ordering a Carvin DC series sometime after new years.
    Too high a rating man.... Im sure theres a few flaws, just gotta use it for some time and you will realize the flaws
    Adam Andeveit
    I stand by rating although I acknowledge that it may seem generous. Consider this: I tried dozens of guitars including the Holy Trinity (Les Pauls, Teles and Strats) in the store immediately before deciding upon the DC200T. I have since added an Gibson ES335 to my small collection of guitars and my review of the DC200T was in direct comparison to my Gibson (see my other review) and the Holy Trinity. The failings of Gibson's quality control prior to shipping and the ES335's lack of a master volume control gives the Carvin the edge over the Gibson, in my opinion. That said, now the ES335 is set up properly, it is a great guitar but ... the Carvin was right first time, plays better than the Gibson, sounds about the same rich quality and has that all important master volume control. The question is, how low could I rate the Gibson ES335 and still be a credible reviewer? Ultimately though, it's all subjective. Hope this response is helpful.