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.