Price paid: C$ 2100
Purchased from: Carvin direct
Sound — 8
This guitar, with all the different options at your fingertips, when you flip a Switch the sound becomes totally different. It's a super versatile guitar, although unfortunately the pickups don't seem the best for getting a metal tone. It really excels in everything else. The bridge pickup has a wicked crunch for classic and hard rock and the neck pickup provides great warm mellow tone. Both pickups split exceptionally well, and it's almost hard to tell the difference between these and actual single coils. The ability to split the pickups individually is really cool. For example if you're playing Say It Ain't So by Weezer, split the neck pickup for the mellow parts then flip it to the bridge humbucker for some heavy crunch during the chorus. I can keep going on about the different things you can do with this guitar, but that's too many words to read. One more thing I play it through a Peavey Vyper 30 (which actually makes the sound for metal pretty decent, I suppose because it's a modeling amp) and an Engl Powerball head, clean or distorted this guitar rocks, and has the best lead tone out of all of my guitars.
Overall Impression — 8
I've been playing for four years, generally I like to play metal and rock, but I always enjoy just jamming and trying my hand at different styles like jazz, blues, funk, Acoustic (on electric). Just a big mix of everything really and put it all together. My other guitars, a Ravelle X and Xiphos XPT707FX are what I mainly use for metal. This guitar I leave in E Standard and use it for anything else and maybe a little Opeth and Maiden here and there. At first when I was looking for a super-strat trem guitar, it was between an ESP Horizon II and a Jackson SL1. I tried them both out and they were very good guitars, but then I went to the Carvin website and found I could get this guitar with all the features I wanted and more for a few hundred dollars less then the soloist. For features, versatility of sound, and playability this guitar can be placed on the top of the heap. Too bad for the cracked inlays or I could almost give it a 10. If it were stolen... well FML. I kind of do want to get another Carvin though.
Reliability & Durability — 7
Being a rather expensive piece of gear I try to be extra careful. I'll still occasionally bump the headstock on things. I don't always feel like it's the most sturdy guitar, with such a slim neck I sometimes get bad images in my head of things that could happen to it. And now my biggest complaint about this otherwise amazing guitar. For some reason doing a low dive on the Floyd seems to cause the fretboard and inlays to crack. What the hell. I don't think that's a very common thing. I must have gotten a bad board. Better luck to everyone else. I could have shipped it back most likely after I found out but I didn't want to part with it. I can live with it though, the crack on the fretboard disappeared at least.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
When I received it from the UPS guy, very excitedly I took it inside. When I opened the case I was amazed, it was beautiful, and actually very close to how I imagined it would be. The setup... well I've never head to adjust the action intonation or truss rod since I've had it. No need. This is definitely the most playable guitar I've laid my hands on. It does most of the work really. If you suck, you can no longer blame your gear for it lol. I do have one complaint though. The frets really could have been filed down more on the sides of the fretboard, as you can feel them as run your hand along the neck. After a year they seem to have been naturally worn down, so now it's a good deal smoother. Still my other guitars less then half the price don't have this issue.
Features — 10
Custom shop order made in 2009. Anniversary edition. Mine has: 24 Jumbo stainless steel frets, ebony fretboard with mother of pearl Diamond inlays. 25" scale neck-through body construction, 5 pc. maple/walnut neck with tung oil finish on the back of the neck. The body is made of alder wings and quilted maple top with a walnut veneer sandwiched in between. The finish is a glossy cherry sunburst on the body and headstock. Chrome hardware with original floyd rose, locking nut, and sperzel locking tuners. Plus Dunlop strap locks. It comes with passive/active electronics, with a master volume push/pull pot for switching in between the the two modes. As well, it has a master passive tone, and active bass and treble cut/boost knobs. Also... phase in and out switch, two coil splitters for the individual pickups, and three way pickup selector switch. I like the fact that the volume and pickup selector are both located in a very convenient spot to operate while playing. Pickups are the C22 neck and bridge with black and white coils. One last touch is the truss rod cover with my initials engraved on it. Yes, many many features, all of which you choose.