Desolation DS-1 FR review by Charvel

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 8.4 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.3 (43 votes)
Charvel: Desolation DS-1 FR
0

Price paid: $ 600

Purchased from: Earl Teat

Sound — 8
This guitar suits my style of playing perfectly I mainly play Metal but everything in between as well. I play it thru a Mesa Triple Rec with a Mesa cab. It sounds awesome once dialed in with the blackouts. The mids really Shine thru with this guitar cuts right thru the mix. It has a very balanced sound just remember to replace the battery because it makes a difference with the active pickups. This guitar was built for metal in my opinion.

Overall Impression — 8
Overall for my style of music this guitar fits perfectly its a metal players dream for the price. The neck is really fast so you can shred for sure the upper access of the neck is good not great it could have been cut a little better but Its really not that bad for the price it blows many other guitars out of the water. I can say I have a love for this machine of metal. If I were to compare this to anything it would be an ESP EC-1000 its pretty much the same guitar for a way better price plus a floyd rose. If something happened to this guitar I would by another. I own a lot of nice guitars from Gibson to PRS and everything in between and a lot of nice amps Mesa, Peavey you name it. This guitar is worth a try if you're a metal player it will be right up your ally.

Reliability & Durability — 8
I have practiced with my band using this guitar for a few months now I have had no issues besides the battery dying but this is to be expected with the active pickups. The guitar seems to stay intune once you get the floyd set. And I really like the unfinished neck due to the fact I sweat when I play it keeps the neck from getting gummed up. The strap buttons it came with are actually really nice but I put Locking Dunlops on all my guitars so I replaced them. The finish seems pretty good it hasn't scratched or anything like that yet. I'm giving it an 8 because I haven't battle tested it yet in a live show but it seems worthy.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The guitar was set up fairly well from the factory not quite sure what gauge strings it came with but it was down tuned very low when I tried it out. I wound up putting 10-52 Elixirs on it and setting it up for drop B. It sounds great with this setup the floyd wasn't to bad to setup either. The action was very low which I like personally. And their was and is no buzz. Not sure if I just got lucky because it was the only one in the store.

Features — 10
Mine was made in 2011 in China, It has 24 jumbo frets and a 25.5 scale. The fret board is rosewood and the neck is made of an unfinished maple I believe. The body is mahogany and I have the flat black satin version model. The body style is a Les Paul and comes with a real floyd rose double locking tremolo. The pickups are Seymour Duncan Blackouts. And there are two tone knobs and two volume knobs. It also has grover tuners that are not locking. It does not come with a case or gig bag.

18 comments sorted by best / new / date

    jetwash69
    cfhdomination wrote: RetroGunslinger wrote: the cutouts on some of these desolation charvels are appalling, seriously what where they thinking. the rest of the guitar seems great though I agree. Also, for some reason when I see a Floyd Rose style trem on a Les Paul style body, I cringe.
    Yeah, the cutout made some vomit jump up the back of my throat. As for the trem, why should the LP crowd have to do without? Let them have their Floyds. Why can't we all just get along? Bravo to all who those give LPs better functionality than Gibson ever intended.
    Cannibal Koala
    blackbird51 wrote: It has a very balanced sound just remember to replace the battery because it makes a difference with the active pickups. batteries are for flashlights, not guitars.
    - Misha Mansoor
    RetroGunslinger
    the cutouts on some of these desolation charvels are appalling, seriously what where they thinking. the rest of the guitar seems great though
    cfhdomination
    RetroGunslinger wrote: the cutouts on some of these desolation charvels are appalling, seriously what where they thinking. the rest of the guitar seems great though
    I agree. Also, for some reason when I see a Floyd Rose style trem on a Les Paul style body, I cringe.
    MrFlibble
    Correction to the spec as stated in the review, if this is the DS-1 then it's a mahogany neck, not maple. And it's not unfinished, it's got an oil finish on it. The full spec is on Charvel's website. Anyhoo, almost bought one of these myself a month back. It's not often you see a neck-through LP style guitar, let alone one which is mahogany neck-through. Ended up getting the Tele style bolt-on model though; the DS-1 may be neck-through, but the San Dimas are MIA and cost hardly any more (at least here). It's really hard to justify the price tag of the Desolation models when they're made in China and you can get an American-made and/or Japanese-made Charvel for not much more.
    a_hub10
    The way this was written makes me want to call BS on the writer. Especially about batteries dying. The only way they would die that quickly is if he leaves a cable plugged into it all the time.
    blackbird51
    It has a very balanced sound just remember to replace the battery because it makes a difference with the active pickups.
    batteries are for flashlights, not guitars.
    blooddrunk
    Only the cutaway looks a bit chunky. the rest looks amazing. This will have more depth than their new superstrats which ive heard sound a little thin tone-wise
    COREYTAYLOR721
    good job charvel rubbing your name through the dirt with a cheap line like this. the strat copies r actually cool.
    DTh213
    love the finish in the picture, and the pickups and the fact that its neck-thru, but that disgusting cutaway totally ruins it.
    saint_berzerker
    I just couldn't pull the trigger on a Chinese guitar for more than 200 bucks. I hate it that it bothers me so much...but 600 bucks? Ugh. It looks nice and all, but the horror stories from engineers and people I've talked to that have been in the factories over there is always in the back of my mind.
    danvwman
    Well for those who are bitching about it being spendy compared to a USA made San Dimas. The San Dimas is a bolt on neck, that is way cheaper to produce than a neck thru. You need to compare the cost to a same kind of build you bozos. A bolt on neck Desolation is only $299-400 If the desolation neck thrus were made here they would cost closer to $1200 or equal to a Jackson neck thru. And USA built does not mean a damn thing, bubba can build a piece of garbage just as easily as Ying Yang! I recently bought a Desolation Star for$650, killer deal(list is $800+) My star has the same neck profile,same wood as this DS ,awesome playing guitar. 100 times better than any Gibson in this price range period. And as far as quality, just make sure you buy from somewhere that will take it back if you get a dudd. I played mine 3 times before I bought it to make sure it was "the one". I am just swapping my EMGs out with Bare knuckle dive bombs Cause I HATE EMGs.