Model 4 review by Charvel

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Features: 9
  • Sound: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.4 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.3 (3 votes)
Charvel: Model 4

Purchased from: private sale

Features — 9
Made in 1986.

  • The body is basswood – medium weight
  • Neck Fingerboard Composition: RockMaple/Quarter-Sawn Rosewood, has a satin finish and a wide, flat fingerboard 22 frets
  • Machine Heads: Jackson SG38-07B
  • Fingerboard Nut Composition: Phenolic
  • Fret Wire: Hardness - Rockwell C6/Brinell 171
  • Size - .118 x .114 x .51 x .37
  • Composition - 18% Nickel Silver
  • Finish Options: Black, Cobalt Blue, Red, Pearl White Black Cherry
  • Control Functions: One Volume, One Tone, Jackson Pre-Amp with Mid Boost, Three 2-way Mini-Toggles
  • Pickup Specifications:
    • Model Number: J200 (two)
    • Description: Dual Coil, Bi-level
    • Humbucking designed for use with active circuitry.
    • "clearer" distortion.
    • Sr.(in K Hz): 9.90
    • Z (@Sr in MOhms): 1.8
    • Inductance (in Henries):2.4
    • Q (@Sr): 12.6
    • Output Level (@ Sr): +44.1dB
    • Magnetic Structure: Alnico V
    • Resistance (in KOhms): 11.65
  • Pickup Specifications: Model Number: J50BC (one)
    • Description: High Frequency Bridge
    • Position Humbucking. Designed for use with active circuitry.
    • Sr.(in K Hz): 6.58
    • Z (@Sr in MOhms): 5.9
    • Inductance (in Henries):5.3
    • Q (@Sr): 2.64
    • Output Level (@ Sr): +56.4dB
    • Magnetic Structure: Ceramic
    • Resistance (in KOhms): 8.58
There is some debate on if the pickups are passive or active. However without the 9v battery in it you get no sound. Some say the 9v just powers the active/mid boost circuit.

Sound — 8
It suits my style well, I play traditional metal/rock like Deep Purple as well as Shred like Vinnie Moore, Gentaro Satamura, Greg Howe and the like. I use an old Carvin XV 212 valve amp no effects just the gain of the amp. This Charvel Model 4 has some great tones the mid boost really adds some crunch and fullness to the sound. Even playing it clean the mid boost really makes the sound big. It goes from Blackmore speed king power chords to Greg Howe sweeping arpeggios and even Tony Iommi clean intro to "Children of the Sea" with easy. Heralded as a superstrat the wide fretboard makes fast playing an ease.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I picked this up second hand, however having a Kahler trem certainly makes a low action really easy. I am biased towards Kahler as I have never had much trouble with one bar needing to replace a string roller on a trem once. And I just love the pull back on these trems for Dimebag squeals. The pickups were fine on it I always tend to tweak a lot of my guitars but pretty much left this alone as the guy before me was a studio muso that owned this so the set up was good. For a guitar that is pushing 30 years old it is in great condition. From a quick look on the net a lot of the model 4 white now have a yellowish tinge to them from riggers of age. There are no chips in mine the paintwork is pretty durable. Stays in tune no problem no matter how much whammy abuse I give it.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I don't really play live much but having said that this is a solid guitar which would stand stage playing with no problem. The hardware is pushing 30 years old and nothing being replaced bar one string roller speaks for itself. Strap buttons were strap lock buttons when I got it. I would depend on it for sure I have owned it for about 20 years now and often don't have it as a front line guitar for practice mainly because of the 22 frets and no other reason. I used to have it as a main guitar and always played it and resurrected it recently for this review.

Overall Impression — 8
I play everything from Deep Purple to Greg Howe and do play some death metal but this guitar is in standard and not about to restring it and drop it to D or C to play a few Dying Fetus song which it would be cool to do. It is good for arpeggio sweeps for sure, the wide neck and string spacing is brilliant for this sort of playing. I have being playing for over 20 years. I own a lot of Jacksons and Charvels in addition to Fender HM Strat, Heartfield, Godin G4000, and a couple of B.C. Richs and a Peavey Tracer.

I would always replace a guitar like this especially for the Kahler trem and mid boost that is on it. I love the neck and big sound it has. I lot of people don't like stock pick ups but I have guitars with Super Distortions and them and Jeff Beck trembuckers and put this these Jacksons with the mid boost against them any day. It may have a slight Middy sound to it some people may not like. The only thing that bugs me is the fact it has 22 frets when a lot of mine guitars have 24. At the time I was in the market for a good quality build guitar that would last and this Model 4 came along and I have never regretted owning it. As a big Ritchie Blackmore fan it was close enough in looks to a Strat for me and I much prefer shredder thin necks as a personal preference.

0 comments sorted by best / new / date