So-Cal Review

manufacturer: Charvel date: 12/22/2011 category: Electric Guitars
Charvel: So-Cal
You can get the heaviest death metal sounds to the smoothest blues sounds out of this guitar.
 Sound: 9.7
 Overall Impression: 10
 Reliability & Durability: 9.3
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9
 Features: 9.7
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (3) pictures (7) 40 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 10
So-Cal Reviewed by: songmaster, on january 11, 2011
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 899

Purchased from: Sam Ash

Features: My guitar was made in 2009, and is Japanese made. It has 22 jumbo frets on a 1 piece 25 1/2 quartersawn maple neck. The body is a solid top and is made out of alder. The finish is very basic. Its painted white. It has a Strat style body. It has an original Floyd Rose with two Passive Pickups. It only has one volume nob, and a 3-way toggle switch. There is no tone nob. The pickups are in a basic HH configuration. Theyre two DiMarzio humbuckers. A tone zone in the bridge, and an evolution in the neck. The tuners are grover locking tuners. This guitar came with a molded case that is VERY durable. This guitar also came with the Floyd Rose bar, 3 allen wrenches, and straplocks. // 10

Sound: I play all types of rock, and play blues as well. This guitar fits those genres perfectly, the pickups are VERY versatle. You can get any sound you want out of them. I run my guitar through a Bogner Alchemist, and currently have a jemini distorion pedal and DigiTech whammy. I can get most beautiful sounds out of this set up. You can get the heaviest death metal sounds to the smoothest blues sounds out of this guitar. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was set up pretty much perfect out of the factory. The action was low the way i like it. I had to adjust the pick ups just a little bit but that was it. And the Floyd Rose was perfectly set, it was perfectly flush with the body. There were no flaws to my knowledge // 10

Reliability & Durability: The durability of this guitar is great. I'm very confident that it will withstand live playing. The hardware will last for centuries if taken care of. The strap buttons are very solid on this guitar, but, with the straplocks that came with it the guitar is 10x safer. I would definetly use this guitar without a back up. The finish seems like it will last a LONG time. If Properly taken care of. // 10

Overall Impression: My style of music is rock and blues, and this guitar fits it perfectly. I have currently been playing for 4 years and during that time I have bought an Ibanez GRX20, and Epiphone Standard plus, and a LTD Sc-607b. If it were stolen or lost, I was most definetly buy it again, and hunt down the person who stole it. My favorite feature HAS to be the original floyd rose. I got this guitar about 2 weeks ago and not once have I had to re tune it. It is very high quality. Before choosing this guitar, I played many other LTDs, and Ibanez guitars. I chose this one cause of the quality of it. It is very well made. They only thing I wish this guitar has is cavity cut out under the bridge so I can pull the bar up farther. // 10

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overall: 8.6
So-Cal Reviewed by: MaggaraMarine, on november 03, 2011
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 666

Purchased from: DLX Music (Finland)

Features: The guitar was made in Japan 2010. It has a 25, 5 scale bolt on maple neck/fretboard with 22 jumbo frets and dot inlays, Strat style alder body, original Floyd Rose FRT-O2000 bridge (so it's Korean made), passive DiMarzio Tone Zone bridge humbucker and Evolution neck humbucker, 3-way pickup selector, tuners are non-locking Grovers. It has only one volume control and no tone controls but I never use a tone knob so I don't need it. It included an SKB hard case, tools and straplocks that are much better than in my Epi LP. Oh, and the guitar has a snow white finish. I give it a 9 because some people would need tone knobs, coil tap and 24 frets. But the features are enough for me. // 9

Sound: I play mostly 80s hard rock and metal (glam, heavy and a little thrash) and I think this guitar was made for 80s music so it definitely suits my style. I am using a Roland Micro Cube (I know, not the best amp in the world but it's a good practice amp) and it has all the effects I need (chorus, delay and reverb). Of course I have played it through many amps, not just the Micro Cube. I was looking for a Floyd Rose equipped 80s looking/sounding guitar so in the store I compared this guitar to Charvel San Dimas and B.C. Rich Gunslinger Retro and the two Charvels had better sound than the Gunslinger (OK, they were over 100 more expensive). Between the Charvels it was harder but after some time I noticed that I preferred the So-Cal because of its fuller sound. I played the guitars in the store through a Marshall JCM 2000 combo and halfstack. Compared to my Epiphone Les Paul Standard it has more trebly sound and the pickups have higher output. The sound is "more '80s". But the sound has much more variety than only 80s music. You can play everything from blues to heavier metal with it. The volume control changes the sound very nicely and when you turn it only a little the volume will change unlike on the Les Paul. The LP's volume control affects the guitar's volume/tone clearly only when you turn it lower than like 4. The sustain is not as good as on the Les Paul so when I bend some long note sometimes it won't ring as long time as I would like. For distortion I almost always use the bridge pickup and for cleans or mild overdrive I use all the three positions. Bridge has the brightest sound and it's great for every music that needs distortion and I also like to play leads with it. It plays cleans well too and if you want a bright clean sound this position is great. The neck pickup is the warmest and gives a great clean tone. And of course you can also use it with overdrive to get some bluesy tones and some John Sykes kind of smooth lead tones. The middle position (both pickups) gives a funkier and pretty twangy sound. It's warmer than bridge position and works well with cleans if you want pretty bright tone with the characteristics of neck pickup. When distorted you can get a great hammer-pull off tone for solos, pretty same kind of tone as neck pickup gives but a bit thinner. Natural harmonics work best with both pickups selected. I give it a 9 because it sounds great. I just wish that there would be one setting with a bit more twang. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was set up OK but the truss rod needed some adjustment. But if you need to adjust the truss rod you need to take off the neck so I asked the music store to do it for me. I had fret buzz but after adjusting the truss rod there's no buzzing at all. It's got pretty low action but not as low as on Ibanezes. The guitar compared to Les Paul is easier to play fast and it's better balanced. The guitar has no flaws (I wouldn't have bought it if it had). I had one problem with the volume knob. It started getting loose and then I turned it and that caused a wire to snap and I didn't get any sound out of my guitar. I took it to the music store and they fixed it and now it works again. So if the volume knob gets loose you should tighten it immediately. It's a 7 because I had some problems with it that I wish it didn't have. Otherwise it had no flaws. // 7

Reliability & Durability: I think this guitar was made for live playing. I haven't played gigged with it yet because I'm not in a band that could gig but I think it would be a great guitar to play live. Of course I would take my Les Paul for backup because if my string broke it would be hard to restring. And of course I could use the LP in some songs for more variety on sound. The finish seems it will last long but the fretboard is maple so if it gets dirty (like mine) you will see the dirt. Maybe I should clean it. As I said it has straplocks and they are much better than my Les Paul's. I give it an 8 because I'm afraid of a string breaking when I'm playing on stage. And the string change will take longer time than with fixed bridge. But hey, that's why I would have my backup guitar with me. // 8

Overall Impression: I'm very impressed with this guitar. It's the right guitar for me. I have been playing for a bit over two years now and I bought this guitar in May. I own a Micro Cube (which I would like to replace with some nice tube amp), DigiTech RP355 that I use for recording and Epiphone Les Paul Standard. I have tried some Ibanezes including my friend's Ibanez Prestige but this guitar beats them all and costs less than the Prestiges (they don't have as good features as this guitar has, they are also made in Japan and they still cost more, you pay for the "Prestige" name). The neck is my favorite feature. It's the best feeling neck I have tried. It may take some time to get used to its unique feel but when I touched the neck for the first time I knew I had to buy it. The guitar holds tuning well, it never goes out of tune when you dive bomb, I have tried. I sometimes push the bar down as much as I can and tuning won't change (if it's set up properly, mine was when I got it). It only goes out of tune over time. One downside with this guitar is that retuning is painful. When you tune one string another will go out of tune. So you have to tune it many times to get the right tuning. And after that it will stay in tune for a while. I had tuning problems with my Les Paul and I had to retune it all the time so now I'm happy with this guitar (That was one main reason why I bought this guitar). If it were stolen... I don't know. I wouldn't have money to buy a new one but if I had I think I would buy it again or maybe I would look for something else like Ibanez RGA72 (Floyd Rose version, BTW. That had a great neck, too) or B.C. Rich Gunslinger Retro. I could also buy something with single coils because I don't have any single coil guitars. Well... I would still have my Les Paul which isn't that bad. Actually when I was buying this guitar I thought if I had preferred the LP's sound because I liked it pretty much then and I still like it. I also thought that maybe a new amp would be a better buy. But I noticed that I made the right choice because now I'm even more happy with this guitar: feels great, sounds great. I still need a new amp though. Of course this guitar could have 24 frets, coil tapping, two volume knobs and maybe a tone control (I don't like tone knobs) and single coils (just would like to have a setting with a bit more twang). Yeah, and a recessed Floyd Rose because with the non-recessed FR this guitar has you can't bend up more than from half to one and half steps (depends on which string you bend) but I seldom bend up with the Floyd. It could be lighter, too. It's pretty heavy and almost as heavy as my Les Paul but it's better balanced. I expected that it would be lighter like Ibanezes and my friend's Gibson SG. But the features this axe has are more than enough for me. I have to give this a 10 because even though it's lacking on some features I didn't want any more of them. And it was better than I expected and the neck is just great. Thanks for reading my pretty long review and I hope this helps if you are considering to buy a new guitar. // 10

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overall: 10
So-Cal Reviewed by: ihaveagibsonsg, on december 22, 2011
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 700

Purchased from: Craigslist

Features: I purchased a 2008 USA Charvel Socal in a wild card Candy Green paint job. It has an alder body with a DiMarzio Tone Zone in the bridge and an evolution in the neck. It has a black REAL floyd rose tremelo with 1 chunky black volume knob and a nice beefy 3 selector pickup switch. Quality Black Grover tuners and black locking nuts finish it off. It has a bolt on unfinished maple neck and matching maple fretboard with black dot inlays. It has a compound 12-16 radius with jumbo frets. It also came with Dunlop strap locks which I really like. Mine came with a nice G&L case but the USA models do not come with a case. The newer Japanese Pro Mod series comes with a molded SKB hard case. It's a straight forward no smoke and mirrors guitar. Want a different tone? Change the settings on your amp, don't kid your self most people never use the tone knobs anyway. // 10

Sound: You don't even have to plug this guitar in to appreciate its tone. It flat out sings plugged in or not. It weighs a TON. It weighs far more than my USA Fender Strat and encroaches on my Les Paul customs weight. That's part of the reason why it has Les Paul sustain and sings forever on a high gain setting. My USA Socal weighs quite a bit more than my friend's Japanese Pro Mod. The pick ups are excellent for hard rock, heavy metal, funk and progressive music. I installed a coil splitter switch and when its activated this guitar can do absolutely anything. It gets Strat single coil clean tone with the splitter activated on the neck. The bridge pickup has great attack and will chug out those metal riffs with clarity but not harshness. Even on a clean setting its still very usable. The middle setting is one of my favorites because you get a unique twangy spank. The notes just pop and it sounds great for cleans or a fat bluesy lick. The neck pickup is the best though. It is a perfectly blend of Strat twang with the power and clarity of a humbucker. The notes just POP out at you and climb in your ears. Every note is individual and its own. The lead climbs on the lower strings that always sound muddy now stick out like you're playing on the bridge pickup. I run this guitar on a Peavey 5150II on a Marshall JCM 800 cab and its brutal for metal. I put it on my Line 6 Flextone III combo and its awesome for an 80's and 70's rock cover band. I use it for recording with impulses and an axe FX and it cuts through the mix. It rocks on everything. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: UG lists this section as how the guitar came set up from the factory which is an absurd question to ask. No guitar comes how you want it from the factory. Mine was used and came set up extremely well. It just needed some minor tweaking to suit my playing more. As far as build quality goes, the story behind these early USA Charvel models is that Charvel would use all the same wood as the Fender custom shop models. It shows because this guitar is a giant leap ahead of any USA Fender out there under 2,000$. The frets are polished and feel as smooth as stainless steel frets. I'd say it is equal to the build quality as Suhr and Anderson guitars, except this one sounds and plays far better. The neck on this guitar is the best part. I hand it to anyone to play and they have an immediate bond to it. The neck is just so comfortable to any sized hand. The compound radius means the neck is rounder by the headstock to make it easier to play chords and it flattens out as you go up to make it easier to solo. Being unfinished makes it the fastest neck I've ever played. It puts my Ibanez prestige and my Jackson soloist to shame. The tall frets also make it easssssssy to slide and fret. It's the fastest guitar out there hands down. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I bought the guitar second hand from someone who played it regularly. I play it hours every day. The fret board is caked with dirt since its an unfinished neck but I like it, it adds character. It is built like a tank. I have no doubt in my mind this guitar is reliable. Everything on it just feels high quality and the pick up selector and volume knob are thick and strong. I've dropped it a few times and the finish doesn't have a single dent or scratch. My Fender on the other hand looks like Yngwie Malmsteen rubbed his jewelry all over it it for 20 years and gave it back to me. You would be hard pressed to ruin the paint on this guitar. Plus its so beautiful you would never want to do such a thing to it. The Candy colors are jaw dropping. The standard white, black and blue paint jobs are great too but if you want a head Turner I suggest spending the extra bucks and getting a candy paint job. It's just a slick looking guitar, it doesn't need an aged 200 step swirled 50 year old quilted top that was licked by Eric Clapton to look nice. It's basic and beautiful. // 10

Overall Impression: I've been playing guitar for 11 years now and I play professionally for TV shows, signed bands and amusement parts across the nation. I've owned all the "great" guitars and this Charvel puts them all to shame. It's easily the best guitar under $1000. Actually its one of the best guitars EVER made. Don't let the price fool you, it's a great machine. Every where I take it people are genuinely impressed. The moment you put it in your hands you will go "wow this guitar feels really expensive". One of my students even went out bought 3 of them he loved mine so much. My close friend sold all his guitars and bought one. Another friend of mine sold his Custom shop gold top Les Paul and bought one as well. If you play one beware... You'll be hooked and your will CRAVE one. Don't play one unless you can afford to buy it! You'll be like Wayne from "Wayne's World" drooling over Excalibur. If it were lost or stolen I'd buy another one immediately. I'm actually saving to buy its evil twin, the San Dimas. I chose it originally over the San Dimas though because I think it sounds better. The pick up combo compliments this guitar better than the Duncans. I also liked the idea I could buy another pick guard with different pick ups and just drop it in but I am really happy with the DiMarzio's. If you put a splitter in it, you have the most capable guitar in the business. I was selling and trading different guitars for years until I got this one. I've never been happier, I'll starve to death before I sell it. The one of the best parts about owning this guitar is you will NEVER have to go to guitar center again. You will already know there is no guitar on the wall that will compare to the one sitting in your lap. // 10

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