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Charvel San Dimas style 1-2H

Charvel is back, and they mean business! Gone are the outsourced budget models. Charvel has once again opened shop in San Dimas, California. Charvel is offereing a handful of models in some cool colors. The style 1-2H has an Alder body; quartersawn maple neck; Floyd Rose; Grover tuners; padded gig bag; and made in U.S.A.! The pickups are Duncan JB Bridge; '59...

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Rocked the Custom Pointy Version for 2 years featured

Sound note** This is a review of one of the Charvels that were being produced right before Fender put them on the mass-produced line. It's pretty much identical to the off-the-shelf ones you get now only with a pointy headstock instead of the Strat one.

The sound of the guitar is very similar to, but a little beefier and heavier than that of my JEM777DY. It has that same quick attack and vowel-like character, but there's a lot of oomph behind it that I don't get with the JEM. In the mix, of course, you'll never notice, but when you're soloing with a volume boost the JEM might sound more "squeaky" than the Charvel. I'm convinced that the audience cannot distinguish between the two of 'em. Oh, and for just wanking solo in the bedroom the Charvel will sound cooler because of the more full lows. It's an alder/full body vs. basswood/highly styled body thing.

So to all my PAF-Pro JEM-slinging brothers: The sound is really close to the JEM thing but with a more modern bass-emphasized spectrum.

Action, Fit, & Finish Funny story: After a 5-month wait, Charvel sent me a B-Stock by mistake. Crack in the neck and a neck pocket gap that you could drive a Chevy Tahoe through. The rep was certainly apologetic enough. Several months of more waiting later mine arrived.

The 2nd guitar's neck pocket was still pretty lame for a $1,600 bolt-on, sporting a gap big enough to stick two business cards in on one side and one card on the other, but everything else was really A-1. Setup, action, fretwork, etc. The fretwork was just amazing. I could shave in their glorious gleam. The Floyd was absolutely perfect. I almost wept when I had to tune it down to my usual Eb. The set up was factory: Charvel sent it from California to Massachusetts (the dealer) who then sent it back to California (me). 6,000 miles under her belt and the neck was still perfect. That rocks.

Reliability & Durability I've gigged with her for 2 years steady. I always bring a backup (the aforementioned JEM) because--let's face it--in our double-locking vibrato world you break one string and your guitar is done for the set. I've had to wipe her down a few times, there are some paint dings and scratches here and there, and the maple board is getting that nice patina ... other than that she's mint-ola.

I've only had one minor gremlin: During a show, my guitar signal kept dropping out and I couldn't figure out why. I kept playing with the output jack, etc. It turned out it was the Switchcraft 3-way pickup selector. My band mostly calls for the bridge pickup, and I've noticed that these Switchcraft switches start to poop out if you leave them in one position too long (the same exact thing happened on my Jackson).

The screws holding the output jackplate to the body also stripped out the wood, necessitating a quick matchstick fix.

Customer Support I had to deal with Charvel/FMIC support during the B-stock fiasco. They're very pleasant people to work with and we even talked a little about their marketing strategy and plans (remember this was before the Charvel brand was back in full swing ... at this point it was still just a limited run of let's-see-how-it-goes pieces). I would have liked to have received the 2nd guitar sooner than I did, but for what it's worth I did get the impression that FMIC was doing all it could do to make that happen.

Liked about it Top 3 Likes:

1) The neck. The neck on this thing is so sensuous that rubbing your hand across it should be illegal.

2) The look. If you've seen Jack Butler rippin' Eugine apart in Crossroads you've seen this guitar.

3) The Floyd. This thing stays in perfect tune even with the most ridiculous whammy action.

Didn't like Top 3 Dislikes:

1) The neck pocket fit. I understand that this is way more of a perceived shortfall than a structural one, but still ...

2) Body cavities are unshielded. Really? In this day and age? WTF?

3) Interior woodwork. Very much like on my Jackson, the woodwork inside the cavities is rough and left that way. We're talking splintered wood, screws that completely miss the wood and just go into the cavity, etc.

Overall satisfaction:

By JohnnyRasgueado
Jun 18, 2010
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Charvel ups the ante--AGAIN!

Sound Oh my, these soung GREAT! Charvel has done away with the old generic pickups from days gone by, and installed a Seymour Duncan JB and '59 set. This baby just oozes 80s vibe. I plugged this into a Marshall JVM205C 50-Watt tube combo, and just couldn't help ripping into my rendition of RATT's Lay It Down!

Action, Fit, & Finish The action is very low an accomodating for us leftover 80s shredders. The neck fit snuggly into the pocket, and the setup was perfect. The finish? The folks at Charvel went back to 1985 and brough forward those cool 80s colors for these new San Dimas models. I tried the Slime Green version, and was instantly reminded of Dweezil Zappas green Charvel from the 80s.

Reliability & Durability These new Charvels seem to be built pretty tough. While I don't own one--yet, I'd bet tha they are built to last.

Customer Support Never had to deal with them.

Liked about it I love the low action and feel of the neck--a shredder's dream. The pickup choice is dead-on perfect for some hard rock chunck. I also love the throwback 80s colors. The alder body makes it light enough to play for hours on end.

Didn't like These only come with a gigbag. C'mon Charvel! At these prices you could throw in a hardshell case!

Overall satisfaction:

By AlaskaBat
May 20, 2010
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