So I've been looking long and hard at the carvin range, but I have so many questions I don't know where to start, and while their website is great, it doesn't begin to approach what I would want to know...
Firstly, Carvins options are great, but they use OFR's on fingerboards with radius 14"...now a 14" radius is great, but aren't OFR's designed for a much smaller radius than that? Won't the action be really high on the middle strings? Or do they shim the saddles during setup at the factory?
Not sure, honestly, but whatever they do works. There's no issues with the Floyd on a Carvin guitar
Secondly, the pickups sound absolutely fantastic from the descriptions...but Carvin have a real thing for warm tone in their descriptions...now I love a big warm neck pickup, but I always find myself wanting more treble from the bridge, even with an evo2 (Mainly, I think, because the evo2's high end is more of an upper midrange spike...I want so real grit and tightness to my bridge work...think Michael Romeo on 'Twilight in Olympus')....Can carvin offer me that, or am I best just specifying a brighter body and really warm pickups?
I happen to really like the sound of Carvin humbuckers. I don't know if they have one that's really super bright, but the distortion (M22SD) is a great pickup. That said, if you need needle through the eye brightness plan on replacing the stockers once you get the guitar.
Thirdly, carvins 'speed neck' thingamajigger...wtf does that even mean? How does the profile compare to say, My S2170FW, my RG550EX, or even an LTD Alexi 200?
The 'speed neck' thing really is more a description of the ability to set the action extremely low. I don't know if they plek their guitars, but they are certainly setup really low. The necks themselves are pretty easy to play, though a little rounder and thicker than a typical Ibanez neck. Nothing like an old Tele or N4, but still a little thicker. Very easy to get used to.
One important note (in my opinion, so it's subjective) is that the Carvin finishes are sometimes a bit sticky on the back of the neck. Not always, but occasionally. If I were ordering one right now, I would absolutely get the tung oiled neck option and not the finished neck. I'd actually get a tung oiled mahogany neck, but that's just me
4th - Stainless steel fretwire...worth the outlay? I've wanted to try it for a long time but seeing as its main benefits show themselves over months and years its not something I can really quantify myself...whats the tone like? Brighter? The same? Warmer? And to what extent to they wear down compared to normal frets over an average period?
The excellent lifespan and low wear are nice, but stainless frets are quite a bit more slippery to play than nickel fretwire. Bending is nearly effortless, and allows you to have quite a bit of fun with how you fret a note. This is an obvious, slam dunk choice; just pick your size fret and get the stainless.
As for wood, Carvin does occasionally send out guitars that get returned to them because the flame or quilt is simply too over the top. So, if you want psycho quilt or flame, tell them when you order. They keep the most over the top stuff off to the side for people who request it. As far as I know there isn't an upcharge for it over regular flame or quilt.
The 7 strings tend to be overly bright, though that might be right up your alley. I would personally go with a maple topped mahogany neck/mahogany body, but you might be better off with a maple neck and alder (the standard) or swamp ash wings.
Now playing: Porcupine Tree - Normal