I looked at the Epiphone Les Pauls, the Fender Strats and Teles, and a couple of Ibanezs. I wanted something different, something that would last, and something that was a good value. This guitar is wonderful, and a great price. The opportunity to totally customize every aspect of the guitar is great, and I don't know if I will ever go back to a "normal" guitar company.
Model Year: 2001
Price: $950.00 (new)
Where Obtained: www.carvin.com
This is a 100% Grade A U.S. custom made guitar. Its a neck-thru six-string, solid mahogany with a quilted maple top. This model is the "secret" one, not advertised on the website or catalogs. It comes with a humbucker in the neck and bridge, with a single coil in the middle. The pickups are great, and my guitar also has a phase switch and a coil splitter along with the 5-way switch for more tonal combos. The finish is absolutely beautiful, a stunning blueburst (blue fading to black). The neck, back, and headstock share the same coloration. All the hardware is black chrome, and the ebony fretboard has abalone dot inlays. The body is shaped like a Fender, but I chose standard body edges to give it an edgier, not so rounded look. The bridge is string-thru, and the tuners are locking Schallers, which are great and make string changing a snap.
The action on this baby is soooo low, its unbelievable. The neck itself is thin, not as thin as an Ibanez, but more so than a Fender. It is very wide and shallow, which is difficult to get used to for chords if you play a narrower neck, but much better for soloing. It plays much better than any Ibanez I've ever played, and has spoiled me so much that I can barely touch my old Squier.
I use a Boss Metal Zone, flanger, and a Crybaby wah through my MarshalL Valvestate.
The sound is very snappy and thick, also quite warm. Its a good mix, somewhat a cross between a Fender and a Gibson. Depending on the pickup combos and the phase switch, the sound can also go to very mellow and jazzy, or very thin and nasaly. The E string does buzz a little after I change the strings, but it goes away after a little playing. In some single coil combos, the hum can be heard also, and is noticeable if you are used to humbuckers.
I have had the guitar for about two months. It has held up well, and the micro-scratches you get on the finish with any guitar are barely visible. It is a little heavy, but that should be expected with all mahogany. The guitar is well-balanced, the intonation is great. I have yet to break a string. The Dunlop straplocks are great also, if a little hard to figure out at first. Very sturdy, and necessary for an expensive guitar.