NGD: 2019 Charvel Custom Shop Sassafras Body

braintheory

Well-known member
Just got this 2019 Charvel Custom Shop in 2 piece flame Sassafras body, natural oil finish. It’s definitely somewhere in my top 5 favorites of the 29 guitars I currently have and 40 others I’ve had in the past. It’s the most musical sounding non-vintage guitar I’ve had. I can see now why Eric Johnson swore by his old Sassafras bodied strats having that extra magic over alder and ash. It’s quite open sounding and breathes, yet still feels great to play for leads with lots of sustain. Even with the stock Duncan’s it’s sounding awesome. Will experiment with my Tone Specific pickups later to see if it improves even more. My 2016 Custom Shop Mahogany San Dimas and 1986 Flame Maple San Dimas I also still really like, but this is by far my favorite. The playability is even sleeker than the other 2, even nicer frets and every note just oozes beautiful tone. Sassafras seems like it has pretty much everything I like tonally about maple, but more warmth, complexity, midrange, even more clarity and just a much more pleasing, beautiful tone, I guess also not as hard or dense sounding and not quite as much bass. Sassafras should be used way more often imo. I’ve been spoiled by having and trying lots of vintage guitars lately that make almost all these modern ones sound sterile and uninspiring, but this Charvel is a real outlier to how newer guitars typically sound to me. If it says anything, the other guitars in my top 5 now are a ‘57 Les Paul Jr, ‘64 SG Jr, ‘69 Les Paul Custom and an EGC (all aluminum)(also killer)
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harddriver

Well-known member
Nice I love the flame in that wood grain... I've never ever heard of Sassafrass as a tone wood, what wood family does it derive from?

The old school brass Charvel hardtail is a nice touch, Congrats on the new fiddle!:yes:
 

braintheory

Well-known member
Nice I love the flame in that wood grain... I've never ever heard of Sassafrass as a tone wood, what wood family does it derive from?

The old school brass Charvel hardtail is a nice touch, Congrats on the new fiddle!:yes:
Thanks! I’m not sure which wood family. I’ve heard some say it may be related to Ash, but thankfully sounds nothing like Ash. I only have liked Ash for Teles for my taste. This Sassafras Charvel seems to have this really great midrange quality to it without being too much in the honky direction
 

mooncobra

Well-known member
Nice man!! That’s awesome!!

I got a Charvel Custom from a rigtalk member a while back, maybe a year and a half or two years? Anyhow, out of all the guitars I have let go of, and there have been MANY, parting with that Charvel is the worst guitar oriented mistake I’ve ever made.

it was that color Charvel calls Vanilla Shake I believe? This guitar played soooooo well, pretty much effortlessly. It came with a stock Dimarzio Evo and Tone Zone. I planned or ripping those pickups out as fast as I possibly could.

I ordered a Bitchin set of BKP, and took the guitar out to play it for the first time. I was SHOCKED at how good it sounded!! The Dimsrzios were just perfect for the guitar. I could not imagine it sounding or feeling any better, and I didn’t want to mess with the magic going on. So I gladly accepted playing the stock dimarzios. I kept it for around a year, or year and a half.

I just had the itch to try something new. So I parted with the Charvel Custom. HUGE MISTAKE. The guy who got it from me sent me a message the day he got it declaring it the best guitar he ever played. I had to agree. That thing was Magic!!!

it had a nice rosewood fretboard, killer maple neck, and I believe an alder body.Even while using a lot of gain, it remained clear and articulate. The combo of the guitar and the pickups kept gain tight and punchy along with the clarity and articulate tones. It was a very special guitar.

I know exactly what you are saying OP! These sound so good! Charvel makes an absolute monster of a guitar!! The combo of killer tone and playability is their trademark. I sure miss my charvel.

congrats on the new guitar bro!
 

braintheory

Well-known member
Honestly for me I pretty much only judge and keep guitars if the tone is there for me and I knew within playing a few notes acoustically that it was there. The playability and aesthetics are just a very nice bonus
 

harddriver

Well-known member
Thanks! I’m not sure which wood family. I’ve heard some say it may be related to Ash, but thankfully sounds nothing like Ash. I only have liked Ash for Teles for my taste. This Sassafras Charvel seems to have this really great midrange quality to it without being too much in the honky direction

I've found that poplar is my overall favorite tonewood and Hard northern ash is pretty good as well, but poplar is it for me. I have one more project strat in poplar that I need to assemble to make number 3 in my poplar guitfiddle arsenal.

That flame in the Sassafrass is absolutely stunning compared the flame maple.
 

psychodave

Well-known member
Great guitar. Congrats and best of luck with it. I looked at that since I want a hard tail Charvel, but I am so particular about knob and switch locations that I couldn’t make the jump. It has perfect weight as too. I won’t touch any of the new Charvel’s or any guitars with a blade selector switch either (outside of a normal Strat). I can’t stand them. ? I’ve also been spoiled with the prepro neck shapes. ?
 

braintheory

Well-known member
Great guitar. Congrats and best of luck with it. I looked at that since I want a hard tail Charvel, but I am so particular about knob and switch locations that I couldn’t make the jump. It has perfect weight as too. I won’t touch any of the new Charvel’s or any guitars with a blade selector switch either (outside of a normal Strat). I can’t stand them. ? I’ve also been spoiled with the prepro neck shapes. ?
Yeah I like having it hardtail vs my others being Floyd's. I'm not particular about knob placement or switches. They're fine for my needs. Not actually sure what prepro necks are, but the neck is for my taste one of the better ones for me of my current guitars. It plays better than my '86 San Dimas and 2016 Custom Shop Mahogany San Dimas. The only thing I'm really nitpicky about is tone (the only reason I became a gear head in the first place) and spend lots of time playing it unplugged and plugged in (comparing to my other guitars) and the tone is what really made it impressive for me. All the other little details that have nothing to do with tone really don't matter to me personally and if they're also good is just a nice bonus/icing on the cake. I know others tend to judge guitars differently, but to me all these other things that aren't about the guitar's sound is kind of liking judging a restaurant on stuff not related to how the food actually tastes (more like judging its decor, atmosphere, service, etc) stuff a foodie wouldn't really care about

Yeah it weighs 7.6 lbs, which is usually too light for my taste when it comes to humbucker guitars, but this one I'm still really liking. Not as dense or punchy sounding as my heavier guitars, but more articulate and nuanced in tone and just a really pleasant voicing. I think its the Sassafras
 
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braintheory

Well-known member
I've found that poplar is my overall favorite tonewood and Hard northern ash is pretty good as well, but poplar is it for me. I have one more project strat in poplar that I need to assemble to make number 3 in my poplar guitfiddle arsenal.

That flame in the Sassafrass is absolutely stunning compared the flame maple.
Honduran Mahogany will probably always be my overall favorite tonewood (very hard to beat imo if it’s a good one), but plenty of others I also love. I’ve got a guitar that’s all purpleheart that also sounds great and has lots of growl and warmth kinda like mahogany, but denser and fatter sounding (huge low mids, but a bit loose sounding). Also got guitars will all rosewood, Paduak and Alaskan yellow cedar bodies that sound very good

The tonewoods I tend not to like are Limba, Ash, walnut, zebrawood, and hate basswood usually. I haven’t admittedly tried much poplar except on cheaper guitars. Will have to check some out
 

SpiderWars

Well-known member
Very cool! I've been asking some parts makers like Warmoth and a couple smaller companies about Sassafras ever sine the EJ Stories Virginia Strat came out. None of them had it. I asked a smaller builder if they had a suggestion for a substitute and they said Northern Hard Ash but that would usually be heavy which surprised me.

I noticed that Novo guitars uses a lot of "Tempered Pine" but I don't even know what 'Tempered' means. But Samtheman posted that C3 amp demo using a Novo and that guitar/amp combo sounded great.
 

romanianreaper

Well-known member
I just love Charvels. I rarely have found one in any price range that I've been disappointed with. The necks just work for me and feel awesome. Congrats!
 
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