OPINION: Modern Charvels aren't that good

WhiteShadow

Active member
Not trying to knock them for those who dig them, but I just feel like Charvel makes hipster guitars now, rather than the hot rodded (looking) 80s metal machines they once did. Sure, people will say they need to update with the times (cough... history is not linear cough...), but I just think if it ain't broke, don't go a fixin' it.

No metallic candy apple colors any more, or at least not any primary ones. Too many knobs. HSS configs (WTF is up with that? San Dimas' are supposed to have HH and one volume pot!!!!!) They don't really even play as good now. My 2013 MiM model blows the recent 2019 MiM model I had away in terms of comfort and playability.

I just don't really like the direction Charvel is headed. Tbh, I just like old stuff.

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GearGasms

Active member
I don't love the Pro Mod color choices but my San Dimas in purple burst and my burgundy mist metallic DK24hh are both great great guitars. Agree on the HSS.
 

Hamer95USA

Active member
I like the modern Charvel guitars that I've played at Guitar Center. The different models with various pickup configurations and colors are a great option today compared to having to order & buy from Charvel custom shop or buying a used Japanese Charvel guitar which I owned before. The necks on the newer Charvel guitars floats my boat compared to when I was trying to build my own parts Strat in the 1990's. I'd buy a new Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal style 1HSH FR E guitar that I really like, but I already own a Fender Floyd Rose Classic Strat, Fender Japan Contemporary Strat, and a Hamer USA Chapparal Elite 90 & Diablo II guitars in my super Strat guitars.

Guitar George
 

WhiteShadow

Active member
I know this is nitpicky, but I just hate the little cutout in the heel of the neck where the truss wheel is. I hate that feature on modern guitars. Just makes them look hacked up and ugly IMO. I prefer more seamless designs. The direct pickups without the pickup frames kill it for me too. Same principle.
 

JLR

Member
I have a 2017 white San Dimas and it worth every $ I paid for it. The necks are great. Only weak link on it is the wiring. I would likely yield better tone rewiring it. I also have a 1986 Charvel and would put up my MIM with it any day of the week.
 

Geo

Well-known member
I have a couple from the NAMM show when Fender started making them. They are real nice guitars but I wouldn't buy a new one. Too many other options out there.
 

kmanick

Well-known member
I'm a little torn on this , I just recently picked up a DK dark amber (which is a joke they should've name it Solar because that's what it is).
I bought solely on the fact that I love the Neck on my 201 MIJ SoCal and wanted something that felt very similar but 24 fret that I could gig and not have a heart attack if it got dinged up or stolen. It's with my tech right now as I'm having him pull out all of the guts and redo it it with a 3 way and 2 push/pull volume pots. Mine also needs a shim as the Floyd is sunk pretty deep into the route to get the action where I like it and it has some fret sprout. I bought it used with a case for a good deal so I'm not put off by that stuff. It does feel "cheap" compared to my MIJ, I'm not used to having a feather light guitar , it does surprisingly sound good with the Full shred/Alnico 2's it came with but I may yank those and put in a Suhr Aldrich and an SSV in the neck, as I have that combo in a mahogany 7 string and Love how it sounds through the Splawn. The neck does feel really good on this, but again being a guy that once owned several of the original era San Dima Charvels/Jackson (years gone way by) and several of the 2010 era MIJ Charvels, I feel the quality has taken a big step down. in regard to the OP's "objections" those are all personal preference things , look of no pickup rings , truss rod wheel at the heel (which I love BTW), I care about playabilty and tone, these are not our fathers Charvels LOL!
Sadly.......... I miss them, I was hoping to be wowed by mine (2020 model BTW) so far... not so much. Hopefully back from the tech all set up will change my mind as I do see a lot of people in love with these things.
Is your 2013 a quartersawn with a Skunk stripe? I think those may be left over MIJ necks which would explain why they feel so much better.
 

stratjacket

Well-known member
To each their own I suppose. I’ve had nothing but good luck with them. I’ve owned a couple dk-24 and dk-22 with roasted necks, all were great. I currently have the fixed bridge sassafras and really like it and the newer MIJ walnut dk24 model. Couple of Custom shops in there were great over the last couple of years that were great (expensive to boot). For $999 New these days, hard to beat IMHO. I’m sure there are some beaters out there though, inevitable at that price.
 

squealie

Active member
I'm not in love with the buried trem. On a Jackson or Ibby, sure. Charvels (to me) need surface mounted trems. I do like the truss wheel. Mostly because one of my MIA Charvels is a fucking fickle bitch with the truss and I'm sick of jerking the neck. I may even hack it up to install a wheel.

The trend is going to this fan-fret djent guitars anyway. This shit we play is gonna be in a museum next to a saxaphone and a living-room-organ with the bossa-nova button.
 

GreatRedDragon

Active member
In my opinion....

Charvel in my mind stands for stripped down, hot rod Strats, and of an aesthetic and function relating to a very specific time period.

I think the USA-made Pro-Mods fucking nailed it.

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The point is simplicity.

The MIJ line carried through with the same ethos as the USA.

To me the first sign of trouble was when the MIM line launched in 2013.

The big problem? A recessed Floyd Rose.

In my eyes the essence of a Charvel is that top-mounted trem. Again, simplicity. Trading the versaility of a floating trem for the stability of a dive-only trem.

To me, a recessed trem belongs on a Jackson or an Ibanez. If the Charvel is the first evolutionary step up from the stock Fender Stratocaster, the Jackson Soloist and Ibanez JEM are further evolutionary steps. A floating trem is like putting scissor doors on a Dodge Charger.

One that recessed Floyd was on there it was downhill from there.

Tone knobs, push pulls, HSH configurations. It's gotten too far away from the ideal.

The Charvel Dinkies are an interesting development of merging the Jackson and Charvel aesthetics, and I don't really hold them to the same standard as the Strats. But I would like to see them with top-mounted trems.

I'd like to see Charvel re-introduce a classic model, that Wild Card #3 up there. Call it the Super Stock.
 

squealie

Active member
>To me the first sign of trouble was when the MIM line launched in 2013.

I have a 2013 DeMartini MIM. It has major problems.

A. a weird neck shift problem that I could NOT figure out. Pocket tight, screws tighter than your step-sister's ass. I fixed it with a fucking kindergarten glue stick.

B. The skunk-stripe is leaking out. It doesn't really bother me, but I feel it.

C. I'm on my 4th volume pot. Something about the placement means my pinky/palm bangs it with every pick stroke and somehow makes it fail. CTS pots. WTF

It's one of my all time favorite guitars. It sounds so fucking good. The weird pickup is so right for the gay-early-90s-hair-metal I love. The slightly rolled fingerboard is so comfy. The dinky body is so superior to the strat shape.

I'll never part with this piece of shit.

Oh, and I'm wearing thru the 'finish' ... which is even cooler.
 

WhiteShadow

Active member
In my opinion....

Charvel in my mind stands for stripped down, hot rod Strats, and of an aesthetic and function relating to a very specific time period.

I think the USA-made Pro-Mods fucking nailed it.

NqlOvTM.jpeg

8th_batch590.jpg


The point is simplicity.

The MIJ line carried through with the same ethos as the USA.

To me the first sign of trouble was when the MIM line launched in 2013.

The big problem? A recessed Floyd Rose.

In my eyes the essence of a Charvel is that top-mounted trem. Again, simplicity. Trading the versaility of a floating trem for the stability of a dive-only trem.

To me, a recessed trem belongs on a Jackson or an Ibanez. If the Charvel is the first evolutionary step up from the stock Fender Stratocaster, the Jackson Soloist and Ibanez JEM are further evolutionary steps. A floating trem is like putting scissor doors on a Dodge Charger.

One that recessed Floyd was on there it was downhill from there.

Tone knobs, push pulls, HSH configurations. It's gotten too far away from the ideal.

The Charvel Dinkies are an interesting development of merging the Jackson and Charvel aesthetics, and I don't really hold them to the same standard as the Strats. But I would like to see them with top-mounted trems.

I'd like to see Charvel re-introduce a classic model, that Wild Card #3 up there. Call it the Super Stock.
EXACTLY! Although my only point of contention is that the 2013 MiM line is KILLER! IMO The best way to get one super close to the 2008-2009 USA models without spends in the 1000s. I see them in the $500- $800 range online used. I got mine for like $700 and it is the best guitar I've ever played. Simply amazing! The recessed Floyd, while not as good as the top mount I agree, is still not a deal breaker. I like it.

But yes, you nailed it 100% They are a particular aesthetic that are supposed to harken back to a particular time. I see them as like the "Harley Davidson" of guitars. They are classic hot rods. Not meant to have all the fancy buttons and knobs. They are meant to be meat and potatoes classic hard rock/metal shredders.
 

gbsmusic

Well-known member
I picked this up little over a month ago and it's incredible! Sounds great and after a setting it up it plays perfect!
 

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