OPINION: Newer Charvels are not very good. Neither are SD JBs

PBGas

Well-known member
I had one of the Charvel Henrik Danhage models that was MIM. I have to say it was nothing short of a very well built and quality guitar that was on par with anything Fender US at this point. The only reason I sold it was because well....I got about $300 more then I paid for it due to it being not available anymore. Loved the guitar but not enough to worry about letting it go.
 

Samhain

Well-known member
I don't have a MIM Charvel but I did built a Partscaster with a MIM neck and hardware.

Over a year in and I'm still struggling to bond with it. I think the neck is just a little too thin/flat for my liking. The Warmoth Strat I built at the same time has the Wolfgang profile and I find that far more comfortable. The fit and finish of the Charvel neck is tops though, I'll give them that.

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Im counting 23 frets is that correct ?
 

guitarbilly74

Active member
No opinions on new Charvels (haven't played them) but JBs are very guitar dependent. It's probably the most finnicky of the hot pickups. I've had the same exact JB sound both great and awful in different guitars.
 

Racerxrated

Well-known member
No opinions on new Charvels (haven't played them) but JBs are very guitar dependent. It's probably the most finnicky of the hot pickups. I've had the same exact JB sound both great and awful in different guitars.
I pulled what I thought was a ‘magical’ JBJ from a 1990 Hamer Diablo USA. Put it in a MiJ Charvel from 2011 and it sounded terrible lol. Put a Custom in and it sounded great. JBs are picky for sure.
 

Little B

Well-known member
To the op: did you get the guitar setup by a professional luthier? This alone can make or break it for the player.I have a luthier that knows my exact requirements for my perfect setup:feel,action,string tension,hieght,string gauge, brand,etc..
I played usa hamer chaparrals all thru the 80s and 90s,then saved up and ordered a custom shop charvel..it was perfect and my luthier is very aware of the setup in this guitar,as the thing dang near plays itself lol..ive also played some 3k,4k guitars off the rack and they clearly wernt playing right and setup nice for almost anyone...setup is eexxxtreemellleeee important.
 

anomaly

Well-known member
I’m surprised they messed with the best part of any Charvel-the neck. The 2013 MiM I played had the right neck feel but it sounded terrible and maybe weighed 5 lbs...like a cheap imitation. Weight isn’t everything but most of my heavier guitars sound killer. The two USAs I have now play so well, and sound so good I don’t think I’d let them go for 2K each. They are better than any of the 3 customs I’ve owned.
I've always felt that lighter guitars resonate better, it's maybe because the wood is less dense or something, so the notes just ring out better. There is a point where it can be too light though.
 

anomaly

Well-known member
I pulled what I thought was a ‘magical’ JBJ from a 1990 Hamer Diablo USA. Put it in a MiJ Charvel from 2011 and it sounded terrible lol. Put a Custom in and it sounded great. JBs are picky for sure.
Yeah they are picky pickups. They can sound great in some guitars and sound like shit in others. I put one in my SG and it sounded kinda harsh and bad so I took it out and put a Custom 5 in and the guitar sounds great now, but i've played many guitars with JB's that sound great too.
 

anomaly

Well-known member
To the op: did you get the guitar setup by a professional luthier? This alone can make or break it for the player.I have a luthier that knows my exact requirements for my perfect setup:feel,action,string tension,hieght,string gauge, brand,etc..
I played usa hamer chaparrals all thru the 80s and 90s,then saved up and ordered a custom shop charvel..it was perfect and my luthier is very aware of the setup in this guitar,as the thing dang near plays itself lol..ive also played some 3k,4k guitars off the rack and they clearly wernt playing right and setup nice for almost anyone...setup is eexxxtreemellleeee important.
I setup all my guitars myself and it's not a hard job when you get the hang of it. No need for a luthier. Of course intonation and string height are crucial, as well as neck relief, but those are all easy adjustments.
 

braintheory

Well-known member
I've always felt that lighter guitars resonate better, it's maybe because the wood is less dense or something, so the notes just ring out better. There is a point where it can be too light though.
That’s what I found to be the general trade off between light and heavier guitars. The lighter ones often have the resonance, more nuanced/detailed, prettier tone, but don’t sound as punchy, heavy or dense as the heavier guitars, so I usually choose my heavy guitars when I want a real brutal high gain tone. I’ve got an all rosewood body guitar that weighs close to 10 lbs and an ‘86 Schecter all Paduak body weighing close to 11 lbs. Most of my other guitars sound very wimpy and very lacking in comparison in bottom end, but those guitars also admittedly kinda suck for everything else besides brutal high gain riffs

There are exceptions though. My ‘69 Les Paul Custom weighs close to 10 lbs and still one of my most resonant and beautiful sounding guitars and my ‘84 Charvel (over 9 lbs) also has good resonance and warm tone and my Vik that weighs just 7.1 lbs sounds heavier/bigger than many guitars that weigh over 8 lbs. it’s probably due to it all Rosewood neck. It’s nice when I can find a guitar that has both great tone and heaviness. They tend to be the guitars I play more often
 

RevDrucifer

Active member
I didn't see it mentioned anywhere, but did you adjust the neck relief at all? That's always the one thing that takes me a little bit to dial in just right and has always been the one thing that can take a guitar from "Fuck this" to "Fuckin' a right!", for me anyway.
 

napalmdeath

Well-known member
MIM guitars in general are play before you buy. Sooo many of them have fret sprout! I had one a few months ago but sold it to someone here, that one was pretty solid, played and sounded good.

I kinda trust Korean made guitars more than Mexico since some of the Schecters I've played from Korea have been pretty awesome, especially a Custom Solo II I got from Sam Ash for around 600 bucks. It's flawless and plays and sounds as good as guitars that cost 3k.
Yeah, my Schecter C-1 SLS Elite is MILES better than any MIM Jackson or Charvel I've ever owned. Even Indonesia Pro Soloists.. They're nearly right up there with Japanese quality. I owned a Solo-II Custom as well. I'd buy another if they'd make it full-LP thickness!! It felt too thin. Oh, and those Pasadena/Pasadena+ pickups in it were no joke, either. They really loved volume.

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napalmdeath

Well-known member
No opinions on new Charvels (haven't played them) but JBs are very guitar dependent. It's probably the most finnicky of the hot pickups. I've had the same exact JB sound both great and awful in different guitars.
Me too. Sounded like shit in some but sounded great in the ESP Skolnicks I've had, as well as a couple PRS S2 Singlecuts I put one in. Sounded REALLY good in those!

Had a Jackson DK2 that had one recently, and it sounded god-awful. I actually returned that guitar, even though I had a TB-5 Custom I was going to throw in it. I mean, that guitar just plain sounded like shit. Dead, and lifeless. I thought it was just a turd all together.
 

itsme

Active member
I bought one of those MIM chlorine burst Charvel pro mod San dimas' from Guitar Centers used site for $475. I swear someone musta bought it and returned it immediately. Brand new condition. I was surprised with how thin the neck was and it took a little getting used to since I like a fatter neck. But the guitar is great, kept it all stock. Plays great, sounds great, and the JB is perfect for it.
 

guitarbilly74

Active member
Me too. Sounded like shit in some but sounded great in the ESP Skolnicks I've had, as well as a couple PRS S2 Singlecuts I put one in. Sounded REALLY good in those!

Had a Jackson DK2 that had one recently, and it sounded god-awful. I actually returned that guitar, even though I had a TB-5 Custom I was going to throw in it. I mean, that guitar just plain sounded like shit. Dead, and lifeless. I thought it was just a turd all together.
If it was a MIJ DK2 with the low profile Floyd, the trem is the tone killer.

I had one and tried at least 5 bridge pickups in it and I was about to toss it out the window until I decided to replace the trem with a gotoh. Completely opened up the tone. I've never seen such a massive difference from a tremolo change.
 

PeteLaramee

Active member
I don't like my guitars to have all the flame tops, binding, abalone, pearl inlays, and all that other stuff people like.
I completely agree with all of this. I don't want any binding or inlays anywhere on any part of any of my guitars. Dots only (and only then because I'm not sure if I'm good enough to go w/out LOL). I MIGHT try a maple top, but only if there's no shit-binding around it.
 

rstites

Active member
No opinions on new Charvels (haven't played them) but JBs are very guitar dependent. It's probably the most finnicky of the hot pickups. I've had the same exact JB sound both great and awful in different guitars.

JB's have a lot of high-mids, or presence, to them. This means they go from very focused and cutting in the right guitar to ear-piercing in the next guitar. They also seem to lose the focus of the bass in a lot of instruments. I've generally used something else, as I really struggle to get them to work for me. At about the same output of Duncan, I tend to use the Custom quite a lot and it seems to work across the board in instruments.
 

Will Onyx

Member
Don’t know if Charvel is having recent QC issues or not, but my 2017 so-cal is a pretty decent axe. The neck is slimmer than my American series strat, but thicker than my schecter sls. Not difficult to play at all. I’d call it a solid workhorse guitar, nothing more or less. Mine does have a prominent midrange bump in the sound which is definitely in the wood of this particular guitar. I liked the Duncan distortions, but they seemed to accentuate the problem and had a midrange honk that wasn’t working for me with my amps, but sounded pretty good with my modelers. Changed them out recently to a full shred in the bridge and a sentient in the neck and am mostly happy with the change.
 

rstites

Active member
I've had 3 customs, 3 originals(you have one of them) and my 2 USAs from 08/09 outplay any of them. Granted, I went through about 20 of the USAs and 5 MiJs to find these lol. The one advantage the originals have is the tone...all of them have had fantastic complex rich tone that rivals any LP or other custom shop (Suhr, TA) that I've ever played. The 2 USAs I have do have good but not great tone. But playability is #1 for me. The customs also had good tone, but not better than the 2 I have now. There are some gems in that 08/09 line.

I've been tempted to pickup a new Charvel just to have something around. Are the necks generally inline with the originals? I have several 80's Charvels and Jackson (strats) and those necks are my bread-n-butter. I've never played anything that's as good as those, but they're old, nostalgic, and worth more than I always want to take out.....not that I go out to play much anymore, but one can dream!
 
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