Old Charvels - what's good, what's bad?

Discussion in 'Standard Guitars' started by Pat, Sep 24, 2021.

  1. Pat

    Pat SS.org Regular

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    Hi - I see a lot of used old Charvels around but don't really know much about the older models (think pointy headstock ones).

    Anybody have a simple method of determining which tier of 'goodness' they fall in? Something like model 1 is equivalent to modern day Jackson JS series, model 4 is equivalent to modern day Jackson pro series, etc?

    Example model 4: Charvel Model 4 Guitar | eBay
    Example model 6: Charvel Electric Guitar model 6 Japan refinished Dimarzio | eBay

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2021
  2. eaeolian

    eaeolian Pictures of guitars I don't even own anymore! Super Moderator

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    All of the '80s Charvels were made in the Chushin Gakki factory in Japan. The mostly-made-in-Korea Charvettes would be, in your example, the equivalent of the JS series. The white guitar/toothpaste Charvels are the equivalent of the modern Pro series. They sold a crapload of them because they were very good guitars cursed by crappy tremolos and pickups - not unusual at the time. Rip the JT6 and Jackson pickup out of a Model 2 and replace them with a Floyd and a decent pickup and you're set. With a 275/375 from the tootpaste era, all you need to change is the pickups - the trem is a Schaller.

    They are *not* on the level of the USA Jacksons, but at the time they cost half as much. The prices are pretty inflated now - Model 3s were going for $400 before the pandemic - but they're still quality guitars that would cost $1800 now.
     
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  3. foreright

    foreright SS.org Regular

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    I have (what I believe is) a 275 from the early 90s - the neck is fantastic and as above, the trem is Schaller. The knife edges on mine are a little worn these days. I actually think the pickups sound quite good - they are pretty low output by modern standards though. Some routing required to get a humbucker in this guitar though as the "humbucker" is actually just two singles right next to each other.

    As above, these were pretty cheap - this was bought in 2002 / 2003 IIRC but it was less than £200 at the time - a Squier Strat was around £250 at the time.

    IMG_5914.jpeg IMG_5913.jpeg
     
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  4. eaeolian

    eaeolian Pictures of guitars I don't even own anymore! Super Moderator

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    These actually sounded quite a bit better, IMO, than the hum in 375s (a J90C, I believe.) The Warriors came with this pickup config originally, too.
     
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  5. Mourguitars

    Mourguitars SS.org Regular

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    Ive always liked and have (2) Model 1A's...the single coils, get a new pick guard with a Single hum...ready to rock !

    It has the swimming pool cavity so you can put 2 Hums in or what ever Pickup Configure ya want..

    I love the Maple necks on these guitars i never had to just the neck ever...rock solid

    Same as my Model 7 Tele....those have the smaller logo vs the toothpaste

    I used to find them in pawnshops with the chainsaw case for $100 back in the late 90's early 00's....those days are long gone ...lol !

    I like the quality on these older charvels models....im on the look out for them on my local CL, cant beat them they are nice !

    Mike
     
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  6. Pat

    Pat SS.org Regular

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    Nice one thanks all! Sounds like they are all decent providing you put the work in
     
  7. BigViolin

    BigViolin JEFF LOOMIS SOLOIST!

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    I feel there is a caveat here somewhere. :lol:

    Also, J90Cs kick all kinds of ass.
     
  8. efiltsohg

    efiltsohg SS.org Regular

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    afaik models 1-6 should be comparable quality, they are just different configurations
     
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  9. mikernaut

    mikernaut pixel pusher

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    Charvel 750xl's are very nice!
     
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  10. Lozek

    Lozek Desk Magnetic Contributor

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    Guitarist in my first band had a pair of model 5's with Kahler and I've got a 650XL, all great guitars that would stand up against comparable Jacksons. We picked them up because we were broke teenagers who couldn't stretch to Jackson prices at the time.

    Personally, I think build techniques have come on a bit since then, but they're still great guitars.
     
  11. eaeolian

    eaeolian Pictures of guitars I don't even own anymore! Super Moderator

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    No caveats on Chushin. Even their lower-QC models like the 275 and Predator kicked the crap out of the current Indo Jacksons, and are at least as good as Mexi Charvels.

    The J90C has the ceramic problem (I just don't like them), but after 1990 when they covers come off they sounded MUCH darker, like they were winding them hotter. Of the '80s Jackson pickups they're the best sounding (which to me is damning with faint praise), but in the '90s whey went downhill even from there, IMO.
     
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  12. eaeolian

    eaeolian Pictures of guitars I don't even own anymore! Super Moderator

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    For sure, build quality is more consistent across the board for new guitars, and most of the modern Korean stuff is in the neighborhood. The modern hardware is usually better.
     
  13. BigViolin

    BigViolin JEFF LOOMIS SOLOIST!

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    I was just making a dumb joke about the 4000ish Charvels made in the US in the 80s. Wonder how many of those were pointys? The J90c I have is from '83, huge sample size of one but damn if that isn't the best sounding pup. We used to joke at school about how all the JBs wished they sounded so good. :lol:
     
  14. eaeolian

    eaeolian Pictures of guitars I don't even own anymore! Super Moderator

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    From '83 it would still be US-made, and those do sound good (and are pretty rare).

    Most of the US Charvels from the '80s are pointies - Fender got to them pretty early. There's maybe 1000 Stratheads from the numbers I've heard, most "pre-production".
     
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  15. maliciousteve

    maliciousteve Contributor

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    Friend of mine has a Charvel 375 Deluxe. Fantastic guitar, I even like the pickups. You can't go wrong with them really, much like the new Charvels.
     
  16. skullfxr

    skullfxr SS.org Regular

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    I have owned about six 'Model' Series Charvels. I bought them for $150-300 and they were great for the money. At $500-1000+ I don't think that they are a value other than the nostalgia or the cool factor. I parted with mine for $500-700 a year and a half ago or longer.

    Quality is good, but you just have to remember the wear and tear factor.

    My favorite was a Ferrari Red 1A that I put a JB in the bridge and it rocked. Killer guitar.



    However I enjoyed them.
     
  17. maliciousteve

    maliciousteve Contributor

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    Correction, I meant 475 Deluxe. Why can't we edit our posts anymore?
     

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