The Carvin / Kiesel thread

Discussion in 'Standard Guitars' started by soliloquy, May 22, 2011.

  1. Jason2112

    Jason2112 I'm old school

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    I had a CT3 and AE-185. The CT3 I sent back during the return period. The guitar itself was well-built and the Carvin pickups sounded awesome, but like a dummy I ordered it with a rosewood fingerboard and the rosewood on mine looked like it came from some cheap import. Real open grain, sticky, and hard to play. Had I ordered the ebony board I would have kept it because it was perfect as-is and sounded much better than the PRS CU22 I had at the time.

    The AE-185 was just a fun and awesome guitar to play. I punch myself regularly for selling it, and I'd like to get another one but the current price is beyond what I can afford.
     
  2. soliloquy

    soliloquy SS.org Regular

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    sirmyghin has voiced his opinion on the carvin bbs a few times as well though :)

    though you dont see his experience too often. maybe coz either people are too blinded by carvins looks? or i'm not sure (i cant say, dont have a carvin yet...:( ) but i'm not calling him a liar as there have been a few in the past that have had something similar in terms of wiring or something.



    for those interested, not sure how accurate this review is:
    [​IMG]
    Carvin Guitars - GuitarLodge.com Guitar & Bass Forum
     
  3. HighGain510

    HighGain510 Contributor

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    That's pretty much my take on them after having ordered a half dozen new guitars from them and about a dozen used Carvins as well. :agreed:

    The DC models that come with a hardtail or wilkinson trem have the option of getting the Fishman version with piezo saddles. Unless they've since done away with that, but I know I've had at least 4 that had piezo (the LB series basses can get the piezo option as well). :yesway:
     
  4. SnowfaLL

    SnowfaLL SS.org Regular

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    Damn, just as I was starting to warm up to the CT shape instead of all the gasing for PRS... the side-by-side really shows how much better looking (shapewise) the PRS is. If only PRS had options on their guitars under the $3k range (maple fretboard being the main one I need)..

    The Carvin CT shape is alright, but its not even close to being as hot as the PRS dc, imo.
     
  5. soliloquy

    soliloquy SS.org Regular

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    idk...i would say that the CT is closer to being a les paul double cut away, while the PRS is closer to being an arched top strat. they are fairly different, but i like em both equally just fine.
     
  6. SirMyghin

    SirMyghin The Dirt Guy Contributor

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    Interesting seeing the PRS beside the Carvin, when I was last in a store I was shocked at how 'small' I percieved PRS's to be compared to say my ASAT or Contour. The carved top measures in near identical though, PRS looks a little wider at the butt, might have something to do with the percieved shortness though. The lower horn on the PRS looks a lot better, I have an occasional issue with carvins lower horn on my C66, don't get me started on the ASAT though, it is much tighter.

    And yes Nick, I post on the carvin forum occasionally. As I said they are good guitars, they are nothing close to a be all and end all instrument though, and those are what I tend to look for when I chase a sound. Typically something 'unreplacable' in that it cannot be simply improved and gives something entirely unique. My bass is still filling that void now, the assym Bunny neck is quite a nice thing. I do however want another string or 2 for my touch style work/practice.
     
  7. soliloquy

    soliloquy SS.org Regular

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    humm, actually, from the picture posted, it seems that the shorter lower horn on the PRS is actually just shorter by a few milometers. the only difference is that carvin doesn't provide that cut away, as its all accessible. while PRS has that lil dimple on that horn, so it seems even shorter than what it actually is :S

    heres another look:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Edika

    Edika SS.org Regular

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    Currently I have a DC400T and a DC747. The DC400 was my second and first good guitar so I was very impressed by it and it's options. When looking for a guitar back then I had a budget of around 2000 to 2500 Euros (didn't want to reach that but I would if I found the right guitar). I was after a soloist but they cost around 3000 Euros here. I went to several music stores and tried a couple of PRS standard guitars. I didn't have the chance to compare the PRS side by side with the Carvin (different music stores) but I was not so impressed with the sound of the PRS as much as the Carvin. Also the Carvin was cheaper and looked better. I love both guitars and think that the DC400's C22's have more than enough output. I haven't had the opportunity to play other high end guitars and to compare them side by side with the Carvin but what I get out of the Carvin really surprises me. And I love the piezo. When I first tried it with the clean channel of my triple rec the sound was amazing. Very alive. The DC747 doesn't have as much output as the DC400 put now that I found a good eq in my amp for it, I really like it's sound. Overall I am very happy with both guitars and am not planning to sell them. Only thing I don't like much us the absence of locking nuts in both guitars. It is better on the Wilkinson because it only dive, than the licensed floyd in the 7, but the sperzels don't hold the tuning all that perfect.

    If I ever have the pleasure to own a prs, a suhr, a jackon, a kxk, a brj or whatever high quality stuff exists, I may change my mind about Carvins. For the time being they sound amazing and they play great!
     
  9. Jack Secret

    Jack Secret Carvin Afficianado

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    OK, I have 4 Carvins now, 2 custom and 2 not my specs customs (1 from Carvin 'Guitars in Stock' page and 1 off ebay) and 2 more customs coming and all I can say is if I knew how good Carvin was for customs, I never would have bothered with Ibanez and all of you KNOW how much I loved Ibanez for many years. That's how good Carvin is. I played my V220 koa today from 11AM to 6:45 PM EST non stop and had no idea the time passed so quickly. That's a hell of a guitar right there.
     
  10. f2f4

    f2f4 Well-Known Member

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    I've got an early nineties DC135T and absolutely love it. It's the best playing guitar I've owned to date. The only thing I don't love are the pickups. They're just not hot enough for me so I'm planning to replace them. They seem oddly twangy :/ I don't know if it's an older Carvin thing or what.
     
  11. soliloquy

    soliloquy SS.org Regular

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    i know of the AC and the V220, but what other carvins do you have?
     
  12. Zeff

    Zeff Well-Known Member

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    I have had 4 Carvin's (currently 3, one was stolen)

    I really like them, and they were all the DC 127/125 style. The 'holy grail' versions were considered 'pointy' from 92-94 ish. Those are hands down the best playing guitars I've ever had my hands on. They had very thin and very flat necks. The current neck style is much thicker than the early 90's ones.
     
  13. Jack Secret

    Jack Secret Carvin Afficianado

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    What I gots so far...

    Carvin AE185

    [​IMG]

    Carvin CS6

    [​IMG]

    Carvin TL60

    [​IMG]

    Carvin V220

    [​IMG]
     
  14. soliloquy

    soliloquy SS.org Regular

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  15. kherman

    kherman SS.org Regular

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    Carvin are still my main guitars and amps.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    I put Carvin right up there with ESP Standard, Jackson USA Select and Ibanez Prestige.
    I've played Carvin for over 20 years now.
    Am, I exclusive to Carvin?
    No.
    I also have a Gibby Explorer Pro, Parker Fly Deluxe, Edwards LP Custom, 2 Diodati LP style, Fernandes Ravelle Deluxe, Schecter V7, and a lefty Agile AD2500.
    So, I'm definitely hitting a few different levels and price points.
    But, the Carvins are still my main axes. My go to guitars.
    They just feel right to me.
    Carvin has also been very good about addressing and issues or concerns I've had. And quickly. I've never had an issue with the service or sales departments.


    a few things I'd like to address that were mentioned or come up often.

    Ebony boards:
    Carvin "does not" dye their boards. Ebony naturally has blonde streaks in it.
    So occasionally you may get a board with them in. They are not finish errors or a bleached spot.
    If it's an issue for you, then call Carvin when you order, and pay the extra $ for them to
    have the tech go through the pallets of wood and find the blackest board for you.
    Same goes for quilts and flames. If there a certain quilt or flame look you want, call and pay the extra, and request it. Sending a photo of exactly what you want helps.

    Tongue oil neck tap off.
    In the PRS/Carvin article.
    That's not a finish flaw. That's just the way Carvin does it.
    They don't tape off that last little bit of fretboard edge.
    And I suppose if it really bothers you that much, you could score it with an exacto knife and peel it off yourself.
    Otherwise, it doesn't hinder playability in any way.

    Pickups.
    I actually think Carvin makes decent stock pickups.
    I personally think they are better than the IBZ, Duncan Design, EMG Select, Rockfield, Etc.. pickups you find stock on guitars.
    And to me, pickups are like strings, everyone has their preference.
    The pickup routes on the current Carvin 6s are larger now to accommodate the S22 pickups.
    So, aftermarket fit isn't an issue anymore (except with the 7s).
    So, have fun and trying out other pickups or stick with your prefer brand.
    People swap out pickups all the time. And on all makes and models.

    Build choices.
    Practicality over bling.
    Always choose your woods and options based on the tone and feel you are going after.
    Not, by the eye candy.
    I know it sounds like common sense.
    But, it's amazing how many people get the quilt, flame or walnut tops, maple necks, maple or ebony boards, etc..
    Then complain it doesn't sound like a mahogany LP.
    And wonder why their guitars sounds bright.


    Floyd Roses.
    Carvin uses the (Schaller made) OFR.
    Not the Korean OEM.
    In the past Carvin has also used the Schaller Licensed Floyd and the Kahler Steeler.
    The OFR and Steeler are great bridges. No issues with them. Both very solid trems.
    The Schaller lic. = offered in early '90s. Had an issue with the saddle screws striping out the screw holes. Not just with Carvins. This bridge was also on Jackson, Hamer, and others at the time. As mentioned, Schaller has since remedied the issue and the base now has a steel strip that the screws screw into, instead of the pot metal base.
    Again this was a Schaller issue. Not a Carvin, Jackson, Hamers, or etc.. issue.


    Neck shape.
    Call Carvin.
    They do now offer different neck profiles as a hidden option.
    Yes, it's an upcharge.

    Prices.
    Yes, most of the models are now reaching over the $1k mark.
    Especially with options added.
    With the USA cost of living constantly rising, we knew the a " decked out USA guitar for under 1K" had to end eventually. Carvin's not exempt from rising prices, insurances, and wages.
    Considering a majority of your USA made guitars are over $2k now, the $1k range Carvin isn't so bad.
    Heck, a standard Gibby LP Studio (plain maple top) is over $1300 now.

    My '09 ST300, I modeled after the Jackson Soloist SL2 MAHQ.
    The ST300 with case and shipping came out to $1560.
    A SL2 MAHQ would have cost me $2400.
    No I don't get the neck binding like the Jackson.
    But, I do get SS frets, which the MAHQ doesn't have.
    Which would require me to go to the Jackson Customshop and cost me closer to $3k then.

    Resale.
    Really depends on the options you chose.
    The more common and simple you keep it, the better the resale.
    The more out there you get, the lower the resale.
    And obviously, certain models fair better than others.
    The CT and CS fetch more than the DCs.
    Over all, Carvin resale has improved over the years as Carvin has become more widely known. You're not getting loaded DC400s for $300 anymore. Those days are gone.
    And are Jackson, Ibanez, and ESP, or even Hamer or Heritage doing any better?

    Yeah, I think it's getting tougher to justify the price of any USA made guitar.
    Especially, as the Asian guitars keep getting better and better and staying under $1k.


    Overall, I still think Carvin is a great deal, and you get a lot for the price.
     
  16. SirMyghin

    SirMyghin The Dirt Guy Contributor

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    Tung oil..

    This is false, what you have said pertains ONLY to ring mounted pickups. Direct mount pickups have not changed.
     
  17. kherman

    kherman SS.org Regular

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    You are correct.
    I forgot about the Bolt + and C66.
    But, I did remember the 7s. Which are direct mounted as well. ;)
     
  18. SirMyghin

    SirMyghin The Dirt Guy Contributor

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    That you did, just don't want people getting false hope, I had to take a dremel to my pickups AND the routes to get a set of BKPs (open coil) in there. A steady hand and balls of steel won the day though :lol:. I was lucky that the pickups were a good match after all that work too, was getting worried doing it.
     
  19. Edika

    Edika SS.org Regular

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    Which year did they change the routing job? My DC400 was made in 2006 and has the regular pickups from Carvin. I could measure the size of the pickup with the ring but don't have any other guitar with me now as a reference.
     
  20. SirMyghin

    SirMyghin The Dirt Guy Contributor

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    ^ Shortly after they released the S22s for each model, was originally only the CTs iirc. 2008 or so ballpark I think. My best detective work is Winter NAMM 2008, with the introduction of the CS line, so might of been available slightly before but not much.
     

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