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My new Charvel (obs...
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My new Charvel (obsession)

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Honorable Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 484
Topic starter  

So my new guitar arrived early Thursday and I've had 3 solid days of putting it through every amp in the house. She even made her debut outing last night as we got to play through a set at my friends CD release party in Vermont.

The guitar is an earlier (not prepro) Charvel San Dimas with an added washburn "wonderbar" trem in "Slime Green" I was alerted to it online and had a trusted friend and luthier in NYC go and play it before I purchased it. Last weekend I got the cryptic e-mail form him saying only "go for it, dude".

Firstly, there are a few issues - on close inspection the paint is a B level refin that wasn't clear coated so it is a bit marked up, not a big deal and it is more Kawasaki green than slime green - a little brighter and lighter and honestly I like it more with points for originality.
Next- someone installed an EMG active system with a boost - did not sound bad, but not my thing wasn't terribly touch sensitive
Also - The wonderbar was improperly installed, so the cams line up over the trem hole only allowing two of the four screws to go in - better for me actually as I was planning to scrap it anyway and those are now two holes I don't have to trifle with.

On to the good bits....
After three solid days of playing I can say that THIS IS THE BEST GUITAR I OWN!
It is the lightest strat of any of them I have and it is loud loud loud unplugged - always a good sign - this thing is 335 loud unplugged.
My main guitar has been (was) a '96 fender custom shop strat - the workmanship on the Charvel puts the CS to shame. Not even the same ball park, its embarrassing. The body, the neck, the routes the neck joints all fit together like they were one offed. The Charvel is a production model but they were in essence a custom shop back than, much smaller than Fenders shop now (Also the body and neck were probably shipped in from Boogie or ESP). But the level of detail around the nut, the fret board and the frets- the neck profile and the wood stock is astounding. Not a burr or a glue spot or seem, over hang - nothing. Also, there is not a single piece of plastic on this guitar - the pick up ring, knob, cavity cover, grounding shield are all painted brass (that are holding up pretty good for 30 years on!) even the side markers on the neck are brass.
But really, a guitar comes down to the neck. I played a handful of charvel's prior to getting this one and was truly impressed by all of them - even the korean import Charvettes had nice necks - but this is probably the best for my odd preference of all of them. I am in love with this neck profile - its a very slim dramatic D shape that's probable 8/10th's of an inch at the nut with a very round roll to the fret board. The radius is compund I believe, I'd guess from 10 to 14 maybe, much flatter than I'm used to so perhaps a bit more than that, but man it is fast. The fret work is without equal, perfect. I feel like I'm working at 85% to get the same feel now.
I would trade any one of my strats for another one and I paid exactly half what I paid for my custom shop second hand. Infact, the guitar cost less than they would charge me for a neck alone. I thought I had overpaid for it considering it wasn't original, but if was all original it would have had a higher pricetag and I wouldn't have looked twice at it.

I feel like I won the lottery. I have been chasing after vintage type stuff for so long but now I've stumbled onto something I really like, that's a bit different and doesn't have the same kind of following and collector value that drives up the price on so many other brands. I have had the luxury of owning many of the guitars that many of the younger guys lust after, through inheritance, luck and just being around guitars for a long time. So maybe some of the romantic notions of Fender and other classics have worn off. The brand doesn't mean as much to me as it once did, I'm sure the length of my teeth have also effected that. Tonight my favorite strat is kindly donating it Callaham vintage trem and I don't know if I'm going to be in a big hurry to put the original back on it (I probably should) - and I've got a pickup coming to replace the one in it. Thanks for reading my gushing review/love letter to Wayne Charvel. I wish you could all come over and play it, I really do. Even Crow, haha. Happy Hunting.

Prominent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 848

Its always nice with a new toy turns out to be not just as hoped... but BETTER then expected!!! Congrats!!

Paul B

Famed Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3995

Congrats and enjoy!

Eminent Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 34

Congrats! I have drooled over the Charvels for a long time. Awesome looking guitars and they play like a dream. I’m after one in polar white with a matte black pickguard and black hardware. Maple fretboard. Single pup in the neck and a hum in the bridge.

Check out my guitar blog at

Honorable Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 484
Topic starter  

Scrape that pro - mod money up now - I hear they are going to china soon. Could be a rumor. But they are soo nice. And the the new Jap/ and Usa Pro-mods can be found pretty cheap if you look around. Good luck.