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Carvin guitars, compared to Fender and G & L

standard24

Senior Member
Messages
9,075
I've never played a Carvin that struck me as a really fine instrument. They always seemed to be in the "Peavy" quality range.

Since their resale value is so low, how many here would rather buy a used Carvin, instead of a used Fender or G & L?
 

GermanCDN

Member
Messages
355
Have to disagree on the Peavey thing (and not saying Peavey USA makes bad instruments). Carvin makes very nice instruments, great finishes, excellent fretwork. Electronics need to be switched.

That being said, the only Carvin that compares to a Fender or G&L would be the Bolt-T (the TL60 is Fender inspired, but the pickups are not tele pickups). In the order I'd pick them up used (say in the $600 - $800 range)

G&L Legacy/S500 > Fender Am Std > Carvin Bolt > Fender Am Special/Highway 1.

All that being said, if you want to get outside the Fender box, DC series Carvins can be picked up on occasion for relatively little money (cheapest I ever scored was a DC135 for $335, it was a little beat up, but a fantastic guitar with a figured maple top, gold hardware, Sperzels, etc). There's a couple of DC400s in the Emporium for the $800 mark which are fantastic deals.
 

Sirloin

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
16,352
They make some nice set neck guitars as well. Kinda have a PRS feel to them. Also not a fan of their electronics but they have changed things a bit and make it pretty easy to swap out pickups and electronics. Their standard neck profiles are pretty slim with a bit of a D Shape but they now offer thicker rounder profiles and different fret board radii.

Their fretwork is simply amazing. I have a couple Carvins with Jumbo SS frets and ebony boards. They are the best playing guitars I have ever owned. Fit and finish is generally excellent.

 
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GermanCDN

Member
Messages
355
And if an Aquaburst CS6 ever comes up (like say Sirloin's in the above pic) for sale used, you'd regret not buying it. My AB ST300 is so much darker (still looks cool, but more of chlorine burst).
 

drbob1

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
29,038
They're built in america, by folks who know their business, so they tend to play great and look flashy. That said, the pickups in general, never did it for me, and the active electronics tended to be too artificial sounding. If you buy used and factor in switching out the pickups, I think you can get a nicer guitar than an American Standard for significantly less money! Peavey has built some great guitars, too, but also does the import and lowest price thing, so not all Peaveys are great. Still, I"d put the Peavey EVH up against the Fender or Music Man version any day of the week!
 

Whiskeyrebel

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
30,655
Not getting how "similar to Peavey" means "mediocre quality". Peavey may have had more misses than hits in aesthetic design or in marketing appeal, but their guitars seem to be consistently well built, at least the Mississippi stuff.
 

g0phish

Member
Messages
159
I wouldn't put them in the mediocre group. I own a HSS Strat version which I use as my workhorse, and a CT-6, which is like a PRS. Very good for the money. Well built, nice finish
 

GCDEF

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
28,269
Other than their Bolts, Carvins aren't really a Fender style guitar. There are things other than the name that would make you choose one over the other.

One of the big reasons people buy Carvin is so that can get the features and specs they want. They're cheapish on the used market because you're stuck with somebody else's choices.

I have three Fenders and two G&Ls right now and no Carvins, so that's my choice. Others may choose differently.
 

hubberjub

Member
Messages
4,598
I've only owned one Carvin, a DC 747 (I think). I hear people bitch about their pickups, but I thought they sounded fine. Maybe most players looking at this guitar bought it for metal, but I was more doing funky jazz with it. Workmanship was great. As a guitarist, I would absolutely recommend them to someone looking for a nice, modern instrument. As someone who buys a lot of guitars, I couldn't imagine buying one new solely because of how poorly they hold their value. I picked this up for $400 shipped.
 

SciFlyer

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,969
They seem like well made, solid guitars. The weird body styles and finishes never appealed to me. I love G&L and Fender and would never consider a Carvin new or used.
 

MollyPolly

Senior Member
Messages
1,866
you can find very good deals on used Carvins, but likewise with G&Ls.

If you're looking for a Fender-style guitar, the G&L would be my choice. Or just get a Fender.

The only Carvins that interest me are the kits.

btw, neck-through sounds good in theory, but IMO never measures up in practice.
 

omahaaudio

Senior Member
Messages
1,878
I've never played a Carvin that struck me as a really fine instrument. They always seemed to be in the "Peavy" quality range.
If Peavey made excellent guitars in the US, perhaps.

The Carvins that I handled/played over the years have all been top quality guitars. I doubt if the build and finish can be bettered by any non-boutique US manufacturer.

They get lots of s**t because they sell direct to the customer. Retailers don't like 'em.
 

omahaaudio

Senior Member
Messages
1,878
Not getting how "similar to Peavey" means "mediocre quality".
Because current Peavey anything is mediocre at best. I'm old enough to remember when one of Peavey's ad lines was "Proudly made in the USA". Now it's all c**p outsourced from China.

Then again, I'm old enough to remember when Wal-Mart advertised that 90 percent of what they sold was American made...
 

Larry Mal

Member
Messages
1,751
I owned one, a DC127, I think. Two hum buckers that could be split into single coils, neck through, it was a beautiful guitar. I thought it would he the guitar that would do it all.

It didn't do anything well. There's a reason why people buy Fenders and not Carvins, and it's not because people don't know what's best for them.

I can't think of any Carvin I'd take over basically any Fender or G&L equivalent.

All style, no substance... that's Carvin. And I didn't want to believe that...
 

dwoverdrive

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,103
Any of the Carvins I've ever handled have been really fine instruments. Not my favorite by any means but they have plenty of options for making something unique.
 

SciFlyer

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,969
All style, no substance... that's Carvin. And I didn't want to believe that...
I would say, no style. That's the problem. They don't have their own visual identity like Fender, Gibson, Gretsch, Martin, G&L, etc. Lots of their guitars have wild finishes and are bling'd out as hell, but to me, they are tacky and not aesthetically pleasing. (I know this is subjective). The plain Jane models are just 'meh' looking. The body styles leave a lot to be desired.
Their website is all over the place and in need of a redesign, too.
 

Starshine

Member
Messages
997
My first nice guitar was a Carvin DC135. All solid Koa, ebony fretboard, EMG pickups, Floyd Rose bridge, but no locking nut(?). Honestly don't remember too much about it. It had a really thin neck and was top notch quality. After a couple of years I traded it in for an American Standard Strat. I got tired of the neck, pointy looks, Floyd and the EMGs.

I would totally own another if the right one came along at the right price. The problem is most people go crazy blinging them out with flamed maple tops and gold hardware and gaudy inlays. That's not really my style.

I actually almost did buy another Carvin recently, an old DC200. I drove almost an hour to check it out and when I got there it had a messy headstock repair that the guy didn't bother to mention in the ad. Thanks for wasting my time, champ.
 

ZeyerGTR

Member
Messages
3,971
I liked my Holdsworth HF2, but couldn't bond w/ the neck, flat radius & jumbo frets so I sold it for what I paid (oddly, back to the same eBay seller!). I took a chance and it was fun to play the 6-8 months I had it. IMHO it sounded great. There were some minor build issues but nothing was a deal-breaker. It wasn't as nice as my Suhr in pretty much any respect, but then was 1/4th the price. I would definitely consider another Carvin, although I'd really like to try the neck first.
 






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