What about the Carvin kits ?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by zrrufas, Jun 15, 2006.


  1. zrrufas

    zrrufas Member

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  2. afm409

    afm409 Member

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    i put together a bolt kit.

    likes:
    • neck pocket fit excellent.
    • wider neck at highest fret.
    • pickups - their newest hb and their sc.
    • i tung oiled the neck and body.
    dislikes:
    • i felt the sound was "brittle-ish". replaced the neck with a compound warmoth maple w/rw. the guitar instantly warmed up. beautiful sound.
    comment:

    the kit is great. i really like the wider width neck at the pocket - i think that is really good. the pickups sound good with the 250 or 500k pots. the sound of the neck did not do it for me. it played fine.

    to install the warmoth neck i made two spacer shims to get a nice snug fit. drilled four new holes to attach the neck because they did not match. i also had to shim the back of the neck up so the end of the fretboard was not up against the pickguard.

    conclusion:

    the carvin is proprietory. i sold the neck and now i am going to sell the body with the bridge. keeping the pickups. received many compliments on the sound of the modded carvin. the hardtail definitely works for me.

    edit -i would go warmoth for the body and neck because it is not proprietory. the carvin neck does have the sustain but it did not resonant and have the warmth of the warmoth neck. in fall/winter they had a special on the kits. i almost bought the wilkinson setup just to keep the parts and sell the neck and body. proprietory locks you in. otherwise, yeah they are worth it.
     
  3. Ben Furman

    Ben Furman Member

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    I disagree that the Carvin neck pocket is proprietary. It very much depends on the particular parts you get. I had a Bolt body that fit Fender-standard Warmoth and USACG necks. YMMV, but of course it's better to stay with one manufacturer for the best match.

    As for the kits, the bright sound typically comes from the thick slab of ebony that Carvin uses for its standard fretboards. It's beautiful wood, but it doesn't need to be that thick! My advice would be to opt for a maple or rosewood board, or go with a mahogany neck. All of these options are available for very little or no upcharge. I think even a birdseye board costs something like $20 extra. In other words next to nothing. You can also get ash and mahogany bodies.

    Best bang for the buck out there made in the U.S.A.!
     
  4. afm409

    afm409 Member

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    my experience was with that one bolt kit. you think the tolerances vary that much? the shims i made were about .023 a piece.

    the ebony fretboard, yes that is what i had. wonder how it would have been with rosewood?

    figured the graphite rods was the main reason for the neck being not so resonant.

    i think the kits are an excellent bang for the buck.
     
  5. Bonedance

    Bonedance Member

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    I put together a Carvin fretless bass kit for a friend about a year ago. I was very impressed with the quality and fit for the price they charge. It fast became his favorite.....although I still prefer his Music Man Stingray!

    As far as the guitar kits go, I would still opt to pay a bit more for USACG quality, but for the right situation, I think the Carvin kits are a great value.
     
  6. Ben Furman

    Ben Furman Member

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    Unfortunately, the tolerances must vary quite a bit unless they've simply changed their formula over the years... Mine was a 2000 model.

    The graphite rods are definitely another factor adding to the brightness, but ditching the ebony improves things a lot. Also, be careful when ordering a swamp ash body that they don't send you heavy northern ash.

    For the ultimate in customizability and quality, USACG is definitely a big step up, but Carvin can't be beat dollar for dollar.

    -Ben
     
  7. mge80

    mge80 Member

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    I put together two kits. Both were Bolt Pluses (rear routed, no pickguard)...and both had H/S/H pickup configurations with 5-way switches. One guitar had a solid koa body and koa headstock overlay with a maple neck and birdseye maple fretboard. This guitar was finished with a wipe-on low gloss tung oil/poly mixture. The other one had a swamp ash body, maple neck and ebony fretboard. This one had a high gloss spray on poly finish (the back of the neck was done with Tung Oil).

    The quality of these kits are, IMO....excellent. The same grade materials that go into Carvin's custom guitars go into the kits. Also, virtually any option you can order on a custom guitar you can order on a kit. The fit was excellent as was the ease of assembly. The only variable is the time, effort and eomplexity that you choose for the finish.
     
  8. michaelprice83

    michaelprice83 Member

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    I messed with Carvin bolts for a year or so. Kinda went through a phase of spending as little money on gear as possible........ I owned two of them, one ash/maple one alder/ebony. They both sounded the same. Extremely bright and brittle, not stratlike whatsoever. I attributed the lack of strat sound to the dual truss / graphite reinforced neck. Sweet playing guitars though for -$400, and I suppose they do sound good, just nothing like a strat as I'd hoped it would at the time.
     
  9. michaelprice83

    michaelprice83 Member

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    One additional note........I attempted to discuss this on Carvin's website and got attacked by their mindlessly loyal fans who insisted their guitars could do a 100% perfect Jimi or SRV sound. I enjoyed some good laughs arguing with them.......
     
  10. Ben Furman

    Ben Furman Member

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    The Carvin BBS, like any company-sponsored site, is going to be biased that way. It offers a lot of good information for those interested in the products, but caveat emptor!

    We're all a bit guilty of defending what we like, aren't we? In my case, it's Bill Lawrence pickups....

    Good luck, zrrufus!
     
  11. zrrufas

    zrrufas Member

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    Thanks guy's. I'm not trying to cheap out, just thought it might be a neat little project. Still sounds like it would be. It would be #4 in the fold so there is still room for more... you can't have too many right ? :drool
     
  12. michaelprice83

    michaelprice83 Member

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    oh yeah, if you're looking for a really high quality guitar for cheap, the carvin bolt kit has got to be the best value around. just don't buy one hoping for strat sounds......
     
  13. afm409

    afm409 Member

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    the kit i received, i believe would be excellent for rock. in a sense, i almost consider it a one trick pony. which is not a bad thing.
     
  14. dorfmeister

    dorfmeister Member

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  15. Wildwind

    Wildwind Member

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    That EMG assembly should fit fine. The standard Carvin route accomodates three full-size hums. You may have to make a new hole or two for the pickguard, like you would with anything.

    Greg
     
  16. Ben Furman

    Ben Furman Member

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    No, but Carvin's pearloid replacement pickguards are only like $15. Just swap out the electronics (knobs and all), and you'll be fine.

    -Ben
     
  17. Wildwind

    Wildwind Member

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    I have built five Carvin kits and still own two. The others are still in use here and there.

    My experience has been excellent on all fronts. And I have found I get excellent Strat tones from all of them, though it could be argued I suppose. Sounds like a Strat to me, but I’ve only been playing them for 30 years.

    I have not had problems with brightness or necks. I have had problems with electronics – cheap five-way switches and volume pots that don’t last long – in two of them. Other than that, I’ve been super pleased.

    My Bolts have varied quite a bit, from s/s/s to h/s/s to h/h – all have been excellent. Four had ebony fingerboards, one had maple. My necks are all the older type – 15” radius – and rosewood was not an option at that time. Body woods have all been alder, but two had maple caps (the two I kept).

    I feel these are great instruments – and I’m anal as they come. My main guitar is a Melancon Pro Artist, so I’m pretty spoiled. But I play these Carvins happily and gig with them without missing a bit.

    As has already been mentioned, you can get all kinds of options. You can even get factory finishing if you’re willing to wait (and pay). But you can’t get a headstock decal…

    Greg
     
  18. Ascension

    Ascension Member

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    I have built several of the Bolt kits and have been impressed with the fit and quality of materials in all of them. On the necks you CAN get the headstock decal just order the neck prefinised. I have done three like that and all three came with the Carvin decal on the necks under the finish.
    No they don't sound just like a Fender Strat but are nice sounding guitars with there own voice. Thin is NOT how I would describe any of the 7 or so Bolts I have owned over the years.
    Keep in mind this is coming from someone who is really at odds with Carvin right now. I have to give them credit the kits are cool.
    [quote from MichelPrice] One additional note........I attempted to discuss this on Carvin's website and got attacked by their mindlessly loyal fans who insisted their guitars could do a 100% perfect Jimi or SRV sound. I enjoyed some good laughs arguing with them
    Dude WATCH YOUR BACK doing that:worried !! I have gotten a TON of grief from a lttle click over there. The Mods on the CBBS are the worst of the lot and those guys are relentless if they get your number! I have endured two years of cyber attacks over a personal issue with one of the mods from over there. Take some advice and save yourself some grief don't play those games there !
     
  19. bdegrande

    bdegrande Member

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    I don't like Carvin's humbuckers, but the Bolt kits are single coils, so no problem there.

    If you are considering one, though, I would check out www.benfordguitars. His prices start at below a Bolt kit level, there are more options, and you get a guitar built and set up by someone who knows what he's doing. Mine, with a Seymour Duncan Trembucker in the bridge, bridge on/off switch, 6 position Varitone tone control, and ebony ftetboard, was $425 shipped with gig bag.
     
  20. Mark C

    Mark C Member

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    I'd consider one, but they only offer those skinny necks. I hate skinny necks!:eek: Otherwise, from what I have seen, Carvin offers a quality product at a decent price.
     

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