What's the deal with the logo on my old Charvel?

Discussion in '"Vintage" Instruments' started by Registered User, Nov 3, 2017.


  1. Registered User

    Registered User Member

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    I bought it at least third hand in Australia in 1992, and paid a bomb; probably too much :D
    No serial number, which I realise is normal for many old ones made before a certain year.

    As far as I know, everything about the guitar is legit, except perhaps for the logo, which doesn't match any on the various website identification pages.

    Many years ago, I contacted Charvel and a few internet "experts" who said the guitar is most likely a modified original, and possibly a "mutt", but none of them could explain the odd logo.

    The logo is ~2"1/8, or 54mm, and obviously doesn't have the "TM" or "MADE IN USA" on it. From what I can tell, the plain logos were much smaller.

    Thanks in advance. Incidentally, it has a narrow nut (1"5/8), and the inlays aren't pearl, they're either bone, faux bone, plastic or something else

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    Laminated body:

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    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
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  2. DBBlues

    DBBlues Formerly fullertone Gold Supporting Member

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  3. Bobby D

    Bobby D Member

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    looks to be like an early 80s neck, likely one of the necks they sold individually, with an added logo.

    the body looks like a MIJ model series body, perhaps a model 3

    it looks like a nice neck for sure! I bought one from Charvel in 83 that looked a lot like that one...
     
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  4. Surfreak

    Surfreak Member

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    I'd venture to say that this is not a Charvel neck, as the headstock shape looks a little off, the logo is an aftermarket logo and it would be quite unusual for a Charvel San Dimas era strathead to have a 1 5/8" nut witdth.

    The body can definitely be a MIJ one.
     
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  5. Registered User

    Registered User Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I found some more info and remembered some more stuff.

    It says on this link that "the most common nut width for pre-serialised Charvels is 1"3/4 and 1"5/8. http://www.usacharvels.com/history/pg2.htm

    And: "Neck heel widths ranged initially from very narrow, just shy of 2"1/8, and 2"3/16." Mine is the narrower one.
    "This dimension would remain constant until the Strat headstock was retired in favour of the pointy headstock, at which point the neck heel increased to approximately 2"1/4. "

    As far as I know, the Japanese "Model" series had 2"1/4 heels; mine's much narrower.

    And it says on the following link that, "often, the opaque bodies were laminated with two pieces of wood", like mine. http://www.usacharvels.com/history/pg3.htm

    Also, my 12th fret dots match the legit width of 15/16 inch, centre to centre. The skunk stripe also matches the "legitness".

    I don't think any of it is Japanese

    It used to have Strat-style strings trees, which obviously means it's been modified for the Floyd nut.

    I remembered it's got two 4-digit numbers written in pencil in the neck heel. The number on the neck is 5083, but the body number was covered by glued-on sandpaper when I had the shifting neck repaired. The body number is similar, like 5035, I think. I rang Charvel about 20 years ago, who said, after doing some research and calling me back, that the numbers sound like order numbers correct for an early '80s Charvel.

    Incidentally, I forgot to mention that I had the scratch plate made some time ago. The original was white, and it had EMGs.

    Some other minor "legit" points about it are that it has Gotoh tuners and a square jack plate.

    I don't know if this means anything, but the Floyd Rose is so deeply recessed that the springs touch the back plate. In fact, I ended up raising the plate a couple of mm wiht some washers
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
  6. voodoosound

    voodoosound Funk & Grooven member Silver Supporting Member

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    The neck or guitar is not from the pre serialized era. If it were it wouldn't have a 22 fret neck. It would be 21 frets. With that said. The logo is also non standard for a us charvel. The guitar body appears to be one of the japan made ones from the late 80s early 90s. The neck appears to be the same. If you can post more pics of the rosewood skunk stripe on back of neck as well as back of head stock and truss rod adjustment screw that would help determine if it's Japanese made or perhaps a later US aftermarket replacement neck. Based on the "mystery holes" it also looks to be Japanese. The Charvel neck holes are very distinct as well as the skunk stripe end. I have well over 50 examples of early charvels for comparison. I'm 98% sure it's Japanese. I'm 1000% sure it's not a pre pro. I believe your guitar to be a 90s Japanese model CST.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2017
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  7. voodoosound

    voodoosound Funk & Grooven member Silver Supporting Member

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    1 5/8 is not uncommon at all for a pre 84 Charvel. People seem to forget it was a custom shop. I had 3 guitars mad for me in 82 with 1 7/8. Yes almost the width of a classical. Most common in the p to 82 were 1 3/4 and 1 5/8. 1 11/16 came later around 83 with the pointy and compound radius.
     
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  8. Jonny Hotnuts

    Jonny Hotnuts Member

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    The 'mystery holes' on the neck butt are where the painters sticks were bolted. Very common in guitar manufacturing.

    ~JH
     
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  9. Registered User

    Registered User Member

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    Thanks for the replies. Here are some more photos. I should've noticed the "21 fret" thing, considering all the photos I've looked at. Ha.

    The back of the neck used to have full lacquer until I sanded it off many years ago, so I guess the extra holes on the neck heel were for the lacquering.

    What baffles me mostly at the moment is the narrowness of the neck at the nut and heel, and that I can't find a Jap-made body that looks the same from the rear, particularly the rear control cavity. Also, the pickup/controls routing looks different to what I've seen from later Japanese "Model" bodies.

    For what it's worth, I first saw the guitar in a Melbourne shop in late 1990, and the frets were heavily worn/dressed. Someone else bought it as I was trying to get the cash together, and, being quite young at the time, I was devastated. A couple of years later, another guitar dealer told me that the buyer wasn't too fond of it, and would probably sell it, so a deal was set up. I was pumped!

    Anyway.... the adhesive sandpaper was put on the neck heel by a local tech guy to stop the neck shifting, but I don't know who put the shielding in the top routing cavity; it was there when I bought it.
    As I said, I sanded the lacquer off, but I couldn't be bothered getting the last bits off around the join, hence the mark and different colour down there.

    All the holes in the back on the headstock were made by me doing some butchering for alen key holders, and I also stupidly put some black Jackson tuners on there for a while. D'oh! Ah well, I was young and silly.

    I read somewhere years ago (I can't find it now) that there's some significance with the way the fretboard meets the headstock, hence the 2nd photo.

    Oh yeah, if it's clue, the plate holding the trem springs to the body is a Kahler, for some reason

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    Last edited: Nov 24, 2017
  10. voodoosound

    voodoosound Funk & Grooven member Silver Supporting Member

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    Based on your pics. This is what I can see you have. There's good news. And not so good news. The body is indeed a Charvel pre pro. However, as I'm sure you have gathered. It is essentially been butchered beyond any value other than it maybe being a good player (what else is there really). The body is 81. So you were correct in thinking it was non serialized. With the said. The recessed trem route, the universal route and the 11 hole pickguard are all modifications to the original non of which are period correct. How do I know? There's always a dead give away of what a pre pro body is. It can only be spotted 100% from the back. All the incorrect hardware on the front threw me off originally into thinking it was Japanese.

    Now onto the neck. The neck is most likely an aftermarket piece. It's very likely it was a Charvel replacement neck. However, it could also be a dimarzio replacement neck. Now some will say well dimarzio necks were made by Charvel. Yes and NO. Up until about 81 82 Charvel did make necks for dimarzio, mighty mite and a couple others. However, those still would've been 21 frets. Later dimarzio had ESP make them necks. So, what you have is a parts guitar. I would think the neck to be an 83-85 Charvel aftermarket replacement neck. The need for the sandpaper is because the later 22 fret neck would be 2 3/16. The body cavity of the pre pro would be 2 1/8. Someone most likely got a little overzealous in widening the cavity giving the neck a little more room than it needed.

    Regarding the logo. I seem to remember large size knockoff logos around early to mid 90s as people wanted to replace their sanded of logos from the late to early 90s when charvels weren't considered cool anymore. In fact, there are still a lot of charvels floating around out there with fender logos. Most likely whomever put your partsacaster together lacquered the logo in there.

    So there you have it. Different era body and neck assembled with incorrrect parts and incorrect logo (except for tuners). Though realistically they would've been crownheads if it were prepro. Hope that helps.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017
  11. Anje

    Anje Supporting Member

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    Rob sure has some great extensive first hand knowledge on those old Charvels :beer
    Looks like a cool player "mutt", enjoy it!
     
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  12. reentune

    reentune Supporting Member

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    In '85 or '86 I bought what was marketed as a Charvel neck.
    It came through a Music Emporium catalog.
    No logo. 22 frets. Thick rosewood board. Not thin or shreddery. 1 3/4" nut width.
    Wish I had it on all my guitars.

    Maybe the OP neck has a similar story?
     
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  13. Registered User

    Registered User Member

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    Wow! Thanks a lot, Voodoo. That's by far the most and best info I've ever read. Very interesting.
    It's cleared up a 25 year mystery for me. :D ... not that I was on the case the whole time; every few years I get nostalgic and look for info.
    Shall I take any more photos? I might have some more questions later.

    I think the inlays could be plastic faux bone, but it's hard to tell. If they're not plastic (or similar), then they're something with a shiny cover. It looks like they have a faux grain on them, but could be marks from oil over the years.
    I'll try to take a photo, but I'm a crap photographer.
    Thanks again
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
  14. Drew816

    Drew816 Supporting Member

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    Not entirely true, 1 5/8th nut is what EVH originally used and they were around. I have an 22 fret '82 Strathead Charvel parts neck w factory logo that has the EVH profile and is 1 5/8th.

    I am no expert but the neck looks correct to me. The thick fretboard is a dead give away, nobody but Charvel/Jackson used that MUCH Rosewood for their fretboards. Fender would have gotten 3 fretboards out of that same slab! I'd have to pull the neck on mine to check the truss nut but...

    The logo ain't right but that's not uncommon. The body is questionable, Dimarzio made these "Strat faced but Charvel panel back access bodies" but I've never seen a serialized Charvel body built that way but never say never with Charvels! And recessed Floyd? That was likely added and too bad.

    VoodooSound above has it all about right I might add!
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2017
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  15. Drew816

    Drew816 Supporting Member

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    Shots of an 80's Dimarzio Charvel control cavity and back plate and Strat top body that I foolishly sold. I was going to build it but someone offered me a lot more than I paid for it and gave it up; and have never seen one for sale since! Built by Charvel and Dimarzio branded perhaps? I think I remember the Charvel crew mentioning this was a possibility at the time...

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  16. mc5nrg

    mc5nrg Supporting Member

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    Umm....plenty of Charvel copies and similar parts came out of Japan mid 80s. A well known pu and guitar maker was hustling grey mkt DX-7 synths at the time and brought the Philadelphia store where I worked some MIJ purported Charvel prototypes that were more true to San Dimas era Charvel than the number series that eventually appeared and these guitars had plenty thick rwd boards and birdseye. In my experience Veneman imported. Charvel style parts as well, somewhat ironic considering his role in the success of the actual brand. No shortage of parallel imports there either.
     
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  17. Drew816

    Drew816 Supporting Member

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    I would love to see some of those MIJ copies with the same spec's as Charvels of the day, I've personally never seen one. Doesn't mean they weren't out there, no doubt especially by the mid-80s when this was all better defined...

    Speaking of Veneman's, here's a shot of their rack of pointies from the Summer of 1984; 7 Charvels including one Strathead and one Jackson. All that had locking tuners were Kahlers. And MAN I had more pictures of my visit than this but damned if I can find those pictures, but you get the point. Sorry crappy copy and scan, I can't get a good image of the original...

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  18. Man with Gas

    Man with Gas Member

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    I can tell you exactly about some of this guitar as it used to be mine.

    The neck was purchased by me from Charvel in approx 1982/3 and I was dealing with Joanna (in San Dimas) at the time. I also purchased a Fiesta red basswood body.
    The neck was destined for Holdsworth at the time however, he wanted something slightly different so I got his neck. It was cool because I didn't have to wait long to get it.

    Charvel wouldn't put decals on necks UNLESS they put the guitar together so I had one of my graphic guys make one up so it's not an original decal. I had the neck and body sent to me unassembled to help me get it through Australian Customs who charged a FORTUNE on import duty back then for full guitars. (thanks Maton you pri_ks!) This is WHY there is no original decal on it.

    I also purchased another neck designated for Holdsworth and a maple body. From what I can tell the body in the pic is the maple one and it was originally painted dark blue. It originally had 2 humbuckers and a Floyd Rose. No Kahler or anything else.

    The Fiesta red guitar was sold to a guy Irwin Thomas (aka: Jack Jones) who used it with J Farnham.

    What he did with it after I sold it to him I have zero idea. The dark blue one was traded for a Mesa Quad Pre Amp and Mesa 50/50 Power amp to another guy in St Kilda (Vic).

    Whatever the case they certainly didn't look like the pics above in ANY WAY when I moved them on. It looks like it's been mutilated.

    If the neck shape is half as good as I remember it you have a killer neck so LOOK AFTER IT!
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
  19. Registered User

    Registered User Member

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    Really? Wow. That's amazing if true (edit ). Further edit: it's probably not be true

    Yes, it has a lovely shaped neck

    Here's my longer "grandpa story" about the guitar. I'll try not to ramble too much. :D

    Coincidentally, I bought this guitar off Jack Jones in 1992, who bought it from Music City in Greville St couple of years earlier for $1800. Well, $1800 was the asking price, so I don't know exactly what he paid, and I can't remember if it was on consignment or owned by the shop.

    I loved the guitar when I first played it at Music City, and was trying very hard to get the $1800 when Jack bought it. I was devastated, as I said above. I don't have big hands, so I rapped to find a great-sounding guitar with a narrow neck and a Floyd Rose, and I was desperate to get a San Dimas Strat headstock Charvel after seeing Steve Vai and his Green Meanie (like a million other kids, I guess), then seeing Gary Moore playing the red one on the Friday On My Mind clip.

    As you'd know, they were very hard to get in Australia back then. The only other one I'd seen in Melbourne was the cream or white one that Jack Jones had in his Hans Valen and early Southern Sons days (see Youtube below). Incidentally, he told me he eventually "ripped the Floyd Rose out of the body" of that guitar, which I gather is an exaggeration of "loosening the studs". I don't know if he got it fixed.

    I bought other guitars when I first missed out on this Charvel, including a used 1987 US-made bolt-on Jackson from Brashes in Moorabbin (coincidentally, also for $1800), which became my main guitar.

    In 1992, I was telling Con Gallin one day how spewing I was that I missed out on this Charvel, and Con said that Jack wasn't totally in love with the guitar, and he might sell it. I was stoked! I left my number with Gallin and hoped for the best. A few weeks later, the phone rang and it was Jack. He was a minor celebrity back then, so, as I younger dude, I was a little starstruck. :D My little sister came running up to my room and said, "Jack Jones is on the phone!!" She couldn't believe it.

    At the time, Jack was very busy with his various bands and planning his wedding, so it took a while for him to get the guitar set up and ready for sale by "his guy", Dave Ulbrick. Dave was working on Jack's other gear, so getting the Charvel ready for me to buy was a low priority. However, Jack regularly called to apologise, so we chatted a lot about gear.

    In fact, Jack was so busy that I never met him. I eventually picked up the guitar from Ulbrick in his old shop in Syndal, and paid a 'tasty' $2100 for it. Ah well, I was desperate to get it, as I said. Jack justified the price with the new frets and other work he'd had done to it. Hell, considering how desperate I was back then to get it, I probably would've paid 3 grand.

    Unfortunately, the guitar has never been a great player, action wise, even though the neck and everything else feels fantastic and it sounds great. After I first played it at Music City, Jack had new frets put on it, and I dunno if it was the best job. I think there may be a tiny hump in the fretboard or the frets.

    I also suspect that the Floyd nut radius doesn't mach the board, because the D and G strings sit a fraction higher than the other strings at the nut.

    I immediately got someone to do a heavy fret dress and setup, but it still wasn't great; the action can't be lowered much without affecting the sound. After another setup some months later, I more or less left it as my number 2 guitar, and had no more work done to it.

    I always intended to get it perfect, but, as with most of us I suppose, life got in the way, I stopped playing regularly, and never seemed to have spare money for it. One day I'll get it right, even if it means getting new frets and planing the board dead true. I only do the occasional duo gig these days, so I rarely go to guitar shops, and only do so to buy strings. In other words, I'm way out of the loop, so I don't have a regular tech guy. I recently bought a Floyd Rose off Craig O'Donnell in Moorabbin, who makes really nice guitars, so I might get a quote off him for a repair.

    Yes, the guitar has unfortunately been a bit knocked around a fair bit. I did a lot of coverband gigs in the '90s, so it was bumped around in the corners of stages at many dodgy Melbourne pubs, plus the odd drunk goose would pick it up and scratch it.

    It was also dropped in gravel once by a would-be thief at a large rural music festival (The Kamikaze, up north somewhere). I had it behind me as my spare guitar while we were playing when a heap of drunk yobbos got up to jump around on stage. There were people everywhere on stage, and after we cleared them off, the foldback guy asked, "where's your other guitar?" It was gone!!

    I had no choice but to keep playing while other guys frantically ran around looking for it among the thousands of people. Luckily, the place had only one entry/exit, so when a shirtless guy was seen running through the gates with a guitar without a case, holding it vertically by the headstock, the bouncers were suss' and stopped him. The guy panicked, dropped it and ran off. Just then, a couple of guys from another band arrived at the gate and grabbed it. It was probably only 15 minutes until it was returned, but it seemed like at eternity.

    Oh yeah, I'm pretty sure I know who bought the red one. Does it have an ebony fretboard? If so, the owner is a cousin of one of my old school friends, but I haven't seen either of them for at least ten years. For memory, he bought it off Con Gallin.

    Jack told me that he wasn't too enamoured with the red one either, plus I think he was getting endorsement offers from Hamer then Fender at the time, so he wasn't too fussed about selling it. Apart from that, from what I know he had many guitars, so the odd San Dimas Charvel here or there was probably less special to him than the rest of us :p

    Good stories? Ha. Thanks again.

    Jack Jones' white Charvel (Virgil Donati on drums):


     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
  20. Man with Gas

    Man with Gas Member

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    Both (Holdsworth's) necks I purchased from Charvel and placed aftermarket decals on were Ebony Fretboards.

    When I had them they played great and low action wasn't an issue. I agree they may have had the dreaded 14th/15th fret board hump happen years later. Jack was a real sweater and it was very acidic.

    Regarding his comment about ripping off the Floyd, the Fiesta red body was the lightest and softest Basswood I have ever encountered. I will say it sounded fat and huge. The Fiesta had Floyd inserts installed so he may have pulled the Floyd off via the inserts coming out of the body. He certainly couldn't have torn the body wood given it had inserts.
     
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