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So what is it about Charvel guitars?

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  • So what is it about Charvel guitars?

    I get that they were the latest and great in the early 80's and all the rockers wanted them. But Nostalgia aside, what is it about these guitars that some find so great? On the surface, they look like basic super strats, nothing special as far as construction, appearance, etc. Is it comfort, playability, feel? I ask out of curiosity, not to criticize in any way. I'm sure they are nice and suit some people very well, just like Les Pauls do, for example.

  • #2
    I can't speak for early Charvel guitars. I'm not that old, lol. Nor was I an LA native for them to be "my local shop".
    But, as of, let's say post-1983 Jackson guitars...

    The minute my left hand felt that neck - it was all over.
    And then the rest followed. Right hand. Rear contours against my body (which is odd considering most of mine are Stratocaster clones). Ears. Construction.
    The fact that they regularly had flashy graphics and colors is eye catching, but never replaces a good playing guitar.

    Since then, particularly over the last decade, I can say this -
    I play certain music with Gibson. I play certain music with Ibanez. I play certain music with Jackson.
    They all fit in my hand differently, which brings out different playing skills and techniques.
    Last edited by pianoguyy; 06-23-2020, 12:46 PM.


    • #3
      the neck profile...d.m.


      • #4
        To my knowledge, Charvel/Jackson are the only company(ies) that have compound radius fretboards as a standard/default feature across the entire range of products, even the least expensive (JS Series) instruments. It's practically a hallmark of the company. (Only a few models are in the minority without compound radius, like the Juggernaut with its uniform 20" ultra-flat radius, but it's safe to assume the typical Jackson/Charvel has it by default.)


        • #5
          Those pointy headstocks are just unmatched in coolness to me.
          96xxxxx, 97xxxxx and 98xxxxx serials oftentimes don't indicate '96, '97 and '98.


          • #6
            For me being old enough to have owned Pre-Pro's and original production guitars. I have to say it is the had made one off feel. My pre pro necks are god like. That is why I snapped up a legacy platter(looking to add more) v trem. The production ones the necks are awesome as well and the tick slab finger boards (especially the rare ebony boards) The bodies are just flat out compfy like an old pair of jeans, shoes, pillow. I have played some of the new production runs USA and imports they are great guitars. the latter 80's import guitars are very awesome in their own right, but totally different than their 85, and old ones. I have a model 88 since new and it just screams I know some were tone turds and some are just amazing. I also have an early model 2 that is way cool as well. Hope this helps in know why Charvel's are so sought. Jackson's soloists especially the early ones are like a neck thru les paul custom but lighter.