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"Charvel Model Series debacle in the 1980s" - Did people hate the Model Series?

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  • "Charvel Model Series debacle in the 1980s" - Did people hate the Model Series?

    Came across this old post on the Seymour Duncan forum discussing how the Charvel Desolation Series aren't very true to the spirit of Charvel guitars: https://www.seymourduncan.com/forum/...=1#post3090983

    Particularly, these two lines about the Model Series stood out to me:

    [The Desolation Series] is worse than the Charvel model series debacle of the mid to late 80s. At least the model series sort of followed the Charvel formula.
    [The Desolation Series] just makes a mess of it all and is a disgrace to the Charvel name just like the model series was in the mid to late 80s which killed the brand.
    Was this the prevailing attitude from guitarists when the Model Series were announced and produced in the 1980s? "Killed the brand?" That's a bit extreme, no?

    I realize Charvels were solely American-made up until 1986-ish, so I can understand why the decision to introduce the very first imported Jacksons/Charvels might have been seen by some as diluting the brand. At the time, the resistance may have been justified, but the Model Series guitars were pretty great (whether in retrospect or just approaching them objectively in any time period) so I'm dumbstruck by the enduring snobby attitude in a post from as recent as 2012.

  • #2
    Having survived the 80's, at the time anything from Japan was looked at about as favorably/comparably as anything from China today..
    A few Charvels, a bunch of Jacksons, JVM full stack, valve king half stack and an 4000 watt PA for a home stereo, my neighbors love me.... :Headbang:

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    • #3
      Here's the funny thing. In Back to the Future Part III, "1955 Doc" bemoans 80s parts that are Made in Japan. "1985 Marty" replies that all the best stuff is Made in Japan. (The scene is below.) I realize it's just a movie, but I figured that the good reputation for Japanese manufacturing had already solidified itself by the 1980s.

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      • #4
        I have plenty of 80's Guitar Player magazines that give the top 10 selling guitars. Charvel was always in the list, usually the Model 4, but other models as well.

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        • #5
          I feel like the only reason to hate a new product like this is that it didn't support a different brand name. Imports of the 60's were generally not good guitars. Kingston and Teisco come to mind if anyone has played those. So if that was your experience with imports and then your favorite American brand is now coming out with an import version, what do you expect? However, the 70's had lawsuit era guitars that were well enough made that the big guys felt threatened and stopped it all. So maybe this turns my original theory on its head.... Living in a time where there have always been good quality import and USA made guitars has probably softened this feeling for most of us. Most imports can be damn good guitars if you find the right ones. And on the other end, there are a ton of USA made guitars that aren't great.

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          • #6
            Yes, we hated them at the time. Not really them, as in the guitars. But, rather, them, meaning the idea of them. We hated the idea of these great guitars being turned into cheap imports. Cheap, meaning quality, not money.
            Of course, at the time, and even still today to some degree, what many failed to realize was... Asian manufacturers will make what you tell them to. If you want a cheap import, you will get a cheap import. If you want a high quality item, you will get a high quality item.

            Grover Jackson didn't send some MBA to meet a budget and to enhance a bottom line. He went over himself to have guitars built. And that is why, 30 years later, the Model Series are still sought after.

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            • #7
              And for stupid money these days. Try finding a Model 2 on ebay for under $500 these days.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by DonP View Post
                And for stupid money these days. Try finding a Model 2 on ebay for under $500 these days.
                Honestly, the one thing I don't like on just about all of Jackson/Charvel imports is the waxy finish on the necks of the bolt ons. So, for me, I wouldn't even look at a Model 2.
                I don't mind a painted neck. But if you are going to have a wood neck, it needs to be unfinished. It was the one good thing about the Desolation Series.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by pianoguyy View Post
                  Asian manufacturers will make what you tell them to. If you want a cheap import, you will get a cheap import. If you want a high quality item, you will get a high quality item.

                  .
                  Well said.

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                  • #10
                    I remember them when introduced back then. (Yeah, I’m old. :P ) There was a split opinion - it was love or hate. The “love” crowd thought it was great to be able to get an affordable and available production Charvel, even if it was a Japanese import. Cool new lines and specs, and Charvels were otherwise out of reach for most guys. The “hate” crowd was appalled because these import posers killed the USA line, eliminating the possibility of custom ordering a Charvel ever again. (Jacksons were cool, but just “weren’t the same”.) There was a bit of cork-sniffing snobbery in there, but mostly it was just shock and sadness that the custom shops were toast.

                    So the truth is BOTH. They were divisive - loved by some, hated by others.

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                    • #11

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                      • #12
                        I think a lot of the hatred today comes from people who want to appear to know what they're talking about. Having a strong opinion gives them an appearance of authority on the topic. Of course, some of it comes from people who owned original US Charvels & resented the move to Japanese production. But most of it is people talking shit to make themselves look like experts. And often when you dig down a bit, those same people think that Wayne was making Charvels for Warren DeMartini in 1984.
                        Hail yesterday

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DonP View Post
                          And for stupid money these days. Try finding a Model 2 on ebay for under $500 these days.
                          and the stock pick up isnt amazing and the trem is jus there for show. my model 2 is still my fave guitar. the neck is so good, amazing shape and super quality fret worrk.
                          no sig.....

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DonP View Post
                            And for stupid money these days. Try finding a Model 2 on ebay for under $500 these days.
                            Agreed. Many moons ago I bought 2 used Model 2`s. 1 Red and 1 Blue. Both had Charvel chainsaw cases and both in mint condition. One was $175 shipped and the other was $150 shipped. I wish I still had them. The trem was ok, the pickup was barely ok, but the playability was incedible.

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                            • #15
                              This just begs the question....

                              If metal is history and guitar based rock is dead, why are prices on old shredder guitars going thru the roof?? Who is buying them paying ever more dollars ??? Is there an underground 80's based hairband music resurgance brewing??? Is it a bunch of geriatric old farts who can finally buy the guitar of their youthfull dreams??
                              A few Charvels, a bunch of Jacksons, JVM full stack, valve king half stack and an 4000 watt PA for a home stereo, my neighbors love me.... :Headbang:

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