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86 Charvel Model 6 (Guitar Logo) vs. 89? Toothpaste Charvel 650 Custom

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  • 86 Charvel Model 6 (Guitar Logo) vs. 89? Toothpaste Charvel 650 Custom

    Very recently acquired a 1986 low serial number (less than 60) Charvel Model 6 in Ferrari Red, with 3 mini switches, and the Kahler Trem. Right off the bat, needed modding. Complete fret job replacement and plek, and the pickups sounded terrible, removed everything and started over. Tried several pickups in there (has the obvious difficulty due to shape of Single Coils) settled for the EMG RetroActive Pickups. After hundreds of dollars, still couldn't vibe with it, still didn't hit it right, and sold it for 1400 on Reverb.

    Saw a Charvel Toothpaste Logo 650 Custom in Red online for 600 or so. I thought, nah... every damn MIJ Charvel I get ends up disappointing (I've had them all 750XL, 550XL, 650XL, 650 Custom, Mod 3, 4,5,6 multiple Jackson Soloist XL, Jackson Soloist Pro, Jackson Archtop Soloist). The 750xl and Jackson Archtop Pro are fantastic btw... but in the end they aren't shred guitars. They are Les Pauls woods, shaped like a Charvel/JAckson (which is amazing in it's own right) but not what I seek when I'm going pointy headstock. Well, fuck it, I snag her up, clean the frets oil the board, setup, give her a run.

    I have to say the 650 Custom was superior in every single way. I know haters prefer the traditional Fender body style, but WHY? The whole point of a Super Strat is to go big and bold, I prefer the dinky body style. Far more comfortable and original. No fret work needed. I typically plek my guitars if I keep them. Vintage MIJ guitars almost ALWAYS need a plek, or fret mill. In my old age, I've grown intolerant to even minor fret buzz, this guitar has virtually none. I was amazed. Surprisingly, the pickups sounded great. Even though, I think they were supposed to be identical to the Model 6's pickups? Maybe I'm wrong here, because the Model 6 pups were absolute Garbage. Sounded either too thin or too thick could never get an organic/present tone out of them. The 650 Custom pickups sound perfect 80s shred rock. I will not change them.

    The real amazing thing is the 650 Custom has great vintage tones, through vintage amps, or low gain settings. Hits early Van Halen tones perfectly. The Model 6 just couldn't muster up any kind of organic pleasant sounding tones, either far too bright, or muddy and compressed. They were truly terrible pickups.

    Typically I read toothpaste hate threads, but I have to stand up on this one. My toothpaste 650 is an amazing guitar, clearly outshined my "OG Model 6". Most people would bow down to the low serial number, original Model 6 first year configuration, and claim it was better. But it was sorely lacking. Granted, the fretwork, might have been equal, as the 650 was hardly played, and the Model 6 needed a complete fret job, but after a complete fret job and plek, the 650C played equal or better fresh out of factory and is 30 years old.

    If you read the hate threads, it's all aesthetic. It's about the traditional Fender body style vs. Dinky style, and some people complain the Rosewood looks "dried out and streaky", I would confirm this btw... the rosewood on the 650c, does have a lot of the those tiny slits in it, and the overall figuring looks almost like half is dark, and the other half is light, but I actually like the way it looks. I can't recall if the 86 Fretboard had the same issue, but almost all guitars from this era and price point have that type of rosewood.

    Can anyone verify pickup or booster differences between these two? My god, the tone in the Model 6 was complete garbage. It was intolerable, whereas the 650C knocked me on my ass.

  • #2
    You're comparing apples and oranges honestly all the way around. I recently picked up a Model 4 to flip I might add. After getting the parts in and setting it up I think it may damn well be a keeper. Definitely a much drier tone than the J90C in my Model 2 and Predator or the JB in my Pro Mod and I do prefer them over the J50BC but it doesn't sound like ass though. I've actually been enjoying playing it the past few nights. I had a USA Fusion and tonally it reminds me a lot of it.

    I'm honestly shocked I've enjoyed this Model 4 because I have a real heavy pick attack and hit middle pickups real often. I also never cared for the active circuit in the USA Fusion I had. It was bought purely to keep the chainsaw case it came in and flip it but who knows at this point.

    I've bought and sold a lot of guitars for the same reasons as they just didn't have the tone or feel that I was looking for. Once I found what I liked I've stuck with it. I never dreamed I would actually enjoy this Model 4. Sounds like you're having the same experience with the 650.


    • #3
      As far as i know 650 Custom is the same as 650 XL if someone knows the difference let me know. Personally i would all day long get the 650XL instead of the M6 just because i like the schaller trem more and i like the 5 way toggle more than the 3 mini switches.


      • #4
        I have close to 100 Charvels and can tell you not all guitars of the same model play the same. I have 4 models 2's love one don't ever play 3. I have 5 model 475 guitars and only like 1. I have 4 predators and only like 1. I have 2 model 5's and like them both very well. etc!