Wednesday, February 13, 2008
USA Charvel Custom Shop
I bought the USA Charvel Custom Shop San Dimas™ Relic... with Nitrocellulose Fiesta Red Paint, 21 fret neck, retro-floyd rose... all aged by Chip Ellis. It was a fairly pricy purchase at $3195.00. Here's the scoop... let me start of by saying two things... this is one of the first of these (I believe) to come off the line.. if not, certainly the first I have seen around (it's a custom job by Charvel, for the Music Zoo).. also...as an aside... Gibson is notorious for sending out Les Pauls (apparently) that still require a proper set-up, and fret attention too (rough frets)... Charvel is apparently no different. I did the usual dumb thing (after not owning a Charvel in years...) ... I started tuning my high E string...it was out of tune on my tuner... my tuner kept saying 'F...F.....F....F...' no matter which way I moved the tuner ....unlike the Randy Rhoads I just got (story later) where the guy left the nut-lock undone (like some people do, including me...)... this nut lock was screwed down... and yep..locked.... and you guessed it... 'ping'... the string popped between the nut and the tuner. I looked at all the various 'aged' screws on that wonderful retro floyd rose, and didn't remember which screw to loosen first. So I took it right down to Kenny at performance guitar for a lesson on the care and feeding of a floyd rose bridge (more later on that... I LOVE floyd rose bridges). Overall review on this guitar: Aging/ Color/ Finish....10/10... really cherry color and great eye-appeal. The floyd rose has been artificially aged, and now actually requires some lubrication, before it locks up for real. The minor string distance adjustments on the floyd rose are OFF (fully adjustable bridge that it is... Kenny showed me a ruler, where there was an 'F' he had put... to indicate the correct string length adjustment for a Floyd Rose bridge). Apparently, they are hard to set up unless you have lived and breathed them for years (like Kenny at Performance has... setting up and building guitars for the best of the '80's... and beyond).... In addition... some of the frets are popping up (why... I don't know). Also, the floyd rose is actually a truly retro floyd rose(yeah!)... where the trem arm doesn't pop-release from the bridge... so it stays in all the time. This is fine... but Kenny tells me that (for his metal guys in the 80's) a cut-out in the case is required, to avoid unnecessary pressure on the bar while the guitar is in the case. The bar needs to be positioned at the 2 o'clock position, and then the case shut (over the volume knob roughly) to align with the new cutout. Cost was fairly high, but not as high as a Fender Relic by a well known Masterbuilder. Overall ... I would say a really nice guitar, worth buying if you have the money, but then take it right down for a professional set-up with a good luthier. (Most manufacturers tell you that they leave the set up for the buyer/ stores to do anyway). In a few days, this guitar will be ready for any metal gig... anywhere.