Guitar Store Barre VT
Guitars & Fretted Instruments
Electronic Keyboard, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Recording Equipment, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music
Saint Albans, VT
Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music
Six New Electric, Hybrid, and Acoustic-Electric Guitars
The six guitars on review here from Carvin, Hutchins, G&L, Parkwood, Tregan, and Washburn vary greatly in style, sound, and intent, and they also underscore how the prices of today’s guitars are all over the map. Some companies offer incredible bang-for-the-buck, while others push premium-priced models targeted at well-heeled pickers who want the best that money can buy. No matter what you’re looking for in a guitar, we hope you’ll find a model here that inspires you to try something new for yourself.
We tested these guitars in live and studio settings, using a selection of amplifiers that included a Bad Cat ’Lil 15, a Budda 10th Anniversary Twinmaster, Mesa/Boogie Express 5:25 and Blue Angel combos, a new Fender ’65 Princeton Reverb, a Hughes & Kettner zenTera, a Savage Rohr 15, and a EVH 5150 half-stack.
Carvin CS6 California Single
Tested by Matt Blackett
I remember seeing the cool Carvin ads in GP as a kid. There would be a picture of Craig Chaquico or Steve Vai looking bitchin’ with their Carvin gear as the copy told of top-quality craftsmanship and custom-shop options for rock-bottom, factory-direct prices. I gambled a stamp and sent away for their free catalog and, although I never got one of their guitars, I learned a lot about woods, hardware, and electronics just from studying that booklet. (I did, however, eventually become the owner of a righteous mid-’80s Carvin bass. And no, it is not for sale, Bass Player editors!) Anyway, you no longer have to send away for a Carvin catalog—you need simply to click to carvin.com to see how easy it is to create your own guitar, like their new CS6 California Single.
Due to legal actions, the CS6 is a guitar that might have been difficult to make just a few years ago (ask a man named Smith), but here is Carvin’s entry in the single-cutaway, two-humbucker, maple-on-mahogany world. This guitar’s cosmetics are just plain stunning. The quilted maple top is so deep, dimensional, and undulating that you could drown in it. The mahogany body and neck look smoky and warm, and the ebony fretboard (with abalone blocks) and gold hardware keep everything upscale and super classy. The CS6’s workmanship is flawless. The fret ends are all smooth and perfectly even, and the finish is expertly applied.
Playing the CS6 through a host of amps revealed excellent humbucker punch on clean and dirty tones. Although you can’t see them under the gold covers, the 22 pole pieces of the classic Carvin humbuckers deliver balanced, dynamic tones that respond well to different picking attacks.
The volume knob on the CS6 is wonderfully voiced, and it expands on the guitar’s tone potential. I liked every bit of its range on both pickups. I was able to take a screaming distortion tone and clean it up gradually with no loss of highs. It seems a shame there’s only a Master Volume, because I know some great timbres would be possible if you could vary the relative levels of the two pickups. (Carvin offers separ...