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Last Updated on January 8, 2024 by Teemu Suomala

Author: DL Shepherd

Darren has been playing guitar for over 23 years. He fronted the metal band Suddenly Silence in the early 2000’s, and also achieved recognition as an award-winning bluegrass guitarist.

A native of southwestern Virginia, and has shared the stage with many big-name acts from various genres. When he is not playing one of his many guitars, he can be found riding his Harley through the mountains of Virginia.

displays Edward Bond and Gibson Guitar

Editor: Edward Bond

Edward has been playing the guitar since 2002. So Edward has over 20 years of experience as a guitarist, has authored 15 guitar books, has written for renowned music blogs, and spent a decade teaching music. He began merging his passion for writing and music in 2020 and has written for big guitar websites such as Guitar Head Publishing and KillerGuitarRigs.com.

Originally from Seattle, Edward moved to Norway in 2021 for a master’s in music. He’s studied at the Jazz Institute Berlin and Conservatorium van Amsterdam, and currently resides in Trondheim. His education includes a European Jazz Master’s, a diploma in Film and Game Scoring from Sofia, and a Bachelor’s in Jazz from University of Oregon.

Edward has played in numerous bands and currently, Edward works on his own project Starship Infinity


Charvel USA Select So-Cal Style 1 HSS FR - Torred

Best Overall – Charvel USA Select So-Cal Style 1 HSS FR

Reviewer: DL Shepherd

Sound
Playability
Overall Quality
Value For Money
Versatility

Summary

Pros:
-The fast-playing neck is great for shredders.
-DiMarzio pickups are excellent for metal and aggressive music.
-Floyd Rose bridge expands your playing and stays in tune.
-Fit and finish are top-notch.

Cons:
-The fingerboard could have a flatter profile to enhance quick playing. 

Who is this guitar for?
The Charvel USA Select So-Cal Style 1 HSS FR is for anyone looking for a fast-playing axe that provides both humbucker and single coil tones. 

4.9

How the Charvel USA Select So-Cal Style 1 HSS FR sounds:

Charvel USA Select So-Cal Style 1 HSS FR Demo

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The Next Best:

Best Budget
Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH HT

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Our Overall Rating

Summary

Pros:

  • Affordable price for Charvel quality.
  • Hard tail bridge means hassle-free string changes
  • The fast-playing neck profile feels great.
  • Seymour Duncan pickups sound incredible.

Cons:

  • Tuners felt cheap and gritty.

Who is this guitar for?

The Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH HT is for the player who wants a Charvel guitar but doesn’t want to spend money on a higher-priced model. It is suitable for all skill levels.

 

Best Premium
Charvel Warren DeMartini USA Signature

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Our Overall Rating

Summary

Pros:

  • Seymour Duncan pickups deliver excellent tone.
  • The fast-playing maple neck feels great in your hand.
  • Available in several killer finishes. 

Cons:

  • It seems like the finish would ding fairly easily

Who is this guitar for?

This guitar is for anyone looking for a premium, USA-made Charvel with unique finishes.

Best for Shredding – Charvel Guthrie Govan Signature MJ San Dimas SD24 CM HSH

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Our Overall Rating

Summary

Pros:

  • The pickups are incredibly versatile and sound fantastic
  • The neck profile feels terrific in your hand.
  • Glow-in-the-dark side markers and knob numbers are easy to see in the dark.
  • The single-locking tremolo stays in tune as well as a double-locking system.

Cons:

  • The Gotoh locking tuners can be challenging to unlock on the fly.

Who is this guitar for?

This guitar is for any musician looking for an incredibly playable axe with a few extra features. If you’re an eclectic player, this is the guitar for you.

Best 7-String –
Charvel Pro-Mod Angel Vivaldi DK247 2PT HH

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Our Overall Rating

Summary

Pros:

  • The neck is very comfortable to play.
  • Classy looks are great anywhere you play it.
  • The DiMarzio pickups make it very versatile.

Cons:

  • The tremolo system could be much better, especially on a shredder’s guitar.

Who is this guitar for?

This guitar is for anyone who wants a fast-playing 7-string with classy looks.

Compare the Key Specs

ModelPrice Range ($-$$$$)Body StyleNeckFretboardBodywoodsNut WidthNut MaterialBridgeScale-LengthPickupsControlsOur Rating
Best Overall – Charvel USA Select So-Cal Style 1 HSS FR$$$$$Solidbody USA Select So-CalQuartersawn Maple Bolt-on22, Jumbo RosewoodAlder1.6875″Floyd Rose Original LockingFloyd Rose Original Double-locking 2-Point Tremolo25.5″2 * DiMarzio HS-2 DP116 Single-coil

1 * DiMarzio Super Distortion DP100 Humbucker
1 x master volume

5-way blade pickup switch
4.9
Best Budget – Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH HT$$$$Solidbody Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1Maple Bolt-on22, Jumbo EbonyAlder1.6875″Graph Tech TUSQ XLCharvel HT6 String-through25.5″1 * Seymour Duncan Distortion SH-6N Humbucker

1 * Seymour Duncan Distortion TB-6 Humbucker
1 x volume (push/pull coil-split)

1 x tone (no-load)

3-way blade pickup switch
4.5
Best Premium – Charvel Warren DeMartini USA Signature$$$$$Solidbody Warren DeMartini SignatureQuartersawn Maple Bolt-on22, MapleAlder1.6875″Floyd Rose LockingFloyd Rose Original Double-locking 2-Point Tremolo25.5″1 *
Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound Flat SSL-4 Single-coil

1 * Seymour Duncan Custom Warren DeMartini Humbucker
1 x master volume

3-way toggle pickup switch
4.9
Best for Shredding – Charvel Guthrie Govan Signature MJ San Dimas SD24 CM HSH$$$$$Solidbody Guthrie Govan San DimasCaramelized Maple Bolt-on24, Jumbo Caramelized MapleBasswood1.6875″Graph Tech TUSQ XLRecessed Charvel Locking Tremolo25.5″2 * Charvel Custom Humbucker

1 * Charvel Custom Single-Coil
1 x master volume

1 x master tone

2-way mini-toggle (humbucker mode)

5-way blade pickup switch
4.7
Best 7-String – Charvel Pro-Mod Angel Vivaldi DK247 2PT HH$$$$$Solidbody Pro-Mod Angel Vivaldi DK247Maple Bolt-on24, Jumbo Nickel, Maple FretboardBasswood1.75″GraphTech Tusq XLGotoh Custom 7-String 510 Tremolo25.5″1 * DiMarzio Air Norton 7 Humbucker

1 * DiMarzio The Tone Zone 7 Humbucker

1 x master volume

1 x master tone

5-way blade pickup switch
4.7

Compare The Pickups:

image reveals How different electric guitar pickups sound

Pickups

Neck: DiMarzio HS-2 DP116 Single-coil

Middle: DiMarzio HS-2 DP116 Single-coil

Bridge: DiMarzio Super Distortion DP100 Humbucker

Pickups

Neck: Seymour Duncan Distortion SH-6N Humbucker

Bridge: Seymour Duncan Distortion TB-6 Humbucker

Pickups

Neck: Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound Flat SSL-4 Single-coil

Bridge: Seymour Duncan Custom Warren DeMartini Humbucker

Pickups

Neck: Charvel Custom Humbucker

Middle: Charvel Custom Single-coil

Bridge: Charvel Custom Humbucker

Pickups

Neck: DiMarzio Air Norton 7 Humbucker

Bridge: DiMarzio The Tone Zone 7 Humbucker

Learn more about electric guitar pickup types here.

About Charvel

Speed. Agility. Aggression.

All these qualities come to mind when someone says “Charvel guitars.” 

These metal monsters began life in Southern California in the early 1970s at Wayne Charvel’s guitar repair shop. Grover Jackson (of Jackson Guitars fame) began modifying Fender Stratocasters to make them high-performance machines. Jackson bought the guitar shop from Wayne Charvel in 1978 and released the first Charvel-branded guitars in 1979. 

By the early 1980s, Charvel’s hot-rodded guitars caught the attention of shredders such as: 

  • Eddie Van Halen
  • Warren DeMartini
  • George Lynch
  • Jake E. Lee. 

Today, Charvel guitars remain synonymous with heavy metal. They still incorporate high-output pickups, Floyd Rose bridges, and fast-playing necks. 

But which Charvel guitars are the best? 
Let’s look at the best Charvel guitars and find out which is best for YOU! 


Our Reviews of The Top 5

Keep These 3 Key Things In Mind When Choosing a Charvel:

Charvel guitars are owned by Fender, so they will share the same headstock designs and body shapes as most Fender models.

Most Charvel guitars have a tremolo bridge, but some are available with hardtail bridges.

Charvel guitars are typically not priced with the beginner in mind.

How Did We Choose These Guitars?

As a metal fan, I have always admired players like Jake E. Lee. In my travels, I have been fortunate enough to play some fantastic Charvel models. I have compiled my research and experiences into this article.

Most electric guitars we recommend are run through tests like these:

  • We check electronics (Basic measurements with multimeter, resistance, etc.)
  • We inspect the guitar carefully to get a good idea of the finish and built quality of the guitar.
  • We inspect the fretwork and edges of the fretboard to make sure there are no sharp edges.
  • We run the guitar usually through BOSS Katana 50 MK2 and test clean, crunch, and distorted tones with lead and rhythm playing.
  • We use different playing styles to get a good feel for the playability. We use fingerpicking, sweep picking, riffs from different genres, shredding, tapping, chord playing, etc.
  • We test all the possible pickup combinations and use different Volume and Tone settings from the guitar.
  • We measure and weight the guitar.
  • We test the guitar with drop tunings.

Learn more about GND’s testing and reviewing processes here.

Best Overall – Charvel USA Select So-Cal Style 1 HSS FR

The best Charvel Guitar - USA Select So-Cal Style 1 HSS FR - Torred
Charvel USA Select So-Cal Style 1 HSS FR – Torred

Specs

Body StyleSolidbody USA Select So-Cal
Body WoodAlder
NeckQuartersawn Maple Bolt-on
Neck ShapeSpeed Neck
Neck Radius12″-16″ compound
Fretboard22, Jumbo Rosewood
NutFloyd Rose Original Locking
Nut Width1.6875″
PickupsDiMarzio HS-2 DP116 Single-coil
DiMarzio HS-2 DP116 Single-coil
DiMarzio Super Distortion DP100 Humbucker
Controls1 x master volume
5-way blade pickup switch
Scale-Length25.5″
BridgeFloyd Rose Original Double-locking 2-Point Tremolo
TunersCharvel Branded Die-cast

The best Super-Strat I have ever played is the Charvel USA Select So-Cal Style 1 HSS FR. You can tell this guitar is made for speed as soon as you pick it up. It is like a Fender Stratocaster with an alder body, maple neck, and a rosewood fingerboard. It would be hard to tell the difference between this guitar and a Fender Stratocaster…

…until you plug it in!

The DiMarzio pickups are absolute slayers! There is a DiMarzio Super Distortion humbucker in the bridge position and two DiMarzio HS-2 single coils in the middle and neck positions. This gives you aggressive tones when the humbucker is activated and smooth, warm tones with just a hint of brightness from the neck position. 

The C-shaped neck is fast, and it was easy to do rapid scale runs and finger taps. Chords seemed to flow out of my hand and land precisely where they belonged. The Floyd Rose bridge made it easy to punctuate lead passages with a dive bomb or a shriek. If you like shredding, you’ll love this axe!

This is a guitar that loves to go fast, and it absolutely loves high-gain amplifiers. My only complaint was that it felt almost too much like a Fender Strat – especially the neck. I tend to prefer something a little flatter when I’m playing fast. 

The bottom line: The Charvel USA Select So-Cal Style 1 HSS FR is the best-sounding Charvel guitar I have ever played. It is a joy to play. Do yourself a favor and give one a try to see exactly what I’m talking about. 

How this guitar sounds:

Charvel USA Select So-Cal Style 1 HSS FR Demo

Summary

Pros:

  • The fast-playing neck is great for shredders. 
  • DiMarzio pickups are excellent for metal and aggressive music.
  • Floyd Rose bridge expands your playing and stays in tune. 
  • Fit and finish are top-notch.

Cons:

  • The fingerboard could have a flatter profile to enhance quick playing.

What others are saying:

“This guitar is really spectacular. The finish looks amazing and the neck is super fast and comfortable to play. I’ve been playing Fender Strats primarily for the past few years. This may look like a strat but it’s a different animal. The Floyd Rose stays in tune all night. Played two gigs this weekend and only had to fine-tune once at the beginning of the night…”

  • Dylan, Sweetwater customer

Who is this guitar for?

The Charvel USA Select So-Cal Style 1 HSS FR is for anyone looking for a fast-playing axe that provides both humbucker and single coil tones.

Who is this guitar NOT for?

This is not a guitar for fans of flat fretboards. It isn’t entirely flat and reminds you more of a Fender Strat.

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Best Budget – Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH HT

Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH HT E Electric Guitar - Pharaoh Gold
Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH HT E Electric Guitar – Pharaoh Gold

Specs

Body StyleSolidbody Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1
Body WoodAlder
NeckMaple Bolt-on
Neck ShapeSpeed Neck
Neck Radius12″-16″ compound
Fretboard22, Jumbo Ebony
NutGraph Tech TUSQ XL
Nut Width1.6875″
PickupsSeymour Duncan Distortion SH-6N Humbucker
Seymour Duncan Distortion TB-6 Humbucker
Controls1 x volume (push/pull coil-split)
1 x tone (no-load)
3-way blade pickup switch
Scale-Length25.5″
BridgeCharvel HT6 String-through
TunersCharvel, Die-cast, Locking

Charvel guitars are usually not the first brand that comes to mind when you are on a budget. However, they offer a few axes that are somewhat easy on the wallet – especially compared to their top-of-the-line instruments. The Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH HT may still fall out of reach for many budget-minded players. But you get a lot of guitar for the money.

In fact, it’s the best Charvel guitar for the money!

It starts with the Strat-style body made of alder. Alder is an excellent tonewood for a solid body guitar thanks to its ability to produce full, clear tones. The neck is made of maple and capped with a rosewood fretboard. The combination has been used for decades.

A couple of things set this guitar apart from other Super-Strats. First, the neck profile is a thinner U-shaped neck, and it is built for speed! The neck radius is a tapering 12”-16”, which provides enough wood for chords to be used higher up the neck. It also lets you show off your shredding skills when you want to do blistering soloing. 

The second thing that sets it apart from other Super-Strats is the electronics. There’s a Seymour Duncan TH-6 Distortion humbucker in the bridge and a Seymour Duncan SH-6N in the neck. 

The TH-6 gives you that full, fat humbucker sound with plenty of output. Plug it into any high-gain electric guitar amp and see why it is a full-blown metal guitar. Flip the switch to the neck position to experience the warm tone of the SH-6N humbucker. It has a lower output and is excellent for clean rhythm playing and bluesy leads. The pickups complement each other very well. 

The hardtail bridge is easy to string up and great for those who don’t like messing with tremolo bridges. The tuners, however, felt a bit cheap and had a little grit to them when turned. They seem to hold tuning well, though. 

If you’re on a budget, consider saving for a Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH HT. It will give you Charvel’s quality at a price that won’t have you taking out a second mortgage. Play one, and you’ll see why this is the best Charvel guitar under $1000. 

How this guitar sounds:

2023 Charvel SoCal Hardtail #1

Summary

Pros:

  • Affordable price for Charvel quality.
  • Hard tail bridge means hassle-free string changes
  • The fast-playing neck profile feels great.
  • Seymour Duncan pickups sound incredible.

Cons:

  • Tuners felt cheap and gritty.

What others are saying:

“I have waited for some time for Charvel to come out with an HH hardtail of the So Cal. I am not a Floyd Rose fan. I love hardtail, strat body guitars. I especially love the Charvel neck. I am very happy with this guitar. It was great right out of the box. There were no fit-and-finish issues. Aside from a setup after it settled into my climate, there were no issues. I was a little apprehensive about the pickups as I have never used the Distortion pickup. I must say I was pleasantly surprised! The set works really well in this guitar and covers anything I like to play…”

  • Sweetwater customer

Who is this guitar for?

The Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH HT is for the player who wants a Charvel guitar but doesn’t want to spend money on a higher-priced model. It is suitable for all skill levels. 

Who is this guitar NOT for?

This guitar is not for someone who likes a Floyd Rose bridge. It has a hardtail bridge.

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Best Premium – Charvel Warren DeMartini USA Signature

Charvel Warren DeMartini USA Signature Snake - Snakeskin
Charvel Warren DeMartini USA Signature Snake – Snakeskin

Specs

Body StyleSolidbody Warren DeMartini Signature
Body WoodAlder
NeckQuartersawn Maple Bolt-on
Neck ShapeSpeed
Neck Radius12″-16″ compound
Fretboard22, Maple
NutFloyd Rose Locking
Nut Width1.6875″
PickupsSeymour Duncan Quarter Pound Flat SSL-4 Single-coil
Seymour Duncan Custom Warren DeMartini Humbucker
Controls1 x master volume
3-way toggle pickup switch
Scale-Length25.5″
BridgeFloyd Rose Original Double-locking 2-Point Tremolo
TunersGotoh Die-cast

Do you want the best Charvel has to offer? Do you want to stand out from the crowd? Then you seriously need to play a Charvel Warren DeMartini USA Signature! They are available in some insane finishes and are crafted in the USA! 

Warren DeMartini is the guitarist for Ratt, and he knows a thing or two about guitars. His signature model captures his exacting specs. If they’re good enough for him, they’re good enough for all of us! 

It starts with an alder body and a maple neck and fretboard. The maple fretboard gives it a bright, snappy tone, and the alder balances it with full-bodied resonance. Plus, maple fretboards look amazing as they age! 

The neck profile is Charvel’s U-shape, which is thin and fast, and the maple fretboard is radiused to 12”-16”. It loves to be played fast, and can handle all of the speed you can throw at it. Pick it up and jam a riff from Ratt’s “Round and Round” to find out what I mean. 

Now that we know the guitar plays well and feels good let’s see how it sounds. It is equipped with Warren’s custom wound Seymour Duncan Warren DeMartini RTM humbucker in the bridge position and a Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound single coil pickup in the neck. This combination gives you tremendous tonal versatility, especially with the 5-way selector switch. 

For scorching metal riffs with serious “chunk,” just throw the switch to the bridge position and let it rip! If you want a mellow, clean sound, simply throw to switch into the neck position. You’ll love how it sounds for clean rhythm playing or slow arpeggios. Flip the switch in between for Strat-like tones as you split the humbucker coil and combine it with the neck pickup. 

Finally, you’ll be happy to know that it is equipped with a Floyd Rose bridge. You can bend notes all day without worrying about the guitar drifting out of tune. 

The Charvel Warren DeMartini USA Signature is also available in several incredible finishes that will make a statement when you’re on the stage. I personally like the “Snake” finish. The one thing that I noticed is that it seemed like the finish would ding fairly easily. I would cry like a baby if that happened to such a gorgeous guitar! 

If you want the best premium Charvel guitar, this might just be your next axe.

How this guitar sounds:

No Talking…Just Tones – Charvel Warran DeMartini Signature Pro-Mod

Summary

Pros:

  • Seymour Duncan pickups deliver excellent tone.
  • The fast-playing maple neck feels great in your hand.
  • Available in several killer finishes.

Cons:

  • It seems like the finish would ding fairly easily

What others are saying:

“Perfect for crunchy rock/metal rhythms and searing leads. The big surprise for me was the neck pickup. It’s a Duncan Quarter Pounder (getting the name from the 1/4” poles). The output is high for a single-coil (amazing for leads), but cleans up nicely too when needed. The bridge is an Original model Floyd Rose, which is always a plus over the cheaper Floyds, in my opinion (I know that’s debatable as to how much better, but I won’t get into that here). I really can’t think of a downside to this guitar, other than perhaps the price is just a little steep (as with most signature guitars), but that’s where your negotiation skills come into play.”

  • PDX Guitar Freak, Sweetwater customer.

Who is this guitar for?

This guitar is for anyone looking for a premium, USA-made Charvel with unique finishes.

Who is this guitar NOT for?

This guitar is not for those who throw their guitars around. It seems like it would ding up fairly quickly.

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Best for Shredding – Charvel Guthrie Govan Signature MJ San Dimas SD24 CM HSH

Charvel Guthrie Govan Signature HSH Flame Maple - Natural
Charvel Guthrie Govan Signature HSH Flame Maple – Natural
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Specs

Body StyleSolidbody Guthrie Govan San Dimas
Body WoodBasswood
NeckCaramelized Maple Bolt-on
Neck ShapeSpeed Neck
Neck Radius12″-16″ compound
Fretboard24, Jumbo Caramelized Maple
NutGraph Tech TUSQ XL
Nut Width1.6875″
PickupsCharvel Custom Humbucker
Charvel Custom Single-coil
Charvel Custom Humbucker
Controls1 x master volume
1 x master tone
2-way mini-toggle (humbucker mode)
5-way blade pickup switch
Scale-Length25.5″
BridgeRecessed Charvel Locking Tremolo
TunersGotoh Locking

Some think a shredder’s axe should have a Floyd Rose bridge with a locking nut. This guitar proves everyone wrong. If you like to play rough with your guitars, let me introduce you to the guitar that can take a beating and stay in tune: The Charvel Guthrie Govan Signature MJ San Dimas SD24 CM HSH. 

Guthrie Govan, from The Aristocrats, is known for punishing his guitars in ways that most of us can only imagine. He requires a formidable axe that is easy to play. It also has to sound amazing and stay in tune! 

It all starts with a basswood body with an ash cap. Basswood is lightweight with warm tonal characteristics. Ash adds a bit of brightness to it. The neck is made from caramelized maple and is reinforced with graphite to ensure strength and durability. It is topped off with a caramelized maple fingerboard with stainless steel jumbo frets and glow-in-the-dark side markers. 

The neck heel is thin to allow unlimited access to the upper frets. This means you won’t have to stretch your hand out to accommodate a thick body joint when playing below the 12th fret. The nut is made from Graph Tech TUSQ to ensure proper tuning when using the whammy bar.

The whammy bar – that’s something we haven’t covered. Instead of opting for a Floyd Rose, Guthrie chose a single-locking Charvel tremolo bridge. A single-locking tremolo doesn’t use a locking nut to keep the strings in tune. 

This bridge lets you bend the strings all day without worrying about a locking nut. The Gotoh locking tuners help keep everything in tune while you bend the strings. They can be tough to unlock. 

The neck feels absolutely incredible. If you’re a fan of fast necks, then this one’s for you. Shred all you want on this bad boy! It will inspire you to play things you could only imagine on other guitars. 

The electronics are custom-wound Charvel pickups in a H-S-H configuration. A 5-way selector switch lets you change between full humbucker and split-coil sounds. If you want to split the humbuckers only, there is a 2-way mini-switch that allows you to get single coil tones out of the humbuckers when the selector switch is set to positions 1 and 5. 

These humbuckers have a classic sound to them. They are warm, creamy, and maintain single-note clarity when used with high-gain guitar amplifiers. The single coil is rather hot and has an excellent Strat sound when activated. 

The knobs feature glow-in-the-dark numbers so you can easily see your settings on dark stages. How cool is that?

This guitar is a shredder’s paradise, and it should not be overlooked simply because it has a single-locking tremolo. I can assure you that you will not miss the locking nut! 

How this guitar sounds:

No Talking…Just Tones – Charvel Guthrie Govan Signature MJ DK24 2PT

Summary

Pros:

  • The pickups are incredibly versatile and sound fantastic
  • The neck profile feels terrific in your hand.
  • Glow-in-the-dark side markers and knob numbers are easy to see in the dark.
  • The single-locking tremolo stays in tune as well as a double-locking system.

Cons:

  • The Gotoh locking tuners can be challenging to unlock on the fly.

What others are saying:

“What I was looking for: 24 frets, flat neck radius, roasted maple neck, dependable trem system, quality humbucker pickups with coil splitting, locking tuners, and supreme playability. This guitar seemed to fit the bill. There’s no way I’ll ever play like Guthrie – but I certainly hold his opinion about quality guitar gear in high regard. I love that it has a graphite-reinforced neck.

The TUSQ nut and the stainless steel frets are great touches. I’ve seen some videos featuring players who say they want to mod the wiring for the pickups, etc. – not me! I think the pickup combinations are genius. This guitar will get me to the place I need to reach with my new band. I think it will work with basically any genre.”

  • Tony, Sweetwater customer

Who is this guitar for?

This guitar is for any musician looking for an incredibly playable axe with a few extra features. If you’re an eclectic player, this is the guitar for you.

Who is this guitar NOT for?

This guitar is not for fans of super high-gain pickups right out of the box. 

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Best 7-String – Charvel Pro-Mod Angel Vivaldi DK247 2PT HH

Charvel Pro-Mod Angel Vivaldi DK247 2PT HH - Satin Black
Charvel Pro-Mod Angel Vivaldi DK247 2PT HH – Satin Black

Specs

Body StyleSolidbody Pro-Mod Angel Vivaldi DK247
Body WoodBasswood
NeckMaple Bolt-on
Neck ShapeCustom Shaped
Neck Radius12″-16″ compound
Fretboard24, Jumbo Nickel, Maple Fretboard
NutGraphTech Tusq XL
Nut Width1.75″
PickupsDiMarzio Air Norton 7 Humbucker
DiMarzio The Tone Zone 7 Humbucker
Controls1 x master volume
1 x master tone
5-way blade pickup switch
Scale-Length25.5″
BridgeGotoh Custom 7-String 510 Tremolo
TunersCharvel Branded Die-cast Locking

Ibanez revolutionized the guitar world with their 7-string guitars. Now, Charvel has decided to create its own versions. This particular model was made to the specifications of guitarist Angel Vivaldi, and it is a shredding machine. The Charvel Pro-Mod Angel Vivaldi DK247 2PT HH is a guitar all 7-string lovers should check out! 

It is crafted with a basswood body for a warm tone, and the warmth is balanced out by a graphite-reinforced maple neck with a maple fretboard. The fretboard is radiused to 12”-16” and is incredibly comfortable for chords, and single-note leads up the neck. It flattens out below the 12th fret, which allows you to play as fast as you want. 

The electronics consist of a DiMarzio Tone Zone humbucker in the bridge position and a DiMarzio Air Norton humbucker in the neck. This combination gives you an aggressive, low-tuned growl and soaring leads with plenty of sustain. It can also give you excellent clean tones with plenty of sparkle when the neck pickup is used. 

The bridge is a Gotoh 510 that fits flush with the body. It is a vintage-style system that helps keep things in tune reasonably well as long as you don’t do any heavy-handed tremolo work. The bridge should have been made to handle more work and stay in tune better. It just feels like it is lacking on a guitar of this caliber. 

This guitar looks fantastic, though! The reverse Fender headstock, gold hardware, flat black finish, and unique fretboard inlays make it stand out on the stage or in the studio. It looks like a million bucks! 

The Charvel Pro-Mod Angel Vivaldi DK247 2PT HH is an amazing 7-string for anyone who likes to shred. Just use some caution with the tremolo!

How this guitar sounds:

Gretsch G2655T Streamliner Center-Block Jr. Double Cutaway with Bigsby

Summary

Pros:

  • The neck is very comfortable to play.
  • Classy looks are great anywhere you play it.
  • The DiMarzio pickups make it very versatile.

Cons:

  • The tremolo system could be much better, especially on a shredder’s guitar.

What others are saying:

“Plays like it came with the chemical makeup of butter printed across the fretboard. This is a really monster guitar. I encourage you to buy one. It won’t disappoint.”

  • Steve, Sweetwater customer

Who is this guitar for?

This guitar is for anyone who wants a fast-playing 7-string with classy looks. 

Who is this guitar NOT for?

This guitar is not for those who are heavy whammy bar users. The vintage-style tremolo goes out of tune easier than other Charvel systems. 

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Runner-Ups That Just Missed The Top 5


Buyer’s Guide

The Charvel Range Explained

Charvel has different series depending on where the guitar is manufactured. Here is the basic structure:

Pro-Mod and DK Series Made at the Fender plant in Mexico.
MJ Series Made in Japan.
Custom Shop, USA Select, and Artist Signature SeriesMade at the USA Fender plant in California.

The Pro-Mod and DK Series are more affordable. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly Charvel, these are the series to look at. 

The MJ Series will cost slightly more, but their quality is better than the Pro-Mod and DK Series guitars. 

The USA-made USA Select, Artist Signature, and Custom Shop guitars are the highest-quality Charvel guitars available. The Custom Shop will typically be the highest priced. If you want the best, that is the series to get.

How to Choose The Right Charvel Guitar For You?

Here are some suggestions to consider when choosing the right Charvel guitar for yourself.

Body Styles

There are a few body styles to choose from:

Style 1Strat-style body with a Strat-style headstock.
Style 2Tele-style body with a Tele-style headstock.
DKStands for “Dinky,” a popular Jackson body style smaller than a standard Style 1.

Woods

Charvel crafts their guitars from several tonewoods. Here is a list:

AlderFull-bodied and balanced tone.
MapleBright, snappy tone. Used mainly for fretboards.
RosewoodWarm, well-balanced tone for fretboards
AshVery resonant and bright.
BasswoodNeutral, full-bodied tone with a bit of warmth.

A guitar with ash and maple will have a bright, snappy tone, especially when combined with single-coil pickups. A guitar made with alder or basswood will be warmer, especially when combined with humbucker pickups.

Pickups

Charvel makes their own pickups as Schecter does. However, it is common to see pickups from other manufacturers, such as Seymour Duncan and DiMarzio, in their guitars. They use a combination of humbuckers and single coils. 

A humbucker will have a more full-bodied tone and higher output. These are best for metal and other aggressive styles. Single coils have a brighter, thinner tone than humbuckers and sound great when used for leads in the neck position or for clean rhythm playing.

Neck Profile

The neck profile is an essential characteristic of a guitar because it can tell you how it might feel in your hand. 

Charvel guitars typically use a thin, U-shaped profile in most of their guitars. However, some of their neck profiles feel slightly like a C-shape, resembling a rounder, modern Stratocaster fretboard. 

All Charvel necks give you a fast playing experience and are great for shredding.

Hardware

Charvel uses hardware from a variety of manufacturers, including their own brand. You will see tuners and bridges by Gotoh. You’ll also find Floyd Rose bridges on many of their guitars. 

If you like using a whammy bar, a Floyd Rose, Gotoh, or Charvel tremolo bridge will fit the bill perfectly. If you prefer a hardtail bridge, plenty of models feature them – including some models with stop bar tailpieces.

Budget

Charvel doesn’t make many budget-friendly guitars. Their guitars are typically priced higher due to high-quality standards and their use of premium materials. Their prices start at around $699 and go up to thousands of dollars. 

Skill Level

Charvel guitars are generally for players with higher skill levels simply because of their pricing. They also have features, such as Floyd Rose bridges, that are more suitable for advanced players. 

They are effortless to play, and beginners will appreciate this aspect of Charvel guitars. However, they were designed with something other than the budding guitarist in mind. 

How to Test

There are many choices on this list alone, so it is understandable to need help figuring out which Charvel guitar to go with. You can narrow down your search by figuring out your basics:

What is my playing style?
  • Soloing or rhythm? 
  • Shredder or chugger? 
  • High-gain or low-gain?
What tone do I want?
  • Bright, articulate, and chime-like? 
  • Low, rich, and mid-focused?
How will I be playing most of the time?
  • At home? 
  • In the studio? 
  • On the road?

Figuring out your style will help you narrow down what neck profile you’ll most likely enjoy and what pickups should be in the guitar when you buy it. Humbuckers are typically warmer than P90s, which have more high-end sizzle. Thinner necks are usually preferred by those who like to shred, and thicker necks are typically preferred by those who play a lot of chords. 

Once you have narrowed that down, you can determine your desired body style. Remember that larger guitars typically weigh more than other guitars because they use more wood during construction. If you’re doing a lot of sitting while playing, you’ll want a body shape that is comfortable to hold (a V-shaped guitar is NOT comfortable to play while sitting down, for example). 
Then, once you have it narrowed down between two or three models, then you need to play them! This will help you determine once and for all which guitar you want the most.


Conclusion

Charvel was out of the spotlight for several years, but they have made a comeback since Fender purchased them. They are Fender’s high-performance line that caters directly to shredders. This isn’t much different from the Gibson-owned Kramer guitars aimed at the same crowd. 

Let’s face it: virtually anyone can modify the electronics in a Fender Stratocaster to mimic the specs of a Charvel. You could even watch a few YouTube videos and learn how to install a Floyd Rose. But why go to the trouble when you can get a Super-Strat straight from the masters? 

The legacy that Charvel created with players such as Eddie Van Halen makes them desirable to players who want to relive the glory days of hair metal and shred. They tend to fall out of favor with younger players who prefer brands such as Ibanez, Schecter, or even Jackson to Charvel. 

They should not be overlooked, however. They are fantastic guitars and should be treated as such. They are a viable option for young, advanced players bored with other brands. 

Maybe Charvel needs to broaden its marketing programs a bit more. 

Either way, Charvel has remained one of the best guitar makers in the world. We hope you have enjoyed our list of the best Charvel guitars. Happy shredding from all of us here at guitaristnextdoor.com!


FAQs

Are Charvel Guitars Good?

Yes, Charvel guitars are some of the finest guitars in the world.

What Are Charvel Guitars Good for?

Charvel guitars are excellent for more aggressive playing styles, such as heavy metal. They are also great for technical guitarists (“shredders”).

Are Charvel Guitars Good for Metal?

They were designed for it! Their fast-playing necks, low action, and aggressive humbucker-based tones are perfect for hard-hitting metal!

Are Charvel Guitars Good for Beginners?

Yes, but only if you can afford the price tag. For this reason, it is recommended that Charvel guitars be played by more advanced players. Some of their features, like Floyd Rose bridges, are also recommended for more advanced players. 

Do Charvel Guitars Offer Good Value For The Money?

Yes, they are an excellent value for the money. You get a professionally made Super-Strat (or Super-Tele) straight from the factory; they are professional instruments in every way. 

Where Are Charvel Guitars Made?

Charvel guitars are made in the USA, Mexico, or Japan, depending on the series. The USA Select, Artist, and Custom Shop guitars are made in the USA. The Pro-Mod series is made in Mexico, and the MJ series is made in Japan.

Are Charvel Guitars Easy to Play?

Yes, Charvel guitars are extremely easy to play.

Are Charvel Guitars Better Than Gibsons?

This is like comparing apples to oranges. Charvel guitars are more modern. They are designed for speed and cater to more technical styles of playing. Gibsons are still very vintage designs in comparison. The only thing that they have in common is that they both use humbucking pickups.

DL Shepherd

Darren has been playing guitar for over 25 years and teaching guitar since High-School. He fronted the metal band Suddenly Silence in the early 2000’s, and also achieved recognition as an award-winning bluegrass guitarist. A native of southwestern Virginia, and has shared the stage with many big-name acts from various genres. When he is not playing one of his many guitars, he can be found riding his Harley through the mountains of Virginia. Expertise: teaching guitars, electric guitars, acoustic guitars, guitar amplifiers, guide pedals, flatpicking, bluegrass, metal, rock, and blues.
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