A Love Letter to Carvin Guitars
So, I’m a huge guitar nerd. I own and have owned a lot of very, very fancy guitars- it’s basically the only thing I spend my disposable income on. And I’ve been playing for half my life. I like to think I know a thing or two about the instrument!
I’m not normally one to evangelize a particular brand, though- there are tons of amazing options for any kind of guitar at any price range, enough that I could probably do a whole series of reviews if I wanted to. This post is about one specific brand and guitar- Carvin’s DC800 8-string.
I’ve always been wary of Carvins for some reason, even though I had only ever heard good things about them. But when they announced that they would be offering A) 8-string extended-scale instruments and B) black limba (a gorgeous relative of mahogany and my favorite wood ever, cosmetically speaking) as a wood option, my will finally broke. I had to try one out. So I specced out a guitar and put in my order. Black limba neck and body, bird’s eye maple fretboard, natural finish. It came to around $1200 all said and done. 8 weeks later, it arrived at my door.
I’m not given to hyperbole, and it’s been long enough that I’m out of the “honeymoon period” you often get with the a new instrument. And I feel confident saying that this is the best guitar I have ever owned for what I paid. It’s as good, if not better, than $3500 instruments I’ve tried, owned, and recorded with in the past. The build quality is literally immaculate- I can’t find a flaw on it, and I’m a HUGE stickler for that sort of thing. The wood is gorgeous, the fret work is flawless, and nothing on the guitar feels “cheap” or flimsy. Playability is incredible- I’ve never found another 8-string that can handle such low action without undue buzzing on the lowest strings. The neck isn’t as thin as, say, an Ibanez, but it’s very comfortable.
My only complaint is that Carvin’s stock active pickups sound awful. Way too bassy and way too much output, even for a metal player like me. Thankfully, they’re easy to swap out- I chose an EMG 57/66 8-string set, and they sound delightful. Along with the pickups, my total cost came to less than $1600, less than half of what the guitar would cost from any other builder.
And how does it sound? Here’s a song I wrote on it.
In closing, thank you Carvin for making such an amazing instrument. Although I wish you’d offer better pickups ;)
Black limba body and neck
Birdseye maple fretboard
jumbo stainless steel frets