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Spent an hour at Carvin Factory Store Yesterday!


michael saulnier

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I live within a couple of miles of the Carvin factory in San Diego, and I often stop in to drool or just buy some strings, (nice electric strings for $3.00 a pack!)

 

I hadn't been in a while, so there were some new toys that I finally got to check out:

 

- Carved Top Guitar

- Frank Gambale Tone Navigator

 

First the guitar.

 

Well the first impression is terrific. I played a CT-4 model with a marvelous natural colored top and mahogany back and neck.

 

It's beautifully made, much like a PRS, great tops, feels and plays great. VERY fast Carvin neck, (always their best feature), super easy to play, light weight.

 

Acoustically sounded great when strummed.

 

I plugged it into a Legacy amp at first, and was initally unimpressed with the sound. Perhaps it was the Legacy, the fact I had it turned down real low in the sound room, perhaps I didn't know how to tweek the Legacy to get good tone...

 

It was a bit bright, and edgy... somewhat a Carvin signature sound... because of the pickups.

 

My impression would be that if I got one of these, I would swap the pickups.

 

Then I tried it in the Tone Navagator and 100 watt tube amp.

 

WHOA.

 

THE TONE NAVAGATOR MADE THE GUITAR SOUND GREAT!

 

I can't say enough good things about it.

 

The cleans were beautiful. Pure. Rich. Harmonicly full and warm. WOW! Patches that added chorus were full and sweet. NOT HARSH OR EDGY AT ALL!

 

The overdrive tones were ballsy and full. Even at low volumes it really sang in a way the Legacy couldn't at the settings I used.

 

Now, granted... the Tone Navagator was setup with pre-sets... and I just "winged it" on the Legacy with my tone settings. So it's not really a "fair" comparison.

 

But let me say one thing. I "may" eventually pick up one of the guitars... but I am DEFINATELY putting the Tone Navagator on my shopping list! No doubt... That thing ROCKS!

 

I don't normally like effects units that much. They often sound too artificial and "metallic" sounding... but not this one... it was organic and warm... LOVED IT!

 

As soon as I can get one of these I will!

 

And I'll write a "real" review!!! :thu:

 

guitplayer

I'm still "guitplayer"!

Check out my music if you like...

 

http://www.michaelsaulnier.com

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Which pickups were in the guitar? I used to have one of their M22-SD's in a plywood bodied cheapo guitar and it was probably the equal (at least in output) as the SD Invader I've got in my Del Rey. The M22-SD was brighter than the Invader, but then again we're comparing a plywood guitar to a mahogany/maple bodied guitar.

BlueStrat

a.k.a. "El Guapo" ;)

 

...Better fuzz through science...

 

http://geocities.com/teleman28056/index.html

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I'm sorry, I don't know which pickups were in this guitar. It was pre-made, on the wall at the factory store... Probably the "standard" pickups for that model I guess. Visually, they were zebra colored pickups... if that means anything.

 

As I said, my feelings about the tone were influenced a bit by the Legacy... because the guitar sounded GREAT with the same pickups using the Tone Navagator and the tube poweramp.

 

REALLY a striking difference...

 

Because of a 1/2 off on the "options" promotion they have going, the guitar I played would have been about $800 plus tax out the door.

 

That's a GREAT value for a guitar that well made, that played like that...

 

I've owned two Carvin's in the past an AE-185 and DC-135T... both were really nice, but I had to part with them in tough economic times...

 

I would say THIS guitar was the my favorite model they've made so far. It just played so fast and easily. Locking tuners gave stability. Really nice!

 

guitplayer

I'm still "guitplayer"!

Check out my music if you like...

 

http://www.michaelsaulnier.com

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Hey Guit. You think you can make Phil's on Sunday?

If you can get to Temecula you can ride with Wifey and me. Let me know. I'm sure I'll have room for a guitar or two if you want to bring one along.

 

You'll need to add the RSVP to the thread on the Project Studio Forum thread.

 

Our Joint

 

"When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it." The Duke...

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I think most of Carvin's guitars come standard with C22's. I've got one of those in a lap steel, but I have no idea how it would sound in a regular guitar. Carvin also sells an H22 (w/ Phillips head screws for pole pieces instead of the non-adjustable slugs in the upper coil of the C22). The M22 is a hotter version of the C22, and has 22 Allen wrench adjustable pole pieces.

 

Carvin has the TBH-60 also, which is a twin rail single coil sized humbucker (like the SD Hot Rails).

BlueStrat

a.k.a. "El Guapo" ;)

 

...Better fuzz through science...

 

http://geocities.com/teleman28056/index.html

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Originally posted by guitplayer:

I live within a couple of miles of the Carvin factory in San Diego, and I often stop in to drool or just buy some strings...

Well...how's about you pop in there again and check out their small, boutique tube amp...? :D

 

Ahhh...I forget the model...but it's the low wattage one...5W/16W...and it has the tweed cabinet with one 12".

 

They are selling it for $399 w/Free Shipping...according to their catalog.

 

I want to get a low-wattage tube amp...and the Carvin is one I'm thinking about...but I can't find anyone that's actually tried one out.

 

Would be great if you could provide a hands-on review. :thu:

 

If you do get a chance...it might be best if you bring one of your guitars that you are very familiar with...that way...you will really know what's coming from the amp.

 

Anyway...thanks in advance!!! :cool:

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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Miroslav,

It's been a long time but I've tried one of those little beasts at the Carvin San Diego store.

Now, I'm not an electric player but I thought it was one hell of a versatile little amp. It's been so long I can't remember which of their guitars I plugged into that amp, or the settings, but it impressed me enough to put it on my want list.

 

Our Joint

 

"When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it." The Duke...

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Ahhh...I forget the model...but it's the low wattage one...5W/16W...and it has the tweed cabinet with one 12".

 

They are selling it for $399 w/Free Shipping...according to their catalog.

 

I want to get a low-wattage tube amp...and the Carvin is one I'm thinking about...but I can't find anyone that's actually tried one out.

 

Would be great if you could provide a hands-on review.

Yeah, I tried that in the Santa Ana store. I wasn't too impressed. I'm sure I didn't give it enough time, but based on my little time with it, I moved on. I was in that market and ended up with the Crate v1512. Swapped the tubes per Myles' recommendations.

 

You can't beat free shipping...

Mikegug

 

www.facebook.com/theresistancemusic

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I wasn't too impressed by the Legacy either (or the BelAir). I found them both to be harsh sounding. The MTS 3212 is an awesome amp though.

 

I've been drooling over the CT4. I want one with a Wilkinson trem - then I'll have the "PRS Special" I could never have back in the 80s.

"You never can vouch for your own consciousness." - Norman Mailer
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Good post guit!

I had the legacy half stack,sold it with in 6 months.Great price,and you could change the tubes

on the fly,but like you said thin and harsh,

and for 100 watts it wasn't that loud. :confused:

Now that processor you talking about sounds

cool,was there a foot controller?how much?

The story of life is quicker then the blink of an eye, the story of love is hello, goodbye.
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I thought the same about the Legacy half stack I tried. It was loud enough for little old me, but the MTS 2x10 ROCKED! If it was only lighter. I'm a wuss when it comes to weight. Funny thing is, I enjoy weight lifting...

Mikegug

 

www.facebook.com/theresistancemusic

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Originally posted by daklander:

Hey Guit. You think you can make Phil's on Sunday?

If you can get to Temecula you can ride with Wifey and me. Let me know. I'm sure I'll have room for a guitar or two if you want to bring one along.

 

You'll need to add the RSVP to the thread on the Project Studio Forum thread.

Dak...

 

Thanks for the carpool offer... I probably won't be able to make it... and if I can, I'll only know at the last minute... so I better stay "un-comitted" for now.

 

If I can't make it... hope you have a great time!

 

guitplayer

I'm still "guitplayer"!

Check out my music if you like...

 

http://www.michaelsaulnier.com

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Originally posted by miroslav:

Originally posted by guitplayer:

I live within a couple of miles of the Carvin factory in San Diego, and I often stop in to drool or just buy some strings...

Well...how's about you pop in there again and check out their small, boutique tube amp...? :D

 

Ahhh...I forget the model...but it's the low wattage one...5W/16W...and it has the tweed cabinet with one 12".

 

They are selling it for $399 w/Free Shipping...according to their catalog.

 

I want to get a low-wattage tube amp...and the Carvin is one I'm thinking about...but I can't find anyone that's actually tried one out.

 

Would be great if you could provide a hands-on review. :thu:

 

If you do get a chance...it might be best if you bring one of your guitars that you are very familiar with...that way...you will really know what's coming from the amp.

 

Anyway...thanks in advance!!! :cool:

miroslav,

 

Thanks for your message. I will take the time to check out that amp and post a bit of a review when I can. I did play with it a bit months back when it first came out... and don't remember being blown away by it... but it didn't suck either... not much of a review, but that's all I have so far! :rolleyes:

 

guitplayer

I'm still "guitplayer"!

Check out my music if you like...

 

http://www.michaelsaulnier.com

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Originally posted by DARKLAVA:

Good post guit!

I had the legacy half stack,sold it with in 6 months.Great price,and you could change the tubes

on the fly,but like you said thin and harsh,

and for 100 watts it wasn't that loud. :confused:

Now that processor you talking about sounds

cool,was there a foot controller?how much?

The Tone Navagator is $599 and doesn't come with a MIDI controller. In the store setup, they had a "MIDI-man" midi controller there... just for changing patches. I didn't see any variable controller pedals, although I bet you can use one to control parameters... They don't actually sell midi controllers, so I didn't see any pricing. You can get an optional foot switch that I believe let's you move up or down the patches one at a time.

 

The price is just high enough that I'm going to pause before I jump in... but there's probably one in my future sometime!

 

guitplayer

I'm still "guitplayer"!

Check out my music if you like...

 

http://www.michaelsaulnier.com

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Originally posted by guitplayer:

Then I tried it in the Tone Navagator and 100 watt tube amp.

Hey guitplayer,

 

What speaker cabinet was the 100W tube amp connected too?

 

I've been wondering about the Tone Nav and 100W tube amp combination since I saw them highlighted in my most recent Carvin catalog. Sounds like a perfect combination of programmable tone control and tube power!

 

I am green with envy of anyone who lives within reasonable distance of the Carvin factory store. :P How nice to be able to play the stuff without having to rely on the return policy if you're not happy with the gear!

 

BTW - I have been using the Carvin H22 bridge pickup in my Kramer for a few years. The sound is very smooth with a nice bite when pushed.

 

Later!

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The Tone Navigator and 100 Watt Tube power amp was connected to a pair of 2x12 Legacy extension cabs. They have Vintage 30's in them...

 

I've got one, and I like it...

 

The two worked great for the true stereo chorus and other "space" effects.

 

It's fun to be close to them, but it's also pretty easy to "impulse" your way into a purchase that wasn't originally intended.

 

guitplayer

I'm still "guitplayer"!

Check out my music if you like...

 

http://www.michaelsaulnier.com

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