Guitars

Late in 2003, Carvin made a bold and welcome marketing change - the return of the full-sized, 8 X 11 catalog.  The small-format catalog was 10 years old, and had started to appear dated, despite the new photography in the Summer 2003 edition.  The photography of the new catalog was similar to the last small-format one, but the new larger format allowed more instruments to be shown on each page, in a unique and visually appealing "one large, three small" layout.

2004 Basses

2004 Guitar Amps

2004 Bass Amps

In addition to the new catalog, there were many things for guitarists to be excited about in 2004, including a new series of guitars, a new bridge/tailpiece configuration, a new pickup, rosewood fingerboards, a reverse-body option, and new finishes.

Click each picture for a larger version.

Summer 2004 Carvin Catalog Cover

Carvin guitars had several new features at the end of 2003.  A new pickup, the C22B, was introduced.  This medium-high output pickup had additional windings and a " Alnico V magnet, which provided improved definition and sustain with warm harmonics.  Standard on several models was the new M-Series tune-o-matic bridge.  The bridge itself was mounted at a slight angle, and was recessed into the body.  With this bridge, there was no tailpiece; the strings simply fed through the body and across the bridge.  Also, rosewood was offered as a fingerboard wood option (at no charge) in addition to standard ebony, and maple.

The most exciting news to come out of San Diego in 2004, and actually, one of the most exciting new products in Carvin's history, was the California Carved Top model, or CT6M.  This guitar was the result of many customer requests for a carved-top model, and sported a whole list of new features.  The CT6 featured a mahogany body with mahogany set-neck, carved flamed maple top, and 25" scale, 22-fret ebony fingerboard.  Cosmetically, a new headstock design was created, as well as new finishes (deep blue, deep green, deep red, deep purple, deep sunsetburst and deep tiger-eye triple-step stains).  The new M-style bridge was standard, as were custom wound C22N and C22B pickups with single volume and single push-pull tone/coil splitter.  It was also offered as the CT6C (with Floyd Rose tremolo) and CT6T (Wilkinson tremolo).  Base price on the CT6M was $1219.00.

In addition to the new CT6, there were two models based on the it that were offered.  The first was the CT3, which had a 2-piece carved mahogany body with mahogany neck, but no flamed or quilted top.  It was available in clear and standard solid colors, and translucent colors were optional. It was offered in the M, C & T variants, like the CT6. Base price on the CT3 was $869.00.  The CT4 featured a non-flamed maple carved top, with all the other specifications of the CT3.  Base price on the CT4 was $919.00.

The catalog photo and prices are from the Spring 2004 catalog.

In May 2004, Carvin made an unprecedented move, and announced on their BBS that  a 1990/91 model DC200 reissue, complete with pointy, angled headstock and large Carvin logo, would be made available in a limited run for anyone who placed an order for it by the end of June '04.  During the next few weeks, at the request of the BBS members, the project evolved to the point that any guitar (except Holdsworths, Cobalts and the CL450 classical) could be ordered with the 1990 headstock for a $100 upcharge. Even Carvin's kit guitar could be ordered with this option.  Soon after, the "Pointy" became one of Carvin's many "hidden" options and the June 30th deadline was eliminated. The official option code: PTH.


2004 DC145T


2005 SC90 (reverse)
owned by Dan St. Peters


1991 LS175

The summer 2004 catalog more prominently featured the new CT6 (below), as well as the CT3 and CT4.  There were also some slight price increases over the initial offering.  The CT6M increased to $1249.00, while the CT6T, with Wilkinson tremolo, was $1269.00, and the CT6C, with Floyd Rose tremolo, was $1329.00.  The CT3 & CT4, and their tremolo-equipped variants, remained priced the same.

Carvin CT6 California Carved Top

The catalog showed a CT6M in Deep Green on flamed maple, and a CT6M in Deep Sunsetburst on quilted maple.  Also shown was a CT3M in natural mahogany, a CT3 in translucent red on maple, and a CT3 in clear gloss on maple.

The winter catalog had a new center spread featuring some different variations CT series.  Most notably, the Gold Top (bottom center), which was introduced several months after the CT6 debuted.  Also shown were a CT6C (left) in Deep Antique Brown on quilted maple with Birdseye maple fingerboard, black hardware and Floyd Rose tremolo, a CT3M (bottom left) in sunsetburst, and a CT4M in cherryburst.

The winter catalog also showed the below CT6T, which was one of two made for Joe Walsh to use on the new Eagles tour.  This model has a clear finish on quilted maple with chrome hardware and a Wilkinson tremolo.

To accommodate the additional catalog space required for the 2-page spread, the Contour 66 and Bolt would be combined on a single page.  The SC90 and TL60 would also be combined on a single page, and the DC150 would not be shown at all.  Additionally, the DC200 and DC400 would be combined on a single page, and the DC120, like the DC150, would not be shown.

2003 Carvin Bolt & Bolt-T GuitarsCarvin's Bolt guitar was unchanged from the previous catalog.  The price on the Bolt dropped to $569 for the hardtail version and $609 for the Bolt-T with Wilkinson tremolo (from $589 and $629).

In the photo on the left, from left to right, the catalog showed a Bolt-T in black stain on quilted maple with matching headstock, pearloid pickguard, birdseye maple fingerboard and black hardware; a Bolt-T was shown in Seafoam Green with Sperzel locking tuners and maple fingerboard; a Bolt in Greenburst with black pearloid pickguard and C22B bridge humbucker; and a Bolt-T in koa with birdseye maple fingerboard, white pearloid fingerboard, C22B bridge humbucker, dome knobs and chrome hardware.   The inset photo on the top right showed the same Seafoam Green model, as well as a Bolt-T in Ruby Red stain on quilt with white pearloid pickguard & twinblade humbuckers (far left), a Bolt in sapphire blue on swamp ash with white pearloid pickguard and C22B bridge humbucker (center), and a left-handed Emerald Green on swamp ash Bolt-T with black pearloid pickguard, matching headstock, C22B bridge humbucker and gold hardware (far right).

The picture and prices on the left are from the Winter/Spring 2004 catalog.  The inset photo is from the Fall/Winter 2003 catalog.

The Contour 66 also dropped in price, to $799 for the hardtail version, $839 for the Wilkinson-equipped version, and $899 for the Floyd Rose-equipped model.

From left to right, the catalog showed a C66 in Tobacco Sunburst on flamed maple with abalone dot inlays and cream pickups; a C66T in Emerald Green on quilted maple, abalone dot inlays, cream pickups and gold hardware; and a C66 in Cherry Sunburst on quilted maple with abalone block inlays, Fishman acoustic bridge, active electronics, cream pickups and gold hardware.

The picture and prices are from the Fall/Winter 2003 catalog.

The DC127 and DC135 both had the new M-Series bridge as an option, signified as the DC127M and DC135M.  The FT6 was still the standard bridge on both models.  Base price on both models remained $669, with the M-Series models priced at $689, the Wilkinson-equipped models priced at $709, and the Floyd Rose-equipped models priced at $769.

From left to right, the catalog showed a DC127M in Umber Stain with Cherry Burst edges on flamed maple with matching headstock, Bird's Eye Maple fingerboard, abalone dot inlays, rounded body side, cream pickups and gold hardware; a DC127C in Classic White with rounded body sides and matching headstock, Bird's Eye Maple fingerboard with abalone dot inlays, cream pickups with black bezels and gold hardware; a DC135M with bookmatched koa top and matching headstock, abalone dot inlays and gold hardware; and a DC135T in Umber Stain/Sunsetburst on quilted maple with matching headstock and rounded body sides, 5-way pickup selector, Twin Blade humbuckers and cream & black C22B bridge humbucker and gold hardware.

The picture and prices are from the Fall/Winter 2003 catalog.

The DC727 and DC747 were unchanged, and their base prices remained the same, at $699 and $729, respectively.

From left to right, the catalog showed a DC727C in Ruby Red Stain on quilted maple with matching headstock, abalone block inlays, phase switch and gold hardware; a DC727 in clear gloss on quilted maple with matching headstock, abalone block inlays, active electronics and gold hardware; a DC747 in Pearl Silver with black chrome hardware; and a DC747 in Sapphire Blue on quilted maple with matching headstock and coil splitters.

The picture and prices are from the Fall/Winter 2003 catalog.

2004 Carvin TL60 Guitar

The TL60 and Wilkinson-equipped TL60T were unchanged, and their prices were the same, at $659 and $699.

From left to right, the catalog showed a TL60T in clear gloss on flamed maple with matching headstock, abalone block inlays and active electronics; a TL60 in classic white with matching headstock, birdseye maple fingerboard with no inlays, Fishman acoustic bridge with active electronics and chrome hardware; a TL60T in Ruby Red Stain with black burst edges on flamed maple, Bird's Eye Maple fingerboard DC135-style pickups and controls and black chrome hardware; and a TL60T in Sapphire Blue o quilted maple with matching traditional headstock, abalone block inlays, Fishman acoustic bridge with active electronics and chrome hardware.

The picture and prices are from the Winter/Spring 2004 catalog.

The SC90 was unchanged for the Fall/Winter catalog, and the base prices remained the same, at $669 for the hardtail version, $709 for the Wilkinson-equipped version, and $769 for the Floyd Rose-equipped version.

The DC150 was also unchanged, and remained priced at $769.

From left to right, the catalog showed an SC90S with mahogany neck and body, rounded body edges, MOP block inlays, cream/black pickups and gold hardware; an SC90S in Umber Stain/Sunsetburst on flamed maple with matching headstock, cream pickups and gold hardware; an SC90S in Vintage Yellow on quilted maple with matching V headstock, Bird's Eye Maple fingerboard, cream/black pickups and 2 coil-splitters with phase switch and chrome hardware; and a DC150 in Cherry Sunburst on quilted maple, cream pickups, coil splitters and gold hardware.

The picture and prices are from the Fall/Winter 2003 catalog.

The DC200 also had an "M" variant, but otherwise, it and the 12-string DC120 were unchanged.  The DC200 retained it's base price of $769, while the DC200M was priced at $789, the DC200T, with Wilkinson tremolo, was priced at $809, and the DC200C, with Floyd Rose tremolo, was priced at $869.  The DC120 was priced the same as the previous catalog, at $839.

From left to right, the catalog showed a DC200M with maple neck and koa body sides with flamed koa top and matching headstock and gold hardware; a DC200 in Vintage Yellow on swamp ash with Fishman acoustic bridge and gold hardware; a DC200T with koa body sides, a 5-piece koa/maple neck, and cream/black pickups; and a DC120 in Blueburst with chrome hardware.

The picture and prices are from the Fall/Winter 2003 catalog.

Like the DC200, the option-laden DC400 was unchanged, and the price remained the same, starting at $949.  The Anniversary model DC400A and the Claro Walnut DC400W had the same base price as Summer 2003 at $1149.

The catalog showed, from left to right, a DC400 in Umber Stain on quilted maple with Black Burst edges and Fishman acoustic bridge; a DC400C in Umber Stain on quilted maple with black hardware; an Anniversary model DC400TA in clear gloss on flamed maple with gold hardware; and a Claro Walnut DC400W in clear gloss with gold hardware.

The picture and prices are from the Fall/Winter 2003 catalog.

The Holdsworth H2 and Holdsworth Fatboy HF2 were unchanged, and the catalog showed two of the same guitars from the previous issue.  Base prices remained the same, at $879 for the H2, and $979 for the HF2.

From left to right, the catalog showed the HF2 was shown in Blueburst on quilted maple with matching headstock and black hardware; an H2 in Antique Brown Stain on quilted maple with matching headstock, no inlays, and black hardware; and an H2T in Umber Stain/Sunsetburst on quilted maple with matching headstock, abalone dot inlays and black chrome hardware.

The picture and prices are from the Fall/Winter 2003 catalog.

The AE185 and 12-string AE185-12 were unchanged from the previous catalog.  Prices remained the same, at $869 for the AE185, and $949 for the AE185-12.

From left to right, the catalog showed an AE185 in Sunsetburst on flamed maple with matching headstock, body binding, coil taps and phase switch, cream pickups and chrome hardware; an AE185 with figured walnut top and matching headstock, body binding, coil taps and phase switch and gold hardware; an AE185 in Umber Stain/Sunsetburst on flamed maple with matching headstock, body binding, coil taps and phase switch and gold hardware; and an AE185-12 in Blueburst with matching spruce headstock, MOP block inlays, Holdsworth pickups, coil taps and phase switch, body binding and chrome hardware.

The picture and prices are from the Fall/Winter 2003 catalog.

All the AC Series, the AC175, AC275, AC275-12 and CC275 were unchanged.  Prices were also the same, at $769 for the AC175, $819 for the AC275, $889 for the AC275-12, and $979 for the CC275.

From left to right, the catalog showed a CC275 in standard clear gloss on flamed maple top, eagle inlays, body binding and gold hardware; an AC275 in Umber Stain/Sunsetburst on flamed maple with matching headstock and black hardware; an AC275-12 in Tobacco Sunburst on quilted maple with matching headstock, body binding, abalone dot inlays and black hardware; and an AC175 with bookmatched flamed koa top and matching headstock, body binding and black hardware.

The picture and prices are from the Fall/Winter 2003 catalog.

2004 Carvin CL450 & AC375 Guitars

The CL450 and AC375 were unchanged, and their prices remained the same, at $949 and $899, respectively.

The catalog showed, from left to right, a CL450 with standard cedar top with body binding; a CL450 in clear gloss with Black Burst edges on flamed maple with body binding; and an AC375 in Sunsetburst on flamed koa with matching headstock, body binding and gold hardware.

The picture and prices are from the Winter/Spring 2004 catalog.

The Cobalt acoustics and acoustic/electrics were unchanged from Summer 2003, and the same catalog layout was used from the previous issue (although it was enlarged to fit the new format).  The prices on all models remained the same, at $539 for the C550, $659 for the C650 (far left), $399 for the C250 (upper far left), $419 for the C250S (upper center), and $439 for the C350 (upper near left).

The picture and prices are from the Fall/Winter 2003 catalog.

The C750 (upper far left) was priced at $589, the C850 (lower far left) was $669, the C780 (upper left center) was $599, the C980 (large picture) was $799, and the C980-12 was $869.

The picture and prices are from the Fall/Winter 2003 catalog.

At Winter NAMM 2004 in Anaheim, Carvin showed off several one-off guitars with custom paint, custom options, and so on: 

This Contour 66 has an interesting aqua/blueburst on quilt finish, Floyd Rose tremolo, and a rosewood fingerboard.

The flamed koa DC127 looks like a lefty, but it's actually a right-handed model, made with a left-handed body.  The reverse body would be added as an available option on the DC127.

This DC200 with Fishman bridge has a very stylish marbelized finish, created entirely by hand.

Electric Green was offered by Carvin in 1992, and this DC127 in Metallic Green looks very similar.  This model also has the new M series bridge.

This DC200 is finished in Pearl Orange, with chrome hardware.

This DC727 has a one-of-a-kind paint job, giving the illusion that the green paint is being ripped off to reveal the marble underneath.