Despite the electric
guitar being a relatively new innovation, Carvin offered a decent
selection of these newfangled instruments in 1956. The focus of
the catalog was still primarily on steel guitars, as would be the case
for the next decade and a half, but the "Spanish guitars"
would starting to make their presence known.
products, including the Stratocaster, Telecaster and Precision Bass,
were no longer offered.
also left Baldwin Park, and set up shop in Covina, which would be their
home for many years.
each picture for a larger version.
All-new for 1956 was the
model #3-SGB guitar (right). This solid-body guitar was
constructed from hard-rock maple, with a bolt-on maple neck. The
neck had a rosewood fingerboard with a bone nut and sealed
nickel-plated tuners. Electronics consisted of Carvin's AP-6
adjustable-pole pickups, with individual volume and tone controls, and
a standard 3-way selector switch. The #3-SGB sold for $119.90,
and was also available as the #4-SGB, with non-adjustable pickups,
which sold for $99.90.
Also new for 1956 was
the model #1-SGB guitar (left). It was similar in construction
to the #3-SGB, but with a single AP-6 pickup with dual tone controls
and a single volume control. It used the same tuners (although
in a 3X3 configuration) as the #3-SGB, and the same A-40 cast bridge
and A-3 molded tailpiece as the #3-SGB. The model #1-SGB sold
for $79.90, and was also offered as the model #2-SGB, with
non-adjustable pole-pieces, for $69.90.
the upper left is the Model 140 Spanish electric. It was a
single-pickup arch-top model, with a spruce top, and rosewood fingerboard and
bridge. It had white binding on the front and back, and a white
pickguard, and a single AP6 with volume and tone controls. The finish
was antique brown. It was also available as the Model 1744, which
was a non-electric version. The Model 140 sold for $49.90, and the Model
1744 sold for $36.90. The case for either was an additional $9.90.
The Model 6 (upper
right) was the big brother to the Model 140. Like the Model 140, it was
an arch-top design, with spruce top and curly maple back. It also had a
rosewood fingerboard and bridge, and had body binding as well as neck binding
and a bone nut. Electronics consisted of a pair of AP6 pickups, with
pickup selector switch and volume and tone controls. The price on the
Model 6 was $99.90, or $65.90 for the Model 90 non-electric version.
Case for either was $15.00.
On the lower right was the Model
1515. This guitar was made from "hardwood" (possibly
maple) with a 25.25" scale rosewood fingerboard and bridge, and a pair of
pickups with volume and tone controls and a slide-selector switch. The
finish was considered "copper-bronze". This model sold for
$59.90, plus $7.90 for the case.
On the lower left is the Model
6512 electric mandolin, which had a single pickup, with volume and tone
controls. This instrument sold for $59.90, and the Model 1735
non-electric mandolin sold for $35.00. Case for either was $7.00.
As in 1955, Carvin
offered a banjo, the Model 504T tenor banjo (far left), which
had a curly maple body with resonator and rosewood fingerboard with
inlaid position markers. It sold for $49.90, and was also
available in a non-tenor model, the Model 504, for the same
On the near left is the
Model 44 Spanish electric flattop. This was
essentially an acoustic guitar with a pickup and controls added.
The top was spruce, with mahogany neck, back and sides and body
binding. The fingerboard was rosewood, as was the bridge, which
had bone saddles. Price on the Model 44 was $59.90, or $36.90
for the Model 65 acoustic version. Also offered was the Model
12 tenor guitar and it's acoustic version, the Model 17.
Both tenor models sold for the same price as their standard
counterparts, and a case for any of these was $9.90.
Right in step with
Carvin's new 1956 solid-body guitars was the new #1-MB
mandolin. This innovative new instrument took it's design cues
and construction techniques from the SGB series of guitars, with a
solid maple body, and AP-4 adjustable pickup with dual tone controls
and master volume control. The model #1-MB sold for $89.90.
The Model 608
(left), Model 607 (near right) and Model 807 (far right)
steel guitars were unchanged from 1955. These had a maple neck
with walnut body, ivory tuners, AP-series pickups, single volume and
bass and treble controls. The Model 607 six-string sold for
$79.90, the Model 807 8-string sold for $99.90, and the Model 608 with
DeArmond tuning changer sold for $109.90.
Above are Carvin's main line of
steel guitars from 1956. From left to right: the Model 6606A
double six; the Model 8806A double eight; the Model 88806A
triple eight; and the Model 888806A quadruple eight. All these
were constructed from Eastern hard rock maple with lucite fingerboard, and all
had single volume and tone controls. The 6606A sold for $79.90, the
8806A sold for $99.90, the 88806A sold for $149.90, and the 888806A sold for
The #6DHG (far
left) and the #8DHG steel guitars were Carvin's entry level models for 1956. They were both
constructed from maple, with a lucite fingerboard, ivory tuners,
single AP pickup with volume and tone controls. The
#6DHG-1, with single non-adjustable A-1 pickup, sold for $39.90.
With an adjustable AP-6 pickup (#6DHG-2), it sold for $49.90.
The #8-DHG-1 with single non-adjustable A-2 pickup, sold for
$59.90. With an adjustable AP-8 pickup (#8DHG-2), it sold for
The Student Deluxe model
#3-SHG was changed in 1956, to a hardwood-bodied six-string
model with single non-adjustable AP-1 pickup and single volume and
tone controls. It sold for $29.75, or could be combined with the
#10A amp for $69.90.
This is the back cover
of the '56 catalog. A basic ordering form (note the 3%
California sales tax), as well as customer testimonials. Of
interest are the customer comments from Honolulu, T.H. (Territory of
Hawaii) - Carvin was doing business when there were only 48 states!