1957 Carvin Catalog Cover


In 1957, Carvin offered a wide selection of guitars and steel guitars, as well as banjos and mandolins.  In addition to their own line of equipment, Carvin also sold Fender guitars, including Stratocasters and Telecasters, Fender steel guitars and amplifiers and Martin guitars.  They also sold a broad selection of parts and accessories, including everything needed to build a steel guitar, and guitar necks, pickups, electronics and hardware.

Click each picture for a larger version.

1957 Basses

1957 Guitar Amps

1957 Bass Amps

The 1957 model #3-SGB guitar got a new catalog photo to show off the slightly altered body and headstock shape.  The new shape notwithstanding, the features and construction was the same as the 1956 model, with hard-rock maple body and 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.  Pricing was the same as 1956, with the #3-SGB selling for $119.90, and the #4-SGB, with non-adjustable pickups, selling for $99.90.

1957 Carvin Model # 3-SGB Guitar
1957 Carvin Model # 1-SGB Guitar

The model #1-SGB guitar was radically changed from 1956.  It sported the same style and shape body as the #3-SGB, with the same neck and headstock (the '56 model had a 3X3 headstock, and a different body).   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 in a new configuration from 1956.  It used the same tuners 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.

1957 Carvin GuitarsAt 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 $59.90, 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 A1 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 #44.  This guitar had a spruce top with a 25.25" scale mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard and bridge, and a pair of pickups with volume and tone controls and a slide-selector switch.  This model sold for $59.90, plus $9.90 for the case.  Also offered, but not shown, was the #65 non-electric model ($39.90), the #12 Electric Tenor Guitar ($59.90), and the #17 Non-Electric Tenor Guitar ($39.90).

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.

1957 Carvin #1-MB Mandolin

The model #1-MB mandolin was changed significantly from 1956.  Like the #1-SGB, the body was redesigned, and the headstock adopted the shape that would remain until 1969.  The white pickguard of the 1956 model would be replaced with a black one (also like the #1-SGB), but the electronics (including the AP-4 pickup), control configuration and body materials were unchanged.  The #1-MB sold for $99.90, and the #2-MB, with non-adjustable A-1 pickup sold for $89.90.  The #1-MA case was $17.00.

1957 Carvin Model 607 & 807 Steel Guitars

The model 607 (far left) and model 807 (near left) lap steel guitars were unchanged from 1956, although the model 608 was dropped.  The model 607 sold for $79.90, and the model 807 sold for $99.90.

As in 1956, the #6DHG (near right) and the #8DHG (far right) steel guitars were Carvin's entry level models for 1957.  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 $69.90.

1957 Carvin #6DHG & #8DHG Steel Guitars
1957 Carvin #6606A & #8806A Steel Guitars 1957 Carvin #88806A Triple-neck Steel Guitar

The model #6606A (far left) and #8806A (center) doubleneck steel guitars were also upgraded for 1957.  Gone was the white lucite fingerboard, replaced with a black plastic one.  The AP series pickups, controls and construction were the same as 1956.  The model #88806A (near left) had the same changes.  The #6606A sold for $79.90 with A-1 non-adjustable pickups, or $94.90 with AP-6 adjustable pickups. The #8806A sold for $99.90 with A-2 pickups, or $119.90 with AP-8 pickups.  The #88806A sold for $149.90 with A-2 pickups, or $179.90 with AP-6 pickups.

1957 Carvin Steel Guitar Case

New for 1957 was the #P-881 pedal steel guitar.  This was a doubleneck 8-string model, with 3 pedals on one neck.  This instrument had an unusual layout - notice the pickups are near the tuners, and the fingerboard was reversed.  The controls were also located above the tuners, making this an easy-to-identify, yet unusual, steel guitar.  The #P-881, with adjustable AP-8 pickups, sold for $299.50.  With non-adjustable A-2 pickups (#P-882), it sold for $279.50.  An additional pedal could be added for $40.00.

1957 #P-881 Pedal Steel Guitar

1957 Carvin #P-881 Pedal Steel Guitar
1957 Carvin 504T Banjo

As in 1955 & 1956, 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 price.

As shown, Carvin offered other accessories, including the Electromonica harmonica mic, the Kontak Mike, which was a pickup for acoustic stringed instruments, and the 80X Crystal mic.

Carvin also offered a wide range of specialized acoustic transducer pickups in 1957.  There were models available for ukuleles, mandolins, acoustic guitars and other stringed acoustic instruments.

In addition to their own instruments, Carvin also was an authorized reseller of Fender and Martin guitars in the 1950's.  Carvin offered the Stratocaster (with & without tremolo), the Telecaster, Musicmaster and Esquire.  Carvin also sold Fender steel guitars (in 2, 3 and 4 neck configurations) and several amplifiers, including the Bassman and Fender Twin.

1975 Fender Stratocaster

1957 Carvin Acoustic Transducer Pickups
1957 Carvin AP-6 Pickup

Carvin made it's name early on with pickups designed and built by Lowell Kiesel for use as replacement pickups in other manufacturer's steel guitars.  The AP series of pickups were mainstays of the Carvin line, and would be seen on Carvin instruments all the way until 1977.  These Alnico V pickups were offered in 3 different models - the AP-4, which was used in basses and mandolins; the AP-6, which was used in guitars and steel guitars; and the AP-8, which was used in 8-string steel guitars.  Also available were the A-1 and A-2, which were non-adjustable pickups used on 6-string and 8-string instruments, respectively.

1957 Carvin Guitar Parts

Just as they do today, Carvin offered a wide variety of replacement parts in 1957.  Switches, bridges, tailpieces, tuners, necks and much more were offered, as well as all the components (except the body) necessary to build a steel guitar from scratch.

1957 Carvin Guitar Parts