There are several
banner years in Carvin's 50-year history, and 1976 is one of
them. So many things happened, it's hard to summarize them
all. First, in the marketing department, the 62-page 1976
catalog was printed entirely in color, the first time Carvin had done
this. This was also the first year that a wide selection of PA
systems was offered (which may be part of the reason that the
address label on the catalog referred to the company as
"Carvin Music & Sound Co."). The catalog also
represented the basic form that would continue for years to come, with
an entire page devoted to each model, versus many models on each
the Guitar Department, Carvin offered something for everyone, and
every playing style. There were solid-bodies, hollow-bodies,
doublenecks, Strat-styles, Gibson-styles and more. Of special
note, this was the year that the DC150 debuted - a model which is
still in production today. Although all Carvin guitars and
basses still featured Hofner bolt-on necks, the look of the modern
Carvin guitar was taking shape, with a new traditional headstock
design on the DC150 that would continue to be used until the present
are shown in the order they appeared in the catalog. Click each
one to see the entire catalog page.
The new DC150 was
Carvin's flagship model for 1976, and was destined to become a
mainstay of the Carvin line. For the first time, extensive
details regarding construction and components of Carvin guitars was
presented in the catalog, and the DC150 had plenty to be written
about: Schaller M6 tuners, Eastern hardrock maple body and 24½"
scale neck (clear gloss was the only available finish), chrome-plated
brass tailpiece, adjustable truss rod, and MOP inlays.
Electronics consisted of a pair of APH-6 humbuckers with dual volume
and tone controls, coil splitters with an "off" position for
each pickup, and a master phase switch, and stereo wiring. This
was the first Carvin to have the new headstock shape, although the
older "wide at the top" headstock with inlays was available
with the optional 25¼" scale rosewood fingerboard/neck.
The DC150 with #900
neck (shown) sold for $319.00. The left-handed DC150L with #900
neck was $329.00, and the DC150R with rosewood #850 neck was
$319.00. The HC10 hardshell case was an additional $41.00.
The CM95 had been a
featured player in Carvin's guitar lineup since the early 70's, but in
1976, it was replaced with the new CM96. This single-cut
model had all the same features of the DC150, with the 25¼"
scale, rosewood-fingerboarded model #850 neck standard.
Electronics consisted of a pair of APH-6 humbucking pickups with
on-off mini switch for each, and master phase switch with mono
wiring. Stereo wiring with coil-splitters was optional for an
additional $50.00. A Bigsby vibrato was also offered for an
additional $50.00. The CM96 with #850 rosewood fingerboard was
$269.00, or $279.00 for a left-handed model. The CM96M, with
#900 maple fingerboard was $279.00. The HC11 hardshell case was
Carvin offered a pair of
Strat-style guitars in 1976, the SS76 (left) and the SS66
(right). Both these models used the 25½" scale model #500 removable
maple neck with rosewood fingerboard and Schaller ST6 tuners.
Both guitars also had a pair of APH-6 humbuckers with dual volume and
tone controls, phase switch and 3-way pickup selector switch.
The obvious difference between the two was the SS76 was
natural-finished maple, while the SS66 was sunburst finish on
non-specified wood. Neither were available in left-handed
models, but a Bigsby vibrato was offered on either for an additional
$50.00. The SS76 sold for $219.00, and the SS66 sold for
$239.00. The HC12 case was an additional $41.00.
Carvin's archtop guitars
for 1976 were offered in two configurations also: the AS55
(left) and the AS51 (right). Both had a German spruce
top, flamed maple back and sides and body binding. The AS55 was
natural finish with the #850 neck standard, and the AS51 was sunburst
with the #900 neck standard, although either neck could be ordered
with either guitar. A Bigsby vibrato could also be ordered on either
model. The AS55 sold for $309.00 with standard tailpiece and
rosewood fingerboard, and the AS51 sold for $299.00 with standard
tailpiece and maple fingerboard. The HC14 case sold for $51.00.
A rosewood 12-string
neck could also be ordered - see the picture below.
The doubleneck tradition
that began in the fifties continued with the DT640 (left) and DB620
(right). Both were constructed from Eastern hardrock maple, with
maple necks and rosewood fingerboards. Maple fingerboards were
not offered. Both also had AP-series humbuckers with on-off
switches, master phase switch for each neck, master volume and tone
controls for each neck, neck selector switch, and dual outputs.
A Bigsby vibrato could be added to the 6-string neck on either
model. The DT640 sold for $479.00, and the DB620 sold for
$449.00. The HC18 hardshell case was $51.00.
As Carvin's guitar and
bass lines expanded, the steel guitar lines began to fade, and this
was one of the last catalogs that would showcase these instruments
that had been anchors of Carvin's since the Kiesel days. Four
models were offered; the PRO-S6 6-string ($89.00) the PRO-S8
8-string (far left; $99.00), the PRO-D6 doubleneck 6-string
(near left; $159.00) and the PRO-D8 doubleneck 8-string
advantage of the newly-redesigned catalog to show off as many features as
possible in full color. As would become standard in future Carvin
catalogs, several pages were dedicated to explaining in detail the
construction techniques, components, warranty and direct pricing philosophy.
As had been the case for
many years, you could order just about every component that comprised
a Carvin guitar or bass, except the bodies. But even that would
change in the near future...