1987 was a busy year for Carvin, but despite all the changes, it was really just a dress rehearsal for 1988.  One model, the DC100, was retired, and two new models were introduced.  All guitars, except the DN series, got new photography to show off the various new options and features.  There were new pickups, including stacked humbuckers and single coils, and all Carvin instruments benefited from a new graphite nut, which replaced the brass nuts that had been used for many years. Carvin also began using their own line of tuners, replacing the Schaller tuners that had been used since the 70's. Lastly, the Kahler locking nut mechanism was replaced with one that didn't need an allen wrench to loosen.

  Click each picture for a larger version.

1987 Carvin Catalog Cover
1987 Carvin Catalog Back Cover

The back cover of the '87 catalog featured one of the new models, the Ultra V.  As in 1986, the catalog was printed on high-quality paper, which showed off the new colors vividly, and the cover itself was heavy card stock.

1987 Carvin Guitar Features

1987 Basses

1987 Guitar Amps

1987 Bass Amps

1987 Pro Audio

The Ultra V was a totally unique instrument.  It took some design cues from the V220, as well as the Gibson Flying V and Jackson RR models, but had a unique and classy shape that still looks fresh today.

The body and neck was constructed from eastern hardrock maple, as were all Carvins of the era, and the ebony fingerboard way inlaid with standard mother-of-pearl block inlays.  Electronics consisted of an M22 in the neck position, and an M22SD in the bridge position, with single volume and tone controls and 3-way pickup selector.  The Kahler Pro tremolo was standard.  Base price of the Ultra V was $569.  Koa wood was available for $40.  Pearl finishes were available for $20.  Black chrome hardware was $20, and gold hardware was $40.  Dual-to-single coil and phase switching could be added for $30.  It was even available as a lefty for an additional $30.  The HC19 hardshell case was $79.

1987 Carvin Ultra V Guitar
1987 Carvin DC135 & DC125 Guitars

Also new for 1987 was the DC135, shown at left in Pearl White.  This guitar was based on the DC200 body style, but had a single M22SD in the bridge position, and two new H11 stacked humbuckers.  The electronics package was rounded out by a single volume and tone control, and 3 mini on/off switches for each pickup.  The FTB6 bridge was standard, as was MOP dot inlays and chrome hardware.  The base price was $429.

Shown with the DC135 was the DC125, which was in it's 2nd year of production.  This was the first model to show off the new pearl finishes; in this case, Platinum Pearl Pink (which was called Hot Pearl Pink in 1986).  It was unchanged from 1986, with a base price of $329.

The same options were available for either of these models.  The pearl finishes were an additional $20.  Black chrome hardware was $20, and gold hardware was $40.  The Kahler Flyer tremolo was $70, and the Kahler Pro tremolo was $120.  The HC11 hardshell case was $60.

1987 Carvin DC150 Guitar

With the departure of the DC100, only the DC150 (left) and upscale DC160 (right) remained in this style.  The DC160 also was relegated to a single page, versus the two page spread that had been used since 1982.  Features and options were the same as previous years, but the new pearl finishes were not offered on these models.  The DC150, with maple or ebony fingerboard, had a base price of $429.  The DC160 had a base price of $679.  Other options, such as black or gold hardware, and Kahler Pro tremolo, were the same price as other models.

1987 Carvin DC160 Guitar
1987 Carvin DC200 Koa Guitar

The DC200 Koa (left) was unchanged, and retained the same $469 price with dot inlays and FTB6 tailpiece, $519 price with abalone block inlays and FTB6 tailpiece, $589 price with dot inlays and Kahler Pro tremolo, or $639 price with block inlays and Kahler Pro tremolo.  The only options were gold hardware or black hardware.

The DC200 was also unchanged for 1986, but did get a new catalog photo showing the Candy Apple Red and Deep Pearl Blue finishes.  The base price with standard FTB6 tailpiece was $479, and the Kahler Pro-equipped model was $599.

It was also available as the DC120 12-string guitar, which had a base price of $499.

1987 Carvin DC200 Guitar

1987 Carvin V220 Guitar

The V220 was unchanged for 1987, and used the same catalog photo.  Base price on the V220 remained $399.  The price with the Kahler Pro tremolo dropped to $519, and the price with the Kahler Flyer was $469.  Koa wood was an additional $40, and curly maple was an additional $125.  Black hardware was $20, and gold hardware was $50. The new pearl finishes were $20. The HC19 hardshell case was $79.

1987 Carvin SH225 Guitar

The SH225 (left) got a new catalog photo for 1987, but was otherwise unchanged.  

The SH225 increased in price to $649 for the basic model, in black, white or clear.  The SH225S, with stereo wiring and coil and phase switches, dropped to $699.  The Kahler Pro tremolo was an additional $120, gold hardware was an additional $40, and black hardware with black pickups was an additional $20.  The HC18 form-fitted hardshell case was $79.

The DN612 and DN640 (right) were unchanged for 1987, but the base prices increased to $839 for either model.  The catalog photo was the same as had been used since 1982.

1987 Carvin DN612 & DN640 Doublenecks

The 1987 catalog didn't have as much space dedicated to endorsers as in previous years, but there were still plenty of artists who played and endorsed Carvin gear, including Vicki Peterson of the Bangles (left) and Steve Vai (right).