1988 Carvin FactoryGuitars

So many things happened with Carvin in 1988 that it's tough to summarize them all.  First, and most  obvious, Carvin adopted a new logo, ending the "curved C" logo that had been in use since the early 70's.  Also, the catalog got it's first major renovation in 10 years.  Everything about the catalog was different - new photographs, new layout, more technical specs and much more.

Click each picture for a larger version.

1988 Carvin Catalog Cover
1988 Carvin Guitar Features

1988 Basses

1988 Guitar Amps

1988 Bass Amps

Carvin's guitars and basses went through their most dramatic changes since the set-neck design was introduced in 1979.  The most significant change was the implementation of neck-thru design, where the neck wood ran the entire length of the guitar, with body "wings" glued on the side.  A new 6-inline headstock was added, but the traditional 3X3 and V headstocks were still available as options on all single-neck models, as was a reverse inline headstock.  New pearl finishes were added, including Pearl Purple, Pearl Yellow, Light Pearl Blue and Pearl Green.  Translucent blue, yellow, red, and green were added to a flamed maple top.  Original Floyd Rose tremolos were added in addition to the Kahler models (only the Kahler Pro was offered now; the Flyer had been discontinued).  Metal knobs were also standard on all models except the DC150.  Lastly, the SH225 began to make it's exit - it wasn't shown in the catalog, but was still available. 

1988 Carvin Guitar PartsCarvin guitars got a new standard fixed bridge in 1988 - the LP6.  Only the 12-string models continued to use the N12 tailpiece and TB12 bridge that had been used since 1983.  This bridge would only be standard in 1988, and would be replaced by the 2-piece Gibson-style tune-o-matic bridge with stopbar tailpiece.  Like other hardware, it was available in chrome (standard), gold or black chrome.  The FTB6 was still offered in the parts department, and presumably was still standard on the SH225.

1988 Carvin Guitar & Bass Finishes

1988 Carvin DC125 Guitar

The DC125 was a single pickup guitar, with an M22SD pickup, single volume control and coil splitter.  Like all Carvin's, it was constructed of rock maple, with ebony fingerboard (clear maple fingerboard was optional).  Chrome hardware was standard, as was MOP dot inlays.  Floyd Rose or Kahler tremolos were optional.  Base price on the DC125 was $399, plus $60 for the HC11 hardshell case.  

The catalog photo showed a DC125 in Light Pearl Blue, with Floyd Rose trem and black hardware.

1988 Carvin DC135 Guitar

The DC135 was the same design as it's predecessor, with a single M22SD pickup and a pair of H11 stacked humbuckers.  It had a single volume and tone control, and 3 on/off mini switches (for each pickup).  Chrome hardware was standard, as was MOP dot inlays.  Floyd Rose or Kahler tremolos were optional.  Base price on the DC135 was $499, plus $60 for the HC11 hardshell case. 

The catalog photo showed a DC135 in Black, with Kahler Pro trem and gold hardware.

1988 Carvin Ultra V Guitar

The Ultra V got some additional cosmetic changes, in addition to the new neck-thru design.  The body edges were scalloped, versus the more angular edges of the '87 model, which gave an even sleeker, more aggressive look.  It had all the features and options of other Carvin guitars, with the exception of left-handed models, maple fingerboard, and 3X3 headstock.  Electronics consisted of an M22 in the neck position, and an M22SD in the bridge position, with single volume and tone controls.  Base price on the Ultra V was $439, and the HC19 hardshell case was $79.

The catalog photo showed an Ultra V in black, with Floyd Rose tremolo and black hardware.

1988 Carvin V220 Guitar

The V220 enjoyed all the new features and options offered in 1988, and continued to be very popular.  Construction materials and techniques were the same as other Carvin models, including neck-thru design, rock maple body and neck, ebony fingerboard and MOP inlays.  It was also available with a maple fingerboard, and with the new 6-inline headstock.  Electronics consisted of an M22 in the neck position, and an M22SD in the bridge position, with dual volume/single tone controls, pickup selector, and coil splitters.  Base price on the V220 was $469, plus $79 for the SC19 hardshell case.

The catalog photo showed a V220 in white, with Kahler Pro trem and black hardware.

1988 Carvin DC150 Guitar

The venerable DC150 Stereo retained it's basic look from previous years, with it's traditional headstock and vintage plastic knobs.  However, it could be ordered with a V or 6-inline headstock.  Pickups were changed to the H11 stacked humbuckers, but the M22's could be ordered as an option.  The stereo electronics included dual volume and tone controls, pickup selector, and phase and coil switches.  Base price on the DC150 Stereo was $499, and the HC10 hardshell case was $60.

The catalog photo showed a DC150 in clear finish with black hardware.

1988 Carvin DC200 Koa Guitar

The DC200 Koa gave the best view of the new neck-thru design - the 2-piece maple neck was clearly visible with the koa body wings.  Electronics consisted of standard stereo wiring, and a pair of M22 pickups with dual volume/tone controls, pickup selector, and coil/phase mini-switches.  MOP block inlays were standard, but dot inlays could be ordered, as could the traditional or V headstocks.  Base price on the DC200 Koa was $599, plus $60 for the HC11 case.

The catalog photo showed the DC200 with standard bridge and optional gold hardware.

1988 Carvin DC200 Guitar

The DC200 Stereo was identical to it's koa counterpart, with the exception of the finish.  Electronics consisted of standard stereo wiring, and a pair of M22 pickups with dual volume/tone controls, pickup selector, and coil/phase mini-switches.  MOP block inlays were standard, but dot inlays could be ordered, as could the traditional or V headstocks.  Base price on the DC200 Stereo was $559, plus $60 for the HC11 case.

The catalog photo showed the DC200 Stereo in Pearl Red, with Floyd Rose tremolo and black hardware.

1988 Carvin DC120 12-String Guitar

The DC120 was a twelve string version of the DC200 Stereo.  Dot inlays were standard, as were H11 stacked humbuckers.  Otherwise, it was the same as the DC200.  Base price was $579.

1988 Carvin DC400 Stereo Guitar

The DC400 Stereo was the top of the line for 1988, and it showed what Carvin guitars would become in later years with it's standard flamed maple top and choice of translucent finishes.  Electronics were the same as the DC200 Stereo, and it could also be ordered with the electronics package of the DC135.  Abalone block inlays were standard, as were any choice of hardware color.  Base price on the DC400 Stereo was $799, and the HC11 hardshell case was $60.

The catalog photo showed the DC400 Stereo in translucent yellow, with Kahler Pro tremolo and black hardware.

1988 Carvin DN612 Doubleneck Guitar

Like the DC120, the DN612 sported one of the most unusual features ever seen on a Carvin guitar - the 12-inline headstock.  This one feature made this guitar instantly recognizable as a Carvin, but traditional 6X6 and 3X3 headstocks were available if desired.  The upper horn was longer than the DC200 (in previous years the DN shared the same dimensions), and the 12-string neck used the older Schaller bridge/tailpiece combination.  Electronics consisted of dual H11 stacked humbuckers on the 12-string, and one M22 and one H11 on the 6-string.  Each neck had single volume and tone controls, phase switch, and dual coil/single coil/off switch for each pickup.  The DN640 featured the same configuration, with H13B pickups on the bass neck.  On both models, there was an input for each neck.  Base price on the DN612 and DN640 was $1099, and the HC15 case was $89.

The catalog photo showed the DN612 in black, with optional abalone block inlays, Kahler Pro tremolo and gold hardware.

1988 Carvin 12-String Inline Headstock

1988 Carvin Necks

As far back as the 60's, Carvin sold necks by themselves, however, these were bolt-on Hofner necks that were used at the time.  In 1988, in conjunction with the introduction of neck-thru design, Carvin offered the identical necks used on the current lineup of their guitars and basses.  These were maple necks, with ebony fingerboards , mother-of-pearl dot inlays and were pre-drilled for Carvin tuners.  Block inlays and maple fingerboards were also offered.  A standard guitar neck, with traditional (3X3), V or inline headstock sold for $149.

This is the hand-written control schematic that was included with new guitars and basses in 1988.  The original printed control schematic was also included (the same one as had been used since the early 80's), but with the new electronics configurations that were offered in 1988, this diagram had to be drawn up and included with new purchases.