Guitars

1988 proved to be one of Carvin's most successful year to date, largely due to the complete new lineup of guitars and basses.  But rather than rest on their laurels, they introduced new options, new features, and even a new model, the DC145.  1989 would also mark the last year for the SH225, a model that had been in Carvin's lineup since 1981.

1989 Basses

1989 Guitar Amps

1989 Bass Amps

1989 Kahler Tremolos

Click each picture for a larger version.

1989 Carvin Catalog Cover
1989 Carvin Guitars

The DC200 and other guitars based on this body shape received a minor redesign - the horns were softened and rounded slightly, and the upper strap button was moved to the tip of the horn, rather than on the underside as in previous years.

One of the more innovative new options for 1989 was the tung-oiled finish on the back of the neck.  This has become a hugely popular feature to this day, and many guitarists swear by the increased speed this option provides.  Tung oil was also offered for the first time as a finish over the entire guitar.

Other options, such as painted headstocks, Dunlop straplocks, no fingerboard inlays were further showing the direction Carvin guitars and basses were moving.

1989 Carvin Guitar Options
1989 Carvin Tremolos

A new tremolo was added to the available models in 1989.  This is the Kahler 2710 model (left), which is a fulcrum model similar to the Floyd Rose, which was also available.  Carvin's first-offered tremolo, the Kahler Pro, was also still offered.

A new color were added to the gradually increasing selection.  Translucent sunburst, which was available on standard or flamed maple, led the way for future burst finishes.  

1989 Carvin Guitar Colors
1989 Carvin Guitar Parts

All Carvin guitars had a new standard bridge/tailpiece combination in 1989 - the ST6 and TM6.  The LP6, although no longer standard, could be ordered from the Parts Department.  The M22 and it's variants were still the standard pickups, and Carvin also offered several single-coil and stacked humbucker pickups as replacements for other guitars.

1989 Carvin Pickups
1989 Carvin DC125 Guitar

The DC125 (left) was unchanged from 1988, with the exception of the modified body shape mentioned above.  Base price on the DC125 jumped to $499, but the hardshell case was included, for a net increase of $40 over 1988.  

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

The DC135 (right) was also unchanged, 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 increased to $599, and the hardshell case was also included. 

The catalog photo showed a DC135 in Pearl Blue, with Kahler Pro trem and black hardware.

1989 Carvin DC135 Guitar

The Ultra V got a new two-page catalog spread, showing the scalloped body edges that were introduced in 1988.  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 $559, with the hardshell case.

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

The V220 (below, right) was in it's last year of production, after a very successful 5-year run.  Construction materials and techniques were the same as 1988, including neck-thru design, rock maple body and neck, ebony fingerboard and MOP inlays.  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 $579, which included a  hardshell case.


The '89 catalog showed this interesting photo of guitarist Vinnie Vincent, which was taken from his video "Love Kills".  Although the X100B stacks are obviously Carvin, less obvious is the one-off VVV Carvin that Vinnie is playing (VVV = Vinnie Vincent V).  This evidently was created as a counterpart to the Jackson VVV's that Vinnie normally played, which were originally designed for guitar legend Randy Rhodes, but never went into production due to Randy's untimely death.  The Jackson models were made from 1986 to 1989, and the above Carvin model was made sometime around 1988.  There were subtle differences between the Carvin and the Jackson - noteably, the Jackson had a standard inline headstock and sharkfin inlays, versus the reverse inline headstock and block inlays on the Carvin.

1989 Carvin DC145 GuitarThe catalog photo showed a V220 in red, with Kahler Pro trem and black hardware being played by Marty Friedman.

New for 1989 was the DC145 (on left).  This DC200 variant had a new body style, similar to the DC200 series, but with rounded horns (an option that was offered on all DC200-style guitars).  Electronics consisted of an M22 in the neck position, M22SD in the bridge position, and H11 in the middle, with a 5-position pickup selector switch, single volume control, and coil splitter that was wired to the M22 and H11.  The reverse inline headstock was standard, and was the only choice offered.  All other options were available.  The base price of the DC145 was $629, which included the hardshell case.

The catalog photo showed a DC145 in Pearl White with black hardware and Kahler 2710 tremolo.

1989 Carvin V220 Guitar
1989 Carvin DC150 Guitar

The DC150 Stereo (left) had a few minor changes in 1988, and the catalog photo showed the new tune-o-matic bridge and tailpiece that was being used on Carvin hardtail models this year.  Another minor change was the reversion back to M22 pickups versus the H11's that were standard in 1988.  The stereo electronics included dual volume and tone controls, pickup selector, and phase and coil switches.  Base price on the DC150 Stereo was $629, which included hardshell case.

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

The DC400 Stereo (right) was again the top of the line model.  Electronics were the same as the DC200 Stereo, abalone block inlays were standard, as was any choice of hardware color.  Base price on the DC400 Stereo was $879, with hardshell case.

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

1989 Carvin DC400 Guitar
1989 Carvin DC200 Koa Guitar

The DC200 Koa was also basically unchanged, except for the new body sculpting and new bridge/tailpiece.  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.  Base price on the DC200 Koa was $729 with hardshell case.

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

As in 1988, the DC200 Stereo (right) was identical to it's koa counterpart, with the exception of the finish.  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 $679 with hardshell case.

The catalog photo showed the DC200 Stereo in Deep Pearl Blue, with Kahler Pro tremolo and gold hardware.

The DC120 was a twelve string version of the DC200 Stereo.  Dot inlays were standard, as were H11 stacked humbuckers.  The 12-inline headstock had evidently been discontinued as an "official" option, but may have still be available.  Otherwise, it was the same as the DC200.  Base price was $719.  

1989 Carvin DC200 Guitar
1989 Carvin DN612 Doubleneck Guitar

The DN612 and DN640 reverted to traditional headstocks for 1989, and received the new bridge/tailpiece combination as the other models.   Electronics consisted of dual M22 humbuckers on the 12-string and 6-string, and H13B's on the DN640 bass.  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 $1199, including hardshell case.

The catalog photo showed the DN612 in black with gold hardware.

1989 was the last year the SH225 would be offered, at least officially.  Features and specifications were the same as 1988, and the new bridge/tailpiece was standard, and tremolos were evidently no longer offered.  Base price on the SH225, with form-fitted hardshell case, was $899.

1989 Carvin SH225 Guitar