1996 Carvin Catalog Cover


1996 was a banner year at Carvin, but not just because there were several new guitar models.  This was the 50th Anniversary of the company, and would be commemorated with the DC400 Anniversary, as well as a pair of new signature models and a new acoustic electric.

1996 Basses

1996 Guitar Amps

1996 Bass Amps

Two significant features appeared in 1996.  The most significant was the implementation of alder as the standard body wood.  Poplar had been used since 1990, and before that, it was maple.  Also of note was the new rounded body sides option.  Most Carvin guitars shown from this point on would have this option, although it was just that - an option.

The pictures and prices on this page are from the Fall '96 catalog.

Click each picture for a larger version.

1996 Carvin Anniversary Logo






The DC127 (near right) and DC135 (far right), sported the rounded body sides in the catalog photo.  Less obvious, but still present was the new alder body construction with maple neck.  Also not obvious are the new pickups - in this case, the C22 humbucker (the single coils on the DC135 remained the S60s).  Other options and features remained the same as the previous year.  The prices were the same as well, starting at $529 for the DC127 and $559 for the DC135.

The catalog showed the DC127 in tung-oiled koa with matching headstock and rounded body sides, Wilkinson tremolo and gold hardware.  The DC135 was shown in Cherry Sunburst with alder neck, matching headstock and rounded body sides, chrome hardware, and Wilkinson tremolo.

1996 Carvin DC127 & DC135 Guitars
1996 Carvin TL60 Guitar

The TL60 was almost the same as 1995, all the way down to the price and the catalog photo, but it too was also now constructed from alder.  Base price was $529, or $599 with Wilkinson tremolo.  New optional pickup configurations were added, including DC127-style, DC135-style, and 3 H60 humbuckers

The catalog photo showed a TL60 in Jet Black with chrome hardware, M22 bridge pickup and Wilkinson tremolo, and in Tobacco Sunburst on quilted maple with gold hardware.

The SC90 also had the alder body standard in 1996, and the new rounded body sides were also available.  Pickups were upgraded to the new C22N and C22T.  Prices dropped a bit; the SC90 with FT6 bridge sold for $559, the SC90T with Wilkinson tremolo sold for $629, and the SC90C, with Floyd Rose tremolo, sold for $669.  The HC12 hardshell case was $88, but under the current sale, could be had for free if $90 worth of options were ordered.

The catalog showed an SC90 in classic sunburst with alder neck and body, rounded body sides and chrome hardware.

1996 Carvin SC90 Guitar
1996 Carvin DC120 & DC400 Guitars

The DC200 and DC400 were unchanged for 1996, with the exception of the alder wood body, new C22N and C22T pickups, and optional rounded body sides.  The prices remained the same, as well.  In this catalog, the DC200 wasn't even shown - the DC120 12-string was given it's spot.  The DC120 had been always mentioned on the DC200 page, but it had been several years since one actually appeared in a catalog.  The price on the DC200 remained constant, at $659 ($729 with the Wilkinson, $769 with the Floyd Rose).  The DC120 12-string remained as $769.  The DC400 dropped in price, to $889 for the base model, or $959 and $999 with the Wilkinson or Floyd Rose tremolo, respectively.

The inset photo showed the DC400 Anniversary model, which was a highly upgraded DC400, with 5-piece maple/koa neck, flamed maple top and matching headstock, and 3 piece alder/koa/flamed maple body.  It was available as a $200 upgrade to the DC400, DC400T or DC400C.

The catalog photo showed the DC120 in Jet Black with rounded body sides, and the DC400 in Vintage Yellow on flamed maple with Wilkinson tremolo and gold hardware.

Totally unique in design and construction was the Holdsworth, designed in conjunction with legendary guitarist Allan Holdsworth.  It was available in two variants, the H1 and H2.  Everything about this guitar was unique - the most obvious being the radical body, which was made of alder, but was chambered similar to a semi-hollow acoustic/electric.  The neck  was alder, as well, but was a set neck, so as to allow the chambering of the body.  The scale length was 25", a half-inch longer than other models.  Also new and unique was the 2X6 headstock shape, which was much more compact than traditional 3X3 headstocks.  Electronics consisted on one or two Holdsworth H22 pickups (depending on the model; the H1 had a single pickup, the H2 had a pair), with single volume and tone controls, and traditional plastic knobs.  Base price on the H1 was $809, or $879 with Wilkinson tremolo, and the H2 was $859, or $929 with Wilkinson tremolo.  The standard bridge was the tune-o-matic/stop bar type that had been used on earlier Carvins.

The catalog showed the H1 in clear gloss on alder with matching headstock and black hardware, and the H2 in Emerald Green on flamed maple with matching headstock and chrome hardware.

1996 Carvin Holdsworth H1 & H2 Guitars
1996 Carvin AE185 Guitar

The AE185 got the new C22N and C22T pickups to go with the F60 acoustic pickup, but other wise, they were unchanged for 1996.  The base price of the AE185 remained $799, plus $88 for the HC12 vintage tweed hardshell case.

The catalog showed an AE185 in classic white with gold hardware and coil splitters and phase switch, and an AE185 with clear gloss flame koa with matching headstock, body binding, coil splitters and phase switches and black hardware.

The AC175 remained the same, including mahogany neck and body, 24-fret ebony fingerboard and ebony bridge, and the price remained the same at $699.  New for 1996 was the AC175's big brother, the AC275.  This model was similar to the AC175 in construction materials and options, but had a body that was 1" thicker.  Base price on the AC275 was $769.

The catalog showed an AC175 with natural spruce top, gold hardware, and inline headstock.  The AC275 was shown in Classic Sunburst on flamed maple with body binding and chrome hardware.

1996 Carvin AC175 & AC275 Guitars