1997 Carvin Catalog Cover


1997 Carvin Custom Shop LogoAnother new model was introduced in 1997, and this one was a home run.  It was Carvin's first bolt-neck guitar since the BC130 in 1990, and the first highly successful bolt since the 70's.  Many players swear by bolt-neck construction, and Carvin answered their call.  Additionally, this created a very attractively-priced model, that could be spartan and utilitarian, or totally decked out with Carvin's many choices of woods, hardware, pickups and finishes.  Also new for 1997 was a 12-string version of the AE185, which itself was in it's 3rd year of productions.  The Holdsworth got a new catalog photo, as did the SC90, while the other photos were carry-overs from 1996.  The catalog also had a very interesting 2-page Custom Shop "tour" - click the logo to see it.

The pictures and prices on this page are from the Fall '97 catalog.

Click each picture for a larger version.

1997 Carvin Bolt Guitar

1997 Basses

1997 Guitar Amps

1997 Bass Amps


The new Bolt took the best features of many guitars and put them into one.  Although there is a physical resemblance to a Fender Stratocaster, it is only a resemblance.  The Bolt, called that because it was a bolt-neck guitar, used all the same high-quality materials of Carvin's other guitars and basses, and the same skilled craftsmen made them as made Carvin's top-of-the-line models.  

Standard features on the Bolt included an alder body, 25" scale, 22-fret tung-oiled hardrock maple neck with maple headstock overlay, Carvin premium tuners, ebony fingerboard and white multi-layer pickguard.  Electronics consisted of 3 rear-mounted AP11 single coil pickups with single volume and tone controls, and a 5-way switch/mini-switch allowing all 7 pickup configurations.

The Bolt had a base price of $449, and the Bolt-T, with Wilkinson tremolo, had a base price of $499.   The standard array of Carvin options were available, as were Bolt-specific options, such as different colored pickguards.

The catalog photo showed a Bolt in with natural tung oiled finish, red tortoise pickguard and black chrome hardware, and a Bolt-T in translucent blue, with maple fingerboard, Sperzel tuners, white pearloid pickguard, C22 bridge pickup and gold hardware.  The inset photo showed a Bolt-T in Ruby Red Stain on quilt with matching headstock,  black pearloid pickguard and black chrome hardware.

The DC127 (near right) and DC135 (far right), were unchanged for 1997, and the same photo was used from 1996.  The prices increased slightly, starting at $549 for the DC127 and $579 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.

1997 Carvin DC127 & DC135 Guitars
1997 Carvin TL60 Guitar

The TL60 was also unchanged for 1997, and the same catalog photo that had been used for several years was used again.  Base price increased slightly on the hardtail model to $549, 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 got a new tailpiece/bridge assembly in 1997, but was otherwise unchanged.  Prices rose slightly on the hardtail model, to $579, while the SC90T with Wilkinson tremolo remained $629, and the SC90C, with Floyd Rose tremolo, remained $669.  The new HC11 ABS case was $68, but under the current sale, could be had for free if $70 worth of options were ordered.  The HC12 vintage tweed case was $98.

A new option package was added in 1997, the Custom Flame Package.  This included mahogany neck and body, flamed maple top and matching headstock, rounded body sides and MOP block inlays.  This package added $300 to the base price, and could be ordered with abalone block inlays for an additional $60.

The catalog showed an SC90 with the Custom Flame Package (Ruby Red Stain), with gold hardware and cream pickups, and an SC90 in classic sunburst with alder neck and body, rounded body sides, cream/black pickups and chrome hardware.

1997 Carvin SC90 Guitar
1997 Carvin DC120 & DC400 Guitars

The DC200 and DC400 were unchanged for 1997, and the same catalog photo was used, showing the DC120 and DC400, but not the DC200.  The price on the DC200 hardtail rose slightly to $679 ($729 with the Wilkinson, $769 with the Floyd Rose).  The DC120 12-string remained as $769.  The DC400 hardtail rose slightly to $909 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.

The Holdsworth was unchanged for 1997, but the prices dropped dramatically. Base price on the H1 was $719 (down from $809), or $769 with Wilkinson tremolo, and the H2 was $769 (down from $859), or $819 with Wilkinson tremolo.  

The catalog showed the H2T in clear gloss on alder with black headstock, black hardware and Wilkinson tremolo, and the H2 in Black Stain on quilted maple with matching headstock and chrome hardware.

1997 Carvin Holdsworth H1 & H2 Guitars
1997 Carvin AE185 & AE185-12 Guitars

The AE185 got a new cousin for 1997, the AE185-12, which was shown in the catalog.  This 12-string had all the accoutrements of the 6-string model.  Otherwise, the models were unchanged.  The base price of the AE185 remained $799, and the base price of the AE185-12 was $849.

The catalog showed a left-handed AE185 in flamed koa with matching inline headstock, body binding, coil splitters and phase switches and black hardware, and an AE185-12 with clear gloss flame maple with matching headstock, body binding, and gold hardware.

The AC175 and AC275 remained the same, down to the catalog photo and prices.  Base price on the AC175 was $699, and 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.

1997 Carvin AC175 & AC275 Guitars
1997 Carvin Guitar Parts

Although Carvin had experimented with selling bodies and necks, as well as other parts, in 1992, in 1997 the first full-fledged kits would be offered.  These were available in two varieties - the GK1, with FT6 fixed bridge for $319, and the GK1T, with Wilkinson tremolo, for $369.  Other options were available for this bolt-neck kit, such as different pickguards, pickups, and hardware.