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
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, 25½" 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.
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
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
for the base model, or $959 and $999 with the Wilkinson or Floyd Rose
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
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
natural spruce top, gold hardware, and inline headstock. The
AC275 was shown in Classic Sunburst on flamed maple with body binding
and chrome hardware.
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.