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NGD - Charvel

Jimmytwotimes

Experienced
I'll start by saying that this guitar wasn't even on my radar. What was originally my plan was to buy a Suhr Any Wood model - I liked the tele body shape, roasted maple neck, humbuckers ( I believe it comes with Thornbuckers). I had played one and really liked it. However, I just couldn't bring myself to pay $3700 for a black guitar. At that price, we're almost in the range of a PRS 10 top. I kept looking around and I have heard and read so many good things about Charvel MIM guitars and to my surprise they had come out with the So Cal Style 2. Tele body style, reverse tele head stalk, roasted maple neck, 24 frets, locking tuners, Fishman Fluence pickups, Gotoh 510 bridge. Called my Sweetwater guy - he said " I can do $850 on it" - Sold.....
Heres my experience in the past week with a guitar I had never played before and knew little about - (which is WAY outside my wheelhouse).

Set up out of the box - I have to say it was very good - action was a little higher than I like, but still very playable

Fretwork - I have been looking for some kind of blemish, sharp edge, glue - something. I can't find anything wrong with the fret work - its actually amazing. At this price - its REALLY amazing. The frets are all highly polished and smooth as stainless steel - zero complaints here

Bridge - it comes with the Gotoh 510, which is the same bridge on the Suhr. It came a little too loosey goosey for me - and was about an eighth to quarter inch above the body - I noticed fairly significant movement during bends and the tuning stability was not stellar - again, this is out of the box. The bridge came with 3 springs - when I did my setup, I added a spring, tightened it up, and lowered the bridge so its flush with the body ( there are pics below of this) - I have zero problems with tuning stability now and the trem works great.

Neck - This has a 12-16" compound radius neck - I have never had a compound radius neck, nor do I think I have ever played one - and now sorry I haven't, because it is awesome. It plays and feels great. I love the look of the roasted maple and the feel of the natural wood. Jumbo frets also feel great. Also the neck came almost perfectly straight out of the box. I had to do very little truss rod adjusting .
Does anyone know what the string radius should be on a compound radius guitar?? I could not find anything about it. I split the difference and going with 14 - seems to play great at all frets using 14 - but curious if anyone knows any different.

Body - Body is typical tele shape, but is ergonomic in all the right places - theres a very nice carve that allows for easy access to the higher frets. Very comfortable body.

Pickups - I have never been an active pickup guy and always associated them with very high gain - which why I was a little scared about these. I have read good things about the Fishman Fluences though - I have to say - these pickups are really really good - also considering they are about a third of the total price of this guitar.
They can pretty much do anything or any style of music. They are very clean, clear and a little bright. I found myself turning the treble down on a few of my patches on the axe fx. Not a bad thing at all. I do find that the have more clarity than pretty much any pick up I've had - all strings can be heard clearly when chords are played. I'm very impressed with these.


Overall - I really can't say enough about the quality of this thing for $850. Very impressed with Charvel and the Made in Mexico



pic1.jpgpic2.jpgpic3.jpgpic4.jpgpic5.jpg
 

paranoid

Fractal Fanatic
Nice! I never have set any bridge to a set radius, I like to set the bridge as low as I can with out buzzing for each string. In my case the low strings end up being a little higher then the high strings. If you have to have a measurement I think @guitarnerdswe is in the ball park.
 

unix-guy

Legend!
I have a DK-24 HSS that I bought as a guitar I could use at Vai Academy a couple years ago.

Sam Ash was planned to be on-site so I arranged a purchase to prevent needing to travel with a guitar across the country (CA to NY).

They would deliver it to me when I arrived and then take it back and ship (for free) after the event.

It has really become a favorite and I think I like the neck better than any of my other guitars (many Ibanez, Suhr, PRS).

It shares a lot of the same properties as yours.

Excellent bang for the buck for sure.

I did, however, have a fair bit of tuning stability issues with notes going out of tune following a bend.

If you're interested there's a long detailed thread where others shared similar issues and tactics for addressing it:

https://forum.fractalaudio.com/threads/charvel-pro-mod-dk-24-tuning-issues.155754/

Bottom line: even after spending an extra $200 or so to resolve my issues it's a well priced guitar for the money.

Glad you like it!
 

sandmannn69

Inspired
Congrats on the new Charvel, you had better luck then I did.

Ordered a new So Cal, didn't even have the nut height cut, factory defect. Back it went.
 

Andy Eagle

Experienced
Those are incredible for the money. I would set the baseplate a bit higher though as if the bridge was not back routed , but still parallel . It resists going flat during bends even better if the saddles are set lower on the base.
 

OrganicZed

Inspired
That looks like a very nice guitar and a high value for the price.

I would also second Andy Eagle's recommendation on the bridge setup. The proper setup would be to have the bridge up a bit higher (slightly over the plane of the body) and the saddles set lower to compensate. Anyhow, if you prefer it the way you've got it then it doesn't matter. Happy NGD!
 

Jimmytwotimes

Experienced
I have a DK-24 HSS that I bought as a guitar I could use at Vai Academy a couple years ago.

Sam Ash was planned to be on-site so I arranged a purchase to prevent needing to travel with a guitar across the country (CA to NY).

They would deliver it to me when I arrived and then take it back and ship (for free) after the event.

It has really become a favorite and I think I like the neck better than any of my other guitars (many Ibanez, Suhr, PRS).

It shares a lot of the same properties as yours.

Excellent bang for the buck for sure.

I did, however, have a fair bit of tuning stability issues with notes going out of tune following a bend.

If you're interested there's a long detailed thread where others shared similar issues and tactics for addressing it:

https://forum.fractalaudio.com/threads/charvel-pro-mod-dk-24-tuning-issues.155754/

Bottom line: even after spending an extra $200 or so to resolve my issues it's a well priced guitar for the money.

Glad you like it!

Hey Unix-guy - I do actually recall reading your thread awhile ago and just read it again. Good to know about that screw if issues pop up.
Last night I played it for over and hour - played songs with a ton of big bends and used the bar a bunch - after the hour, only the G string was very slightly flat - everything else was still perfectly in tune - so I'm pretty happy with that. Still amazed at the quality for under $900. Huge bang for the buck for sure ! Pretty happy with this purchase.
 

Jimmytwotimes

Experienced
Congrats on the new Charvel, you had better luck then I did.

Ordered a new So Cal, didn't even have the nut height cut, factory defect. Back it went.

Aw man - thats a bummer. I have heard that since covid, most companies are skipping qc steps and resulting in a lot more issues. If you follow Phil Knight youtube/podcast guy - he bought a core PRS hollow body ( a $4000 guitar) and the nut was glued on the side of the neck.. So its happening with all kinds of companies these days... I guess I lucked out... Hope your next one is better !
 

guitarzen

Inspired
I bought a Charvel San Dimas Pro Mod on Reverb in essentially new condition for $650. I've had to do nothing to the guitar, played great and sounded great out of the box. Neck feels awesome and no tuning stability issues at all. Incredible value for money.
 

Jimmytwotimes

Experienced
That looks like a very nice guitar and a high value for the price.

I would also second Andy Eagle's recommendation on the bridge setup. The proper setup would be to have the bridge up a bit higher (slightly over the plane of the body) and the saddles set lower to compensate. Anyhow, if you prefer it the way you've got it then it doesn't matter. Happy NGD!

Yeah - I had the bridge a few different heights and did a lot of experimenting with it. Its hard to see in the picture- its probably about a centimeter over the plane of the body - and seems to be the most stable there - adding the extra spring really helped as well. And really, I don't know why I got a floating bridge - I always think I'm going to use it more than I do !
 

jefferski

Fractal Fanatic
I've been thinking about some sort of inexpensive Tele for a while now; leaning towards either a Nashville so I can get the 5-way tones, or a G&L ASAT (because they're probably much better than a Fender at that price ;-) ... but this looks sweet. I generally prefer 3 pups but with the options on here I could probably get along nicely. I've never owned a guitar w/ actives and would have the same concerns as you, so good to hear your thoughts on it. But like you said, roll off a bit of treble, and also could run the volume around 7-8...

I'd get the ash body so we wouldn't be twins ;-)
 

Andy Eagle

Experienced
The only issue for me with these is the string trees. It would have been better to have staggered tuners and no string trees. You can get away without using them on this model because the revers head acts a bit like a stagger in terms of string angel on the higher strings. This and a bit of a polish in the nut slots and tuning is pretty stable.
 

unix-guy

Legend!
The only issue for me with these is the string trees. It would have been better to have staggered tuners and no string trees. You can get away without using them on this model because the revers head acts a bit like a stagger in terms of string angel on the higher strings. This and a bit of a polish in the nut slots and tuning is pretty stable.
Basically what I did on mine, plus locking saddles... Much better!
 

scottp

Power User
Those are incredible for the money. I would set the baseplate a bit higher though as if the bridge was not back routed , but still parallel . It resists going flat during bends even better if the saddles are set lower on the base.

@Andy Eagle can you comment on why/how it resists going flat during bends, if the saddles are lower?
 

guitarnerdswe

Fractal Fanatic
@Andy Eagle can you comment on why/how it resists going flat during bends, if the saddles are lower?
Image you have a pole jammed into the ground (tremolo). Around the pole is a rope (the strings). If you pull the rope with the same force, will the pole bend more if the rope is attached to the top of the pole, or near the base?
 
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