Hatsubai 06/22/2011

Carvin BOLT : Hatsubai's user review

"Good bolt-on guitar"

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Carvin has been one of the leaders in making semi-custom guitars that are affordable for musicians all around the world. The BOLT model is probably one of their lesser known models, but it's a great guitar. There are tons of features you can add to it, but the one I played had the following:

Alder body
Maple neck with ebony fretboard, tung oil finish
12'' radius
Wilkinson tremolo
3 single coils
Sperzel locking tuners
One volume and two tone knobs
Hardshell case


Carvin does a wonderful job at making their guitars. The neck on this is very comfortable. It's not too thin, and it's not too thick. The 12'' radius helps out a lot for achieving low action, and the fretwork on this was pretty good, especially considering the price. The finish on the back of the neck was absolutely killer. I'm a big fan of oiled necks vs the regular gloss/satin stuff. The neck joint on this model also had a very nice cutaway similar to that of the current production American Fenders and ESP guitars. It makes it easier to get up to the higher frets without that annoying joint in the way. The Wilkinson tremolo was the icing on the cake.


This is where Carvins are a bit iffy. The guitar came with three single coils, but they were all the standard Carvin production model singles. The seem to be a bit sterile sounding. I'm not sure if it was the combination of the wood or the way the pickups are, but they didn't seem to have that awesome single coil vibe that so many other higher quality singles have. That's not to say they sound bad. They sound pretty good, but I just wish they sounded better.


Given the price of these, it's surprising more people don't play them. It's sad to see the horrible resale value the guitars have, but that makes it better for those who want to buy them used. I recommend scoping out eBay for the best deal on one. I'd definitely take this over a normal production Fender any day. It's better in nearly every single way.