Carvin is a criminally underrated guitar company. They are based out of California and for years they have been making all sorts of gear in house 100% USA made. You can pretty much buy any piece of gear you need to put on a show from them and it would be quality gear. Their guitars are nothing to scoff at either. They are made to your specs and since they are factory direct there is no dealer markup on the prices. You get what you pay for and you pay for what you get. This is one of their higher end models. This is the DC400W. The W in the name stands for Walnut because this guitar uses walnut throughout. Since every Carvin is made to a customers specs the guitar in the review might be slightly different than the Carvin you are looking at or have. The DC400 I demoed had some mods on it that I will mention. This guitar had a walnut body with neck through construction. The wood for the neck ran all the way through the body. The neck was a 5 peice neck with maple and walnut strips. The fretboard was ebony with 24 jumbo stainless steel frets. The tuners up top were Carvin locking tuners. The bridge was their tune-o-matic and string through design. This guitar had a set of aftermarket pickups in it. It had a set of Seymour Duncans. It had the JB and 59 setup. The controls were a volume for each with a master tone and coil splitting for each pickup.
I love the way these Carvins feel. They say their necks have rapid-play technology in them whatever that means. The action was super low and with the jumbo stainless steel frets and the ebony fretboard it was like playing on butter. With stainless steel frets the frets always stay polished so they not get gritty and they dont wear out so the setup and leveling stays true. The neck through construction on this guitar means there is no bulky neck joint to get in the way of your playing. The 5 piece neck with alternating species of wood makes the neck super strong and stable. The locking tuners are great and the bridge is super low profile. It is sitting right on the body. With the use of walnut throughout the guitar it is pretty heavy but this helps the tone I feel. The gold hardware on this model seems durable but an evaluation of that takes time.
Carvins own pickups are usually the weakest part of the guitar so many Carvins you will see seccond hand have aftermarket pickups swapped in like on this example. This guitar really sings with the Duncans in it. The walnut construction gives the guitar a very thick natural tone. The Duncan set really brings out the natural tone. The JB in the bridge is a great overall pickup that keys in to the natural tone of your guitar. So on this guitar it had a very thick tone and was very pleasant to play. On some guitars a JB brings out the bad natural tone of the guitar like if the guitar was super bright naturally the JB would bring out that aspect. The 59 in the neck is a super smooth classic sounding design. It is one of the better PAF clones on the market. It gives a super smooth tone. With the thick tone of this guitar it can get a bit muddy at times. Personally if this became a problem I would swapp in a Jazz. The Jazz is like a modified 59 with a bit more top end bite for clarity.
There are not many other places that would offer a guitar like this built to your specs for around 1500 bucks. Since Carvin sells directly to their customer everyone gets factory direct pricing. There is no Guitar Center middleman throwing on their 20 percent. This guitar looks super classy as well. It looks like one of the old Alembics from the 70s that cost like 8000 bucks. Im sure this guitar sounds better than an Alembic too. If you are looking for a high end guitar with custom features you should check out Carvin before you go selling your car to finance another custom guitar.