Quartersawn maple neck
22 Jumbo Frets
Seymour Duncan JB SH4 Humbucking Bridge Pickup - Direct Mount
Seymour Duncan STK-T1 Single-Coil Neck Pickup - Direct Mount
Position 1. Bridge Pickup
Position 2. Bridge and Neck Pickups
Position 3. Neck Pickup
Floyd Rose Tremolo
Charvel has changed a lot since the 80's, but a guy like me who likes to have his guilty pleasures is glad that they haven't forgotten where they come from. This guitar from the first look really breathes that 80's metal vibe. These are extremely well made Japanese guitars. The craftsmanship is impressive even for Japan, which consistently has been putting out great stuff for the last 20 years plus. This is basically your run of the mill super strat with no shortcuts taken. The ebony neck is a nice touch I think. Not something you see very often with these. I can see George Lynch playing this guitar in a heartbeat. I have never been the biggest fan of Fender neck radius but that's totally a preference thing. All the hardware is tops. What can I say? It's a very well constructed guitar...especially for the price.
I think everyone knew that a guitar like this would have a JB in the bridge. It has become paramount for guitars like this to have one. I know a lot of people like the JB a lot but personally I'm not the biggest fan so I switched mine out for a dimarzio air classic. The neck pickup is a pretty high gain single coil. Handles clean very well which is always nice. This guitar isn't just for hair metal. Surprisingly it can handle a lot of rock stuff and even blues. Who would have thought?
This guitar for the price has become tied for first place with the RG1550 from Ibanez for best shredder deal. I can't think of a better guitar for 1k if you play heavy metal. It has it all. No upgrades needed. Seriously. Does it get better than that? Japanese craftsmanship has been awesome for a good two decades or so now and it's only getting better. The wild card is proof.
Charvel is one of the oldest names when it comes to shred guitars. They pretty much started it with their strat style humbucker guitars. This is one of their newer models and it has an old school look and feel to it. Thi sis the San Dimas Wild Card 7 primer scream. With Charvel making more and more LP shaped guitars its cool to see them come out with something that is part of their roots. You get the traditional Charvel stuff with this guitar. The strat style body has an Original Floyd Rose. There are two Seymour Duncan pickups in an HS configuration. The controls are a volume and a 3 way switch. The bold on neck is maple with an ebony fretboard. The Charvel logo and the fretboard dots are yellow and this stands out against the primer.
This guitar plays great like every Charvel. The neck is nice and thin so you can really get a grip on it. The fretboard has the compound radius design that Charvel and Jackson created. This means that the radius of the fretboard flattens out the higher you get on the neck. So when you are low on the neck the radius is nice and round so you can play chords easily. Higher on the neck the radius is flat so you can get a low and easy action for your lead playing. The original Floyd Rose is still one of the best tremolo units out there. Once setup it is very hard to put this guitar out of tune. The ebony on the fretboard is crazy. Its so perfect and dark its like a composite fretboard. It is very smooth too.
The Humbucker and Single coil setup provides a good dynamic in sound. The bridge pickup is very nice. It is hot and crunch but it isnt harsh. You can play leads on the bridge pickup without them becoming harsh and painful to the ears. This is a good trait for a bridge pickup. The neck single coil is very single coilish. You get that neck position twang like on a strat. The single coil does not give a big decrease in volume from the bridge pickup so they are balanced well. Leads on the neck position pickup give me a kind of SRV type tone.
A few years ago everyone would be playing a guitar that looked like this. Nowadays it stands out and is kind of retro. You can play just about anything on this guitar. The playability is all there and no part of the playability leaves you wanting. The single coil in the neck is something some people like and some people dislike. If you want a humbucker in the neck there are plenty other Charvel models just like this that have a humbucker in the neck.