Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH
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Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH

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Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH, STC-Shaped Guitar from Charvel in the Pro-Mod series.


12 user reviews
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Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH tech. sheet

  • Manufacturer: Charvel
  • Model: Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH
  • Series: Pro-Mod
  • Category: STC-Shaped Guitars
  • Added in our database on: 11/21/2011

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Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH user reviews

Average Score:4.8( 4.8/5 based on 12 reviews )
 10 reviews83 %
 2 reviews17 %
Value For Money :
racerevlon12/07/2012

racerevlon's review"The Charvel So Cal 1 HH keeps the Sunset Strip alive!"

Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH
The Charvel So Cal 1 H-H interestingly enough is a made in Japan guitar modeled after the USA-made So Cal. They did an outstanding job. The feel, playability, attention to detail, fit, and finish on this guitar are all superb. Charvel guitars were the weapon of choice for many of the 80's shredders and the So Cal 1 HH lives up to the legend. This is one mad machine. The guitar comes stock with a Dimarzio Tone Zone bridge pickup and a Dimarzio Evolution Neck pickup. Mind you, these are not Dimarzio copies or "Made by" pickups, but 100 percent real Dimarzio pickups.

The controls on the guitar are extremely simple making it extremely easy to focus on playing instead of tweaking sound. There is a volume knob and a three-position selector switch (Neck, Both, Bridge) for the pickups. That's it.

The neck is a nice "not too thick, not to thin" C-shape and the maple neck and fret board play wickedly fast. The flaming in the maple on the neck is extremely nice for a guitar in this price range as well. An OFR, ATA flight case, and real Dimarzio pickups at this price are fairly unheard of. The black pick guard sets off the finish nicely and gives it a slightly metal look, even with the candy blue finish.

UTILIZATION

I don't know how it came from the factory but the previous owner had the action set higher that I prefer so I lowered the action which was easy enough. I found that if I set up the guitar too low the tone suffered a little so I set up the action just a tad higher than my normal and the tone is incredible. It's extremely easy to get a great sound out of this guitar and it has the feel of an instrument that just begs you to keep playing. This is one guitar that's difficult to put down.

SOUNDS

The Tone Zone bridge pickup was a little dark for my tastes so I swapped it out with a Dimarzio Steve Morse model bridge pickup. Now the guitar just SCREAMS! That said, you definitely have to work a little to get a good clean sound from this guitar as it is definitely made for full-out shred mayhem. If you need a clean sound, you may have to swap out the neck pickup for a lower-output pickup or one that suits your tonal and/or musical style better.

I use this guitar with all of my amps: Splawn Quick Rod, Splawn Nitro, Jet City Amps, Hughes & Kettner, Marshall... they all sound fabulous with this guitar pumping life into them.

OVERALL OPINION

I had always heard about Charvel guitars and seen some of my favorite players using them as their "weapon of choice" so I decided to take the plunge and see for myself. I'm not disappointed. I think for the price this is an excellent value guitar--the real Dimarzio Pickups and ATA flight case alone are almost worth the ante, but once you start playing you realize this isn't some entry-level beginner's guitar: this is the real deal. Obviously, because it has a Floyd I'd gig it with a backup, but that's more to do with the Floyd than with it being a Charvel. The only thing that would make this guitar any better would be having 24 frets. However, not having the 24 frets gives it more of a "Classic" feel and a respectful nod to its predecessors.
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Eroachguitar09/21/2012

Eroachguitar's review"Change in manufacturing location has NOT compromised quality!"

Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH
The Charvel Pro Mod (short for Production Model) was introduced in 2009 in response to a resurgence of interest in the hot-rodded fender guitars popularized by Eddie Van Halen, Jake E. Lee, and many other guitarists at the forefront of heavy metal and hard rock innovation of the 1980's. Production was originally undertaken in the USA, but switched to Japan in late 2010, which saw a slight drop in list price, and the inclusion of a custom SKB hardshell case, as opposed to a soft gig-bag included with the American-made version.

But one may ask: How did quality control fare under the switch in manufacturing location and personnel? A close inspection of my MIJ (Made in Japan) So Cal revealed an immaculately constructed and finished instrument. I was floored!

Based on (more appropriately a direct copy of) the original Charvel custom shop San Dimas and So Cal, which were directly modified from stock Fender Stratocasters, the Pro Mod series boasts a plethora of enhancements that make it more shred-friendly both in performance and appearance.

The neck is a quartersawn, straight 12' radiused maple piece with the standard Fender 25.5in Scale Length, and 22 jumbo wide frets. It is much thinner than most standard stratocaster necks, and is finished in a minimalist tung oil layer that renders an almost raw feel. The edges of the fretboard are aggressively rolled, leaving it feeling very broken-in from the first notes. Indeed, the Pro Mod feels like an old six-stringed friend right out of the box.

Hardware-wise, The Pro Mod sports Grover tuners, and a Korean Floyd Rose Double Locking tremolo system, which is reasonably durable, but to those initiated, doesn't quite measure up to the quality exhibited by the German OFR (Original Floyd Rose) tremolos on pricier guitars, and available as after-market upgrades. The string retainer blocks on mine had to be replaced after a year once the surface began to bear grooves from the strings and I began to experience the G, B, and E strings popping out of the saddles during play.

The upshot is that these are easily replaceable. The tremolo is also fitted with the 37mm Sustain Block, which isn't Floyd's lightest or smallest sustain block, so it was nice to see them not cutting corners in the sustain department.

The So Cal's pickups are a pair of Dimarzio humbuckers, operated by a single volume knob, no tone control, and a simple (but durable) 3-way toggle switch. Both pickups are fairly hot, with the Evolution handling the neck and the Tone Zone handling the bridge position. The Tone Zone, in particular, has a slight roll-off in the higher frequencies, which pairs it very well with brighter amps such as Marshall JCM 800's. It doesn't like to be positioned too close to the strings, however. Closer than perhaps the thickness of two stacked nickels, and the sustain and clarity began to suffer significantly due to excessive magnetic pull on the strings. A properly positioned TZ in the So Cal is hot, tight, and has a very focused midrange.

The Evolution is a well-rounded pickup that handles sweep arpeggios, fast alternately picked passages, and clean chord and lead work beautifully. Its only downfall is a slight loss of clarity in the lower frequencies, which I would argue plagues most production model pickups and is only cured by replacing it with an expertly wound, custom voiced boutique pickup.


UTILIZATION

Despite what one might think, the Floyd Rose doesn't make setup or intonation any more difficult. On the contrary, I found that the instrument was intonated pretty much wherever I set the action or neck relief. Some extra tweaking is likely required for those increasing string gauge to 11's or 12's, but that's to be expected.

The only downside of playability is the big, square traditional neck joint made access to the upper frets a little more uncomfortable than some of its contemporary counterparts, which feature a well-contoured heel.

SOUNDS

I've run the So Cal through close to two dozen different models of Fender combo amps. It's also seen action through numerous Marshall heads, Peavey 5150, Bogner Uberschall, Hughes & Kettner Triamp, Dumble, Mesa...the list goes on.

I currently play it through a modified Egnater Renegade 65 head, utilizing only a wah pedal and overdrive pedal.

I've recorded several different genres of music with the So Cal, and it performs well in nearly every context.

OVERALL OPINION

The Charvel So Cal Style 1H-H represents the very pinnacle of quality, bargain-priced electric guitars. Japan has been known for the quality of their electric guitars ever since they began making them, with 80's model MIJ Fenders still being highly sought after to this day.

Though Charvel cut costs by using slightly cheaper hardware and producing the instruments in Japan, the quality and playability of these instruments holds its own against some of the best (and most expensive) production guitars the USA has to offer.
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King Loudness01/26/2012

King Loudness's review"Another rocker!"

Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH
The Charvel So Cal is the third and final model introduced by the revived Charvel company in 2008. It is basically another version of their famous "hot rod" guitars that spread like wildfire throughout the eighties. They were made with the motto of being customized from the factory with the right high quality parts to avoid endless modding. This particular model was built in the USA and features an alder body, a quartersawn maple neck and fretboard, 22 jumbo frets, a locking Original Floyd Rose system, Grover tuners, and a pair of DiMarzio humbuckers (an EVO in the neck and a Tone Zone in the bridge). These are mounted on a classy black pickguard and wired to a single volume control and a 3 way toggle switch.

UTILIZATION

The design of this guitar is pretty ergonomic. It's of a medium weight and the strat style design forms very well to the body with its ample contouring. The neck is a true wonder, being that it's a very comfortable thin C profile, and the finish is tung oil on raw quartersawn maple. Can you say fast? It feels EXTREMELY natural and awesome and has fast become my preferred neck configuration, so much so that I order it on custom builds from other companies. The upper fret access is pretty good, but is hindered a bit by the very thick neck plate, which can get in the way, especially if you have larger hands. Getting a good tone out of this guitar is pretty easy. It was optimized for hard rock tones, and the guitar does that very well. I prefer the Seymour Duncans in the San Dimas guitars, but the DiMarzio models in this one do a decent job at getting some cool cleans and rippin' shred tones on the go.

SOUNDS

This guitar is loaded with the DiMarzio pickups which I believe are a bit hotter than the Duncans in the other guitars. They're a nice choice for the player who wants something a little more modern for some heavier tones, but they still have enough punch for more classic sounds. The EVO in the neck offers some nice punchy clean tones and very fluid drive sounds a-la Steve Vai or John Petrucci, and the TZ bridge pickup has a nice harmonic set, perfect for getting really crunchy tones for rock riffage or some screaming leads. It's a little bit darker than the JB pickup in the San Dimas, but it still has more than enough power to really kick when driven through a tube amp like a Marshall or Boogie.

OVERALL OPINION

All in all I think the Charvel So Cal is a great buy for anyone looking for an awesome US made superstrat with great parts, excellent workmanship, great tones, and one of the best feeling necks on the planet. They can be had used for about $650 which is a pretty sweet deal considering that it's made in the USA and uses great parts. The DiMarzio pickups in this model might not be to everyone's taste, but I liked them well enough, just not as much as the Seymour Duncans in the other models. Definitely worth checking out!
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James...12/20/2011

James...'s review"Honestly a really good deal"

Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH
I believe these are USA or Japan made. I've heard conflicting stories. This basically your protypical super strat design. 22 frets. Alder body and maple neck. Basic strat body design. Original Floyd bridge. Dimarzio pickups. White finish. Grover tuners. Speaking purely in terms of specs this is a top notch guitar.

UTILIZATION

I honestly have never been a fan of these 80's super strats. But I got a real deal on this Socal so I decided to give it a shot. My primary gripe has always been that the neck on the Socal feels a little too beefy for shredding with my hands. These are definitely a modified fender spec neck radius rather than a smaller Jackson or something. Still, the playability is great. I am not a huge fan of Floyd rose bridges and usually prefer Ibanez Pro trems, but as Floyd Roses go this one is great. If you are usually comfortable on these style guitars, this one will feel like an old friend.

SOUNDS

The pickup choice for this guitar was well thought out. The Tone Zone compliments the Alder body and maple neck very well, staying thick even on leads. The Evolution is a great solo pickup because it cuts through so heavily. Be warned though if you aren't familiar with these pickups. They are very high gain. If you are thinking you'll get an overwound PAF, you're in for a lot of heat. They fit this guitar fine though because it's obviously a shredders axe and should only be used for metal or hard rock.

OVERALL OPINION

I don't think I can ever get really comfortable with these old super strats. I think the radius on the Charvel necks are not friendly with my hand. Still, for quality this guitar gets high marks. The price is amazing for all the features you get. If you want a great sub $1000 super strat this is THE guitar.
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Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH images

  • Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH
  • Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH
  • Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH
  • Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH

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Other names: promodsocalstyle 1 hh, promodsocalstyle1hh, promodsocalstyle1 hh, pro mod so cal style1 hh, pro mod so cal style 1hh

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