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Charvel San Dimas Style 1 HH - Blue Burst Reviews

4.5 stars based on 6 customer reviews
  • from Clinton, ME June 25, 2014Music Background:
    Just a hack, but enjoy making music


    This isn't my normal type of guitar but I bought it on a friend's recommendation. I am so glad I did. First, the fit and finish on this is superb and the Blue Burst is gorgeous.
    This thing rocks. Clean channel she sounds like a Les Paul, pure and throaty. Hit the distortion and hang on, Holy Cow!!! This is a hard driving guitar, one I will likely use for those times when I want to thrash and play some 80's heavy metal. Action is so low you look at it and it plays notes....and the neck is fast and thin. Great Guitar!!!
    It's a wolf is sheep's clothing. She has the appearance of a sedate Strat, but the sound of a Super Strat. Very versatile and a guitar built for the stage.
    It's a keeper!! As usual, my buddy Ryan at Sweetwater did me right once again. I lost count of how many I have bought here, but keep them coming....I have two more on the way. This may be the best looking guitar of the herd now, and I own some beauties.

  • from Austin, TX March 26, 2014Music Background:
    Semi-Professional guitarist

    I've waited years for this guitar

    I've been playing for 45 years and currently own 42 guitars. I've played or owned or built darn near everything out there and then some. I have waited forever for this guitar. This is all IMO, but for my tastes, it is absolutely perfect. If you've been on the fence about getting one of these San Dimas Charvels, go for it. I have 2 and as soon as I'm able, I'm getting a third. Yes, they're that good. Oh yeah, Sweetwater's service could not be better. They did a fantastic job1

  • from March 24, 2014Music Background:

    Lives Up To It's Reputation!

    This Charvel San Dimas truly lives up to it's reputation!

    Rock solid build and the playability of the neck is truly amazing!
    So comfortable to play, and great tuning stability...
    Finish is flawless and the build across the entire product is tight!
    Seymour Duncan pickups provide beautiful range of 'bite' and tone.

    Can't say enough positive things about this guitar!

    Thanks Sweetwater!

  • from Boston December 21, 2015

    Superb value for money

    I bought this guitar on the strength of the pickups, hardware, reviews and just its looks. Compared to my other guitars (Les Paul, PRS, Tele), this is just so much fun to play. As others have noted, the neck is great and allows the action to get nice and low, if that's what you like. The Seymour Duncan pickups really rock out, but with character, and the Floyd Rose tremolo happily withstands serious whammy antics. The finish looks great, too.

    Is the build quality going to be on par with a California custom model? Are the woods going to be top-notch? No, but the fit and finish on mine is just fine, without any obvious issues. Remembering the price point, this guitar represents fantastic value for money. But at the end of the day, it's actually a great guitar which is a joy to play.

  • from Austin TX November 11, 2014Music Background:

    Great Guitar!

    Really good sounding guitar and great overall quality. I actually played a Japanese model and this MIM version is actually a better build quality in my opinion. Anyway if you are on the fence about these guitars don't be-they are nice. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because it has a factory flaw in the finish-not enough for me to send it back but as a resale it would be a issue to some people.

  • from SV, AZ October 30, 2015

    A Big Disappointment

    So I thought I would do a review of the Charvel Pro Mod San Dimas Style 1 Made in Mexico (MIM) guitar. I purchased mine in September 2015. I have been playing since 1978 and have been fortunate to own Fender, early '80s Kramer, Ibanez, Brian Moore, and Gibson guitars. I always wanted a Charvel but at the time never got around to getting one. Now, a USA made San Dimas is just too much green for me to consciously spend when I have several other wonderful guitars. From what I read, this Pro Mod San Dimas Style 1 was being offered very close to the original and spec, so for $849, I figured what the heck.

    The Neck:

    For me this was the highlight of the guitar. It is an oiled neck that feels simply great. The fret work is surprisingly good. Many times I have to dress cheaper guitar's frets, but this one is pretty much spot on. Nice and straight, just a bummer the truss rod adjustment is in the heel, but that's the way the originals were as well.


    The pickups are what you would expect from Seymour Duncan and these specific models. More about that later though. Good quality with no surprises. The volume pot is Korean made but very smooth. Survivability undetermined, but nothing bad expected. The 3-Way toggle is a mystery, time will tell. The input jack is a mystery as well. Graphite based shielding paint is used inside the control and tremolo springs cavities. Not the best, but functional, the problem is it was done so thin that I'm sure the conductivity of the paint is less than adequate.


    Well, Charvel (Fender) pulled an underhanded one here. They advertise this model as having an Original Floyd Rose, well sort of. The nut is a mystery. When you purchase a Floyd Rose, it comes with a Floyd Rose Nut of your choosing. Fender looked at shaving some cost on this for the sake of profit. It looks to be of good quality, but honesty would be nice. The tuners are Chinese styled after Gotoh labeled Charvel using 2 pins versus a set screw. The string tree is another mystery but the finish is good, so no complaints.

    The Body:

    Here is where it all goes downhill. No matter how good the pickups may be, the guitar sounded lifeless and choked to me. Upon close inspection, the body cavity rout edges almost looked frayed/splintered. This got me wondering. Charvel advertises this model as having a Flame Maple Veneer Top. When they say veneer, they should say "paper thin flame maple veneer top similar to the faux sticker tops used by imported Jackson's in the mid to late 90's. This would be a more honest statement. I'm saying, this veneer is so thin, it can barely be sanded smooth due to the grain being the depth of the veneer. Now I understand why the rout edges were frayed/splintered, the veneer is so thin, the grain is all that is left creating a situation where it cannot be smooth sanded. So how do you create a smooth surface in this situation? Gobs and gobs of paint finish. When I say GOBS, I mean GOBS! And this is exactly what Charvel/Fender did. I didn't expect a nitro finish, but this is ridiculous. This finish laughs at heavy duty paint stripper. So how do I know this? I did it, and it took a week using a heat gun to get through the exterior finish layer, days of stripper on the lower layers, and finally careful use of sandpaper on the final spots that nothing would take off. This is also when I discovered the fuzzy truth in the "Alder Body" statement. OK, they were honest, Charvel just didn't say a "three piece glued together alder body", which is exactly what it is. Fender/Charvel have definitely stretched the "truth in advertising" statement with this guitar.

    Bottom Line:

    Short of the neck, pickups, and fulcrum body, a person can do much better elsewhere. In reality, if a person wants a Charvel to '80s specs, several companies exist online that sell exact bodies and necks that can be fitted with name brand hardware for less than the price of this guitar. Thankfully, by the time I get done refinishing this guitar and replacing some of the hardware, it should be what I was hoping for in the first place. Would I buy one again, definitely not!

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