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The Charvel Story
From Fender to the Superstrat
One-time Fender employee Wayne Charvel earned a name for himself in the mid-1970s by upgrading stock Stratocasters to "Superstrats": guitars with bold custom paint jobs, Floyd Rose tremolo systems, and hot-rodded high-gain electronics. Wayne's designs pushed the envelope on what the electric guitar was capable of, allowing Strat players to take their familiar and great-playing axes to new heights for hard rock, metal, hardcore punk, and virtuosic playing styles.1979-1986: The golden age of the Superstrat
Grover Jackson (later of Jackson guitars) purchased Wayne's San Dimas, California guitar shop and the Charvel name in 1978. Jackson's mass-produced Superstrats and aggressive new designs soon made Charvel a household name among champions of the burgeoning hard rock market. These bold instruments found themselves in the hands of guitar greats Eddie Van Halen, Richie Sambora, and Randy Rhodes - whose signature shark-tooth Concorde/RR guitar he drew for Jackson on a napkin. And though the brand's popularity led to a number of imitators, Charvel continued to dominate the market on into the late 1980s.1989: Difficult years
Charvel faced a major blow in 1989 when Jackson sold the brand to Japanese manufacturer International Music Corporation (IMC). Constantly changing designs and a diversification into some controversial builds, like the lipstick-pickupped Charvel Surfcaster, caused some to believe the brand had lost its way. And by that time the market had seen enough alternatives, many from Fender itself, that Charvel's popularity began to fade.2002: Acquisition by Fender
Coming around full circle, the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation rescued the dying Charvel brand in 2002 and has continued to release instruments under the Charvel name ever since. Though not immediately met with acclaim, Fender has shown tremendous foresight by retaining many of the original luthiers and giving them support to continue to produce their brand of bold-looking, aggressive-sounding Superstrats that continue to blaze new trails for hard rock and metal today.Charvel today: San Dimas, Pro-Mod, and Signature guitars
Fans of the classic Superstrat style and its importance to modern music owe it to themselves to check out Charvel's 2016 line of electric guitars. The Charvel San Dimas, Charvel Pro-Mod, and Charvel signature models all pay tribute to Wayne's original designs with their neon paint jobs, fast necks, hefty bodies, high-output humbuckers, and Floyd Rose trem systems. From blazing leads to heavy riffing, Charvel's newest offerings prove the brand is just as relevant to aggressive music today as it was 30 years ago.
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