“The broken-in feel of an instrument with plenty of playing miles on it”: Charvel brings relic’d and nitro finishes to its standard range for the first time

Charvel's Pro-Mod Relic San Dimas Style 1 model
(Image credit: Charvel)

Charvel has unveiled five new additions to its Pro Mod and MJ series, including two 24-fret Pro-Mod Dinky builds and three new Japanese models. Both are notable for different reasons. 

First up, the Pro-Mod Relic San Dimas Style 1 catches our eye for bringing relic’ing to the firm’s core line-up. It seems that Evergrey guitarist Henrik Danhage’s signature model was the test bed for the technique and now it’s been rolled out in the Pro-Mod series.

Paired with the fingerboard's comfy rolled edges and a neck finished with hand-rubbed urethane gel, the result, says Charvel, is “The broken-in feel of an instrument with plenty of playing miles on it, and plenty more to go.”

The build is based around an alder San Dimas body, with a graphite-reinforced maple neck and a pau ferro fretboard. The neck looks pretty speedy, too, with a 12-16” compound radius on the fingerboard, plus those rolled edges.  

There are two direct-mounted Seymour Duncan humbuckers – offering a classic, if high output, pairing of a JB TB-4 and ’59 SH-1N – plus a three-way selector switch and Floyd Rose 1000 tremolo.

Unlike the gloss finishes found elsewhere in the Pro-Mod range, this relic uses a nitrocellulose lacquer as a base for the artificial aging process, which – as far as we can tell – is another first for Charvel (at least outside of its US Custom range). 

Expect the Pro-Mod Relic San Dimas Style 1 to set you back $1,599.

Elsewhere in the Pro-Mod line-up you can’t help but spot the new finish options for the DK24 HH. The caramelized maple neck variant is now available in Malibu Sunset ($1,299) and Bubblegum Pink ($1,249) and, at the other end of the scale, there’s a moody new ebony fingerboard option ($1,199).

Meanwhile, Charvel’s top non-US-made line, the MJ Series, has added a trio of HSS configured electric guitars. These builds celebrate the Japanese craftsmanship that shaped much of the brand’s ’80s output, by, well… using Japanese craftsmanship. 

Until now, if you wanted an HSS setup you were limited to Rick Graham’s MJ signature model. While that’s a fetching construction in itself, 2024’s arrivals give us a pair of San Dimas builds (with a choice of Metallic Red finish and maple fretboard, or Satin Black with ebony fretboard), both of which will retail for $1,699.

Then there’s a debut in the MJ range for Charvel’s So Cal body, again in HSS format ($1,599) and featuring the same pickup set as its San Dimas siblings (a combo of a Seymour Duncan JB TB-4 in the bridge and two Flat Strat single coils in the middle and neck positions).

Elsewhere, all three of the new MJ HSS models feature maple speed necks finished with hand-rubbed oil [sounds relaxing - Ed.], plus rolled fingerboard edges, Gotoh Double-Locking Tremolos, and Gotoh tuners.

If you’re not familiar with Charvel, you may be wondering what the difference is between the So Cal and San Dimas, and the answer lies in the So-Cal’s Fender-style scratchplate, which sees the pickups and electronics front-loaded, like a Strat, as opposed to the rear-loaded format of the San Dimas.

For more information on all the new Pro-Mod and MJ models, head to Charvel.

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.