NAMM 2020: We'd expect absolutely nothing less than wall-to-wall shredability from the electric guitar hot-rodders extraordinaire, and this year Charvel sure doesn't disappoint with a suite of high-performance signature heavy hitters for the likes of Angel Vivaldi, Joe Duplantier, and that shy and retiring six-stringer, Satchel from Steel Panther.
And their 2020 Winter NAMM rollout is packed with high-spec non-signature models for any of us to express our own identity on; guitars such as the Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 1, the quintessential souped up S-style, or the Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 2, which takes what could have been a Telecaster once upon a time but has been weaponized now for high-gain, high-speed shenanigans.
Let's do the celebrity bit first. Where better to start than Satchel and his signature Pro-Mod DK. For the avoidance of doubt it is finished in Satin Purple Bengal or Satin Slime Green tiger stripe, and sees a solid alder Dinky body with a little more aggressive contouring and a bolt-on maple, graphite-reinforced neck that's been treated with hand-rubbed satin urethane. A compound radius 12"-16" maple fingerboard and 22 jumbo frets should give your leads a bit of zip and stay comfortable at the same time.
Pickups-wise, the Satchel Pro-Mod DK has two open-coil Fishman Fluence Classic humbuckers, both sharing a master volume control with a push-pull function to select between old-school PAF tone and something a little hotter, more contemporary. You won't want for a tone control. You might not even need a bank loan. $1,399.99 is decent money for this kind of guitar.
Joe Duplantier's Signature Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 2 is a little more gentle on the retinas but the Gojira man's style requires plenty of firepower under the hood. Think of it as a monster T-style, with a mahogany body and mahogany bolt-on neck, ebony fingerboard, a Joe Duplantier Signature DiMarzio Fortitude humbucker in the bridge and a DiMarzio PAF 36th Anniversary 'bucker in the neck, and a Charvel fully adjustable radius compensated bridge and anchored tailpiece to keep things solid. At $899.99, that looks good value.
Then we've got Angel Vivaldi's Signature DK24-7 Nova – a seven-string basswood Dinky bodied S-style with a custom-profile bolt-on maple neck, a classic pairing of a DiMarzio The Tone Zone 7 in the bridge and an Air Norton in the neck. A Gotoh Custom 7-String 510 tremolo offers some wobble. Of course, we've seen this before but having a Satin Black option is a nice contrast to the Satin Sage Green DK24-7. Price $1,299.99.
Charvel's DK Series is named for Jackson's Dinky body shape. Slightly smaller than your average S-style, it came to prominence in the early 1990s. This year sees a number of additions to the DK series, with all sharing the S-style template, the same compound 12"-16" radius fingerboard and ultimately the same hot-rodded vibe.
The Pro-Mod DK22 SSS 2PT CM is – as the name suggests – a triple singlecoil version with a two-point tremolo and a caramelized maple neck and fretboard. Oh, but it's cheating with regards the pickups, with the bridge housing a Seymour Duncan Hot Rails humbucker, with Seymour Duncan Custom Flat Strat pickups in the middle and neck positions. It has a very Strat-esque five-way blade selector, not to mention a licensed Stratocaster headstock (no biggie, Fender is the parent company). Available in three finishes, there's something very Iron Maiden about this setup, and it'll set you back $1,049.99.
Other additions to the DK series include the DK24, which offers a 24-fret version of the Dinky S-style and offers a few more options regarding tonewoods, hardware and pickups. There are hardtail, two-point tremolo and Floyd Rose 1000 Series double-locking tremolo models.
The Pro-Mod DK24 HSS FR M falls into the latter category and comes in a Specific Ocean finish. It is equipped with Seymour Duncan pickups – a Full Shred SH-10B humbucker in the bridge, and two Flat Strat singlecoils in neck and bridge. Like all in this series it has a 12"-16" compound radius fingerboard, with rolled edges a real premium touch, and has an alder body. It is priced $1,049.99.
The Pro-Mod DK24 HSS FR M Poplar is a variation on the theme, and is as above except with a poplar burl top in Purple Sunset finish. If you like poplar, well, it's gonna cost you... Yeah, another 50 bucks. This is priced $1,099.99.
The big decision over the Pro-Mod DK24 HH is whether or not to plump for the mahogany body with figured walnut top in Natural finish, which has a hardtail, the gold finish nicely contrasting with the wood stain, or to go with the quilt maple top in Dark Amber, which has a Floyd Rose 1000 Series tremolo. Both have the Seymour Duncan Full Shred™ SH-10B in the bridge pickup with a direct-mount and more vintage-voiced Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro APH-1N in the neck. It's $999.99 for the quilt maple, $949.99 for the figured walnut.
There is also an ash-bodied option, finished in open-grain Red Ash, with a two-point tremolo and an HSS Full Shred/Flat Strat/Flat Strat pickup configuration. That is priced $1,199.99.
The Pro-Mod So-Cal 1 sees Charvel take a trip back through time. Charvel says the inspiration for these guitars dates back to the 1970s, to the original Charvel Superstrats, and that "the sleekly contoured So-Cal is as comfortable to play as your favorite overstuffed armchair." Well, here's hoping there isn't a three-day-old slice of pizza underneath the pickguard on these.
Here we've got a similar situation to the DK Series with a number of similarly spec'd variations on a theme, with the 22-fret So-Cal 1 available in four different finishes, each sharing the alder body and bolt-on maple neck construction. The 12"-16" compound fingerboard radius is applied across all models, so too the pickup pairing of Seymour Duncan Distortion humbuckers in neck and bridge positions, three-way pickup selectors and master volume and tone controls with and push-pull coil-splits so there's some singlecoil spank on tap.
Naturally, the frets are jumbo. There are Floyd Rose 1000 Series double-locking tremolos on all models. And the one big spec deviation is that you can get it with an ebony fretboard. Conveniently, there are truss rod adjustment wheels at the heel-mount, so neck tweaks are a cinch. These are all priced at $899.99.
The Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 2 performs a similar trick with a T-style body and reversed licensed Telecaster headstock. The options here include a hardtail bridge ($899.99) or a two-point tremolo ($999.99). Each guitar has 24 jumbo frets, a 12”-16” compound radius, a caramelized maple fingerboard, an ash body, and multi-voiced Fishman Fluence Open Core PRF-COC pickups – as with the Satchel, toggle between PAF and hot-rodded tone.
The Pro-Mod San Dimas Style I rounds out Charvel's Winter NAMM 2020 launch. Another S-style, each with dual humbuckers and Floyd Rose 1000 Series double-locking tremolos, the San Dimas Style 1 has a stripped-down vibe. There's no pickguard; that goes some way towards that.
Pickup options include the perennial classic Seymour Duncan JB-1 in the bridge and '59 pairing, and the Full Shred and Custom Alnico II pairing on the ash-bodied San Dimas. That ash a sandblasted Old Yella finish, as seen on some of Jackson's 2020 Soloists and PRS SE's limited edition sandblasted series. Otherwise, the finishes are solid colors, the bodies solid alder. Fingerboards are a very Charvel 12"-16" compound radius, with choices of maple or ebony.
The Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 1 retails for $849.99, with $899.99 for the ash-bodied model.
See Charvel for more details.
Check out our NAMM 2020 hub for more hot gear news.