Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HSS FR E review – still the king in a world of Superstrats

A classy hot-rod from Charvel that offers high performance with a debonaire, classy look

Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HSS FR E in Pharoahs Gold
(Image: © Charvel)

Guitar World Verdict

An exemplary model of versatility and advanced performance, the Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HSS FR E epitomizes everything a Superstrat should be.


  • +

    The Seymour Duncan pickups are explosive – in a good way.

  • +

    Compound radius fingerboard.

  • +

    Excellent factory setup.

  • +

    Classy looks.

  • +

    Accessible price.


  • -

    Some players might want a louder finish from their hot-rod.

You can trust Guitar World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing guitar products so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Ever since I laid eyes on the back cover of 1979’s Van Halen II with Eddie Van Halen debuting his brand-new Charvel “Bumblebee” guitar, I said to myself, “What the hell is a Charvel? Because I’ve gotta have one!” 

Fast-forward many decades later and we now know Charvel has long since blazed an illustrious trail of producing and creatively refining what is commonly known to many as the “Superstrat” for players of all stripes, including marquee guitarists like Guthrie Govan and Jim Root. 

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Paul Riario

Paul Riario has been the tech/gear editor and online video presence for Guitar World for over 25 years. Paul is one of the few gear editors who has actually played and owned nearly all the original gear that most guitarists wax poetically about, and has survived this long by knowing every useless musical tidbit of classic rock, new wave, hair metal, grunge, and alternative genres. When Paul is not riding his road bike at any given moment, he remains a working musician, playing in two bands called SuperTrans Am and Radio Nashville.