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guthrie using charvel guitars now??
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alexkhan



Joined: 10 Sep 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JohnnyFavorite wrote:
Well, it seems the Gear section of the Aristocrats page has been updated to feature the Charvel guitar.


Well, it is what he's using at the moment during a long tour of Europe. Just a reflection of that - nothing more, nothing less. This doesn't mean there's an official relationship with Charvel. He's playing a prototype to see how the guitar performs and holds up in real world settings of a demanding tour and I'm sure he'll come to a conclusion when the tour wraps up next week. A guitar gets subjected to a lot of abuse on such tours.
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JohnnyFavorite



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tried a Custom Shop Charvel and it was a very nice, well built guitar. The neck was a little too thin and wide for my taste, but these thing are all personal preference. I have to say I prefer the .80" - .85" Suhr Modern Elliptical shape with a 1 5/16" nut.

I'm sure Guthrie won't endorse a guitar, unless it meets all of his needs. I'm also sure that Charvel will make him any neck shape he requests.

Ed, do you happen to know if the Charvel has stainless steel frets?
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alexkhan



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JohnnyFavorite wrote:


Ed, do you happen to know if the Charvel has stainless steel frets?



Yes, Guthrie has always loved the feel of stainless steel frets. But he has no problem with nickel frets either. Also, he's not very particular about neck shapes at all. He likes 'em fat, medium, thin - whatever just feels good depending on the type of guitar.
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JohnnyFavorite



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Should the relationship with Charvel develop to the point that they're planning a production signature model, I'd hope that they include the stainless steel frets.
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Scias



Joined: 26 Jun 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't worry, most guitars at this level of competition will have SS frets unless they have a particular reason to choose the nickel based frets. Nickel doesn't last anywhere near as long, and just think of how frequently Guthrie plays as well. The guitar components needs to be incredibly robust for a guitarist like him, and he will know exactly what he needs.
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JohnnyFavorite



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sure they'd happily put 'em in Guthrie's own guitars, but I wonder whether they'd go to the same lengths with a production model.

Chris Broderick's own Custom Shop Jacksons have stainless steel frets, but his signature models, which are also built by the Jackson/Charvel Custom shop, doesn't list this fact in their spec. Makes me wonder if they've gone with regular nickel-silver frets as they're easier to work with.
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doctordragon



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just read THIS!!!
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JohnnyFavorite



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It doesn't look like an official Charvel Press release though. They've just used one of the photos that's been floating around on the internet for the last 3-4weeks. There's nothing on the Charvel site about it.

Andertons don't stock Suhr, but they are a very big Fender dealer, and Fender own Charvel. I think they're just trying to drum-up some interest in the possibility that they might be able to offer a product endorsed by Guthrie at some point in the future.

I wouldn't read too much into it until there's an official press release.
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alexkhan



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yup, nothing official about it.
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alexkhan



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know, having worked at the "mainstream" side of this industry again for over a year now after a decade in the "boutique" business, I've developed a different perspective about guitars and gear in general. I'm now dealing with huge factories that cover over a million square feet of manufacturing space with thousands of employees producing hundreds of thousands of guitars per month. That's about as opposite as things get from companies like Suhr, Tyler, Anderson, etc.

I'm now dealing with low-end brands like Squier, Rogue, Mitchell, etc. (we're talking $150~200 guitars here) as well as some midrange mainstream brands like Ibanez, Dean, Schecter, Yamaha, Fernandes, etc. and, to me, they're all good. My approach and attitude working with the companies that produce and sell these guitars is the same as when I was selling Suhrs and Tylers at Tone Merchants or as the marketing and sales guy at Suhr. It's about offering the very best quality at their respective price points.

The quality of $200 guitars these days is so much better than they were when I started at Fender back in '91. And I want to make them even better based on my experience at the boutique side of the business. I think it's really important to get the kids hooked on playing the guitar these days because the guitar is competing against the likes of the iPod touch, iPad and other electronic gadgets. Kids these days just don't have the patience or the self-discipline to sit down and practice with a focused mind when there are so many other distractions and instant gratifications.

My 12-year-old son is getting pretty decent on the guitar through my influence and guidance. He's lucky in that there are several Suhrs around the house for him to play anytime he wants. But he said he doesn't like the look of 'em and would rather have a Les Paul. Well, he's into Green Day and whatever else kids his age listen to or play at the church youth gathering every Sunday. He just bangs away on chords and plays some riffs but has very little interest in learning how to solo and play single-note lines.

Anyway, I get to see all kinds of guitars at every imaginable price point and lots of them are excellent guitars. I can be perfectly happy with a $500 guitar with decent pickups and a good fret job. I spend a lot of time working with factory managers, engineers, and workers on the finer points of what makes a good electric guitar that they would never have thought of before. It's really a matter of getting them to pay attention to the details and I'm making a lot of progress on that front.

My thoughts are that the entire industry needs to adopt the boutique mentality to pay attention to the details that make guitars at every price point a pleasure to play. It's hard because the guitar isn't really a part of their culture, but they're getting it little by little. They now understand the differences between ash and alder, rosewood and maple, alnico magnets and ceramic magnets, humbuckers and single-coils, etc. I have training classes at the factories to help the factory staff discern the qualities of the components and the sounds they produce.

I've even enlisted the help of a great local repair tech/luthier to consult over there on my future visits. Now that I've got the factories automated on various manufacturing processes to get the details right and consistent, I am now focusing on getting the playability and the feel right - which mainly has to do with good fret work. Now that I can't teach. I need someone who has done that with his own hands for many years on hundreds or even thousands of guitars.

Ultimately, guitars are what the player makes of it. Personally, after over two decades in this industry, I've come to see that obsession with gear just isn't healthy or detracts from the main purpose of picking up a guitar in the first place: making music and enjoying the process of being creative. And we all have to get more kids into making music these days instead of leaving them alone with an iPad or X-Box. I, for one, do not let my kids touch that stuff or watch any TV during the weekdays. But they can play the guitar and the piano as much as they want - after they finish their homework, of course. Smile
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Last edited by alexkhan on Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
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theblackcat



Joined: 28 Nov 2011
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

alexkhan wrote:
I, for one, do not let my kids touch that stuff or watch any TV during the weekdays. But they can play the guitar and the piano as much as they want - after they finish their homework, of course. Smile

Great approach, not just for their musical life, but their well being in general.
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alexkhan



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

theblackcat wrote:
alexkhan wrote:
I, for one, do not let my kids touch that stuff or watch any TV during the weekdays. But they can play the guitar and the piano as much as they want - after they finish their homework, of course. Smile

Great approach, not just for their musical life, but their well being in general.


Thanks. Yes, not so much for music but to have a more balanced social life and developing real-life interpersonal skills. I want them to appreciate and read real paper books, be able to write cursive handwriting on paper with a pencil or pen, debate with schoolmates and teachers about the important issues of the world, learn different languages, enjoy sports, and so many other things that one can do without electronic gadgets.

I really have mixed feelings about all the tech stuff that is consuming our lives these days - the Internet, smartphones and tablets, social media, video games, etc. Wherever I go in the world, I see that people everywhere are all glued to their smartphones and other gadgets. I walk through airports and they're all checking up on their Facebook updates or tweeting. I go to Seoul and everyone in the crowded subway trains or people walking down the streets all have their eyes buried in their gadgets.

Hey, I enjoy my gadgets too and absolutely understand the necessity of the technology in this day and age, but I do make a very conscious effort to just get away from it all for a while on a regular basis. It does sometimes make you wonder: are we all getting assimilated into the "Matrix" or the "grid"? They're supposed to be just tools to help us get things done and enjoy some media like e-books, movies, photos, etc. And the same applies to guitar gear. They're just tools for the musicians to make music and express themselves. In the end, they're all just means to an end of being creative and communicating with others through music.
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alexkhan



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To add to the commentary, our very small guitar industry is in a deep slump right now as I assess it on a biggest possible scale working with the biggest companies. The electric guitar market is especially ailing. It's actually been shrinking over the past several years while the acoustic guitar market has at least kept up with the population growth. The fastest growing segment of the fretted instruments has been the bluegrass instruments like banjos and mandolins. Sure, the bluegrass market is much smaller than the electric guitar market but, for whatever reason, it's growing at a healthy rate while sales of electric guitars keep going down.

When you consider the economics of getting a family junior started on the electric guitar, it quickly becomes apparent that it's a rather expensive proposition. The cheapest electric guitar rig with all the accessories needed to get started is going to set a family back a minimum of $300. Then the parents will have to invest in guitar lessons without any guarantee that the kid will stick with it beyond a year or two. One year of lessons at $25/half-hour per week will be another $1200. The parent may easily come to the conclusion that it makes more sense to just buy the child an iPod touch (or now an iPad mini) with about $50 worth of apps and be done with it.

The acoustic guitar is simple and self-sufficient. It's the ideal way to get a kid started and if he sticks with it, then perhaps he'll move onto the electric. I started my boy on a cheap acoustic and he stuck with it. He even performed the acoustic several times at school talent shows. What I found interesting and even alarming is that he tells me that there is only one other kid that he knows of who plays the guitar in his entire 7th grade. The kids all know of 'Gangnam Style' and know how to do the dance moves but the guitar seems to be viewed as quaint and uninteresting. It's a troubling thing to observe.

But that's the reality and it's not like the tiny guitar industry can fight the Apple juggernaut. Just to provide a perspective, the annual revenues of the entire global guitar industry - even at hundreds of thousands of guitars per month - amount to what Apple brings in as net profits over a week or two. Our industry is a very niche and specialized market - even at the $150~200 level for beginners. The kid who is interested in learning how to play an electric guitar in this day and age is special and must be treated as such with encouragement and quality products and services. After all, it'll be these kids who'll grow up to keep buying more high-end guitars as they improve and develop the passion for playing the guitar.
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JohnnyFavorite



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting insight, Ed.
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alexkhan



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I often think about the world that my boys are growing up in compared to when I was their age. What a vastly different world it is! My kids will never know of a world that didn't have the Internet. The music scene is so different too. There was a time when all of us were essentially into the same bands and artists with a big sense of community but those days seem like they're forever gone as well.

I think we all remember excitedly going to a record store to line up and buy the new vinyl album from some of our favorite bands and artists. Then we'd bring that home and listen intently for hours or days on end. We'd invite friends over to listen to the album together and share our opinions about what we liked about it or didn't, etc. Now we just download an album from iTunes and "share" our thoughts on FB.

It's virtually impossible to keep up with the global music scene. The good thing about the Internet is that it has allowed many talented musicians to make their music available that we would otherwise never hear about. The problem is that it becomes a major chore to sift through all that's out there to find what you really like. I primarily rely on a few friends (like Guthrie) in the music scene to get info on what may be interesting. I just don't have the time to search on my own.

Regarding Guthrie, there is one very promising development and it's that he really does seem to have a "universal" appeal in that he has dedicated and even fanatical fans in every corner of the world. And I guess this is primarily because it's instrumental music. It transcends languages and cultural barriers. From somewhere in China to South America, North Dakota to Sydney, and Russia to India, there are GG fans everywhere. You can't say that about regional pop stars who sell CD's in the millions in their home countries but are virtually unknown elsewhere.

I'm doing what I can to spread the word on Guthrie over in China. And it's harder than the rest of the world because there's no YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter over there. But little by little, I'm making progress. One thing I did on my last trip to China during a big training meeting at a factory about guitars in general was to play a video of Guthrie playing 'Orange Jam'. I thought that breaking up the monotonous talk about quality issues and woods and stuff like that to bored workers with the video would liven things up.

It was really interesting to observe how the workers were instantly brought to life watching the video and it was easy to see that they were absolutely mesmerized by Guthrie's playing. And virtually all of them don't know how to play and have very little interest in Western music. But, after the meeting, they lined up and asked if they can get a copy of the video and if I had more of such videos. So I rounded up a good representative selection with the help of Jonny Carpenter at JamTracksCentral and spread 'em around where I can. When I told Guthrie about this, it seems even he was amused by the thought of a bunch of Chinese guitar builders watching the video on a big projector screen. That was definitely the highlight of my last trip. Interesting times we live in... Very Happy
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