Okay, two of the guitars I recently won on eBay have arrived.
I’m disappointed. I should have known better. They only had one picture, distant, and not exceptionally clear. It almost looked like a stock photo. When a seller does that, I usually look for a really good description, and if not, I don’t bid at all. And it was clear the seller didn’t understand guitars, since they referred to it having a “kahlerpickup” (Kahler makes bridges/tremolos…it had a Kahler Pro tremolo bridge).
But Carvins are good guitars, right?
When it arrived, the strings were rusty, the frets are discolored with minor corrosion, the tremolo is badly corroded so you can hardly see the gold color, one of the pots is loose (easy fix), no tremolo arm (I expected that), missing screws under the snap-closed locking nut (need to research this for replacements), but worse of all: there is a crack in the neck near the body, and parallel cracks in the body near the bridge…right where the body wings would attach to the neck-through-body.
I plugged it in, and it had a decent sound, but I was mainly doing a function check. I wouldn’t want to really put it through its paces until I get a trem arm for it and get it all cleaned up.
I’ll post pictures later.
I hope it can be fixed. I would be willing to spend another $300 fixing it up, because it should be an awesome guitar when in good shape. I guess this explains why no one else bid on it.
I could probably push the issue and get my money back from PayPal for “not as described”. But I don’t want to this time. Why?
1) I would still lose the $35 to ship it back, and have absolutely nothing to show for it
2) It is my fault for not being more careful
3) If I spend another $200-300 fixing it, it isn’t throwing good money after bad, it would just end up getting it back to new condition for approximately what a 1987 or 1988 Carvin DC-150 would cost now if it were in new condition.
4) If it fixes up as well as I think/hope, I could end up selling both the JB Player and the Carvin Bolt, for about what it cost to buy and fix up this one. Although, if I’m going to keep this one, I might want to keep the Bolt just to have the beginnings of a Carvin collection. And the Bolt is a great guitar, with good action, good sound, and a nice-looking appearance.
And the Hamer Korean Import Californian? Well, it looks about as good as the pictures indicated, and it is functionally fine. The neck is much thicker than my Hamer Slammer Series Californian. The pickup sound is good. Someone said that the Korean imports with just “Hamer” on the headstock are newer than the Korean imports with “Hamer Slammer Series”, and thus the ones with just “Hamer” are slightly lower quality. That didn’t make sense to me in understanding the evolution toward the current Slammer guitars (which had one penultimate stop with “Slammer by Hamer” on the headstock), but after getting this one, I can see where it makes sense. The quality/workmanship is just one step below that of the Hamer Slammer Series Cali. The high E string, for instance, is very close to the edge of the fretboard and slides off the edge way too easily. I may need to see what I can do to fix this.
But for $235 + shipping, I feel very pleased with it. It may be a less-played guitar in my stable, perhaps, but it satisfies my need for a special-looking guitar. If I ever outgrow that, I’ll end up selling it, because it isn’t as good as the red, Hamer Slammer Series Cali, nor is it as good as my Vandenberg. But I won’t be able to know for sure until I clean it up and play on it for a while.
The XT Cali (which really doesn’t fit in the Cali series, IMHO: it doesn’t have the slant fretboard that goes to 27, it doesn’t have the single coil neck position pickup, and it doesn’t have a trem) should be here soon. It might be a decent shredder…with 24 frets and 2 humbuckers, it basically duplicates the Hamer Stellar 1 and the Ibanez. Well, the Ibanez is going to get sold. The Stellar 1 is prettier than this XT Cali, but I’ll probably let sound and feel be the deciding factors, rather than just looks alone. The red Cali and the XT SATF seem to satisfy my need for beauty + sound + playability. The black Cali can’t really be considered for looks since it is just a plain black, but we’ll tentatively include it because I did buy it and want to keep it for the boomerang inlays on the neck, and won’t consider selling it unless I ultimately determine it has poor playability, to the point it detracts too much from the enjoyment of playing and owning.
Slowly but surely, I’m starting to whittle down the guitars I want and need. It took lots of trading and trying to find out which guitars really hold my favor. It looks like the DC-150 might be one of them, despite its condition making that favor completely unwarranted.