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The Charvel Page (Under Construction)


Click here for Database #2: secondary, newer, rarer, and more obscure Jacksons
Click here for Database #3: Grover Jackson and related
Click here for Database #4 Jackson Stars

More information on Jacksons and Charvels, how to decipher model names, list of non-guitar Charvel and Jackson products, reference materials, and links

Charvel Guitars: As with the Jacksons this database will focus on normal production guitars, but let’s get into some brief history. Wayne Charvel started “Charvel’s Guitar Repair” in 1974, doing repairs and refinishes on out-of-warranty Fenders. Later Charvel began to build guitars out of parts. Charvel was sold to Grover Jackson in 1978, yes before the 80s even started. Here is where the custom revamps of the Stratocasters come from, the ‘superstrats’ with humbuckers, wild graphics, and other fun stuff that made Charvel a top choice for rock and metal artists. As on the Jackson main page linked, an asterisk means more information is needed.

If you have some clue of the model names please ctrl+f search to find it quicker! **NEW** NOTE: The thumbnails open into bigger images. At least most of the time. The hyperlink leads to the same photo. Both will usually open in new tab

  1. Model Series
  2. Standard
  3. Classic
  4. Contemporary
  5. Fusion
  6. Professional
  7. Uncategorized
  8. Charvette
  9. Dinky Custom
  10. Super Dinky
  11. Soloist
  12. Telecaster
  13. Dinky, Soloist Bass
  14. CST
  15. CDS and CDX
  16. CBS
  17. Surfcaster
  18. Ark
  19. CDT
  20. CAR
  21. Exclaim
  22. Questar
  23. Artist and Signature models
  24. STX, ST, TE, TX, TTX
  25. CX
  26. CHS
  27. LS
  28. ATX
  29. Salute
  30. Acoustic
  31. San Dimas (older USA and MIJ)
  32. Rock Inn American Style Custom
  33. EM
  34. 2002 Imports
  35. USA Charvels 2005-
  36. MIJ Charvels 2007-08
  37. Desolation, San Dimas, So-Cal
  38. Pro-Mod, San Dimas, So-Cal and DK
  39. MJ Series
  40. Others, specials
  41. (More) Japanese Domestic Charvels

Color Chart: BK= black, MPR= metallic pearl red, BBS=blue black sunburst, MB= metallic black, PW=pearl white, STB=see through black, STP= see through purple, STRS=see through red sunburst, STA=see through amber, STBLS=see through blue sunburst, STG=see through green, STPS=see through purple sunburst, STBS=see through black sunburst, SW=snow white, PAP= pale purple, SBS=silver black sunburst, TSB=tobacco sunburst, WN=walnut, STW=see through white, MP=metallic purple, PS=purple sunburst, CS= cherry sunburst, GD=gold, BS=brown sunburst, BLC=(blue crackle?), PPC=platinum pearl crackle, LYC=(yellow crackle?)

Charvel Model Series:

These were built by the Japanese Chushin Gakki factory from 1986-88 (mostly. There’s some 1989s we’ll cover too). While highly revered now, the idea of Charvel making imports was divisive among fans. Now however most can agree they’re solid classic axes. There is a Model 1 through 8 guitars with and a Model 1 through 4 bass. See the personal collection Google Drive link for some Charvel basses I’ve personally owned.

Dating: You can determine year on a bolt-on by the neck plate and headstock logo. 1986 will lack a neck plate gasket and have ‘TM’ on the neck plate and ‘TM’ after headstock symbol. 1987 has the gasket, ‘TM’ on neck plate, and ‘R’ after headstock logo. 1988 has the gasket and ‘R’ on the neck plate and after headstock logo. If neck-thru the serial syntax is CXXXXXX. The X after the C reveals date. IE. C606073 is a 1986.

Jap. dom only.

Charvel Standard Series: The Japanese domestic version of the Model Series. 1989 at least.

Charvel Classic Series: Part of the new 1989 line up. New designs (decidedly Jackson inspired) and sleek Dinky style bodies (mostly). All bolt-on.

Charvel Toothpaste

Contemporary Series: A series of three guitar designs that are remakes of Model Series guitars. Also sporting reverse headstocks for guitars. The Eliminator bass is in this category but disregards the just mentioned rules. Its shape may have a connection to the Phil Collins Jackson Bass (Custom only) that appears in the same catalog.

Fusion Series: A series of 24.75 scale length guitars and normal scale but futuristically designed bass guitars.

Professional Series: The highest end guitars with neck-thru designs and other options.

Uncategorized: Charvels not in the above series but still before 1992.

Charvette: Charvel’s entry level guitars from 1989-91. Some models made in Japan, Korea, or both. Several guitars and one bass, often mimicking Charvel designs. Despite cheapness in some areas, they are known for being decent at the right price with a good fit and finish, especially on the MIJ made ones. Body woods vary from basswood or plywood.

Charvel Dinky Custom: Or 'Standard Series' Dinkys. Japanese domestic Charvels from 1989-91. As indicated by the name they have Dinky bodies, locking tremolos, and sometimes sharkfin inlays. Most documentation isn’t in English, please understand the missing info!

Charvel Super Dinky: The Japanese version of the Fusion Series guitars with added features. All feature the typical Fusion scalloped cutaway, also the scalloped heel joint. Bolt on.

Charvel Soloist: A soloist with Charvel on the headstock!

Charvel Telly: Telecaster styled Charvels. 1989.

Charvel Dinky and Soloist Bass: The Dinky Bass, not to be confused with the Jackson Super Dinky Bass (also Japan only) is a bolt on passive Concert Bass essentially. The Soloist Bass is a neck-thru active Concert bass. Hey, the Japanese naming scheme actually makes more sense! 1989 at least.

Charvel CST Series: Vintage Stratocaster style Charvels from 1991-2 (at least). Feature vintage tremolos, and ‘slant’ heel. Notably they have actual Fender Strat shaped headstocks.

Charvel CDS and CDX Series: Superstrats with a unique headstock. 1992. Feature the ‘slant’ heel. Bolt on.

Charvel CSB Series: A modern bass design with most featuring active controls and a 3x1 headstock design.

Surfcaster: A sort of retro style guitar from 1991 onward in various forms, typically featuring lipstick pickups and a semi-hollow body, along with bright finishes. Nut width 1 5/8. Thickness 1st fret 18mm, 12th 21mm.

Charvel Ark: Has a different body shape and lots of options.

CDT Series: Dinky shaped Semi-hollow guitars. Have the ‘slant’ heel.

CAR Series: Seems to be a localized version of the Jackson Dinky Professional STD. After all, they share the debut year of 1992. Feature scallop cutaway and back heel cut.

Exclaim Series: Jackson shapes but what’s that? A Charvel logo? All feature ‘slant’ cut.

Questar Series: This is a 24.75” scale guitar along the style of a modern Les Paul. The designers of this would go on to start Caparison Guitars in 1995.

Artist and Signature Models:

Charvel STX/ ST/ TE/ TX/ TTX: I lumped these together as they are all a series of guitars featuring a mix of traditional and modern features. In some markets these have strat headstocks.

Charvel CX Series: Meant to be more affordable versions of the STX and similar guitars. All bolt-on designs with guitars featuring the ‘slant’ heel. All have a natural headstock and some have a Fender style headstock. Gotoh tuners. Nut width 1 5/8. Thickness 1st 19mm, 12th 21mm

Charvel CHS: Even more affordable Charvels meant to be beginner instruments. Korean made(?)

Charvel LS: Traditional features like mahogany and set necks, along with TOM hardware. Seems to be taken from the design of the Jackson Infinity. MIJ. The LSX come a little later in 1995 and are for some reason shown only in the Acoustic catalog.

Charvel ATX: Thin line acoustic series also designed to reduce unwanted feedback. Single cut with rosewood bridge and Fishman Transducer under the saddles. MIJ

Charvel Salute Bass: Four and six string boutique looking basses found in the Japanese 1992 catalog. Not much known.

Acoustic Charvels: A collection of acoustics. 1992 to 1995ish.

Charvel San Dimas: Superstrats through and through starting 1995- USA guitars handmade in the Ontario California custom shop by the old crew.

San Dimas Imports: Elusive MIJ traditional Charvels. 1996.

1997 Charvel Rock Inn ‘American Style Custom’: High end toothpaste logo Charvels made with the Japan music store Rock Inn. Japan and some Europe markets only. MIJ at ChuShin Gakki. Consists of Jackson Soloist, Dinky, and most unexpectedly Stealth copies.

(Specs are needed. Image borrowed from Charvel USA/AlienXnation. See Links on JacksonExtra page for more.)

Charvel EM Series: 90s. Entry model Japanese domestic (?). Noteworthy for including two Surfcasters, a Jackson JJ copy, and a unique bass design.

2002 Charvels: Made in Japan

USA Charvels 2005 to newer: General specs and some of their options!

2007-08 Charvels: Higher end Chavels paired with Jackson Stars. MIJ

Charvel Desolation Series and other 2012 models: New school imports! (Well not really anymore..) Five styles, Soloist, Single Cut, Double Cut, Skatecaster, and Star and then two traditional models. Often featuring flame tops, abalone, an option of double locking or TOM and active circuitry.. except for the traditional ones. Jackson compound radius unless noted.

Charvel Pro-Mod (So-Cal, San Dimas, and DK): No nonsense model names. (See Extras page for deciphering) Feature ‘2-Piece Maple with Graphite reinforcement, Speed Neck with Rolled Fingerboard Edges’, and compound radius. DK24 models feature heel truss rod wheel. Expect lots of small variants, but relatively small spec changes.


San Dimas


MJ Series Charvels: MIJ 2021, onward, 24 frets-

More Japanese Domestic Charvels: 1996-99

Big Break Bass (3B)

Refinement: S-Zone

Refinement: U-Zone

BSD: Built-in Synthesizer Driver

Electric and Acoustics: Not mentioned in other 'Acoustic' Section

MyG.: Charvels under this

Other, Misc, or Special Charvels:

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