A Charvel Collector's View

I grew up in Washington DC and spent a lot of time perusing places like Veneman Music or Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center throughout junior high & high school. I'd drool over the Charvels I could never begin to afford. All my heroes of the "Metal Years" played these things at one time or another: Gary Moore, Jake E. Lee, Vivian Campbell, Warren DeMartini, George Lynch, EVH, etc. I think the fact that these guys played the guitars and the reality of them being out of my reach at the time all led to the collection visible on this site and the many guitars that I have bought over the years since that time. Like so many others who share my story, there came a time when the money, opportunity, and willingness was there to make up for lost time.

These guitars exemplified the 80's, where everything seemed to be fast, furious, and flashy. It is interesting to note that Charvel guitars were not exclusively "Heavy Metal" guitars as vintage dealers would have you think. Players such Allen Holdsworth, David Gilmour, Scott Hendersen, and other non-metal types also used them.

The focus of my collecting efforts over the years has been what I missed out on in high school. With a few exceptions most of the Charvels I have represent what many players associate with the name "San Dimas Charvel" which are the four digit serial number series of guitars manufactured between November of 1981 and February, 1986. I originally started out buying anything I could find that was U.S.A. Jackson or Charvel. Over the years that changed somewhat as I went along.

Most of my guitars were bought in the early to mid 1990s. At the time Charvel and Jackson guitars were very inexpensive and the music industry was washing its hands of heavy metal and everything associated with that genre. These guitars are inevitably linked to the syle of music that made them famous! Therefore, these guitars will always have a cult sort of status. I do not believe they will ever be universally accepted as being desireable the way vintage Fender and Gibson guitars are. However, there is a fairly active collector market for these guitars and beginning in the late 1990s, I started to see typical "for-profit"guitar brokers, dealers, and collectors purely interested in future gains move into the Charvel game. However small the collector market, they do command decent prices on ebay and among the small band of disciples - whatever their motives.

I have never been able to play any other brand of guitar. I started on Charvel guitars in the 80s and have attempted to migrate to other brands. I ordered a custom Paul Reed Smith Custom to my specs, bought a top of the line Tom Anderson, have owned 4 Les Pauls, scores of Kramers and BC Rich guitars and quite simply never found anything that matches the feel of a Charvel to me. I play these guitars every day either at home, at band practice, or at some beer bar somewhere. SanDimasCharvel.com is not intended to be a show-off site, but simply to share information and develop relationships with other owners, players, and enthusiasts of San Dimas Charvel guitars. Some time in the late 1990s I also began exclusively focusing on Charvel guitars. I rarely play neck-through guitars and really prefer the oiled neck, bolt-on Charvels. This was a sign of things to come as far as reassessing how many and what kind of guitars I would want to own going into the future.

In the mid-2000s, I began the process of selling and trading off the majority of my guitar collection. At some point I came to the realization that owning so many guitars is more burdensome than it is worth. With family and professional priorities my outlook on collecting and accumulating things changed drastically since the time of being a swinging single guy with disposeable income during my ".com" days!

During the time I have been involved with these guitars and the Charvel community at large, I have had many interesting experiences and met many engaging people. I have had well over 100 of these guitars pass through my hands and spent a lot of money in the process. However, I have enjoyed it for the most part and am glad Fender has decided to continue the heritage of great rock n' roll guitars for the next generation.