1987 was a busy year for Carvin, but
despite all the changes, it was really just a dress rehearsal for
1988. One model, the DC100, was retired, and two new models were
introduced. All guitars, except the DN series, got new
photography to show off the various new options and features.
There were new pickups, including stacked humbuckers and single coils,
and all Carvin instruments benefited from a new graphite nut, which
replaced the brass nuts that had been used for many years. Carvin
also began using their own line of tuners, replacing the Schaller
tuners that had been used since the 70's. Lastly, the Kahler locking nut mechanism was replaced with one that
didn't need an allen wrench to loosen.
Click each picture for a larger
The back cover of the '87 catalog
featured one of the new models, the Ultra V. As in 1986, the
catalog was printed on high-quality paper, which showed off the new
colors vividly, and the cover itself was heavy card stock.
The Ultra V was a
totally unique instrument. It took some design cues from the
V220, as well as the Gibson Flying V and Jackson RR models, but had a
unique and classy shape that still looks fresh today.
The body and neck was constructed from
eastern hardrock maple, as were all Carvins of the era, and the ebony
fingerboard way inlaid with standard mother-of-pearl block
inlays. Electronics consisted of an M22 in the neck position,
and an M22SD in the bridge position, with single volume and tone
controls and 3-way pickup selector. The Kahler Pro tremolo was
standard. Base price of the Ultra V was $569. Koa wood was
available for $40. Pearl finishes were available for $20.
Black chrome hardware was $20, and gold hardware was $40.
Dual-to-single coil and phase switching could be added for $30.
It was even available as a lefty for an additional $30. The HC19
hardshell case was $79.
Also new for 1987 was the DC135,
shown at left in Pearl White. This guitar was based on the DC200
body style, but had a single M22SD in the bridge position, and two new
H11 stacked humbuckers. The electronics package was rounded out
by a single volume and tone control, and 3 mini on/off switches for
each pickup. The FTB6 bridge was standard, as was MOP dot inlays
and chrome hardware. The base price was $429.
Shown with the DC135 was the DC125,
which was in it's 2nd year of production. This was the first
model to show off the new pearl finishes; in this case, Platinum Pearl
Pink (which was called Hot Pearl Pink in 1986). It was unchanged
from 1986, with a base price of $329.
The same options were available for
either of these models. The pearl finishes were an additional
$20. Black chrome hardware was $20, and gold hardware was
$40. The Kahler Flyer tremolo was $70, and the Kahler Pro
tremolo was $120. The HC11 hardshell case was $60.
With the departure of the DC100, only
the DC150 (left) and upscale DC160 (right) remained in
this style. The DC160 also was relegated to a single page,
versus the two page spread that had been used since 1982.
Features and options were the same as previous years, but the new pearl
finishes were not offered on these models. The DC150, with maple
or ebony fingerboard, had a base price of $429. The DC160 had a
base price of $679. Other options, such as black or gold
hardware, and Kahler Pro tremolo, were the same price as other models.
The DC200 Koa (left) was
unchanged, and retained the same $469 price with dot inlays and
FTB6 tailpiece, $519 price with abalone block inlays and FTB6 tailpiece,
$589 price with dot inlays and Kahler Pro tremolo, or $639 price with block inlays
and Kahler Pro tremolo. The only options were gold hardware or
The DC200 was also unchanged for
1986, but did get a new catalog photo showing the Candy Apple Red and
Deep Pearl Blue finishes. The base price with standard FTB6
tailpiece was $479, and the Kahler Pro-equipped model was $599.
It was also available as the DC120
12-string guitar, which had a base price of $499.
The V220 was unchanged
for 1987, and used the same catalog photo. Base price on the V220
remained $399. The price with the Kahler Pro tremolo dropped to $519,
and the price with the Kahler Flyer was $469. Koa
wood was an additional $40, and curly maple was an additional $125.
Black hardware was $20, and gold
hardware was $50. The new pearl finishes were $20. The HC19 hardshell case was
The SH225 (left)
got a new catalog photo
for 1987, but was otherwise unchanged.
The SH225 increased in price to $649 for
the basic model, in black, white or clear. The SH225S, with
stereo wiring and coil and phase switches, dropped to $699. The
Kahler Pro tremolo was an additional $120, gold hardware was an
additional $40, and black hardware with black pickups was an
additional $20. The HC18 form-fitted hardshell case was $79.
The DN612 and DN640
(right) were unchanged for 1987, but the base prices increased to $839 for either model.
The catalog photo was the same as had been used since 1982.
1987 catalog didn't have as much space dedicated to endorsers as in
previous years, but there were still plenty of artists who played and
endorsed Carvin gear, including Vicki Peterson of the Bangles (left) and
Steve Vai (right).