was a banner year at Carvin, but not just because there were several
new guitar models. This was the 50th Anniversary of the company,
and would be commemorated with the DC400 Anniversary, as well as a
pair of new signature models and a new acoustic electric.
Two significant features
appeared in 1996. The most significant was the implementation of
alder as the standard body wood. Poplar had been used since
1990, and before that, it was maple. Also of note was the new
rounded body sides option. Most Carvin guitars shown from this
point on would have this option, although it was just that - an
The pictures and prices on this page
are from the Fall '96 catalog.
Click each picture for a larger
The DC127 (near right) and DC135
(far right), sported the rounded body sides in the catalog
photo. Less obvious, but still present was the new alder body
construction with maple neck. Also not obvious are the new
pickups - in this case, the C22 humbucker (the single coils on the
DC135 remained the S60s). Other options and features remained
the same as the previous year. The prices were the same as well,
starting at $529 for the DC127 and $559 for the DC135.
The catalog showed the DC127 in
tung-oiled koa with matching headstock and rounded body sides,
Wilkinson tremolo and gold hardware. The DC135 was
shown in Cherry Sunburst with alder neck, matching headstock and
rounded body sides, chrome hardware, and Wilkinson tremolo.
The TL60 was almost the same as
1995, all the way down to the price and the catalog photo, but it too
was also now constructed from alder. Base
price was $529, or $599 with Wilkinson tremolo. New optional
pickup configurations were added, including DC127-style, DC135-style,
and 3 H60 humbuckers
The catalog photo showed a TL60 in Jet
Black with chrome hardware, M22 bridge pickup and Wilkinson tremolo,
and in Tobacco Sunburst on quilted maple with gold hardware.
The SC90 also had the alder body
standard in 1996, and the new rounded body sides were also
available. Pickups were upgraded to the new C22N and C22T.
Prices dropped a bit; the SC90 with FT6 bridge
sold for $559, the SC90T with Wilkinson tremolo sold for $629, and the
SC90C, with Floyd Rose tremolo, sold for $669. The HC12
hardshell case was $88, but under the current sale, could be had for
free if $90 worth of options were ordered.
The catalog showed an SC90 in classic
sunburst with alder neck and body, rounded body sides and chrome
The DC200 and DC400 were
unchanged for 1996, with the exception of the alder wood body, new
C22N and C22T pickups, and optional rounded body sides. The
prices remained the same, as well. In this catalog, the DC200
wasn't even shown - the DC120 12-string was given it's
spot. The DC120 had been always mentioned on the DC200 page, but
it had been several years since one actually appeared in a
catalog. The price on the DC200 remained constant, at $659 ($729
with the Wilkinson, $769 with the Floyd Rose). The DC120
12-string remained as $769. The DC400 dropped in price, to $889
for the base model, or $959 and $999 with the Wilkinson or Floyd Rose
The inset photo showed the DC400
Anniversary model, which was a highly upgraded DC400, with 5-piece
maple/koa neck, flamed maple top and matching headstock, and 3 piece
alder/koa/flamed maple body. It was available as a $200 upgrade
to the DC400, DC400T or DC400C.
The catalog photo showed the DC120 in
Jet Black with rounded body sides, and the DC400 in Vintage Yellow on
flamed maple with Wilkinson tremolo and gold hardware.
Totally unique in design and
construction was the Holdsworth, designed in conjunction with
legendary guitarist Allan Holdsworth. It was available in two
variants, the H1 and H2. Everything about this
guitar was unique - the most obvious being the radical body, which was
made of alder, but was chambered similar to a semi-hollow
acoustic/electric. The neck was alder, as well, but was a
set neck, so as to allow the chambering of the body. The scale
length was 25½", a half-inch longer than other models.
Also new and unique was the 2X6 headstock shape, which was much more
compact than traditional 3X3 headstocks. Electronics consisted
on one or two Holdsworth H22 pickups (depending on the model; the H1
had a single pickup, the H2 had a pair), with single volume and tone
controls, and traditional plastic knobs. Base price on the H1
was $809, or $879 with Wilkinson tremolo, and the H2 was $859, or $929
with Wilkinson tremolo. The standard bridge was the tune-o-matic/stop
bar type that had been used on earlier Carvins.
The catalog showed the H1 in clear gloss
on alder with matching headstock and black hardware, and the H2
in Emerald Green on flamed maple with matching headstock and chrome
The AE185 got the new C22N and
C22T pickups to go with the F60 acoustic pickup, but other wise, they
were unchanged for 1996. The base price of the
AE185 remained $799, plus $88 for the HC12 vintage tweed hardshell case.
The catalog showed an AE185 in classic
white with gold hardware and coil splitters and phase switch, and an AE185 with clear gloss
flame koa with matching headstock, body binding, coil splitters and
phase switches and black hardware.
The AC175 remained the same, including
mahogany neck and body, 24-fret ebony fingerboard and ebony bridge,
and the price remained the same at $699. New for 1996 was the
AC175's big brother, the AC275. This model was similar to
the AC175 in construction materials and options, but had a body that
was 1½" thicker. Base price on the AC275 was $769.
The catalog showed an
natural spruce top, gold hardware, and inline headstock. The
AC275 was shown in Classic Sunburst on flamed maple with body binding
and chrome hardware.