CHARVEL PRO-MOD SAN DIMAS STYLE 2

CHARVEL’S TAKE ON THE TELE IS SOME­THING GLO­RI­OUS TO BE­HOLD. HERE ARE THREE FINE – AND VERY DIF­FER­ENT – EX­AM­PLES. BY

Australian Guitar - - Reviews - PETER HODG­SON

It’s been great to see the re­turn of Charvel since the brand was ac­quired by FMIC in 2002. FMIC has very care­fully built the brand up to an in­ter­est­ing place in terms of prod­uct range: Charvel rep­re­sents the ‘Su­per­strat’ seg­ment, in­cor­po­rat­ing more mod­ern player fea­tures, hot­ter pick­ups and flashier fin­ishes on a some­what tra­di­tional frame­work, leav­ing Fender free to ex­plore the past and fu­ture of its clas­sic mod­els, and Jack­son to han­dle the more metal­ori­ented stuff.

For this is­sue, Fender Mu­sic Aus­tralia sent us three of their finest Charvels, each a take on the clas­sic Tele­caster shape but ap­proach­ing it from a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive. Charvel’s Tele­like line is the Pro­Mod Style 2, and it’s an in­cred­i­bly ver­sa­tile plat­form as we’ll see.

THE PRO-MOD SAN DIMAS STYLE 2 HH HT M ASH

Of the three gui­tars re­viewed here, this one is the most Tele­like thanks to its ash body and maple fin­ger­board. But it’s clearly not de­signed to be your grand­pappy’s Tele. It has Sey­mour Dun­can JB and ’59 hum­buck­ing pick­ups with a push­pull coil split, a No­Load tone con­trol that is ef­fec­tively by­passed when it’s on full mode, a Charvel HT6 hard­tail bridge that seems to take its cues from Hip­shot, and a trio of very player­friendly carves in the back: the Shred­der’s Cut heel, which takes a lit­tle wedge out of the block neck joint; a scal­loped lower back bout on the tre­ble cut­away that al­lows you to more com­fort­ably an­gle you hand for up­per­fret shred­ding; and a beveled back out­put jack which places the cord at an an­gle that en­sures it won’t get yanked out and can be eas­ily threaded through the strap.

Son­i­cally, this is a pow­er­ful gui­tar with lots of bite and de­tail. The JB is a very midrange­heavy pickup, but all that ash and maple en­sures there’s enough top end to cut through as well. The ’59 is a fat­ter, fuller­sound­ing neck pickup, which bal­ances well with the JB and sounds great when split. In fact, you might find your­self us­ing the split coil modes a lot more than usual on this gui­tar be­cause they sound quite Tele­like and ver­sa­tile. I put it down to the ex­tra high­end clar­ity. In terms of playa­bil­ity, this is much more of a mod­ern af­fair than a Tele, with a 12­to­16­inch com­pound ra­dius fin­ger­board that feels com­fort­able all the way up and down and han­dles ev­ery­thing from chunky chords to soar­ing leads.

THE PRO-MOD SAN DIMAS STYLE 2 HH FR QM

This gui­tar is sim­i­lar to the S tyle 2 HH HT M Ash in some ways, but it’s also very dif­fer­ent in some ways. Both have the same neck shape, com­pound ra­dius fin­ger­board, Sey­mour Dun­can hum­buck­ers and ad­di­tional back bev­el­ling, but the HH FR QM is much more of a shred­der’s ma­chine. It has a Floyd Rose dou­ble lock­ing tremolo, an alder body with quilted maple top , rose­wood fin­ger­board and a glossy fin­ish which seems to reign in the top end a lit­tle more and give the over­all sound a lit­tle more of a

com­pressed vibe.

The JB’s mids re­ally cut through here, mak­ing it a great lead gui­tar or a chunky-sound­ing rhythm beast. Har­mon­ics prac­ti­cally leap off the strings and jump at your throat. The clean tones aren’t quite as char­ac­ter­ful as on the Ash model, and you’ll prob­a­bly find your­self tend­ing to­wards the hum­bucker mode here just be­cause those un­re­strained mids and slightly smoother highs are so well-suited to high-gain tones. The ’59 works well here too but you might want to raise the ad­justable pole pieces a lit­tle to get a tad more tre­ble de­tail.

THE JOE DUPLANTIER SIG­NA­TURE PROMOD SAN DIMAS STYLE 2 HH

This sig­na­ture model for the Go­jira front­man is based on his USA-made sig­na­ture model, but pro­duced in In­done­sia to be more af­ford­able. De­spite the cheaper build, how­ever, it feels re­as­sur­ingly well-made with lots of cus­tom ap­point­ments, rather than just be­ing a Tele-style gui­tar with hum­buck­ers. For in­stance, it has the same heel and tre­ble cut­away carve as the other two Pro-Mods re­viewed here, as well as a 12-to-16-inch com­pound ra­dius ebony fin­ger­board, 22 jumbo frets, three-way tog­gle switch with a unique di­a­mond-shaped switch cap, com­pound ra­dius-com­pen­sated bridge with an­chored tail­piece, and Charvel lock­ing tuners.

The neck and white satin-fin­ished body are both made of nato – which has the ap­pear ance of roasted maple – help­ing to give it more of an up­mar­ket vibe. It also has Dun­can De­signed hum­buck­ing pick­ups, de­signed by Sey­mour Dun­can but pro­duced off­shore. These mod­els are based on the clas­sic JB and ’ 59.

Son­i­cally, this gui­tar is a lit­tle more open­sound­ing that the other two. It’s slightly more scooped in the mids and a lit­tle brighter in the top end, while still re­tain­ing much of the same ba­sic tone. And if you’re a fan of the clas­sic Go­jora ‘raked har­monic chord’ sound, this gui­tar will do it with ease. It’s great for at­mo­spheric cleans as well, but un­like the other two gui­tars, there’s no coil-split­ting here: what you see is what you get. And what you get is a very mus­cu­lar, yet de­tailed-sound­ing metal ma­chine with no fuss.

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