Brief Review of the Custom Carvin CT6M

By R. S. Rasnick

Musical instrument builder Carvin has a excellent reputation for producing excellent custom guitars at a decent cost. Alas, you won't see them in your nearby guitar store unless you happen to find a used instrument. Regardless, the good far outweighs the bad. With Carvin, you can buy a custom-made instrument that is truly one of a kind because it is made to your unique specifications.

The Carvin CT6M continues Carvin's reputation for quality. The craftsmanship, finish, playability, and sound rival the world's greatest guitars in every possible way. If you need a beautiful and versatile instrument that you can personalize to your own tastes at a fair cost, the CT6M certainly fits the bill. Let's see what makes this guitar so special.

We tested a Carvin CT6M with a dazzling flamed maple carved top. It came with a mahogany body and a set-in neck that we upgraded to 22 medium-jumbo stainless steel frets (nickel frets are standard). We kept the standard ebony fretboard, though we upgraded to the abalone block inlays. It came standard with locking tuners (Sperzel) and Carvin's Classic C22 pickups. We also invested in a set of Dunlop Straplocks.

We ordered our guitar with the standard Tune-O-Matic bridge with a string-through-body design, though you can order either a Wilkinson or Floyd Rose tremolo bridge as an option. For the finish, we chose a amazing triple-stained deep blue and a black back and sides.

We received the instrument with our requested .009 strings setup for low action. UPS transported the instrument all the way from San Diego to Dallas, and the instrument not only played great upon arrival but was tuned to concert pitch as well. The action was flawless, and the intonation was spot-on. We only needed to adjust the truss rod a touch. Like all Carvin necks, the CT6M was mega-fast, and was really one of the smoothest I've seen in a while.

I couldn't think of a single thing that Carvin could refine regarding playability. The stainless steel frets were beautifully polished and smooth.

We were able to get some very nice sounds out of the CT6M. Couple the Carvin C22 Classic pickups with the guitar's coil-tap functionality, and you've got an instrument that can imitate a Les Paul or a Strat very convincingly.

The stock C22 pickups gave us some awesome classic rock, blues, and country tones. The bridge pickup is hot and heavy and yielded some amazing rock and blues lead tones. The neck pickup lacks the depth one would desire for jazz, but it's still very versatile.

The Carvin CT6M also came with a very nice SKB-made case that provides a solid fit for the guitar. We had no need for Carvin's stellar customer service, since the guitar came to us perfect as expected, though I can say from personal experience that, when needed, Carvin's customer support comes through like a flash when you need them.

Carvin has made a world-class instrument with the CT6M, and with a price of just over $1,500 new (much less used), it's certainly affordable! - 31840

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