Hello there and welcome back to yet another guitar review! This time we will be looking at one of my latest guitar purchases, the Charvel Pro Mod DK24 in my favourite finish colour, Mystic Blue! In this Charvel Pro Mod DK24 review, as always I will be providing so many details details about this instrument and share my review as well as a sound test and demo video.
Table of Contents
Charvel Guitars was founded in the 1970s by Wayne Charvel in Azusa, California. After having worked at Fender for three years in the early 1970s, Wayne Charvel started his shop under Charvel’s Guitar Repair in 1974. His shop quickly built a strong reputation among professional guitarists.
After a while, Asian manufacturers started copying Charvel’s parts and selling them at very low price tags, he decided to assemble guitars with the help of Grover Jackson. Unfortunately, Charvel Guitars went bankrupt and Wayne Charvel sold the company to Grover Jackson in 1978.
Grover Jackson moved the company to a new location and started manufacturing guitar bodies with the new structure. He would sell these bodies to Mighty Mite and DiMarzio and invest in the company to make guitar necks as well. Companies such as B.C. Rich, SD Curlee and Music Man approached Charvel to manufacture various wood guitar parts and he then proceeded to advance his company further and grow the Charvel brand.
In the late 1970s, Charvel was the brand that manufactured Fender Stratocaster-inspired guitar designs with unique features such as a single humbucker pickup, creative and edgy graphics, unfinished maple necks and various innovative ideas.
In 1980, Grover Jackson met Randy Rhoads who just joined Ozzy Osbourne’s band and they started working together on a new guitar design. As the guitar they co-designed was pretty edgy with a V-shaped body and neck-thru construction, the company wanted to separate this from Charvel’s catalogue and branded it under Jackson Guitars. This model then would be known as the Rhoads model electric guitar that we all know today!
Charvel and Jackson Guitars kept manufacturing guitars in Glendore, California until 1986. However, as a part of the licensing agreement with IMC, the manufacturing facilities had to be moved to Ontario, California and USA-built Charvels had to be stopped.
As the Charvel Guitars became very successful, the company started producing popular configs in Asia as well. In 1989, Grover Jackson sold Charvel/Jackson to the Japanese manufacturer IMC who released guitars exclusively in the Japanese market from 1986 to 1991.
In 2002, the Charvel Guitars brand was reborn under Fender Musical Instruments Corporation and Fender also acquired Jackson and started US-made series under San Dimas models to capture the original essence of the Charvel Guitars back in the day!
Fender now offers several models in different price segments both more affordable lines (made in Mexico) and boutique lines that are all made in Fender’s factories
Why Buy Another Guitar?
Well, because we can! 🙂 As a guitar addict, I constantly check out the market and try to get more guitars. The main reason for me to collect is that I want to experience as many guitars as possible! However, my initial trigger for this purchase was my favourite guitar finish colour, Mystic Blue!
After I started researching Charvel DK24, I was immediately blown away by the specs and the components used on this instrument so I got myself one from Thomann.
Charvel Pro Mod DK24 HSH 2PT CM MB Features
Charvel Pro Mod DK24, more specifically DK24 HSH 2PT CM MB is an extremely affordable super-Strat with excellent features and specs! The model name sounds very complicated at first, but they aimed to distinguish the unique features of each model under this broad guitar series.
DK stands for Dinky body that we all love (think about Jackson Dinky model), HSH is for the pickup config, 2PT is possibly the 2-point tremolo, CM is Caramelised Maple and MB is for Mystic Blue finish!
One can easily classify DK24 as a Super-Strat as this model features a classic Strat design with modern and edgy features. It has an alder body with a caramelised maple neck with a Fender Stratocaster headstock. Note that, as Charvel is owned by Fender, they can use Fender headstock on their guitars without any legal issues.
As opposed to the classic Strat design, DK24 has a lot more modern touches. The neck has 24 jumbo frets and a very cool-looking carve that allows easy access to the high register.
It has a bolt-on construction with 4 bolts without a neck plate. Also, the truss rod adjustment is a modern one named the “heel-mount wheel“. It has a single string tree just like on many Fender Stratocaster designs that you may come across.
The pickups are very interesting. Fender and Charvel did not hesitate to spend the money on these excellent pickups. You have Seymour Duncan Full Shred on the bridge, SSL6 flat (this is the same pickup with SSL5 featuring a flat design rather than a staggered one) in the middle and an Alnico Pro II APH-1 in the neck position. These pickups are controlled by a 5-way blade switch with a classic pickup selection config. Advertisement - Please click these ads and support the website
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Charvel DK24 also features a single volume and no-load tone pot. Interestingly, they used a branded volume pot, EVH® Bourns® Low Friction Pot. It also comes with a Gotoh 510 tremolo system with a huge trem block. The hardware is all gold-coloured and looks so awesome!
There’s also another interesting design decision that they made and implemented an output jack at the back of the instrument. Before I give you my crazy detailed review, let’s first have a look at the tech specs below.
Charvel Pro Mod Pro Mod DK24 Tech Specs
|Bridge Pickup||Seymour Duncan® Full Shred™ TB-10|
|Middle Pickup||Seymour Duncan® Custom Flat Strat® SSL-6 Single-Coil|
|Neck Pickup||Seymour Duncan® Alnico II Pro™ APH-1N|
|Pickup Color||Flat Black|
|Controls||Volume (500K EVH® Bourns® Low Friction Pot), No-Load Tone|
|Pickup Switching||5-Position Blade|
|Bridge||Gotoh® Custom 510 Tremolo|
|Tuning Machines||Charvel®-Branded Die-Cast Locking|
|Control Knobs||Stratocaster®-Style Skirt|
|Neck Material||Caramelized Maple|
|Neck Construction||Bolt-On with Graphite Reinforcement|
|Neck Finish||Hand-Rubbed Satin Urethane|
|Neck Shape||Speed Neck with Rolled Fingerboard Edges|
|Scale Length||25.5" (64.77 cm)|
|Fingerboard Radius||12"-16" Compound Radius (304.8 mm to 406.4 mm)|
|Fingerboard Material||Caramelized Maple|
|Number of Frets||24|
|Nut Material||Graph Tech TUSQ XL|
|Nut Width||1.6875" (42.86 mm)|
|Position Inlays||4mm Pearloid Dot|
|Truss Rod Nut||Heel-Mount Truss Rod Adjustment Wheel|
|String Trees||Fender® Standard String Guide|
|Headstock||Licensed Fender® Stratocaster®|
|Neck Plate||None - 4-Bolt Sculpted Heel|
|Strings||Nickel Plated Steel (.009-.042 Gauges)|
|Other Features||Luminlay® Side Dots|
Charvel Pro Mod Pro Mod DK24 Review
As I mentioned in the beginning, I got this guitar purely for the aesthetics. However, the specs hit me harder! Charvel Pro Mod DK24 retails around EUR1000 in the EU and I think it’s probably the highest value/money guitar I have ever known for a long time!
Fender and Charvel made a lot of great decisions on this instrument and used top-notch components and materials. This guitar is made in Mexico and I think this is also another reason to trust the build. During my service in the musical instrument industry, I was testing dozens of guitars every day.
Back in 2014 to 2016, I had the chance to test dozens of Mexico-made Fender Stratocasters. There were almost no issues whatsoever with these builds and I believe it was a golden era for affordable guitars. Because the guitar prices were not that crazy back in the day, you could easily get an excellent instrument at very affordable price tags.
Having known that, I immediately had the confidence to go for this series. However, I spotted some mediocre craftsmanship and will provide you with all these crazy details here! I’d bet that you won’t be able to find any reviews out there talking about all these details! Yet another reason to stick to my blog!
Feels Like Made in Urgency!
First of all, the guitar came in with completely loosened strings and was covered with dust and debris from the manufacturing facilities! The guitar looked as if it was hanging on a stand for a week without any human touch. As you can see from the image below, this was out of the box state!
There were also some leftover glue-like particles on the body as well as on the fretboard. For sure, these issues can be solved easily, you just tune up your guitar, clean and polish it and also do a care and maintenance session. However, I did not like the experience as this is something I have never had with any Mexico-made guitars coming from Fender facilities.
While testing and playing the guitar, I also spotted a pretty long (possibly) paint crack on the neck pocket. Note that, this is something I have seen so many times with bolt-on guitars. But they would usually be 1 to 2mm long paint cracks. You could catch this with your fingernails. So it got me suspicious about the long-term results of this. Because you never know if this crack would propagate further.
Neck Pocket Gap
As I got triggered, I started inspecting more thoroughly and spotted a gap between the neck and the neck pocket. As you can see from the image below, you can put a pretty thick printed ad and it stays there! I don’t think this would cause a long-term issue or impact the overall tone of the guitar. However, your eyes will catch this as you can easily spot the gap all the time.
I reported these issues to Thomann and also got a little bit upset as they tried to normalise these issues.
One customer agent even told me that the gap was left on purpose to prevent the paint on the pocket from tearing if the neck moves slightly during transport or while playing!
I was slightly disappointed with the response from Thomann because while I was doing the same job in the industry, we would first inspect the crack and the gap then talk to the dealers/distributors. In case these are within the acceptable level (confirmed by the dealer/distributor), we would then inform the customer and provide the option to try another one before we ship the guitar!
Apart from these flaws that I initially spotted, I fell in love with the guitar. It sounds so great and it’s probably the most comfortable guitar I have ever played!
Easy Access Carve
It weighs around 3.4kg and with the easy access carves, it’s extremely easy to play in any register without any strain on your body, arms and shoulders.
Seymour Duncan Pickups
Seymour Duncan Full Shred, SSL6 Flat and APH-1N make a great versatile combination and I could not stop playing this guitar for hours. However, I was in limbo and about to decide if I should return the guitar or accept the partial refund that Thomann offered.
While playing the guitar, I noticed the fretboard was so dry and you could even see some leftover glue next to some frets. And every time I played the guitar, my fingers were covered with some silky dust and the more I played, the harder it got to control the instrument. As I was about to decide whether I should return or get a replacement, I did not want to fix any problems so I left the fretboard as is.
The Gotoh 510 tremolo sounds and feels great. Note that, it comes with a plastic protective block placed under the bridge to prevent damage.
So do not immediately try to pull the strings with the tremolo bar right out of the box!
The tuning stability when the tremolo is used was pretty solid in my opinion. However, you may need to lubricate the nut with Big Bends Nut Sauce or any other dry/wet lubricants as there’s no lock at the nut.
While inspecting the guitar, I also had a look at the tremolo cavity and noticed the huge trem block and was impressed by the design. Out of the box, it was set up pretty OK but you can definitely further customise the tremolo setting.
Chaos In The Cavity!
The tremolo cavity was OK but as you can see they painted some parts with black paint and the base is not painted. Not sure why they did this.
When it comes to the electronics, I was surprised that they used an EVH pot on the volume and a no-load tone pot. The volume pot was very smooth in operation, but I can’t say the same thing for the tone pot as it was very stiff. You need to apply a lot of force to move it.
I also checked the cavity for pots and the switch and noticed that it was pretty chaotic inside. This was not causing any issues, but it looks like it was done very urgently without much care.
The same goes for the cavity cover, I noticed some air pockets in the insulation layer as you can see from the image below. These all make me feel like this guitar was made urgently without taking care of these details.
Unusual Output Jack Placement
The unusual output jack is something I like and dislike at the same time. I think it’s pretty good to have this behind the guitar, but just while you are wearing a strap and secure the guitar cable within your strap. In this case, it feels great to have this unusual design and you don’t get to feel the cable is there.
However, when you play in a seated position, it feels weird as every time you want to hold the cable and tidy up, you can’t reach it because most of us probably have been using guitars with standard output jack designs.
Headstock & Tuners
As I mentioned, Charvel is owned by Fender and they can use the Strat headstock without any legal issues. So you will get an authentic Strat headstock with the same structure and design that you can find in Fenders. Even the string tree is a Fender one. Note that, when I got the instrument and checked the specs on Thomann’s website, I noticed 2 string trees on the photos. But on the Charvel website, there’s only one string tree. I think Thomann forgot to update the photos.
So there used to be 2 string trees on the instrument. Not sure why they decided to remove one. As the tuners are Charvel-branded, locking tuners and staggered design, you may not need the 2nd string tree. But you never know until you try one.
I wasn’t able to spot any tuning stability issues. I think locking tuners are great and make string changing so easy.
As you can see from the image above, there are lots of stickers placed behind the headstock. A bit overkill in my opinion! 🙂
Luminlay Side Dots
One of the coolest features on this guitar is the luminlay side dots. And they really glow, not just in the dark but you can even notice them in moderately bright environments. To show you this feature, I took a photo in pitch black. Check it out!
This was the first time I tried these Seymour Duncan pickup sets in a Super Strat guitar and completely blown away by the versatility. Full Shred sounds so good and organic to me. It can really absorb the overdrive and sing even in crunch modes on my Marshall JVM410H.
As this guitar features the most versatile pickup configuration, HSH, it offers a lot of sounds. However, as I mentioned in my Ibanez RG550 review, due to my bad playing habits, I keep touching the middle pickup while playing. These in-between pickup positions sound great, but I could also live without them as well.
Neck pickup also sounds so sweet and musical to me. I have already started considering these pickups on my other guitars as well. I would definitely buy this instrument without a tremolo and HH pickup configuration (of course in Mystic Blue!) :).
To show you all possible sounds, I prepared a sound test and demo video for you. I used my Charvel Pro Mod DK24 along with Marshall JVM410H, Red Seven Amp Central IR Loader/Load Box directly into my RME Babyface PRO audio interface. I also added Eventide SP2016 reverb as an effect.
Note that, while I was about to decide if I should send this back or keep it, I played it a lot and had a broken high E string! Since I then decided to return it, I had to restring this guitar with Pyramid 9-42 set and suddenly had an issue with the not. There was a lot of buzzing happening on the D string and I couldn’t solve the issue even though I raised the D string a lot.
Charvel Pro Mod DK24 Sound Test & Demo (no talking)
I think Charvel Pro Mod DK24 is one of the highest value/money electric guitars with outstanding features. If you research the guitar market, you will notice this as well. You have top-notch components, cool-looking finishes, and great craftsmanship with some flaws. Unfortunately, due to the issues I spotted such as cosmetic flaws, nut issue, neck pocket gap and paint crack on the neck joint, I decided to send this back to Thomann.
But I don’t want to influence you negatively. If you can test the guitar before you buy, or pay your online dealer to get this tested, I think you can not go wrong with the instrument.
Very versatile, sweet and musical-sounding guitar that is extremely easy to play and lightweight with modern and edgy features!
I hope you find this Charvel Pro Mod DK24 review article honest and insightful! Thanks for visiting my blog and supporting me so far! I will hopefully see you in the next review here!
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