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Product Spotlight: Charvel

Charvel is a Boutique Guitar Geared Towards Aggressive Play

Here at BadAxe Boutique, we are obsessed with guitars. This single instrument has shaped the sound of music for decades and shows no signs of slowing down. In today’s post, we’re going to go over the history of Charvel guitars. While not as notable a brand as Fender, Gibson, or other big names in the guitar game, Charvel has garnered a solid following of players who swear by the sound, build quality, and style of this particular brand. Continue reading below to learn more.

Charvel was Born in the 70s

As most guitar enthusiasts know, the major companies all seem to be connected in some way. Charvel follows in this same vein, and started not as a guitar manufacturer, but as a guitar repair business that focussed on refinishing and repairing Fenders that had fallen out of warranty. Wayne Charvel, after working for Fender for three years in the early 70s, founded Charvel’s Guitar Repair in 1974 and quickly garnered a reputation for his custom guitar parts and quality repair work among performing artists of the time. After companies overseas began copying and reselling Charvel’s custom guitar part, Charvel decided to begin building guitars. Four years after starting his company, Wayne Charvel sold his business to Grover Jackson ( of Jackson guitar fame) in 1978. This effectively ended Charvel’s association with brand however, the Charvel brand name was still retained.

The 80s Brought Charvel Into the Mainstream

In 1980, Grover Jackson was handed a guitar manufacturers dream. Randy Rhoades, who had just joined Ozzy Osbourne’s newly formed band, met Jackson and the two began working together to develop a signature Rhoades guitar. The original idea for the design was to come up with a guitar that would complement the custom polka-dot Flying V that Rhoades famously played throughout his tragically short career. Rhoades felt the original prototype of the custom guitar was not angular enough and bore too close a resemblance to Flying V he already used. Jackson went back to the drawing board, and presented Rhoades with the second version of the guitar a few months later. Rhoades was more than impressed with this model and dubbed the guitar the Concorde as it reminded him of the supersonic jet of the same name. While the Concorde was a hit with Rhoades, Jackson was worried that the guitar’s radical design was too different from anything that Charvel had ever produced. In response to this feeling, Jackson put his own name on the headstock of the guitar and chose the same strategy for the Rhoades Model signature guitar. After the success of Charvel (and Jackson) guitars, Jackson moved much of the manufacturing overseas in 1986 and made fewer custom US guitars.

Modern Charvel Boutique Guitars

Like many guitar manufacturers in the 80s, the Charvel brand suffered from decreased quality due to the outsourcing of production to Japan. While outsourcing production led to an increase in the overall number of Charvel guitars available to consumers, the build quality dropped significantly in comparison to the few guitars still manufactured in the US and the Charvel brand suffered. Redemption came in 2002 when Fender Musical Instruments Corporation bought Charvel. Fender hoped to recapture the original association of Charvel with high-quality, American made guitars, and began producing “San Dimas” models that were manufactured in the US. While Charvel still produces Japanese made guitars, their American made models are once again known for their amazing sound, fast playability, and premium build quality. The brand received a further PR boost when the company paired with Eddie Van Halen to produce a short run of guitars that had been paint stencilled by Van Halen. Charvel has come a long way since its founding, but it looks like it has finally found its place in the world of high-quality, boutique guitars.

To learn more about the Charvel guitars we carried, contact us today at BadAxe Boutique. We offer seven different Charvel models, and we are sure that once you get your hands on one, you’ll never want to put it down.