Charvel So-Cal Style 1

Charvel So-Cal Style 1

Year: 2010

Made In: Japan

Specs: Alder body, one-piece maple neck and fretboard

Electronics: DiMarzio Tone Zone & Evolution humbucking pickups

Controls: Volume, 3-way switch

It’s all about the neck.

This is almost the perfect rock guitar, there’s no other way to put it. There’s nothing here which doesn’t need to be here, it’s stripped back and distilled to the essence of what a rock guitar should be.

When you start with the familiar Strat core, mated with a Floyd Rose bridge and two good quality humbuckers, it really is hard to go wrong. The alder body is light and resonant, routed for HSH underneath the plate. The bridge sits flush on the body, there’s no routing to allow the bridge to raise pitch too much.

The pickups are reasonable output, enough to drive an amp well, but both clean up nicely. The Tone Zone isn’t too far away from the sound of the wonderful JB, which is just fine by me. Really, there’s little to complain about, it’s a great sounding guitar.

Now on to the neck, probably the greatest production neck out there. It’s an amazing shape, supremely comfortable. It’s not a skinny Wizard type, it’s not a chubby traditional type either. It’s somewhere in the middle, but delightfully rounded, even with quite a flat fretboard. It feels just right. The oil finish is smooth and quick. It’s the kind of neck you’d be happy with on any guitar. It’s spectacular.

The mystery is why they made it so you have to take the neck off in order to access the truss rod. A spoke wheel, move it to the headstock, anything but what they actually did. It’s the one infuriating mistake on the almost perfect rock guitar.