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Charvel/Jackson Model 4

One day in the late '80's the manager of the music store I was teaching in at the time says, "Hey you wanna buy a $900.00 guitar for $300.00? We're placing a $25,000.00 order and getting a bulk discount. Here's a catalogue. Pick out what you want, we'll include it in our order and you just pay our cost when it comes in." I said, "Do they have anything in a wood-grain finish?" Answer - No. "Do they have anything that doesn't have a locking tremolo system?" Answer - No. So I picked out the most conservative looking guitar in the catalogue. I figured if I didn't like it I could sell it for 500 bucks. Someone would get a really good deal and I would make money - win/win.


When I first started playing it it felt different than anything I'd ever played. The neck has a wider radius than usual. This means the neck feels very wide and flat (not curved) across the fret board but very thin from front to back. And to my surprise, the locking tremolo system actually works! You can abuse the whammy bar big-time and the thing stays in amazingly good tune. The pickup configuration was also unfamiliar to me. There are separate on/off switches for each pickup and an active midrange boost knob to get a fatter, more Gibson-y tone when desired.  I decided to give myself 6 or 7 months to get used to it - I was gigging pretty steady (as always!) at the time and used it on 3 or 4 gigs a week.


I did get used to it and kept it. I've used it ever since on Rock/R&B/Variety gigs. The original tremolo was a Kahler system which had the headstock lock behind the nut. That is a stupid design (I'll spare you the geek-speak as to why). I had a local tech (Cliff Eveland) put a locking nut on it. Later I had Cliff replace the Kahler with a Floyd Rose. I've only recently reduced the gigs I use it on because of my acquisition of the '72 Telecaster which I like better tone-wise. I still use this one when a whammy bar is required a la Hendrix or Surf Music.


I've recently been told by the owner of one of the stores at which I teach that these 80's-era Charvel-Jacksons now have some collectability.


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