Carvin has been making quality guitars quietly
for over 60 years, selling directly to consumers.
Their pricing escapes middleman markup,
which means you can get some great
at prices you’d expect for just okay guitars.
Every guitar I’ve seen from Carvin has been
ridiculously underpriced, in my opinion, so
when they announced their new acoustic/
electric mahogany-top dreadnought cutaway,
I was excited to have a closer look.
Mahogany is a sweet wood, offering a warm
and breathy tone. A mahogany top can be
like sour cream frosting on a pumpkin bar—wonderfully rich with just the right amount
of bite—and this guitar is all that in an
extremely pleasing way.
The appointments here are remarkable for the
price Carvin is asking for the C770T. I looked it
over hard under good light, and could find no
construction flaws, no sloppy joints, no binding
that wobbled or didn’t meet where it was
supposed to. The Carvin Rapid Play low-action
mahogany neck is attached to the body with a
dovetail joint, which is perfectly tight and solid.
The sides and back are highly figured auburn
mahogany, rich with gold and red highlights,
complemented nicely by a classic black-and-white
Sporting a black-and-white three-ring
rosette, the top is more of a chocolate
brown shot through with caramel. The
rosewood bridge has a compensated
saddle and ebony pins inlaid with abalone
dots and little brass rings that catch the
light and add a classy touch. The rosewood
fretboard is bound in white, as are
the body and headstock, which makes this
guitar pop visually. Simple white-dot fret
markers complement the white binding.
The headstock is black with white binding
and logo, and very solid chrome Grover
tuners. Altogether, it’s a striking looking
instrument that looks as good as it feels.
The C770T also comes with Fishman electronics
consisting of a Matrix pickup—one
of the most popular and best-selling
undersaddle pickups on the market—
paired with a Fishman Prefix Plus-T preamp,
which includes a built-in tuner.
An additional extremely cool feature is
something called SNAGG, which is a Radio
Frequency Identification Device (RFID)
for theft deterrence and asset recovery.
So if you do lose your C770T, it can be
located in a snap by the folks at SNAGG
and returned to you quickly. All of Carvin’s
Cobalt guitars come equipped with RFID
With its excellent factory set up, the
C770T plays great and sounds fantastic,
with no snotty midrange or any other sonic
defects we’ve come to associate with guitars
in this price range. The action is low
and inviting, yet there isn’t a trace of fret
buzz. It’s loud, but never, ever harsh, and
warm without any mud whatsoever.
The 25.4" scale length lets you dip into
DADGAD and even down to a C tuning
without unduly floppy strings. DADGAD
sounds great, both fingerstyle and flatpicked,
because of the clarity that mahogany
offers. You can hear the subtle details in the
strange and compelling DADGAD chords.