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The body is made of alder, so it’s definitely a resonant, well-rounded tone with incredible sustain. The DeMartini is available in three different graphics: Crossed Swords, Bomber, and Skull and Blood. Crossed Swords has always been my favorite design—probably because that’s the guitar that I saw Warren use the most in the early Ratt videos and concerts.
The neck is silky smooth and has a nice feel. It has the original San Dimas neck shape, with a medium thickness “D” profile. It’s slightly wider than I prefer, but overall the playability is great. You’ll have no problem shredding some hot licks with this guitar! The black locking nut and Schaller tuners are a nice touch, and it’s very pleasing to see the Charvel logo with “Made in U.S.A.” underneath it! The back of the headstock sports a removable sticker reminding the player that the headstock is the registered trademark of the parent company Fender. It’s nice to see Charvel guitars can finally and legally include the Strat headstock like the originals— without having any trademark issues. The headstock also has Warren’s signature on the back, but unfortunately it’s only a facsimile. If you want this guitar signed, you’ll have to track him down yourself and have him personally autograph it! (The case candy does include a photo card with a real Warren signature, however.)
I really like the guitar’s Seymour Duncan humbucking pickup, which is a custom-designed signature model that can only be found on these Charvels. It’s a well-rounded tone, definitely chunky with a fat, full sound. It also provides screaming highs for a clear, crisp tone, and I love the way it sustains. This pickup was definitely built for rocking out, but even when you back down on the volume with a clean tone, it doesn’t thin out the sound at all. What this guitar and pickup configuration may lack in terms of versatility, it definitely makes up for with chunky, aggressive tone.
The custom features of this guitar, especially with the pickup and graphic design, make it a unique instrument that definitely stands out among other superstrats. It would have been interesting to see even more of Warren’s favorite specs incorporated into this guitar, such as his preference for triangle frets and “Big Block” tremolo systems [Editor’s note: see the Big Block on page 188]. Still, the Charvel DeMartini is a well-built, well-designed, high-quality guitar.
Some may argue that this guitar isn’t worth the high retail price. They may say that you can just custom make a replica that can look, feel and sound as good as this guitar for half the price. This was also the argument when Charvel released the Eddie Van Halen Art Series guitar a few years back. I will agree that these guitars aren’t for everybody, and definitely not for the naysayer. This guitar is aimed at fans and collectors like me, who have dreamed about owning a guitar like this since childhood. There is a definite nostalgia factor involved. Just like a lot of other iconic eighties guitars that are now being reissued, I’m thankful that I now get the opportunity to get a guitar I always wanted, and can now afford! It doesn’t hurt to have Fender supporting the Charvel brand name financially, with better manufacturing technology, proper marketing and access to higher quality materials. Thanks to the acquisition from Fender, Charvel is now regaining its reputation as one of the true pioneers of the original hot rod guitar.
You’re a fan of the original Charvels and/or Warren DeMartini
Nostalgia isn’t your thing or you’re expecting all of DeMartini’s specs
MSRP $2400 - Charvel - charvel.com