Download Example 1
DADGAD with Capo
Download Example 2
Download Example 3
Clips recorded with sE3 small studio consenser into RME Fireface
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 somegreatguitars 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.

Brown Sugar
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 backstrip.

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 protection. Nice!

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.