Charvel Warren DiMartini San Dimas
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I remember it well. It was 1984 and I was at one of the hottest concerts of the summer. There was a big buzz about this band from Los Angeles that had just exploded onto the music scene. They were all over MTV and the radio, and their music was catchy, loud and just plain rocked. Sure, they looked really cool and had good songs, but the thing that drew me to them right away was the guitar playing.

I had just started playing guitar that year, and there were plenty of guitar heroes to look up to at that time. This band had two guitar players, but one was definitely the lead guitar hero of the group. So there I was in the front row watching this band rock out, and standing right in front of me was this tall, skinny guitar player. He was playing notes so fast that they were a blur! I couldn’t believe the sounds and tones coming out of this cool-looking guitar. He switched guitars many times that night, and all of them sounded great. He had cool paint jobs on every guitar, and the graphics kept getting better with each one he played.

The band was Ratt, the guitar player was Warren DeMartini, and the guitar was a Charvel. I didn’t really know about Charvel guitars at the time, but this was the year that I was introduced to them. (Yes, Eddie Van Halen played them first, but he had already switched to Kramers by that time!) Two of my favorite guitar players that year were Warren DeMartini and Jake E. Lee from Ozzy Osbourne’s band. Both guitarists were from L.A., both played in Ratt (Warren actually replaced Jake) and both had incredibly innovative styles, not to mention tone. They both played hot-rodded superstrats and their guitars of choice were Charvels. I also learned that year that those cool-looking Jackson guitars that my ultimate guitar hero Randy Rhoads played were actually Charvels as well.

The company has gone through a lot of changes since its inception. I was happy to hear that Fender had bought Charvel a few years ago, and the intent was to return to the high quality American-made guitars that they were originally known for.

When I heard they were releasing a line of Warren DeMartini signature guitars, I knew I had to get my hands on one! The Warren DeMartini - San Dimas line consists of three guitars with the same basic platform, but three different graphics to choose from. The platform is an Alder body and the bolt-on neck is one-piece quartersawn maple with a 12˝ – 16˝ compound radius and jumbo frets. The hardware includes an original black Floyd Rose tremolo, black Schaller tuners and NOS Charvel brass strap buttons. It has a signature, custom-designed Seymour Duncan humbucking pickup controlled by a single volume knob—just like every guitar Warren plays.

I often pick up new guitars and immediately think of what I would do to change it to fit my preferences, whether it is string height, pickups, the feel of the neck, etc. Fortunately, this guitar looked and felt great right out of the box. I was impressed by the overall craftsmanship of the guitar, with high quality parts and flawless artwork.