If the hot rod issue piques your interest in vintage Charvels, usa-
charvels.com is an incredible resource. Like many such resources
online, usacharvels.com is the labor of love for Charvel fanatic
Trace, whose obsession with the instrument has led to a deep
resource of identification, serial numbers and photos.
One of the best parts of the site is the Charvel gallery, featuring
nearly 120 vintage Charvels with detail shots of each—including
control cavities, neck pockets, neck plates—the story behind the
guitar, and serial numbers. Nearly every body shape, color, finish,
and paint job imaginable is represented, making this page alone a
great reason to visit the site.
However, there’s more than eye candy here. A brief serial number
guide is useful for anyone looking to identify an instrument, and
the ID Info section is an exhaustive resource of individual identification areas. Trace goes through each style of neck plate, tuners,
input jacks, trem plates, control plates, logo style and sizes, string
trees, nuts, toggle switches, knobs, and strap buttons, identifying
the years each was in use and providing a summary of each part.
Other bonuses include a history of pre-serialized production guitars, links to other great resources (equally info-rich and deserving of being profiled here), and a forum to connect with other
Go San Dimas crazy at
usacharvels.com, or head to
premierguitar.com to listen to our exclusive podcast with Trace.
Web Content Editor Rebecca Dirks looks at an online resource for Charvel
fans and a site where you can find and share all sorts of modifications.
Instructables.com is not only for guitars—not even close—but
there are enough cool, crazy and useful modifications and projects to keep you busy for quite a while.
Looking to hillbilly-hot-rod a cheap Squire? You can combine projects for beer bottlecap tuning keys, dry-erase guitar decoration,
dice guitar knobs and a hand-cut metal pickguard. If you want to
step it up a notch, you could add LEDs to an acrylic guitar or make
your amp solar powered. And, for the particularly adventurous,
there are projects to build both a guitar and amp from Altoid tins.
Though these may be fun time-wasters, the site does boast some
more meaty projects that might actually make it on stage with
you. There are a number of projects that add a killswitch a la Tom
Morello or Buckethead; a lengthy tutorial on building an amplifier;
a DIY cable project; and more.
It might take some digging to find a project you want to devote
your time to, but most quality things on the internet do. The site
is community-built, meaning that each of the projects was written
by someone like you. It’s best to use discretion on which projects to apply to which of your instruments—the $5 built-in guitar
effects mod is likely not the best choice for your new $3000 boutique baby. However, you can always turn to the ratings and comments to guide you if you’re unsure about taking on a project. Of
course, if you’ve created a modification you’ve found particularly
useful, you can submit it for others to check out.
As mentioned earlier, Instructables features projects in all categories,
so if you’re soldered-out, you can always click to the “Offbeat” section and learn how to give yourself a nasty fake wound.
Find your next project at
is a good place to start.