Charvel Pro Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH FR review

  • £709
  • $899

The number of the beast

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Our Verdict

This Charvel, as Bill and Ted might say, is most triumphant.

For

  • Superb playability.

Against

  • Doesn't clean up as well as its stablemates.
Buying options

The So-Cal defines the 'SuperStrat' concept as originally nailed by Eddie Van Halen in the late 70s.

That classic body shape, the Floyd Rose double-locking vibrato, the slim maple bolt-on neck with its compound radius and fat frets...

It all adds up to shredder heaven. The guitar's thick single-ply scratchplate comes loaded with a pair of Seymour Duncan humbuckers, a TB-6 Distortion in the bridge position and a SH-6N Distortion at the neck. These are wired through a volume control with push/pull action to split the pickups' coils, the aforementioned No-Load tone pot and a three-way pickup selector blade switch.

In the full-on, non-coil- split setting, the switch gives you three options: bridge 'bucker, the inner coils of both pickups and the neck unit solo. Lift the volume knob and you engage the coil-split mode.

Now you get an additional tonal trifecta: the bridge humbucker's outer coil, both pickups' outer coils, and the neck's outer coil.

The high-output Duncan Distortion 'bucker, originally launched back in 1980, features ceramic magnets and overwound coils.

The result, in Seymour Duncan's words, is a pickup rich in 'powerful upper mids'. Translation? This is the perfect metal'bucker, one that cuts through a mix no matter how much gain you unleash. The neck unit thickens up the tone on offer with serious synth-like sustain, again with the gain cranked up.

Granted, the So-Cal doesn't cleanup quite as sweetly as the other models in this line-up, but who cares? If you're looking for a brutal-sounding guitar with flawless playability and unshakable tuning then you won't be able to wipe the grin off your face.

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Tech Specs

Available FinishNeon Yellow (reviewed), Neon Pink, Rocket Red, Black Metallic, Snow White, Specific Ocean, Slime Green
Left Handed Model AvailableNo
No. of Frets22
Scale Length (Inches)25.5
Scale Length (mm)648