Charvel has released its first new models of 2022, with comprehensive updates to its Pro Mod Series, including signature guitars for Steel Panther’s Satchel, Henrik Danhage, While She Sleep’s Sean Long, and a Jake E Lee San Dimas Style 1 finished in shred classic Pearl White.
The spec is pro-quality. The prices are sensible. That Jake E Lee model, inspired by his classic 1977 model, is arguably the pick of the litter, but the updates to the mainline Pro Mod Series might beg to differ, with the new DK24, San Dimas and So-Cal Style 1 models some of the most exciting electric guitars we have seen this year.
Let’s start off with the signature models, and see how Ozzy’s former shredder-in-chief has spec’d up this new – and more affordable – version of his original S-style hotrod.
Jake E Lee Signature Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HSS HT RW – £1,369 / €1,599 / $1,299
The Jake E Lee San Dimas Style 1 needs little introduction for hard rock and metal fans of a certain age. It is based on the former Ratt and Ozzy guitarist’s ‘Charvelised’ S-style that he has played since 1975, and should anyone be of a mind to blow the cobwebs off their Bark At The Moon tab book, this is exactly what you need.
Two things make the Lee model particularly cool. Firstly, it’s a classic Charvel chassis, with an alder body, a bolt-on maple neck and a lead-friendly 12”-16” compound radius rosewood fingerboard.
It’s like a hardtail Strat that has eaten its greens, and that back pickguard on the Pearl White is just fantastic. Secondly, it crosses the streams when it comes to electric guitar pickups, seeking the services of both Seymour Duncan and DiMarzio on the one instrument. Why don’t we see this more often?
Anyway, we have a Seymour Duncan JB humbucker in the bridge position and a pair of DiMarzio SDS-1 DP111 single-coils in the middle and neck positions. These are particularly cool, as they look like a Strat-style pickup but have a grittier, warmer tone profile.
Controlling these there is a five-way blade selector switch and a single volume control. The white pearl buttons on the tuners is another aesthetically pleasing touch on a signature guitar that isn’t overly customised and should appeal to any player looking for a retooled S-style.
Henrik Danhage Limited Edition Signature Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HS FR M – £1,629 / €1,899 / $1,699
Henrik Danhage’s collaboration with Charvel has already established that his signature models are to looks as through they’ve been recovered from the sea. This year’s So-Cal model is has a heavily distressed ash body for that lived-in look but it’s spec’d for high-performance, with a bolt-on maple neck and the typical 12”-16” compound radius fingerboard making for a speedy yet comfortable ride, and a Floyd Rose 1000 Series double-locking vibrato for showing off.
Danhage’s pickup combo follows Jake E Lee’s lead and pairs a DiMarzio Area 67 single-coil at the neck with a Seymour Duncan JB humbucker at the bridge. It, too, has a single volume pot, but confusingly this is labelled as ‘tone’, and the intrigue doesn’t end there, either, with said volume pot doubling as a pickup selector via a push/pull function. Fancy.
Sean Long Signature Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 1 HH HT M – £1,069 / €1,249 / $1,199
While She Sleep’s Sean Long has dressed his signature Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 1 in Gloss Black, which is nicely contrasted by the yellow pickup cover on the EMG 57 that occupies the bridge position – a yellow leitmotif that is reprised on the headstock’s Charvel logo. Long’s neck pickup is an EMG 66 in its more familiar black soapbar look. These active 'buckers are controlled by a single volume pot and a three-position blade pickup selector.
Elsewhere, well, there is a heap of player-focused appointments: Luminlay side markers, 22 jumbo frets, rolled fingerboard edges, a hand-rubbed satin urethane finish on the neck so it doesn’t gum up on you, and an industry standard Graph Tech TUSQ XL nut… The heel-mounted spoke wheel makes adjusting neck relief a breeze. The hardtail bridge should make a no-fuss and super-solid platform for big riffs.
Satchel Signature Pro-Mod DK22 HH FR M – £1,459 / €1,699 / $1,399
Rounding out Charvel’s January 2022 signature announcements, there is an updated version of the Steel Panther guitarist Satchel’s Pro-Mod DK22, which, it would shock you to know, is finished in animal print. Crazy, but true. This time it’s Satin White Bengal, which makes it sound like the whole thing was inspired by those tigers you see welcoming people to casinos in Vegas.
The format is familiar. Once more, we have a pair of Fishman Fluence Classic humbuckers with switchable voices via the single volume pot. A Floyd Rose 1000 Series double-locking vibrato will help those natural harmonics scream like there’s no tomorrow. It's a souped-up S-style for the Spandex-wearing, Betamax-owning ‘80s aficionado in your life.
Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 1
This year’s new Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 1 models are a veritable feast of high-performance specs. There are many features that are universal across these electric guitars: 12”-16” compound radius fingerboards with rolled edges, heel-mount truss rod adjustment wheels, bolt-on maple necks that are graphite-reinforced lest they warp on you and22 jumbo frets.
But this is Charvel, and that means options. The 2022 San Dimas Style 1 is offered a range of finishes, some loud, others less so. There’s Lime Green Metallic (loud), the polychromatic Chameleon (loud or quiet, depending on how the light hits it), Miami Blue (classy but still quite Friday night), and Platinum Pearl (über-classy).
The Platinum Pearl model is equipped with a hardtail bridge, the others have Floyd Rose 1000 Series vibratos, and there is a choice over ebony or maple fingerboards, and indeed pickups.
The Platinum Pearl model is an HSS format S-style with a Seymour Duncan JB partnered by a pair of Seymour Duncan Custom Flat Strat single-coils in the neck and middle positions. The Chameleon has direct-mount Seymour Duncan Full Shred and Alnico Pro II humbuckers in the bridge and neck respectively. And you’ll find a classic Seymour Duncan JB/’59 humbucker pairing in the Miami Blue and Lime Green Metallic Models.
These are priced from £989 / €1,149 / $999 and are available from May 2022.
Perhaps its by virtue of their 24-fret format, but the DK24 comes across as Charvel’s most modernistic S-style. Aesthetically, this is borne out by the poplar burl tops applied to the mahogany and alder Dinky bodied models here, which is very much a 21st-century look for the electric guitar.
Both of the burl models have a similar pickup format, with a Seymour Duncan Full Shred humbucker playing bad cop to the Alnico Pro II at the neck position, while the Infinity Blue model pairs a Full Shred with some spanky Flat Strat single-coils.
As above, these have 12”-16” compound radius fingerboards and bolt-on is very much the Charvel house style. Many of the same premium appointments – rolled fingerboard edges, Luminlay dots, etc – are reprised here. One very interesting thing to note, however, is the extra toggle switch on the Trans Black Poplar Burl DK24, which selects been series and parallel pickup modes, adding more tone feathers to its bow.
These Pro Mod DK24s are priced from £1,029 / €1,119 / $1,099 and will be released into the wild in April.
Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1
Last but by no means least, the So-Cal Style 1 comes along, assuming the form of a bolt-on maple neck and alder-bodied shred machine, built to old-school Charvel principals of ‘let’s make an S-style but make it faster and louder’.
Again, like the others in the 2022 lineup, it shares similar fingerboard dimensions and feel. There’s a choice between ebony and maple fingerboards, though Charvel has taken a leaf out of Ford’s book to offer any sort of bridge you like just so long as it is a Floyd Rose 1000 Series double-locking vibrato. And pickups have been sourced from Seymour Duncan.
With the pickups, you have options. The Platinum Pink model is a veritable HSH shredder with its Seymour Duncan Distortion and SH-6N humbuckers sandwiching a Flat Strat single-coil. The Gamera Black and Satin Primer Gray models, meanwhile, omit the single-coil but have a push/pull coil-split for accessing that spank. No load tone controls are used throughout. Nice.
The So-Cal Style 1 is out in March 2022, priced from £989 / €1,149 / $999.
See Charvel for more details.