Charvel DK24 HH HT E: What is it?
There are many players how like the idea of an S-style electric guitar with souped-up pickups and a whip-quick neck and yet when it comes to taking home one of these hotrods from the likes of Jackson, Ibanez or Charvel, there’s something in the way.
Sometimes it’s a question of image – sharp, pointed edges, hot-neon finishes colours, that sort of thing. But for many, the Floyd Rose unit just seems like too much of a faff. Now, we’re big fans of the double-locking vibrato unit, and its popularity in shred-friendly guitar circles owes much to the engineering behind it and the expressiveness it offers. But on some occasions, the Floyd gets in the way.
This Charvel addresses all of these concerns. It deploys a tidy little six-block-saddle hardtail bridge so you don’t even have to worry about what to do with a whammy arm far less about balancing the bridge when playing in alternate tunings. And in Satin Black, it’s like the sensible shoe of the hot-rodded electric guitar market, the charcoal trouser; it’ll go with anything.
That said, and to extend the analogy, there’s something of a wolf in sheep’s clothing here, because, with a Seymour Duncan Full Shred SH-10 humbucker at the bridge, we know there’s going to be a heck of a lot of power on offer. The Full Shred is an exceptional choice for – as the same suggests – shred guitar, and for hard rock and heavy metal. It’s not a total facemelter, but its medium-hot output has a bright, scooped tone profile that helps harmonics leap off the fingerboard.
And in the Seymour Alnico II Pro APH-1 humbucker at the neck, we have a wonderful old-school option that puts blues and rock on the table, and when you factor in the five-way selector and the split-coil tones on positions 2 and 4, you don’t need the brain of Leonardo Da Vinci to imagine that this Charvel has got some range on it.
As per contemporary Charvel, the build and factory setup is exceptional, with all the little details such as the no-load tone controls, 500K EVH Bourns low-friction volume pots and Charvel-branded diecast locking tuners adding up to quite a generous package for the asking price.
The bolt-on maple neck is graphite-reinforced so it won’t lose the plot when the temperature changes, while its satin-urethane finish means it won’t get all sticky once you start sweating mid-way through Flight Of The Bumblebee, and the ebony fingerboard is super welcoming with a 12”-16” compound radius with 24 fat jumbo frets.
There really is something eminently player-friendly about this guitar – even the truss rod is easily adjustable via a spoke wheel mounted at the top of the fingerboard. Indeed, perhaps the only inhumane aspect of this whole endeavour is the name – DK24 HH HT E? Sure, it is logical as it tells us we have a Dinky body shape with dual-humbuckers, a hardtail and an ebony ‘board, but as we’ll soon discover, this guitar is deserving of a more affectionate and marketable title.
With all this spec, it sounds like we have strayed far from the Strat template but when you get down to it we’ve got a solid alder body, a 25.5” scale, bolt-on maple neck with licensed Strat headstock, and those are solid fundamentals to build upon.
Charvel DK24 HH HT E: Performance and verdict
This DK24 is one suave six-string. The understated design is going to offend nobody. The pearloid dot inlays hug the bass side of the fingerboard. With the hand-rubbed satin feel of the neck and the satin feel of the body, it’s incredibly tactile, too.
The Superstrat format is by now a classic in its own right so you know what to expect. There’s a go-faster quality, with a sculpted heel easing access to the glory notes and that compound-radius ‘board inviting or, more to the point, daring you to overplay a little. And why not, right? That’s what this is made for.
• Charvel Pro Mod So-Cal 2 HH HT
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• Charvel Pro-Mod DK22
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On the bridge humbucker and put through a juicy overdrive pedal, the DK24 comes alive with an effervescent, crunch that can is fertile musical ground for pinch harmonics, and if you dial up the gain a little more the sound holds together for searing lead tones. Now, despite the name, the Full Shred is not one of Seymour Duncan’s high-output atom-splitters but it has plenty of attitude and grind, and it holds up well, with a nice level of detail when tuned down.
The neck pickup is more refined. With overdrive and the tone backed off, there’s all kinds of artery-clogging cream to be had, but through a clean tube amp it delivers a performance that splits the difference between warmth and brightness.
The mix positions extend the DK24’s appeal further. Kick on the compressor pedal, maybe the soft sheen of a chorus pedal, and you can and you can find plenty of spanky funk sounds. This is a guitar that rewards the seeker – and the polymath. It will handle a number of styles.
But, of course, it has Charvel on the headstock, so all tricks short of the whammy are easily achievable, and we particularly enjoy having a low-friction volume pot for Van Halen-esque swells. Heck, we like having a volume pot that helps get all the tone out of these pickups; they clean up nicely when you back things off.
A shred guitar for all seasons? Well, if you are whammy-averse this is an excellent option. Even without a single-coil in the middle position, it has sweet spots for all kinds of styles.
MusicRadar verdict: A stripped-down, high-performance hot-rod that's as good as it gets in this price range.
Charvel DK24 HH HT E: The web says
“Playing the DK24 is a lot like looking at it: it’s sleek, built to rock, and has no unnecessary distractions. It’s stylish without restricting you to one genre, making it the ideal canvas for showcasing your own personality.”
Charvel DK24 HH HT E: Specifications
- BODY: Alder
- NECK: Graphite-reinforced maple
- SCALE: 25.5”
- FINGERBOARD: Ebony
- FRETS: 24
- PICKUPS: Seymour Duncan Full Shred (bridge) and Alnico Pro II (neck)
- CONTROLS: 500K EVH Bourns low-friction volume, no-load tone, 5-way pickup selector
- HARDWARE: Charvel hardtail bridge and diecast locking machine heads
- LEFT-HANDED: No
- FINISH: Satin black
- CONTACT: Charvel