Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 HSH 2PT CM Mahogany: What is it?
Today’s Charvel lineup gives us the impression the brand has finished its postgraduate programme and is now enjoying its first days in a proper job. Oh yes, the high-performance electric guitar DNA is largely unchanged, it’s just that it's somewhat secreted in more muted stylings, on instruments that extend the appeal of their shreddable builds to all kinds of guitar-playing demographics.
The Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 HSH 2PT CM, a 24-fret Superstrat with some alphabet soup in its designation to let you know it has a humbucker/single-coil/humbucker pickup configuration, and what else? Well, that it has been fitted with a two-point vibrato, in this case, a Gotoh Custom 510 6-saddle floating bridge with a screw-in arm – gold-plated to match the Charvel-branded die-cast tuners and complement the earthy brown of the Natural Mahogany finish nicely.
The DK24 refers to the compact S-style Dinky body shape and the 24-fret fingerboard. And the CM presumably tallies up with the caramelised maple that’s used for the neck. Not only does that sound delicious, but this heat-treated maple also makes for a very attractive deep tan colour and a more stable proposition than regular maple.
We’ve also got graphite rods to make the neck even more stable; that means it can be whip-thin – 18.9mm deep at the 1st fret and 21.2mm at the 12th – and super sturdy, withstanding temperature changes and the sort of rough and tumble that one incurs when playing these guitars on the road.
And there is no question that Charvel has built this Pro-Mod for the road. The quality of the hardware, build and finish would suggest as much, so too the pickups, which number a Seymour Duncan Full Shred SH-10B humbucker at the bridge, a Custom Flat Strat SSL-6 single-coil at the middle position, and a Custom Alnico II Pro APH-1N humbucker at the neck. That’s screams, ‘pro-quality’ and yet this is a guitar that retails for just under a grand street. Not bad.
It doesn’t come with a gig-bag nor a case, and more’s the pity. Nonetheless, we’re impressed. You can’t help but be impressed. The 24 frets are well dressed and are suitably jumbo to reward a shredder’s light touch.
There are Luminlay side dot markers to help you navigate the fretboard in low-light situations – hey, the brand might have been built on the custom of expert players but every little helps when it comes to performance. There are also small dot markers on the caramelised maple fingerboard.
The neck joins the body with four screws, sitting in hefty washers rather than a neck plate, and the neatly sculpted is a real come hither to lead guitar players. Yeah, sure, keep it subtle, Charvel, gold-on-muted-brown is a serious look. But you don’t fool us – all the signs are here that this is built to play fast.
Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 HSH 2PT CM Mahogany: Performance and verdict
With such a grown-up vibe, you can’t help but think there might be some mileage in Charvel offering a choice of neck profiles on instruments such as this, a little like how Gibson does with its 50s and 60s Les Pauls. This is a guitar that prog, fusion, all kinds of rock players, and the metal-cum-shred fraternity can all covet alike.
That said, it’s skinny we’ve got and it finished in hand-rubbed urethane it is remarkably tactile. The body is perfectly finished in satin, allowing you to see all of that open-pore mahogany. It’s not as eye-popping as figured maple or poplar burl but there’s a utilitarianism to this sort of finish that feels blessedly minimalist. The maximalism arrives with its tones and playability.
We live in the age of convoluted control circuits, with multi-voiced pickups and ubiquitous coil-taps, yet here it is simple, with master volume and a No-Load master tone control, with a five-way blade-style selector switch offering a cornucopia of tones.
While the Seymour Duncan Full Shred sounds like this goes 0-to-face-melting in 4 seconds but that’s not the case. It’s pugnacious, of course, but harmonically rich, with a juicy upper-mids sparkle that jives well with the natural warmth of the mahogany. It cleans up nicely when you roll back the volume.
There are some wonderful in-between tones that bring some Stratocaster and Tele sounds into play, with positions 2 and 4 on the selector switch matching that middle single-coil with the neck-facing coil of each humbucker.
• Charvel Pro-Mod DK22 (opens in new tab)
A sophisticated S-style that balances a hot-rodded hi-jinks and a shred-ready feel with a tonal range that invokes rock of all decades from the '60s onwards. Bravo!
• Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 HSS
“It’s still a shred guitar,” we hear you cry. Actually, spec-wise, the DK24 isn’t a million miles away from something like a Suhr Modern. Once you get a grip of those caramel-coloured necks, you might not be so toffee-nosed about what we reckon is a modern classic.
• Cort G300 Pro (opens in new tab)
A super-classy operator that's a cheap date and a great night out, the G290 Pro is a six-string charm offensive from a brand that consistently hits all the right notes and yet is still bubbling under. It'll handle whatever you throw at it, and has one of the all-time classic pickup combos.
For a session player, or anyone who has to get through a diverse set-list, this versatility is a godsend. And it’s not wasted on a guitar that looks like it is for one purpose and one alone.
While some more pyrotechnic guitar players might mourn the lack of a double-locking Floyd Rose, there are plenty of other models in the catalogue to offer that experience, and for our money, the Gotoh 510 is hard to beat, offering a super-smooth performance, all the musical wobble of the whammy bar with no impact on the tuning stability.
The neck feels rock-solid, and the quality of the finish becomes apparent when you start playing and appreciated the lived-in feel that the rolled fingerboard edges give the instrument. The factory setup is slinky to a fault.
Is this go-faster experience alienating to the casual or the shred-indifferent? Maybe. When compared to an American Performer series HSS Strat, it is a little like getting used to a sports car after happily driving a moderately powered saloon.
But goodness! does Charvel not sell the idea of the high-performance guitar well. This is another seriously good guitar, a continuation of Charvel’s hot streak.
Indeed, the Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 HSH 2PT CM is such a good guitar that it is almost worth learning the esoteric initialisms that make up its name and reciting them in prayer until the day comes when you can order one over the phone. “DK24 HSH 2PT CM… DK24 HSH 2PT CM…” You’ll be glad that you did.
MusicRadar verdict: We've long championed Charvel as a brand not just for shredders, and this smart electric is one of the reasons why. Sure, it's high-performance, a speedster, but it covers a lot of bases in terms of sound with a look that's classy and welcome in any company.
Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 HSH 2PT CM Mahogany: The web says
“Specification rarely tells the whole story and although that neck shape won’t be for everyone (and you can’t help but think a slightly fuller shape would dramatically broaden the appeal), this recipe is worth a try. With a very tidy build, this is stripped down and bare bones with quality hardware and pickups that are well suited to the lightweight, purposely functional build.
“It just wants to be thrown into a gigbag – which isn’t supplied, by the way – and gigged relentlessly. An effortless player with little to get in the way, there’s power on tap if you need but a vintage-y, rootsy heart. Greasy raw power, indeed!”
Guitarist (opens in new tab)
Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 HSH 2PT CM Mahogany: Hands-on demos
Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 HSH 2PT CM Mahogany: Specifications
- ORIGIN: Mexico
- TYPE: Double-cutaway solidbody electric guitar
- BODY: Mahogany
- NECK: Slab-sawn caramelised maple, graphite reinforcement and Luminlay side dots, bolt-on
- SCALE LENGTH: 648mm (25.5”)
- NUT/WIDTH: Graph Tech Tusq XL/ 43.3mm
- FINGERBOARD: Caramelised maple with rolled edges and small dot inlays, 305-406mm (12-16”) radius
- FRETS: 24, jumbo
- HARDWARE: Recessed Gotoh Custom 510 6-saddle floating bridge with screw-in arm, Charvel diecast locking tuners – gold-plated
- STRING SPACING, BRIDGE: 53mm
- ELECTRICS: Seymour Duncan Full Shred SH-10B humbucker (bridge), Custom Flat Strat SSL-6 single coil (middle), Custom Alnico II Pro APH-1N humbucker (neck), master volume, No-Load master tone, 5-way pickup selector lever switch
- WEIGHT (kg/lb): 3.31/7.3
- RANGE OPTIONS: In Mystic Blue at the same price; made-in-Japan MJ DK24 HSH 2PT E Mahogany is $2,399 / £2,039
- LEFT HANDERS: No
- FINISH: Natural satin to body; hand-rubbed urethane to neck list
- CONTACT: Charvel (opens in new tab)