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Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal 2 HH HT review

A 21st-century T-type designed and built for all occasions

  • £959
  • €888
  • $949
Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 2 HH HT
(Image: © Future / Olly Curtis)

Our Verdict

A thoughtfully spec'd, well-executed update on the T-type electric that'll satisfy those looking for a high-performance electric guitar that can reference tones from all eras of the instrument.

Pros

  • Speedy playability.
  • You've got a lot of tone options to inspire you.
  • Cool finish options.
  • Another great value Charvel.

Cons

  • A 22-fret version might widen its appeal.

MusicRadar Verdict

A thoughtfully spec'd, well-executed update on the T-type electric that'll satisfy those looking for a high-performance electric guitar that can reference tones from all eras of the instrument.

Pros

  • + Speedy playability.
  • + You've got a lot of tone options to inspire you.
  • + Cool finish options.
  • + Another great value Charvel.

Cons

  • - A 22-fret version might widen its appeal.

Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal 2 HH HT: What is it?

Charvel’s Pro-Mod So-Cal 2 HH HT is like going through the looking glass and finding Alice has only gone and redesigned the Telecaster, reversing the headstock and fitting it with a set of multi-voice active humbuckers, finishing the guitar in an exuberant Robin’s Egg Blue.

Yes, the Telecaster, one of those designs that proves the maxim ‘Leo got it right the first time’ and yet a design that has been augmented by Fender, riffed on by almost every brand with a bolt-on in the catalogue, and a design that is remarkably resilient to reinterpretation. This, from Charvel, is really quite something, and it might just be one of the most versatile T-type electric guitars we have seen.

Fundamentally, we’ve got a solid alder body and a bolt-on caramelised maple neck. Thereafter, things go off-road. The body, historically an uncultured slab, has been contoured, not only making it a little lighter but also more ergonomically pleasing. 

The neck, traditionally a good ol’ club, is totally Charvel, carved into a ‘Speed’ profile to stay on-brand with the shredders, and topped with 24 jumbo frets and a compound radius 12-16” caramelised maple fingerboard.

Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 2 HH HT

(Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)

Modernity meets tradition on the Charvel HT6 string-through-body hardtail bridge, which has brass saddles like an old-school Tele but offers a distinctive twist on the ashtray style bridge plate. The individual saddles help you stay on top of the intonation. 

Once you factor in the pickups, a pair of Fishman Fluence Open Core humbuckers, we’re talking a serious, pro-quality guitar that should have enough about it to handle any sort of style.

Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal 2 HH HT: Performance and verdict

Everywhere you look, there seem to be little concessions to performance and practicality; such as the Luminlay glow-in-the-dark side markers that will aid fingerboard navigation in low-light situations, and the jack socket that points upwards, allowing you to run your guitar cable tidily through your strap.

Also consider...

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(Image credit: Future / Neil Godwin)

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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 Joe Duplantier Signature Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 2 HH Mahogany
A vintage-modern hybrid with heaps of class, Duplantier's signature San Dimas Style 2 is a signature model in name only. Once you pick this up, it demands that you make it your own.

Manson META MBM-1
The MBM-1 is in many respects exactly what you'd imagine – it plays quick, the tones are hot, the kill switch is fun, and the finish impressive for the money.

The neck is a speedster. No question. And while a 12”-16” compound radius fingerboard might alienate some traditionalists, it will certainly put a bit of zip in your playing.

That doesn’t mean you have to be playing neo-shred, rock or metal; we could well imagine a fleet-fingered contemporary country or bluegrass player finding some joy here.

Of course, there is a lot of power in those humbuckers. Just as well Fishman offer you some options on how you want to run them. You can go full-bore into high-gain, switch them to a classic PAF humbucker or in Voice 3 for single-coil tones and that chastening Telecaster twang should you need it. 

The reverse headstock does look a bit weird. It works on guitars such as Ibanez’s RG series, or on a Jackson Soloist, but will divide opinion here. But that’s okay, right? After all, we’ve got to remember that this is the T-type from the other side of the looking glass, and in splitting the difference between tradition and a sense of turbocharged modernity, Charvel has created another quite stunning electric guitar.

MusicRadar verdict: A thoughtfully spec'd, well-executed update on the T-type electric that'll satisfy those looking for a high-performance electric guitar that can reference tones from all eras of the instrument.

Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal 2 HH HT: The web says

“The Fishman Fluence active humbuckers offer two voices in three positions, plus a three-position single-coil Voice 3. They cover a lot of ground but have their specialties for us; the Hot Rod Bridge’s overwound, compressed character is highly effective for tighter high gain, but the Vintage P.A.F humbucker voices allow more characterful string definition to shine and the muscular rounded cleans are welcome and superb for blues and jazz.

“Voice 3 isn’t a coil-split, either; the Fluence technology really delivers cutting single-coil Tele twang that is effectively wound back with the tone control. This guitar can cover so much ground that it makes preconceptions redundant.“
Total Guitar

Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal 2 HH HT: Hands-on demos

Charvel

Darrell Braun Guitar

Rock Guitar Vibes

Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal 2 HH HT: Specifications

  • PRICE: $949 / £959
  • BODY: Alder
  • NECK: Caramelised maple
  • SCALE: 648mm (25.5”)
  • FINGERBOARD: Caramelised maple, 12-16” compound radius
  • FRETS: 24, jumbo
  • PICKUPS: Fishman Fluence Open Core PRF-COC
  • CONTROLS: Volume, Tone (with push/pull activation for Voice 3), 2-way mini toggle for switching between Voice 1 and 2
  • HARDWARE: Charvel die-cast locking tuners, Charvel HT6 string-through-body hardtail bridge with brass saddles, heel-mount truss rod adjustment wheel
  • LEFT-HANDED: No
  • FINISH: Robin’s Egg Blue (reviewed), Satin Black, Show White
  • CONTACT: Charvel