NGD: Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HSS FR M

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Well-known member
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Feb 22, 2013
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North Carolina
Another NGD. This is somewhat related to the other NGD I posted on the MJ San Dimas. It is what inspired me to buy this one. I recently got an MJ San Dimas and was really impressed with the guitar. I still had plenty of fuel in the tank, so I had to get this one too. Call me nuts. 🤪 The MJ has black anodized aluminum back plates. That was unexpected. They look just like the pickguard in the image of the guitar in the link below from Sweetwater.
I was uncertain if the pickguard material was plastic or actually aluminum. The 1 ply threw me off. The cover plates on the back of the MJ San Dimas looked the same as the pickguard on this So-Cal guitar. There is an HH version in white with gold pickguard. Actually, thought about buying that one too. Not ready to break the bank this year. Need to withhold any more purchases as I am waiting for two Mesa cabs to arrive that are on back order.

I needed confirmation on the actual material of the pickguard. Is it metal or plastic? I decided to call up Charvel and talked to one of the customer relations people. That was a good conversation on the guitars in general and I got confirmation the 1ply anodized aluminum is actually a metal and not some plastic that looks like metal. I have also seen some youtube videos claiming they pickguard was plastic. Nope. This reviewer did not have the actual guitar they were commenting on but just looking at the websites in general. The description 1 ply anodized aluminum should have just been anodized aluminum. The "1 ply" is in reference to plastic, how many layers of plastic are there?
when dealing with plastic pickguards, matters not of the pickups are noiseless, you will still get noise, also plastic tends to build up static charge and that makes noise while playing the instrument. The full foil treatment usually eliminates all of that. This is what I had to do with the Dave Murray California Stratocaster, otherwise it was a static fest and not playable through the amp. I have done this to every guitar with a plastic pickguard, including the Fender American Ultra Precision Bass as that was noisy as all hell before I did the shielding.


Now for the prize: Charvel Pro-Mod Style 1 HSS FR M



The pickguard is black anodized aluminum. Not plastic. I gave it some time to adjust to the room temperature and plugged it in as I wanted to hear the difference between the SD Full Shred and the Distortion pickup. I do have a DK24 HSS version. This one is just a bit different and it is not green. This one makes #6 in the Charvel collection I seem to have formed. I must really like these guitars as I keep buying them.


I just got the MJ San Dimas, no chance for a honeymoon with the new axe and along comes another one. The MJ is awesome and so is the So Cal. The SSL-6 pickups sound much the same as the DK24 HSS I have. I had to look at the Charvel website, it is the neck pickup that is reverse wound. All 5 positions sound great, clean, or full tilt grind through the Badlander or Mark VII. I was running both amps with Mesa Switch track and having both on was great too. The metal pickguard is brushed aluminum but the grain in the finish is not that deep and feels very smooth. the neck is also smooth as butter just like the rest of the Charvel guitars I have. Wonder if the wood will darken over time as that seems to be the trend I have noticed with the other Charvel guitars. This axe does have a flamed maple fretboard. You can almost make it out in the first picture, click on it for a close up view. This fretboard would have looked sick if it was a roasted neck or stained. You get some features like that every once in a while. It is just a standard maple fretboard.

Right after I ordered this guitar, I placed an order for a Red Bishop Magik arm. I should have that in a few days. The FR tremolo arm was a bit finicky to get on. I usually ditch the FR arms in favor of the Red Bishop (they remain snug and to not wobble in the hole, need to replace the receiver so the FR needs to come out. I usually install it when I do the first string change.) The MJ San Dimas does not need it. That is a Gotoh FR bridge that has a tension collar and the arm screws onto a treaded stud inside the receiver. I may consider the Red Bishop but will find out if it is a mod I can do. I liked the Gotoh FR bridge I ordered another one. Was not very expensive so I can experiment with that to find out of the Red Bishop receiver will fit.
I sort of like the chrome but I don't. Seems a bit off. I have this Charvel DK24 in Dark Amber and that had too much gold on it. So why not see if the parts can be changed. Yes, but the intonation had to be reset. More of a chore than I expected but here is the before and after. I had to take the bridge off anyways so I could replace the tremolo arm. Red Bishop Magik Arm is what I prefer. Not plugging the product but it works.


And the after effect.

big fan of these. i have this baby and looking to get the green one next.


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i too like green guitars, but only have the one so far...


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is that black h/s/s form the 2010 era of MIJ Charvels?
I used to have one just like it.
also a fan of the Red Bishop arms, I used them on all of my Edge trems.
I have a Dark Amber as well, just dropped a zebra set of Custom 5/Liquifire's
sounds way better , I hate the fullshred.
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