NAD Vintage 1988 Charvel Guitar Amp

Discussion in 'Amps' started by toomanycats, Dec 28, 2017.

  1. toomanycats

    toomanycats Well-Known Member

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    For those of us who started playing guitar in the 80s and were influenced by the hard rock and metal scene, Charvel is a hallowed name. That moniker is associated with kick ass superstrats. But apparently they made amps too, and here's proof of that in the Charvel Model CG1.

    I'm truly puzzled that I don't remember there being Charvel amps. It seems like I would have known somebody who owned one, or that I would have seen them in the music store, or that I would remember advertisements from the many guitar magazines I read during that time.

    When I saw this one today in a pawn shop, in almost new condition, I simply had to have it, if only for the rare/cool/nostalgia factor. As it turns out it sounds pretty damn good for a solid state amp with an 8" speaker. Many amps like this tend to sound thin, though this one has a considerable amount of "oomph." It sounds huge when turned up in a room.

    The plastic corners are vaguely reminiscent of another 80s amp I once owned, the Laney Pro Tube Lead 100. There's a little scratchiness in the pots, no doubt from sitting idle for a long time, though that should be an easy fix. I haven't found a lot of info online about this amp. If I had to guess I say its probably 10 watts, maybe 15.

    The controls are very simple. I'd interpret them like this:

    Gain = Preamp
    Master = Master

    "Style" setting
    Blues = Marshall Plexi
    Rock = Marshall JCM800
    Metal = Mesa

    The short sound demo was made using the Blues/Plexi setting, which to my ears is by far the best and most natural sounding. The tone somewhat reminds me of my 1986 Marshall Master Lead Combo. I used a Gibson Les Paul and increased the amp gain setting and guitar volume knob as the demo progressed.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
  2. toomanycats

    toomanycats Well-Known Member

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  3. RiverDog

    RiverDog Well-Known Member

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    Wow. I also never knew Charvel amps existed. Nice find!
     
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  4. PsychoCid

    PsychoCid Well-Known Member

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    I didn't even realize this was your thread because of the avatar change, haha.

    It looks pretty sweet man. Which guitar are we hearing and pickup specs if I may ask?
     
  5. toomanycats

    toomanycats Well-Known Member

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    Gibson Custom Shop 1960 VOS. The pickups are Burstbucker 1 & 2.

    I figured I was obligated to have some whiskers in my avatar, as it's been well over a year since I've shaved.
     
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  6. PsychoCid

    PsychoCid Well-Known Member

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    I contemplated shaving today. I haven't yet. We'll see if I shave in January, as I suspect I like the short clean beard for my look.
     
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  7. jimytheassassin

    jimytheassassin Well-Known Member

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    Couldn't listen to the clip but the photos have me curious. Sweet find. And a red speaker. WTF. Total win regardless


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  8. warped

    warped Well-Known Member

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    Sounds really spongy. Looks much like the Peavey Bandit range. I don't recall these either.
     
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  9. RedLesPaul

    RedLesPaul Well-Known Member

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    Damn, sounds pretty good, especially on the Back In Black (y)
     
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  10. jhull54

    jhull54 Well-Known Member

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    Love it. Old school, homes.
     
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  11. toomanycats

    toomanycats Well-Known Member

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    Here's another sound demo. This one has the Les Paul and also a Strat at the end. I also placed the mic differently as per the photo below. Turning it off axis increased the body and attenuated the spiky highs.

    I'm super impressed with this amp. What an under the radar sleeper this thing is. It's amazing how it dynamically responds to the vigorousness of pick attack and alterations in the guitar volume knob. It's one of the best SS Plexi tones I've ever heard.

    Apologies for the clipping. I was doing this in a rush and got careless with the levels.

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  12. RedLesPaul

    RedLesPaul Well-Known Member

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    Wow! Good stuff.
     
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  13. toomanycats

    toomanycats Well-Known Member

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    I took the chassis out this morning to clean those scratchy pots and took the opportunity to take a few pics of the inside.

    Can anyone with amp knowledge comment on the design? Would each of those three chips be designated for the three amp settings of blues/rock/metal?

    They're all the Japanese JRC4558D type that's most frequently seen in vintage TS-808 Tubescreamers. Maybe this is part of the reason why the amp sounds so darn good. :)

    http://www.analogman.com/tshist.htm

    The output transformer is labeled YS. I believe it's Japanese made as well.

    I still haven't put an overdrive pedal in front of this amp. Curious to see how that sounds once it's back together.

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    Last edited: Dec 31, 2017
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  14. toomanycats

    toomanycats Well-Known Member

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    Just found out some important info. It seems as though Paul Gagon of Fender, Jackson, BBE Sound, G&L fame probably designed this amp. I'm basing that on the info in this link.

    http://www.glguitars.com/gagon/gagon-3.asp

    In the late 80s he designed the Jackson tube amps. He also designed the solid state line of amps, though they were sold under the Charvel brand name. One on these solid state Charvel amps was, in Paul's words, "A little 5 watt screamer." I think that this Charvel amp I just bought is the "screamer" he's referring to.

    The launch of the Charvel amp line at NAMM 87
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    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
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  15. DA_Whit

    DA_Whit New Member

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    I know this is an old thread, but I just joined. I worked for the company that owned Jackson / Charvel at the time (IMC) although I worked in a different division. I think Paul Gagon was definitely involved. As I recall ( but it was a long time ago!) there was a CG1, CG2 nd the CG4 solid state amplifiers. I think the CG1 and CG2 were the only ones that went into production. I have the only (I think) CG4 which is the amp in front of the 4 x 12 stack shown in the post above. The CG4 was / is a 2 ch. 65W or 85W (I've seen both specs) solid state amp with spring reverb, FX loop, direct out and an additional speaker connection. It was manufactured by Biamp and I may have the schematics for it.

    The amp has been stored for years. I pulled it out and cleaned the pots and fired it up - it still sounds good! I'll try to post some photos after I clean it up a little.
     
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  16. toomanycats

    toomanycats Well-Known Member

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    No problem about the the necrothread. When I made the original post I figured that somebody searching SS Charvel amps would eventually find their way here and be able to provide some more insight. Looking forward to pics of your CG4.
     
  17. DA_Whit

    DA_Whit New Member

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    Here's a front and back shot of my CG4. The front grill has a little rust due to spending years in storage, but nothing that can't be fixed up. Note on the back it has a Biamp serial number and "Manufactured by Biamp Systems". In the amp has a QC sticker from February 1989, so this was built post NAMM'87.

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  18. toomanycats

    toomanycats Well-Known Member

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    Nice.

    Do you know who manufactured the red speakers used in the Charvel amps?
     
  19. fullonshred

    fullonshred Well-Known Member

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    Love the Amp(s)

    here is a Vintage 1988 Charvel by Jackson 5fx Guitar..... Rare, but not so rare as those amps it seems.

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. fullonshred

    fullonshred Well-Known Member

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    What's up with that weird shaped full stack on the right in the picture above?
     

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