I played one of the original Charvel Surfcasters the other day. Talk about opposites...

Blazer

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One of these. I was in a shop where they had a second hand example and I couldn't resist picking it up and giving it a go.

Here's my findings.
- It looks Retro sixties garage, but the feel is totally “Eighties Shredder” very flat neck and smooth whammy bar, it was so much more Eddie Van Halen than it was Dick Dale.
- Likewise, those pickups, I was expecting Danelectro chime, but they had too much output to get anywhere near that tone. It DOES make the guitar more versatile, though, there was little that that thing could not do.

So, my verdict?
It's a Charvel alright, it has everything that I associate with that brand in terms of playability, feel and sound, but a retro guitar it is only in looks. I guess the guys at Charvel at the time had no idea on how to make the Surfcaster to be the kind of guitar they envisioned.

It's the right guitar from the wrong brand, really. Charvel is known for producing shredder guitars, and although the Surfcaster popped up several times over the years in their production, it was very much a cult instrument, which looks like one thing but is very much something else entirely.

 

Slip Kid

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I always liked the Rickenbacker vibe those have but don’t I would be into the shredder specs. That being said, I wouldn’t hesitate to give it a shot if one crossed my path.
 

Telecaster582

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I always thought these were cool looking guitars, but have never seen one in the wild. From the looks of it, I imagined they'd have a Ric/Danelectro chime to them. Really disappointed to hear that's not the case. Thanks for the review!
Maybe replace the pickups for some Danelectros? I play surf a lot and I really wanted one of them but they seem kinda rare and expensive, something you have to buy online, and you can't really find one at the local shop to try
 

Chuckster

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I love mine... still looking for an original 1st generation 12-string to complete the set: 6-string electric, bass, acoustic.
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Hard to find these days, they all seem to have ended up in Japan.

May I ask where you saw/played it and what was the cost? Did you buy it?
 

draggindakota

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I would love to get my hands on a Surfcaster. I used to own a 325 acoustic like Chuckster has and regret letting it go all the time. Maybe one day I'll find another. The shop that sold the 325 I used to own also had a matching acoustic bass at the time too.
 

TheFuzzDog

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I only ever saw one in the wild. I was very keen on the looks, but it played very poorly and felt like the neck was going to break off in my hand.
 

Si G X

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I've always wanted one ..... considering the time they came out I really think they were going for the shoegaze/indie rock crowd rather than retro surf music, which might explain the pickups? I seem to recall bands like Curve and Lush using them at some point.
 

Blazer

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I love mine... still looking for an original 1st generation 12-string to complete the set: 6-string electric, bass, acoustic.
View attachment 996154
Hard to find these days, they all seem to have ended up in Japan.

May I ask where you saw/played it and what was the cost? Did you buy it?
I saw it in the University town of Eindhoven in a shop called "Let's Play"

They were asking 1600 Euros for it, which I simply couldn't afford.
 

Spox

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I saw it in the University town of Eindhoven in a shop called "Let's Play"

They were asking 1600 Euros for it, which I simply couldn't afford.
You could offer them an NFT of a cartoon Wayne Charvel as a straight swap.
 

THX1123

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I had a buddy back when those first came out. He saved all his cash to order one.

It wasn't what he expected either. He kept playing his Strat.
 




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