Carvin is an American musical instrument and product company with a custom factory located San Diego, CA. This is no typical instrument manufacturer, and they definitely create a few difficulties for the average musician in getting their products. They do not supply to any stores other than their own. Because of this fact, Carvin products can only be purchased new from their online website, or at their own stores which are located only in California.
Everyone in other states is pretty much outta luck as far as being able to walk into a store and play a Carvin guitar goes. If you don't happen to live in California near a store, then you have gotta find other avenues to play one such as finding one used at a music store, borrowing a friend's Carvin, or finding one in a pawn shop somewhere to try out (not likely!) Pawn shop guitars are usually not in the greatest of shape, and I would seriously recommend another method.
So therein lies the difficulty Carvin has created for people. I guess they are content to simply fulfill orders through their own stores mail order, phone, and online sales, instead of making their products available through a dealer network as most other major manufacturers do. That and their lack of mainstream advertising, is probably why many people have never heard of Carvin, but even people who aren't musicians know of Fender.
I am in a position where I use music gear from many different manufacturers constantly. Of course there are ones that standout in my mind as being of a high quality. Music gear from so many manufacturers (such as Fender and Traynor), is built these days with high quality and reliablility. In general...you get what you pay for. Buy cheap, and you get a cheaply made product with less reliability, or you get a product that is a cheaply made version of a company's higher end products. No matter which music gear company it is, usually some of the greatest bargains are in their mid priced lines.
Personally, I have purchased several new and pre-owned Carvin instruments and amplifiers. One thing that was a revelation to me is an instance where I had ordered a Carvin amp, and I called a few days later to check on the order. The Carvin factory employee went and checked, came back to the phone, and said "Sir, that amplifier is scheduled to be MADE tomorrow, and should ship out directly after that."I was just shocked to realize that they were hand assembling my amp right there in California in the good ole' USA just for me. The amp arrived on schedule and sounded great! It was actually better than I had expected, and my expectations were high.
I have purchased Carvin DC200 Koa, DC400T, Bolt, and C850T guitars, along with several amps both tube and solid state.The craftsmanship on the DC400T Flamed guitar I purchased is noteworthy, and similar to what you'd see on other high end instruments of the ilk from manufacturers such as Paul Reed Smith or USA made Jackson neck-through model guitars.. The guitar screams and sings, and sounds as good as it looks.
If you are in the market for any type of guitar related music gear or PA system, you owe it to yourself to examine products from various manufacturers to get a good idea of what's out there. In this author's opinion, new or pre-owned Carvin products deserve to be included. You can find more info, another review about Carvin electric guitars, and information on a great source for purchasing pre-owned Carvin products by clicking here: Carvin Electric Guitars Review