I rescued a DC 135 today! ^_^

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arellanon
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I rescued a DC 135 today! ^_^

Postby arellanon » Sat Aug 13, 2011 3:06 pm

Got this 1996 DC 135 for $350. The previous owner, the original owner, was a real sport; the held on to the guitar for a week for me and dropped the price $100 for driving to San Diego from Los Angeles! It was his first electric guitar and he loves it but he decided to let go of it to make room for other gear. It has some wear and a couple of dings but nothing major; I believe it has 10s tuned to Eb. The fretwear is minimal for being a 15 year old guitar; I think my '02 TL60 has WAY more fretwear. The neck feels like a cross between a C and a D. It's really light (which I LOVE) and overall a real winner! I will be keeping it as is for a few days then it's going to go through a major facelift, lol. These are the pics sent to me by the original owner. Check them out:

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Elf's new S60 pickup..........

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These are the options on the guitar:

DC135L
TL
29
BC
HC12

Since I got this guitar used I will convert it into a DiMarzio loaded axe. These are my planned hop ups:

Dunlop Strap Locks
DiMarzio HS-2 in the neck
DiMarzio SDS-1 in the middle
DiMarzio HS-3 at the bridge
Graph Tech String Saver Saddles

Those are in the works. I already have the HS pups but I have only red and black covers; I want blue covers to go with the guitar's Blueburst. I also have the String Savers. I will probably order the strap locks tonight along with a blue DiMarzio guitar strap. I will get blue covers for the DiMarzios when I order my blue SDS-1; these SDS-1s look too cool!

So what do you guys think of my planned mods? Any suggestions?

:drool: :drool: :drool: :drool:

Here are two shots I took after I cleaned the guitar, lemon oiled the fretboard, and placed new strings. The guitar is really dark so it's kinda tough to get good shots of the blue part of the guitar, lol:

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I have prepped two HS pups so far. I have sanded down the flange on both of them and they are awaiting their SDS-1 middle pup. lol

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Look at the mess I have! @_@

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Notice the flange.

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Black HS-3 and Red HS-2 ready! All they need are their blue covers and the SDS-1 to get placed in the DC135!

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Even from this crappy cell phone picture one can see just how much darker the blue is on the DC135 compared to my all blue ST.

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Here is a pic of the control cavity.

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Awesome! Just received the control pots, knobs, and switch tip! All MIJ baby!

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The Clip Lock strap ready for mounting....

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Parts, parts, and more parts. Thanks a million to MIJ Guitars and BanjoMike!

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The SDS-1 is one solid, tall, and heavy beast!

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My HS-2 had the red cover while my H-3 had the black cover.

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Unfortunately the SDS-1 would have been higher than I would have liked it. I felt it would have affected my picking so I decided to not use it and instead dissect my Strat to get my very first HS-3 pup into the DC135.

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The HS-3 was coupled with a Seymour Duncan Cool Rails in the middle and SSL-5L. It's been that way since 2003. No more; the HS-3 has been replaced with a spanking new DiMarzio Cruiser pickup.

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Here is the wiring. I kept the stock wiring used by Carvin, I believe it's called Option 29 or 26.

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Here is the end result. I went for an Ibanez look and I think the blue plastic accents the effort along with the Clip Lock strap! lol I had to drill the control pot holes with a 5/16" drill bit since the MIJ pots were a tad larger than the stock Carvin pots. Either way the project guitar was a freaking blast; I really enjoyed modifying a Carvin so much. Like stated before this guitar was acquired off Craigslist. I felt I needed to make it my own and since considering to getting the guitar I had already envisioned the mods I performed. I also feel happy (and almost obliged, lol) to share my Carvin story with my fellow Carvinites to hopefully give ideas to others. :mrgreen:

A few more shots of my Carvin pups and both guitars together! :applause: :applause: :applause: :applause:

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I decided to swap out the middle HS-3 since in full humbucker mode it was too weak positioned all the way down. With just the top coil on it did sound better though; much louder and it combined great with the neck and bridge pups. Had minor hum. I replaced it with the original planned pup: the SDS-1. I also removed the Sperzels to clean them and replaced the saddles with Graph Techs.

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You can see just how much taller the SDS-1 sits in the body of the DC135 compared to the HS pups. I will keep the SDS-1 in for the time being but I gotta admit I do not like the middle pup so raised. Unfortunately I would have to rout some of the body to lower it. Sonic wise the SDS-1 is very, very loud; we're talking humbucker loud. It totally out muscles my HS pups and it sounds very good actually. It hums like a bee though, lol. The sound is really solid and punchy and quite frankly I am loving it. I ordered some push-pull pots along with another 5 way switch from MIJGuitars again so when I install them I will perhaps install the HS-3 back to run the split neck and bridge pups with the permanently split middle to get hum cancelling in all positions except three.

If I do not like the sound of that I then will purchase either a Virtual Vintage Heavy Blues or a Virtual Solo to slam down to the max just like the HS-3 and just go all three pups series without any splitting or parallel.

I got tired of the way the DC135 was so I decided to get the Virtual Solo and Virtual Vintage Heavy Blues. Also I got rid of my push-pull pots and got a new five-way switch. I also took my guitar to my trusty guitar tech and he made some adjustments as well as a little mod to the guitar. Apparently the neck sits somewhat high in respect to the plane of the bridge so what he did is make a "baseplate" to match the two. You can see the baseplate on the pics.

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Those "special order" DiMarzios are just stock pups with no flange; notice what the folks at the company did to the pups. First off the tied the "coil taps" since I guess they read my mind that I would be using these guys at full humbucker mode. Then they apparently just cut the baseplate to make it flush; similar to what I did with my HS pups. Third they put a little "button" to have the wiring a little more tidy as opposed to all over the place. I never expected DiMarzio to do these things but hey it worked out for me. I decided to remove the "buttons" since I had no real need for them, especially on the Virtual Solo since that guy would be mounted as low as possible. I also decided to put springs on the neck and bridge pups to adjust them higher to the strings (or lower) if needed. I have the pups like this:

HS-2 ->neck
Virtual Solo -> middle
Virtual Vintage Heavy Blues 2 -> bridge

Wow! What a difference these pups make! Not so much "better" than the previous HS-3s I had on but so different. Much more "omph" to them. The Virtual Solo was placed in the middle since it is the strongest stacked humbucker DiMarzio makes so it only makes since to put it there where it will be lowered to the max. The VVHB2 was placed in the bridge since I wanted to check out how Alnico II pups would feel and sound at the bridge. Well they certainly sound warmer than Anico Vs, at least the Alnico Vs in the HS-3s. Also, the VVHB2 sounds much heavier. The HS-2 remains in the neck and has captured my admiration since it is a very beautiful sounding pup. It sounds just as loud as the others and I can mess with the tone knob from max to min and get great distinct tones. I also found out it sounds great split; I used it a lot split when I had the push-pull pots before removing them. Anyone that has never tried out the HS-2 should give it a try.

So now I have two HS-3s laying around in need of a home. Looks like I will be needing another Carvin to accommodate them. lol
Last edited by arellanon on Sat Dec 03, 2011 2:39 pm, edited 12 times in total.

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spudmunkey
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re: I rescued a DC 135 today! ^_^

Postby spudmunkey » Sat Aug 13, 2011 3:17 pm

The color of the guitar is very dark. I would be worried that any color lighter than black would make the wood look darker than it already does!

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arellanon
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Re: re: I rescued a DC 135 today! ^_^

Postby arellanon » Sat Aug 13, 2011 4:36 pm

spudmunkey wrote:The color of the guitar is very dark. I would be worried that any color lighter than black would make the wood look darker than it already does!


Yeah spud I agree with the guitar being dark. That is why I need to accent the dark blueburst with lighter blue. LOL

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twilightdusk
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re: I rescued a DC 135 today! ^_^

Postby twilightdusk » Sat Aug 13, 2011 4:44 pm

I'd prolly toss either a Twinblade or a Tone Zone S in the bridge

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re: I rescued a DC 135 today! ^_^

Postby RockCrue » Sat Aug 13, 2011 5:14 pm

Dood!!! WOW!!! Seriously, NIIICE score!!! :shock:
Really nice price and super nice price!!!
What a great guitar! I always love seeing great guys getting great deals!
Congrats!!! :applause: :applause: :applause:

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re: I rescued a DC 135 today! ^_^

Postby spudmunkey » Sat Aug 13, 2011 5:24 pm

While it's not one I'd build to buy new, I don't think I could turn down the deal you got!! Congrats on a killer deal on a great-looking guitar!

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arellanon
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re: I rescued a DC 135 today! ^_^

Postby arellanon » Sat Aug 13, 2011 10:20 pm

@twilightdusk-> Yeah, I've heard nothing but great things about the Twinblade as well as the Tone Zone S. I'll keep those two pups in mind.

@crue-> Thanks for the compliment brotha! I guess we are all great here since we love our Carvins. :) And yes, it was quite a great deal.

@spud-> I totally agree bro; I would never get these options myself but for that price would not bnuy this guitar huh?

:mrgreen:

So I have been playing this new axe of mine and the sustain and response of it is just so solid; I really like the different feel and sound it has compared to my other Carvins. The S60s sound much heavier and fatter than I thought they would! :shock:

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re: I rescued a DC 135 today! ^_^

Postby toolmanny » Sun Aug 14, 2011 7:09 am

Yeah dood it is awsome to get great deals like you did, looks great for $100!

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purpledc
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re: I rescued a DC 135 today! ^_^

Postby purpledc » Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:23 am

amazing deal you got there! congrats

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re: I rescued a DC 135 today! ^_^

Postby ElfDude » Sun Aug 14, 2011 11:47 am

$350? :shock:

You WIN, mate!

With the pickups sounding better than you thought they would... are you sure you don't wanna keep them instead of selling them to me? I would totally understand if you decide they're perfect where they are.

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arellanon
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re: I rescued a DC 135 today! ^_^

Postby arellanon » Sun Aug 14, 2011 12:52 pm

@toolmanny->I'm sorry bro for phrasing my sentence weird; I meant the final price was knocked down $100 from $450 to $350. :oops: Sorry for the confusion. Nevertheless it was still a great deal. :mrgreen:

@purpledc-> I too think it was amazing! I'm glad I jumped on the opportunity; like I said before this is not a build I would do from scratch but it's something I always wanted to try out at the Carvin stores. :wink:

@elf-> The pups sound very good and much better than I thought they would bro. Still, I have other visions for this guitar cosmetics wise so the pups eventually will get replaced. So just stayed tuned; you will have first crack at the pups. :drool:

Spud brought this up to my attention in his first post on this thread and now I can't stop thinking about it: the guitar indeed is very dark. I mean, I compared the blue to my '09 ST and the burst is almost non existent! I mean, it's almost all black; the alder and maple woods are almost indistinguishable! :shock:

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re: I rescued a DC 135 today! ^_^

Postby mikeymac » Sun Aug 14, 2011 5:03 pm

Will you have to route out the pickup cavities for the DiMarzio's or do they make some with straight sides that will drop right in? I know Bill Lawrence's pickups are straight on both sides, and I think SD makes a few with that as an option ... just don't know about DiMarzio.

Nice guitar - a lefty, of course!

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re: I rescued a DC 135 today! ^_^

Postby rlm » Sun Aug 14, 2011 5:10 pm

8) dang,that looks new or at least well cared for,wtg!
i'd be tempted to try some chrome covered singles,chrome knobs and a chrome ft6 with ss saddles but your plan is most likely the right choice and anyway,for the price you got it for you can't mess up. :coolpics:

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re: I rescued a DC 135 today! ^_^

Postby charvaxe » Sun Aug 14, 2011 5:42 pm

I'd love to try the HS pickups, how do you like them?

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arellanon
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re: I rescued a DC 135 today! ^_^

Postby arellanon » Sun Aug 14, 2011 6:11 pm

@mickeymac-> Well the thing with the DiMarzio single coils I have is that their baseplate is made out of soft plastic so I just use a dremel tool and sand it flush with the pickup cover. All my DiMarzio single coils indeed have the flange so for this guitar I need to sand them down; I have an SSL-5L and Cool Rails (Seymour Duncan) and those do not have the flange. However I already have those installed on my hot rod Strat so I wish to keep them there.

@rlm-> Yeah, the guitar is in good shape for being 15 years old; it has some nicks and bruises here and there along with noticeable wear but not too bad. I am giving it a good cleaning right now as well as applying some lemon oil to the fretboard. I will post some pics when I can. :)

@charvaxe-> I have been playing the HS pups since 2003 and have to say that they will please only some; they have ridiculously low output so they have a different response when compared to humbuckers which I usually play. But what they lack in output they make up with tone; they have the best clean sound I have heard from any pickup I have tried. Add some distortion and you have a really unique sound that sounds really focused. I am really excited of trying the HS pups as well as an SDS-1 on this Carvin and really max out their sustain and tone. :drool:
Last edited by arellanon on Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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re: I rescued a DC 135 today! ^_^

Postby igoleft » Sat Aug 20, 2011 5:29 pm

Well, well... :applause: You done goooood, fellow lefty! I do like the dark blue transparent and, yeah, the axe is in great condition. As for the Twinblades, I have nothing but love for 'em, they fill the void between hot singles and 'buckers. So, you're up to 3 Carvins now, right? We're tied! Conga-rats!

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arellanon
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Re: re: I rescued a DC 135 today! ^_^

Postby arellanon » Sat Aug 20, 2011 9:26 pm

igoleft wrote:Well, well... :applause: You done goooood, fellow lefty! I do like the dark blue transparent and, yeah, the axe is in great condition. As for the Twinblades, I have nothing but love for 'em, they fill the void between hot singles and 'buckers. So, you're up to 3 Carvins now, right? We're tied! Conga-rats!


Yes we are tied my fellow lefty with three Carvins. I am glad you liked my newest member to the family. She plays very smooth and is quite a welcoming difference to my humbucker Carvins. I still look forward to strapping on some DiMarzios on this bad boy though. Eh, the HS series is quiet as single coils (output wise) so I'm excited to try these guys compared to the S60s currently on the guitar.

I think twinblades would be an interesting pup combo; I have never tried those but I have heard they sound somewhat like Seymour Duncan Cool Rails and I really like those. Either way. I will surely keep the 'blades in kind.

:applause:

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re: I rescued a DC 135 today! ^_^

Postby Adagio276 » Sun Aug 21, 2011 1:19 am

hellz yeah. congrats on the new guitar :mrgreen:

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arellanon
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Re: re: I rescued a DC 135 today! ^_^

Postby arellanon » Sun Aug 21, 2011 2:27 am

Adagio276 wrote:hellz yeah. congrats on the new guitar :mrgreen:


Thanks bro. I'm loving the new axe!

:drool:

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re: I rescued a DC 135 today! ^_^

Postby newbuilder » Sun Aug 21, 2011 7:07 am

That is a sick good deal and one of the reasons I am already thinking about buying a second used Carvin from another friend of mine. Resale value is no where near the quality of these guitars, makes for some great scores! That's beautiful!


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