On October the 11th, the owners of Carvin Audio announced that after 71 years of being in business they are closing.
|LC Kiesel demonstrates |
a mandolin pickup and an amplifier
|LC Kiesel playing steel|
on a Martin guitar
Kiesel was an accomplished steel guitar player.
Within a year Kiesel moved his location and began manufacturing steel guitars. By 1949 he set up a larger facility in Baldwin Park, California This same year Lowell changed the companies name from Kiesel Guitars, to Carvin Guitars. Carvin was an amalgamation of the names of Lowell’s sons; Carson and Gavin.
|'56 Carvin #1-SGB|
The companies earliest guitars, and basses were very basic, but functional. They utilized necks made by Höfner, and pickups manufactured by DeArmond. In addition to their own guitars, Carvin also offered Martin guitars, Fender guitars, and Sonola accordions. They also offered a complete line of steel and pedal steel guitars.
|1976 Carvin guitars|
Later in the decade they expanded into recording equipment, stage lighting, and other studio equipment.
|1976 Parts and Kits|
Carvin offered guitar kits as early as the 1960’s. Carvin continued to manufacture their own pickups.
|'54 Carvin #3664 - |
2 - 12" speakers 25 watts
|1957 Model #3-SGB|
Carvin’s sales were always direct to the public. This was a niche that other manufactures never pursued, but it was the key to Carvin's success. Their only stores were their own retail outlets, that were not opened until 1991. These three locations were in Southern California, and include their Escondido factory.
|1956 Catalog cover|
Their early catalogs were crudely done as mimeographed flyers, with descriptions of the guitars and amps. They had black and white photographs of the products.
|1976 Carvin Catalog|
By 1976 Carvin began offering color catalogs.
|1976 Carvin CM96 guitar|
This same year, Carvin guitars came with all the bells and whistles, that included pickup phasing switches, coil tap, and stereo controls. Bodies were made in the USA, the necks were made in Germany by Hòfner.
|1979 Carvin Audio and Amplifiers|
Recently they added digital mixing boards, microphones, wireless systems, in-ear monitors, and power conditioners.
Carvin guitar amplifiers were legendary. Steve Vai was an endorser. The late Alan Holdsworth played his Carvin signature model.
|Carvin Vintage Series 16/5 watt amp|
Carvin Vintage series tube guitar amplifiers were comparable to better known brands, at a much lower price.
|Carvin BX 1600 bass amp|
Carvin bass amplifiers, sold as the BX series and as well as their cabinets were great values. These were rated from 250 watts to 2000 watts RMS.
Unfortunately Carvin equipment will no longer be available. The website is offering remaining stock, but most stock has already been sold.
|2017 Kiesel FG1|
Carvin guitars and amplifiers have always been under the radar when compared to Fender, Gibson, and Vox.
Those who own Carvin products swear by them.
Click on the links below the pictures for sources. Click on the links in the text for further information.