Identifying a genuine Charvel guitar is complicated by the fact that the company has had several owners. Grover Jackson, who created Jackson/Charvel guitars, sold Charvel to the Japanese company AMIC in 1989; AMIC in turn sold the firm to Fender in 2002. Wayne Charvel continued making guitars, however, so owners may either have a Wayne Charvel guitar or one from the Charvel company.
Shortly after Wayne Charvel sold his guitar company to Grover Jackson, about 750 San Dimas Charvels were made between 1979 and 1981. None of these guitars have a serial number. The first numbered guitar, with serial number 1001, appeared in 1981; the 1982 series began with number 1096, the 1983 series with 1725, 1984 with 2939, 1985 with 4262 and 1986 with 5304. According to JacksonCharvelWorld, any "Charvel" guitar with a serial number above 5492 is a fake.
Place of Manufacture
Owners may want to know where their Charvel was made. Guitars with a San Dimas, California or Ontario, California neckplate plus a "Made in USA" logo on the headstock have a Charvel made in the United States. Guitars with a "Fort Worth, Texas" neckplate, or one that simply says "Jackson/Charvel" have a Japanese-made guitar. A very small number of preproduction Charvels exist; these can be identified by a blank neckplate and a tiny Charvel logo on the headstock. Buyers offered a guitar matching this description should get a second opinion, as there are fakes of these rare models on the market.
Other Identifying Marks
All the guitars of the Grover Jackson period have a four-digit number on the last fret. Some serial numbers have letters, such as RR for Randy Rhoads, before the number; Rhoads was Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist, and he collaborated with Jackson on guitar design. The players choice series of guitars have "PCS" before the serial number, and the archtop guitars have "JA." A Jackson Charvel guitar with "Professional" on the headstock is a Japanese-made instrument.
Wayne Charvel Guitars
Wayne Charvel opened his own guitar making shop in Redlands, California after selling the company to Jackson. He made about 200 guitars at this shop and all have either a "W.C." or "W. Charvel" logo; the neckplate on such a guitar also has the Redlands address on it. Wayne Charvel still makes guitars, and his current model is simply called the Wayne Guitar. His business is now based in Paradise, California.
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