|Website||Carvin Corporation Website|
Lowell Kiesel founded Carvin in Southern California in 1946 as the L. C. Kiesel Company to manufacture guitar pickups. By 1947, the company was manufacturing steel guitars in Gothenburg, Nebraska. Around 1948, it returned to Southern California. It moved to Baldwin Park, California in 1949, where the company name changed to Carvin, after Kiesel's two eldest sons, Carson and Gavin.
Throughout the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s, Carvin manufactured guitars and bass guitars, largely from bodies and necks made by Höfner. During this period, they also manufactured amplifiers and steel guitars, and were authorized resellers of other gear, including Fender and Martin guitars, DeArmond pickups, and Sonola accordions.
In the late 1970s, Carvin began to produce all their own instrument components, and also expanded their product lines to include pro audio gear, recording equipment, lighting and other stage and studio equipment. Later, Carvin switched to manufacturing through-neck guitars, attracting metal players such as Jason Becker.
Starting in the 1970s, Carvin developed a niche in the musical instrument world by only selling directly to the public via mail order, which made their equipment more cost-competitive than the leading brands. In the 1980s they began to offer guitars and basses built to a customer's specifications, based on available body shapes, woods, colors, electronics and other features. Customers could purchase a made-to-order instrument, versus a mass-produced instrument from a retailer.
Currently, Carvin Corporation manufactures acoustic and electric guitars, bass guitars and accessories, amplifiers, and live and studio sound equipment, microphones and lighting gear. Carvin sells directly to customers in the United States and Canada. Carvin offers guitar and bass kits, which contain all the parts to construct a guitar or bass, including pre-wired pick guard, pre-drilled neck and body, and instructions. Carvin also still offers custom-made instruments in many varieties, including seven-string, eight-string, semi-hollow, twelve-string, carved-top and active-pickup models.
Current and past Carvin users include: Jonathan Butler, Frank Zappa, Nicki Kin, Allan Holdsworth, Frank Gambale, Steve Vai, Brendon Small, Bunny Brunel, Craig Chaquico, Alex Lifeson, Jason Becker, Al Di Meola, Wolf Mail, Yngwie Malmsteen, Willie Nelson, Danny Elfman, Joe Walsh, Shawn Lane, Tony MacAlpine, Timothy B. Schmit, Candy Coburn, Doug Lindsey, Warren Cuccurullo, Jaco Pastorius, Neil Zaza, and Earl Slick.
- Company profile, Carvin Corporation, Musicians Hotline, July/August 2004, accessed on line March 9, 2007.
- Carvin Turns 60, Michael Molenda, Guitar Player, December 2006, accessed on line March 9, 2007.
- Carvin DN640K, review, Willie G. Moseley, Vintage Guitar, March 2005, accessed on line March 9, 2007.
- Carvin Cobalt C780 Jumbo Acoustic-Electric, review, proaudioreview.com, accessed on line March 9, 2007.