Trade #13: Upgraded 2012 Fender American Standard Stratocaster for 1996 Carvin DC400M

1996 Carvin DC400M

I’ll admit to having been a little concerned about the stratocaster.

It was a gorgeous guitar, and Walker made it sound beautiful in the demo video they made. But, as Walker knew from the very first play, and I learned when they told me, the pickups were a little weird. A little off. Maybe it was the wiring? They just sounded a little grating. (“Tell them it’s ‘set up for a lo-fi sound,” Walker advised.) The pickups, they could be fixed, but I’m not trying to put a whole lot of time (and no money, if I can manage) into fixing up the things I get in this project.

Still, the strat was beautiful, and somewhat popular. I had almost traded for a gorgeous Gibson Les Paul in TV Yellow, with robotic tuners (!!), much like this one. But I hemmed and hawwed and just as I’d agreed to the deal, the trader had gotten word that someone had purchased it on Reverb. Sad trombone. (Sidenote: Sometime I may put together a “The Trades That Weren’t” post to talk about some of the near misses. There are stories there, too.)

So this guitar got a lot of views and a decent amount of interest, but nothing quite worked. Then on Friday night, just as I’d reposted the Craigslist ad, Manny (not his real name) got in touch.

Hi there.
Nice looking Strat.
I’d be willing to trade my gorgeous 
’96 Carvin DC400 w/tweed case. 
Gold hardware, locking tuners, 
block abalone inlays, all original.  
If this sounds interesting, give  me a call. 

Interesting indeed, Manny, tell me more. And the photos he sent were super promising. I was very interested in a guitar that looked like this (these photos are my own):

He sent me a couple videos, too. “I like the guitar a lot,” he told me, “but I’m mostly doing jazz any more and the pickups are just too hot. I took it to a shop to have the pickups swapped out for some EMG’s, but the active electronics didn’t allow for it. A good axe.”

A good axe. He was in Santa Rosa but happy to make a drive. Where did I want to meet? I suggested something not far past the bridge. How about that Starbucks in Hercules? Just off the highway?

“Sounds good,” he wrote. And then, “It’s a tradition.  This Carvin came to me in a Starbucks parking lot in Fairfield, six years ago.”

And this morning, we brought it full circle.

As per usual, Walker was very happy to oblige in testing it out and making a video for me to share with prospective traders. And, wow. Every video gets better.

Walker also discovered just what a dope guitar this is. Not only is it gorgeous, with its gold hardware and solid body, but it’s got locking tuners, and coil splitters for each pickup! That means you can use the knobs to adjust just how active each of the four pickups are at any given time. Not a super common design, and very cool.

Now if you’ll excuse me, someone in a Facebook chat just offered me a motorcycle for the guitar. (Def gonna say no lol, it’s a project bike, but it’s a Harley! And looks super cool! I wonder what else he’s got!)

**UPDATE: Awwww 🙂 Got an email this morning from Manny:

Strat’s found a good home.
Here she is with her predecessor.
Super playable. Thanks.

This warms my heart. I’m so glad he’s happy with it ❤️

1984 Mercier Le Velo line:
Original item value:
Number of trades to date:
Latest trade:
Upgraded 2012 Fender American Standard Stratocaster ($1250) for 1996 Carvin DC400M electric guitar ($1550)
Total line value dollar increase:
Total line value percent increase:

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