1987 GUITARS

The back cover of the '87 catalog featured one of the new models, the Ultra V. As in 1986, the catalog was printed on high-quality paper, which showed off the new colors vividly, and the cover itself was heavy card stock. The first-generation Ultra V was a totally unique instrument. It took some design cues from the V220, as well as the Gibson Flying V and Jackson RR models, but had a unique and classy shape that still looks fresh today. The body and neck was constructed from eastern hardrock maple, as were all Carvins of the era, and the ebony fingerboard way inlaid with standard mother-of-pearl block inlays. Electronics consisted of an M22 in the neck position, and an M22SD in the bridge position, with single volume and tone controls and 3-way pickup selector. The Kahler Pro tremolo was standard. Base price of the Ultra V was $569. Koa wood was available for $40. Pearl finishes were available for $20. Black chrome hardware was $20, and gold hardware was $40. Dual-to-single coil and phase switching could be added for $30. It was even available as a lefty for an additional $30. The HC19 hardshell case was $79.

Also new for 1987 was the 3-pickup DC135, shown in Pearl White. This guitar was based on the DC200 body style, but had a single M22SD in the bridge position, and two new H11 stacked humbuckers in the center and neck positions. The electronics package was rounded out by a single volume and tone control, and 3 mini on/off switches for each pickup. The FTB6 bridge was standard, as was MOP dot inlays and chrome hardware. The base price was $429. Shown with the DC135 was the DC125, which was in its 2nd year of production. This was the first model to show off the new pearl finishes; in this case, Platinum Pearl Pink (which was called Hot Pearl Pink in 1986). The DC125 was unchanged from 1986, with a base price of $329. The same options were available for either of these models. The pearl finishes were an additional $20. Black chrome hardware was $20, and gold hardware was $40. The Kahler Flyer tremolo was $70, and the Kahler Pro tremolo was $120. The HC11 hardshell case was $60.

The Bangles on the Cover of Rolling Stone
The Bangles with a Carvin DC125F (Kahler Flyer tremolo) on the cover of the March 26 1987 issue of Rolling Stone

With the departure of the DC100, only the DC150 and upscale DC160 remained in the symmetrical double cutaway style. The DC160 also was relegated to a single page, versus the two page spread that had been used since 1982. Features and options were the same as previous years, but the new pearl finishes were not offered on these models. The DC150, with maple or ebony fingerboard, had a base price of $429. The DC160 had a base price of $679. Other options, such as black or gold hardware, and Kahler Pro tremolo, were the same price as other models.

The DC200 Koa was unchanged, and retained the same $469 price with dot inlays and FTB6 tailpiece, $519 price with abalone block inlays and FTB6 tailpiece, $589 price with dot inlays and Kahler Pro tremolo, or $639 price with block inlays and Kahler Pro tremolo. The only options were gold hardware or black hardware. The DC200 Stereo was also unchanged for 1986, but did get a new catalog photo showing the Candy Apple Red and Deep Pearl Blue finishes. The base price with standard FTB6 tailpiece was $479, and the Kahler Pro-equipped model was $599. It was also available as the DC120 12-string guitar, which had a base price of $499.

The SH225 semi-hollow guitar got a new catalog photo for 1987, but was otherwise unchanged. The SH225 increased in price to $649 for the basic model, in black, white or clear. The SH225S, with stereo wiring and coil and phase switches, dropped to $699. The Kahler Pro tremolo was an additional $120, gold hardware was an additional $40, and black hardware with black pickups was an additional $20. The HC18 form-fitted hardshell case was $79.

The DN612 and DN640 doublenecks were unchanged from previous years, and even used the same catalog photo and page layout as had been in use since 1982. However, in 1988, they'd get new photos, as well as a new addition; the DN440 doubleneck bass.


1987 BASSES

The LB60 was unchanged for '87, with the exception of new H11B stacked humbucker pickups, and Carvin-branded tuners and strings. This model was referred to as the "LB60 Stereo Bass", rather than simply the LB60 as it was in '86 (even though it was stereo then, too). There were no price changes on this model from the '86 models.

The V440 was also unchanged, with the same exceptions as the LB60, and it's representation in the catalog went from a two page spread to a one-pager. This would be the last year for the V440, with the switch to all neck-through construction in 1988.

The LB40 was discontinued, so a new bass was needed to fill the void. Enter the LB90. This model sort of split the difference between the LB40 and the LB60. It had a single volume and tone control like the LB40, but had two pickups like the LB60. It also sported the "arrow" headstock of the V440, which gave it a unique and interesting look, especially for the bassist who wanted some with more pizzazz than the LB40, but not as extreme as the V440. It was available with all the same options as the other models of this year, which hadn't changed significantly from '86. The one exception was the reintroduction of a maple fingerboard, which was only available with the clear finish option (called the LB90CM). Base price on the LB90 and the LB90CM was $389.

The Kahler bass tremolo was still offered on all Carvin basses in 1987, for an additional $120. These were available in chrome, black and gold, and were featured prominently in the '87 catalog. In 1987, the new H11B stacked humbucker was the standard pickup on Carvin basses. It was originally intended only for the LB90, but ended up being used in all '87 basses. Carvin also switched to their own line of tuners on guitars and basses in 1987. Models earlier than this had German-made Schaller tuners as the standard. These would last until 1992, when Sperzel tuners would become the standard. Note that the Carvin logo was the new black-style, which would appear on all Carvin gear beginning in 1988.