The SH550 carved top semi-hollow guitar and SH575 carved top semi-hollow MIDI Synth guitar (below) were completely new instruments, not based
on a pre-existing past model. The tops on these instruments was am actual carved top, not a bend thin top as on similar instruments. The top started as a 2" thick
slab of solid flamed maple (or other optional exotic wood tops) which was carved on the inside and outside to shape. Options were similar to the CT6,
with a standard mahogany neck and body, deep trip-step finish, natural body binding, gold headstock logo, and 22-fret set neck. The SH575 had the addition of GraphTech MIDI Synth electronics as used on the NS1
that debuted in 2007. In conjunction with these new models, metal pickup covers were offered for the first time since the mid-70s, which were available in chrome, black or gold.
Either model could also be ordered with a flamed maple body and/or flamed maple neck, which was an option that would eventually proliferate to other models in Carvin's lineup.
The SH550 with or without MIDI electronics is still available from Kiesel Guitars right here.
With the introduction of the SH guitars, Carvin's other carved top instruments, the California Carved Top CT and CS Series, were unchanged for 2008. This series was in its 3rd year of availability, and had quickly become among Carvin's most popular models.
All of the DC models - the DC127, DC135, DC145, DC400 and the DC400A/W were unchanged from 2007. Carvin's 7-string DC models, the DC727 and 3-pickup DC747 were unchanged. There was still a brief mention of Tony MacAlpine's TMAC VI and TMAC VII versions, but no pricing information was offered. As in previous years, the 7-string DC models were only available with an FT7 hardtail bridge or licensed Floyd Rose tremolo.
The V220 and Ultra V reissue guitars picked up momentum in their sophomore year, but there were no significant changes to either models, and they were only shown in two issues. At customers' requests, the option to have the output jack moved to the inside of the body (option VJ) was added.
Carvin's bolt-on neck guitars, the Bolt, BoltPlus and C66 were unchanged, although due to space limitations, the BoltPlus was not shown in any of the 2008 catalogs.
The SC90 and TL60 continued to be somewhat popular, but were being eclipsed by all of Carvin's new offerings. Despite their waning populatity, these models would be around for many more years. There were no significant changes to either model for the 2008 model year. The SC90 would only apprea in two catalogs, and the TL60 would move onto the new SH60 page mid-year.
The Allan Holdsworth Signature models, the HF2 Fatboy and H2, were unchanged for 2008. The ad in the Gallery above shows Alan Holdsworth with an antique brown stain on flamed maple HF1 (single pickup) Fatboy. This ad appeared in the April 2008 issue of Guitar Player.
In addition to the semi-hollow carved top SH550 and SH575, Carvin offered two other new acoustic-electric models with
optional MIDI upgrades. The SH60 was basically a semi-hollow TL60, with similar specs and a single "F" hole. Unlike the
TL60, dual humbuckers were standard, and it was available with a Bigsby vibrato. Standard features included a maple neck with 24-fret ebony fingerboard and inline headstock,
alder body, and 5mm thick maple top. Exotic top woods and upgraded body woods were available. The SH65 (below) was the same, with the additional upgrade of GraphTech MIDI
The new SH250 was similar to the AE185,but with passive electronics and a 22-fret fingerboard. It could be outfitted with most of the same options as
the AE185. The SH275 (below) was the same as the SH250, but with Graph Tech MIDI Synth access electronics and piezo bridge. All four of these new SH models
never really caught on, and would be discontinued after a few years.
Although still popular, the AE185 took a backseat to the new SH models. It would be shown in the catalog, but on in smaller photos; not as the "main" instrument on a page as in years past. However, it is still available to this day from Kiesel Guitars, right here. It is now Kiesel Guitars longest-running model.
Carvin's other acoustic-electric models, the AC175, AC275 and Craig Chaquico Signature CC275 were all unchanged. The NS1, in its sophomore year, and the classic CL450 had no significant changes from 2007.
With the exception of Carvin's constant evolution of finishes, and to a lesser extent, woods, everything in the bass department remained exactly the same as 2007. The Icon Series was in its 3rd year, and gained in popularity. The LB and extended-scale XB basses anchored the lineup, while the long-running Bunny Brunel Signature basses were also still popular. Carvin's acoustic-electric AC40 and AC50 continued to offer a lightweight alternative for bassists, and for bassists that wanted a more upright tone in a conventional instrument.