2012 saw the introduction of arguably one of Carvin's more radical and important guitars ever, the Allan Holdsworth Signature HH Series headless. This revolutionary instrument would pave the way for many, many Kiesel models to come, including the Vader, Zeus and Osiris guitar and bass models, all of which would be released over the next few years. The HH1 (single bridge pickup) and HH2 (dual humbuckers) was designed by Mark Kiesel in cooperation with Allan, who had long been a headless guitar fan and player. Both models featured an alder semi=hollow body with a white birch top. Despite its compact size, the HH guitars had a full-sized fingerboard, with 24 frets and a 25.5" scale and 20" radius. The unique bridge was produced by JCustom Headless Research, and required double ball-end strings. A JCustom tremolo, called the XS Trem, was available. A newer version of the tremolo would be offered in 2014, and in 2016, both JCustom bridges would be replaced by the Hipsot/Kiesel Tremolo System, which could use standard strings or double ball-end strings. The HH guitars could be ordered with any of Carvin's exotic woods, finishes, pickups, and logos. The Allan Holdsworth Signature HH guitar is still available from Kiesel Guitars, right here.
The other Holdsworth models, the H2 and the HF2 Fatboy, were still available and unchanged from 2011, but only the HF2 was shown in the catalog.
Also new for 2012, and equally important in Carvin's history, was the Jason Becker JB200C Tribute guitar. This guitar was
designed in concert with Jason, to replicate his late-80s DC200, "Bluey". It had the same translucent blue finish on flamed maple,
and a flamed mape fingerboard, thinner neck profile, and 80s-style pointed angled headstock and large Carvin logo. Active/passive
electronics included an M22V neck pickup and M22SD bridge pickup. An original Floyd Rose tremolo with locking nut was also standard.
A bespoke black truss rod cover with Jason's logo was stock. Also available was the JB200SC, which had a standard wood top, suitable
for Carvin's solid finishes and translucent stains. The JB200C would herald several other Jason Becker models in the coming years,
and is still offered today.
The modern DC Series launched by Carvin in 2011 with the DC700 was expanded in 2012 to include the new DC600 and DC800. Both
models represented the first significant updates to the venerable DC series that was launched in the early 1980s, with a more aggressive
body shape, better arm and belly cutaways, a new pointed headstock shape, and optional direct-mount active A Series pickups. The DC600 had a
hardtail bridge standard, and could be optioned with Carvin's M Bridge, a Wilkinson tremolo or an original Floyd Rose. While similar in
appearance, Carvin's debut 8-string model, the DC800, sported another first for Carvin: a 27" scale extended range fingerboard. It had a semi-flat 20" fingerboard radius, and
active direct mount A80 pickups were standard. The only bridge option was the hardtail style, but eventually, a tremolo option would be added.
The DC700 7-string model was unchanged from 2011.
All the other DC models - the ST300, DC127 (and DC127-12), DC135, DC145, DC400 (including A and W variants), DC727 and DC747 - were unchanged for 2012, and would begin to be phased out as the new DC models gained in popularity.
The California Carved Top CT Series guitars were unchanged in 2012. However, the California Single CS Series models - the CS6, CS4 and CS3 - were updated with new 24 fret models, just like the CT guitars had been in 2011. The new CS624, CS424 and CS324 had the same features, options and specs as their 22-fret counterparts, but in a 24-fret configuration.
Carvin's semi-hollow carved top models, the SH550, SH575 and the Frank Gambale Signature FG1, were unchanged for 2012. The SH645, SH675, SH445 and SH475 were unchanged, but were not shown in the catalog due to space limitations.
The Bolt enjoyed a resurgence, thanks to the new sculpted neck heel that was introduced in 2010, and the addition of the Floyd Rose tremolo in 2011. Other than new finishes that were introduced, there were no changes to this model. Carvin's other bolt-neck models, the Contour C66, TLB60 and BoltPlus were also unchanged, and the BoltPlus was not shown in any of the catalogs.
Like 2011, there were no significant changes with Carvin's acoustic-electric guitars in 2012. The NS1, CL450, SH60,
SH65, AC375 and CC275 were all represented throughout the year, as well as the AE185 and AE185-12,
but there was no space for the AC175, SH250, SH275, or AC275.
All other bass models - the Brian Bromberg B24 and B25; the bolt-neck B40 and B50; Icon IC4, IC5 and IC6; LB Series LB70, LB75 and LB76 (plus the A and W models and XB extended-scale models); and the Bunny Brunel BB70, BB75, and BB76 - were unchanged from 2010. Additionally, the acoustic-electric AC40 and AC50 remained the same.
The SB Series were updated with the addition of the SB4001 and SB5001, which had a standard flamed maple top and chambered body.