The new Carparelli guitars have arrived. I haven't had much playing time
with them yet, as they arrived late afternoon, and I left for Ireland
the next day. I did spend a couple of hours on them, however, and here
are my initial impressions:
This is Carparelli's flagship model, and it draws heavily on the Les Paul design. The cutaway is a little different, giving it a slightly more modern look. The neck joint is markedly less bulky than a Les Paul, and allows excellent access to the upper frets. The finish is gorgeous, as is the quality and consistency of the fretwork.
The guitar played beautifully, right out of the box. The gold hardware looks great, and the pickups sound good - really good. The inlay work was well done, with tight tolerances, and no evidence of filler. The S4 has locking tuners, which seem to be of great quality, nice and smooth, with what feels like an 18:1 ratio. The abalone binding and position markers looked great. The S4 includes a set of gold-plated straplocks, truss rod adjusting wrench, and an optional pickguard. A quality hardshell case is included with the guitar. The Carparelli S4 in Vintage Sunburst has a list price of $1230. You can buy it from RedZone Guitar Works at 30% off, or $861. The S4 is also available with a Bigsby or Floyd Rose tremolo, and in a large variety of finishes.
I was less impressed with this model. While I really liked the translucent black, quilted maple color and finish, the quality control on this guitar was a little less stringent. It plays well, and sounds really good. While the 'tree of life' inlay on the neck is beautiful and flashy, there is evidence of filler, indicating that the tolerances were not as tight as they could have been. In addition, the finish on the edges of the F-holes is spotty - flat or matte in spots, and glossy in others. These are strictly cosmetic issues, and very minor ones, at that. Most people might never notice. The chrome plated hardware is good quality, with no flaws noted.
The guitar does play and sound great, but this is clearly more of an intermediate level guitar, versus the pro level of the other Carparellis. It's worth noting that the FourWinds model has been discontinued (having been replaced with a completely different model/body style, using the same name), and this particular guitar is a closeout model from last year. This guitar includes a hardshell case and truss rod wrench. The Carparelli FourWinds (discontinued model) list price is $800. You can buy it from RedZone Guitar Works at 30% off, or $560.
Carparelli Tashka Leon
This was my favorite of the Carparelli guitars I received in this shipment. The Tashka Leon has a beautiful tobacco sunburst curly maple finish which was flawless. It plays wonderfully, and sounds amazing. I played this guitar for several hours. In fact, I may just keep this one for myself. The inlay work is clean, and the gold plated hardware is immaculate. Tuners are quality, and the fretwork is splendid.
This guitar plays, sounds, and feels better than any Gibson ES model I've ever played. Did I mention I really like this one? As with all the Carparellis, the Tashka Leon includes a truss rod wrench and a quality hardshell case. The Carparelli Tashka Leon carries a list price of $1400, and you can buy it here (if you can pry it from my hands) for 30% off, or $980.
Below, you'll find a link to download the Carparelli Guitars catalog, in high resolution format.
When I return from Ireland, I plan to record and post more in-depth reviews and sound samples, in a video format. Please check back soon.