|The history of the San Dimas Charvel pre-serialized
production "Prepro" guitars begins in 1978 when Grover Jackson purchased the
near-defunct and bankrupt Charvel Manufacturing from Wayne Charvel for approximately
$30,000.00. Prior to this time, Wayne Charvel had been running Charvel Manufacturing as repair and modification shop, turning
"ordinary" Fenders and Gibsons into high-performance tone machines. Towards the
end of this tenure, Wayne agreed to form an alliance with Schecter Guitar Research and Boogie Bodies, created by
International Music Corporation, or IMC. IMC was a corporation based in Fort Worth, Texas
which would go on to be absorbed by AMIC (Akai Musical Instrument Corporation). Curiously,
AMIC recently sold Jackson/Charvel to FMIC (Fender Musical Instrument Corporation), more
readily recognized as Fender.
|IMC was created to pool the resources of Charvel,
Schecter, and Boogie Bodies, and in so doing grab a share of the builder's market. Grover
Jackson was working with Wayne in these early days, and when Wayne decided he had had
enough of the overbearing outside management of IMC as well as Grover's own (often
opposing) viewpoints, he filed for bankruptcy protection. Grover was able to leverage a
buyout at that point, taking over full ownership of the company. The "company"
as it stood consisted of little more than some machine tools, templates, and most
importantly, the connections.
|Later in 1978 Grover Jackson put a deal together
with DiMarzio which allowed Charvel Manufacturing to make guitar and bass bodies for
DiMarzio. This filled the gap in cash flow and allowed Grover to move further forward with
actual guitar building.
|In January of 1979, Grover and JoAnne Jackson,
along with Tim Wilson and Mike Eldred, put together several complete Charvel guitars for
display at the winter NAMM
show. These guitars were the true seeds of future Charvel production, and they were
greeted with positive response and enthusiasm. Up until this time, "Charvel"
guitars had been built either in whole or in part from pieces supplied by other
manufacturers (Boogie Bodies, Schecter, DiMarzio, etc.). The NAMM show guitars showcased
Charvel's own custom bodies mounted with Boogie Bodies necks. The
"hotrod" Charvel guitars had a market, and Jackson/Charvel was ready to forge
ahead with their first true "production" guitars.
|The first Charvel necks
were not built until almost two months later in March of 1979; when Grover finally got his
two Onsrud pin routers outfitted with the proper bits and running. It is at this point
that the first completely-Charvel guitars, those now known as the Prepro San Dimas
Charvels were built. The following is a comprehensive overview of these fantastic guitars.
When discussing the details of a San Dimas Charvel, it is wise to not use terms like
"never" and "always"; these were hand-built custom guitars that could
be created any way you wanted. The following information will attempt to establish both
accurate identifying physical characteristics of genuine San Dimas Charvel
"Prepro" guitars, as well as the timelines associated with those
characteristics. There has traditionally been some overlap between the "final"
use of one style of part, and the "initial" use of its' successor.
|Keep in mind, these are trends and not drop-dead
dates, in almost all circumstances. I hope this is food for thought and a useful tool for
the current collector and aficionados, and also inspiration for future collectors and