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The 1987 Model Year Brings Changes
To The Charvel Model Series

There were many differences that are very evident from model year 1986 to 1987. More than the change to a licensed Floyd Rose tremolo ( the Jackson JT-6 Tremolo ) happened in 1987. Many of these changes are noticeable just upon examination. Compare the specifications and the pictures on this site. Get yourself informed.

The ever so poular Model 4 Charvel is a good example. In 1986 the Model Series Charvel Model 4 had dot fretmarkers made of Mother-of-Pearl. As a matter of fact the model 4 in 1986 was the only bolt on neck to wear mother of pearl fretmarkers and they were dots. The Charvel Model 1, the Charvel Model 2, and the Charvel Model 3 had clay color fretmarkers.

Below is a 1986 Charvel Model 4 Neck and a Charvel Model 4 Special Edition Neck.

Charvel Model 4

Model 4 1987

In 1987 the Charvel Model 4 had the awesome Jackson style shark fin inlays. Of course the Model Series Charvels adopted the Jackson Jt-6 Tremolo system echoing the USA Jackson guitars in 1987

Moving on...The below image of a red Charvel Model 3 is an example of a factory original Import Charvel that we call a Special Edition. This is a Japan Only Model Charvel. The Japanese factory put out various models from the 1987 line of imports with a body color that matched the necks headstock color. These Special Edition Models, as well as other exotic import Charvels were made for delivery to music stores in Japan that carried The Charvel Model Series.

Chushin Gakki acted as the distributor and manufacturer for Jackson Charvel in Japan and special promotions with certain music stores in Japan.The Chushin Gakki factory enabled the creation of limited edition, special addition, and artist model import Charvel guitars in the period that followed the 1986-1987. We have assessed that zero of these special editions seem to have been offered in America.

We will launch more information in regards to the Japan Artist Model Charvel Guitars made for american artists that were manufactured by Chushin Gakki Charvel in followup articles. As well we will introduce artists that had endorsement deals and were Import Charvel Guitar Official Edorsees in the late 1980s and 1990s.

Charvel Model 3 special edition

In general the 1987 Charvel Import line of guitars

known as the 1987 Charvel Model Series lineup had brought very cool ideas to reality. The 1987 Charvel Imports still kept true to what was being turned out by Jackson Guitars in the USA. As a matter of fact some USA creations looked exactly like import Charvels and vice-versa. Thats because import Charvels, although model specific, echoed what was being produced in the USA.

The Jackson shop in the USA had many changes of its own going on at the time. Grover Jackson saw a massive burst in company sales and he was already deep in a factory move from one city to a new building about 20 minutes to the east in Ontario California.

Later in 1987 there were some import Charvel guitars being created for just certain parts of the world that pretty much never made it to the USA. Yet, the initial 1987 Model Series with Jackson JT-6 tremolos were basically very good Japanese made Jackson guitars. They were just not made in Ontario California by Grover Jackson and his guys. Import Charvel Guitars were being produced at the Chushin Gakki factory by very competent guitar makers. The Chushin Gakki guys, even before making Jackson guitars, had a reputation in Japan for manufacturing good guitars.

------------------------------ Jump Forward to 1996 IMPORT CHARVELS -----------------------------

In 1996 Charvel Japan recieved the tooling from the USA Corporate headquarters. They launched the Made in Japan versions of the "San Dimas Series"

Charvel Japan re-introduces the Import Charvel Line with many very High End Tweaks in 1996

The San Dimas Series of Japan Only Guitars were released to the Japanese market in 1996. The Japan Group introduced these SD catalog models and also numerous other guitars that were basically hand made guitars such as the Charvel RR-80 Randy Rhoads V and a number of other popular body styles.

A whole bunch of other neck-through and bolt on models were also made and distributed some of which look to have made it to Europe. The guitars that were released in 1996 had the familiar late 1980s style logos on the headstock. These guitars were also made by the same factory in Japan.

Interestingly enough, in this time the Japan Factory had a few established Japanese artists as official endorsees of the Charvel Japan Line. This factory in later years would become Caparison Guitars.

One extra note. We generally have noticed that most guitars that carry an Import Charvel logo are of higher quality and made from better materials and hardware than the Jackson Performer series and Japan made Jacksons that were strictly meant for the USA market. It appears as if the Charvel Japan Group placed guitars labeled as Charvel and Guitars labeled Grover Jackson that were meant for Japan only distributution were higher up in the quality chain.

More information will be added here about the 1996 re-emergence of Japan Charvels check back soon...


We will also discuss the 1999 Refinement Series Charvels that were released to the Japan Market. Our main topic on this site is guitars that were logo-ed with The familiar Import Charvel logos. But we urge you to get educated on the Japanese "Grover Jackson" Logo-ed/line of guitars... thats a whole big topic of its own..

More information will be added here soon..... please check back


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