So, this baby came last Monday but given as how I dropped and broke my new cell phone I couldn't take any pics until this past weekend.
This is my first Carvin, and I am very impressed. My first observations: the soft-case is really nice. Mine was free, but even at $59 it would be a super bargain. While I have had guitars with oil finishes before, this is the first to have this tung oil-satin finish. It feels as smooth as a baby's bottom! Except for the occasional place where the grain is a bit opened and I feel it mostly because my hands are prone to dry skin, this is an incredibly uniform and smooth finish. I wonder whether it is just tung oil or some blend with something else. Either way I love it.
As I showed in an earlier factory pic, the grain on this is absolutely beautiful, front and back. I couldn't be happier. It was almost in perfect tune right from the factory, and I have done nothing to set it up (nor do I expect needing to do anything in the near future). Fret ends were super smooth, and the ebony board is nice. I think my photos tend to make the wood appear a little darker than it is due to the flash, but I am limited in how or when I take the pics (like after my son is in bed and I go down to the basement to do some "work").
My rig is only a tiny ZT Lunchbox Jr. right now, so that may have contributed to my assessment of its sound. I think the bridge pickup is too hot, resulting in a kind of fuzzy or muddy sound that wasn't at all appreciated unless I significantly backed off the tone control. The neck pickup was slightly better, and not too bad. However, as I have never heard anyone rave about Carvin stock pickups I had pretty planned to replace these from the start. I have a new set of BKP Warpigs that I have been saving for the right guitar and will probably pop them in there.
My goal was to make a nice, natural finished walnut guitar with as few options as possible, and to that end the only options I paid for were the all-walnut construction, the jumbo stainless steel frets, and the rosewood knobs. It had a free gig bag and a $20 coupon to boot. I'm now seriously thinking about paring down my collection to just this and my Ibanez S5427.
I'd be concerned about the brightness with walnut, but otherwise, DAMN that's a beautiful guitar. Congrats!