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Señor Member
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12,297 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A few weeks overdue, but I've been in the process of moving my office to the other side of town (which also involved some construction work), so I haven't gotten much time to take pics until today.

As some of you remember, I had a semi-recent Steinberger ZT3 NGD (NGD: Steinberger ZT3 - SevenString.org). It was a fantastic looking guitar, but the extra weight, extensive setup it needed and concerns about replacement parts made it hard to enjoy playing it. I eventually decided I'd be better off selling it while it was still in new-ish condition and getting something I'd be more comfortable with.

I considered another Steinberger but most of them were either not the specs I was after or were cost prohibitive. After a bit of looking around, I found that the Carvin HH1 and HH2 fit what I was after and were within my price range. I waited a couple months and pounced when the opportunity came.

It's Carvin Allan Holdsworth signature HH1X. The specs, so far as I can gather are this:

Body: Chambered alder w/ black finish
Neck: Rock maple (set neck) w/ stainless steel frets
Hardware: Jcustom X-trem headless system
Pickup: Seymour Duncan Custom Shop Metal Fatigue​

I knew it was in "player's condition" when I got it, so it's got some dings and noticeable fret gunk but overall still played great out of the box.

I have reason to believe this specific guitar was owned by Allan himself, based on the guy I got it from and some of the specifics of the guitar (the Metal Fatigue pickup, the 'hard to source' double-ball 8 gauge strings etc.) I'd say there's a better than even chance it was his but even if it wasn't, it's got a ton of mojo.

Other than the lack of a Trans Trem, the guitar is everything I wanted out of a Steinberger. The balance is fantastic, the size is compact and light (MUCH unlike the ZT3) and the Jcustom trem is rock solid. The neck feels a little chunkier than I'm used to, but is compensated for by the super flat (20" radius!) fretboard. The Metal Fatigue is a great sounding pickup (essentially a vintage spec JB with screw poles), and definitely works well as a 'lead playing bridge pickup'. After the disappointment with the ZT3, I really needed something to pick me up and this guitar was a homerun.

As far as plans going forward, it doesn't need much. As I said, the fretboard is gunky, so it's going to need a thorough cleaning. It's got some noticeable dings and a weird paint peel-up in one spot, so I've been tempted to refinish but considering it quite possibly was Sir Allan's, himself, I'll probably keep it as is.

The GAS for a second one is already overtaking me though :wallbash:

PICS!







Please excuse the grime and fuzz





 

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Dream Crusher
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21,053 Posts
Always dug the looks of those. Congrats!

Is the bridge basically a high-quality S-trem clone?
 

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glass enthusiast
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1,665 Posts
As skeptical as I am of Carvin, that's one of their few designs that I actually like. Neat little axe you've got there. Congrats!
 

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Señor Member
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12,297 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Always dug the looks of those. Congrats!

Is the bridge basically a high-quality S-trem clone?
Thanks! I was always 'so-so' about the shape until I noticed how close the likeness is to Allan's DeLap. Body size and the 'butt' are essentially the same, with a singlecut on the top that mimics the Fatboy. I also think it looks a lot better as a single hum guitar (though I'm not excluding the idea of an HH1 in the future).

Yeah, it's basically exactly an S-Trem. The whammy still has that "bending chords in key" type sound like the Trans Trem, but without the latching mechanism to change tuning and lock it in. The construction is ROCK solid, and the 'fixed bridge' toggle moves into place effortlessly, to where you're surprised by how stiff it is when it's engaged. I'd heard great things about their components and the trem has definitely made me a believer. My one gripe is that the whammy is kinda stuff because of the light gauge I use versus the stiffness of the tension spring and wish there was a lighter tension spring available (like Parker did with their flatsprings).

As an aside, there's a thread on TGP from this year saying a Jcustom TransTrem is in the works. :pray:

As skeptical as I am of Carvin, that's one of their few designs that I actually like. Neat little axe you've got there. Congrats!
Pun intended? :lol:

I'm just as skeptical as you. Unless I had some really elaborate specifications I couldn't live without, money burning a hole in my pocket and the expectation I'll NEVER want to sell it (and get killed on resale), I don't think I'd ever buy one new. My Carvin collecting is limited to buying at rock bottom price only.
 

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Is Actually Recording
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HEy, cool - needs some TLC, but that'll be a killer guitar with a setup and a polish!
 
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Could be Hitler
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Nice fiddle Randy, but I don't like all this headless shit from you lately, WTF? :lol:
 

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Señor Member
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Nice fiddle Randy, but I don't like all this headless shit from you lately, WTF? :lol:
The three main places I play guitar these days are behind my desk at work, in bed and on the toilet. Smaller is better.
 

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Could be Hitler
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The three main places I play guitar these days are behind my desk at work, in bed and on the toilet. Smaller is better.
:lol: I see.
 

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Dream Crusher
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I can vouch for the fact that headless guitars are way better if you're in a confined space.

I have yet to play on the toilet, however!
 

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Could be Hitler
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Super Moderator
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Very nice! I've been tempted by those for awhile.

The only drawback to the J-Custom trems (and what's held me back from getting a Carvin HH) is that they use the stock Schaller Floyd collared arm, which doesn't extend far enough forward for my needs, since I usually pick over where the neck pickup sits. The old Steinberger trems had much longer proprietary trem arm designs.
 

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Señor Member
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Guitar 1/10. Chair 10/10.
Guitar with Picasso graphic ?/10
Chair with Picasso graphic ?/10

We have the same taste in guitars dude. Nice score
I'll make a concerted effort to buy something you don't like next time, I promise.

Very nice! I've been tempted by those for awhile.

The only drawback to the J-Custom trems (and what's held me back from getting a Carvin HH) is that they use the stock Schaller Floyd collared arm, which doesn't extend far enough forward for my needs, since I usually pick over where the neck pickup sits. The old Steinberger trems had much longer proprietary trem arm designs.
Are you sure about that? I might not be imagining what you're describing correctly, but this arm doesn't have a collar on it. The receiver has a collar on the top to set tension and the arm is just a bent rod with no thread or anything, and it slides right in. Could take some work to match up a diameter that'd fit but overall it's a pretty generic looking arm; wouldn't be surprised if you can source a longer bar.
 

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Registered
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Awesome! I've always wanted one of these. I'd like a 'travel' guitar and this would definitely be the one I'd choose.

Interesting to hear your thoughts on the pickup too. From what I remember, wasn't it quite 'hot'?
 

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Mod Britannia
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7,233 Posts
Cool looking guitar Randy. Is there any chance you could contact Holdsworth to find out if it was one of his?
 

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Mod Britannia
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7,233 Posts
The only drawback to the J-Custom trems (and what's held me back from getting a Carvin HH) is that they use the stock Schaller Floyd collared arm, which doesn't extend far enough forward for my needs, since I usually pick over where the neck pickup sits. The old Steinberger trems had much longer proprietary trem arm designs.
Could you put a tube sleeve over the end of the bar to extend it?
 

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Señor Member
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12,297 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Awesome! I've always wanted one of these. I'd like a 'travel' guitar and this would definitely be the one I'd choose.

Interesting to hear your thoughts on the pickup too. From what I remember, wasn't it quite 'hot'?
Yeah, the whole 'travel ready' guitar thing is my mantra these days. Smaller, lighter, etc.

I've bitched and moaned about the JB for a few years now (after they ruined two guitars I had them in) but I've always thought they were a good match for medium to bright guitars, like alder and maple.

Being a brighter EQd guitar, I was already more inclined to like it in there but I'd also heard having all screw poles, no slugs lightened up the character of the pickup, similar to the Dimarzio 'Virtual Vintage' deal. So essentially it's a JB wound to older spec (lower DCR), plus the VV style cut tames it down even further. Output-wise, a JB would normally be very close to a TZ but I AB'd this next to one and the Metal Fatigue sounded significantly milder.

Cool looking guitar Randy. Is there any chance you could contact Holdsworth to find out if it was one of his?
I'd have just asked outright but I'm assuming it's sticky. The guy I bought the guitar from was selling a bunch of studio gear on 'Allans behalf", along with signed pics of Allan with the gear, whatever message the person wanted etc. It was also all rare stuff (Yamaha DG head, high end tape delay and recording stuff, etc.)

The guitar went up at the same time with no mention of AH, but the guy made no mention of the MF (which wouldve been a valid selling point, being a custom shop pickup), didn't know where any of the dings or scratches came from, didn't sound like a fan of the 8s on there (which were oxidized) or that he'd even played it much at all.

I'm going to guess, if it was Allans, they didn't mention so because its a 'no no' to sell off endorsement gear. I didn't wanna press it, especially before the guitar arrived incase the seller decided to back out plus it wasn't make or break for me either way. I might ask sometime in the future just for the hell of it.
 

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Cool, I had a ZT3 for a few years, and loved the TransTrem. Hated the size of the neck and the maple body which made everything sound horribly shrill. I dig the Carvin, and the Metal Fatigue, although it is nothing close to what Allan used- he used sort of a 59 neck humbucker in the bridge with double screws.
 
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