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Don't laught..anyone have a CARLOS acoustic?


centuryhouse
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Um im thinking about buying a carlos it sounds nice and its 80 dollars. Any tips' date=' do i have a good deal?[/quote']

First, welcome to the Forum. Second, beyond price and whether it "sounds nice," the overall condition of the guitar is a priority. I have no idea how much you already know so I'm going to explain a few things as I go. No offense intended. Look it over. Are the strings corroded? The tuning keys bent? If so, the guitar hasn't been taken care of. Check for cracks. It shouldn't have any. Cracks in the finish aren't as bad as cracks in the wood but both indicate a guitar that hasn't been cared for. Run your hand along the neck. Are the ends of the frets sharp? If so, that's a sign the wood is dried out and, again, the guitar probably hasn't been cared for. How far above the frets are the strings? This is called "action" and the strings should be less than 1/8" above the 12th fret. (They should actually be lower than that but this is an old, cheap guitar so we'll cut it some slack. You can always have it "set up," which will make it easier to play.) How much saddle (the plastic strip) is sticking out of the bridge (the dark colored piece of wood attached to the top of the guitar)? There should be enough to make sure the strings bend about 30 degrees going over it (break angle) plus some extra in case you need to lower it. Look at the top of the guitar. Is there a pronounced bulge? A slight bulge is normal but not too much. Is the bridge sitting at an angle because of the bulge? That's not good. Is there a gap between the bottom of the bridge and the top of the guitar? Try to slip a piece of paper under it. If it goes in easily and more than a small fraction of an inch, that's not good either, it means the bridge is pulling away from the top. Take an 18" ruler and lay it edgewise along the frets. Where does the end of the ruler hit the bridge? It should hit just at the top. A 32nd of an inch or so is okay on an older guitar but any more than that means the guitar needs an expensive repair called a "neck reset," which means it's no bargain.

If the guitar checks out okay, there are Carlos guitars going for $100-200 on eBay so $80 sounds okay. Good luck with your search for the right guitar.

Edited by DeepEnd
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  • 9 months later...
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Daniel, I know this post is very old, but I thought I'd tell you this little story.

 

I bought a new (circa Sept. 1980) Carlos model 249 in 1981. Mahogany body and top, ebony fret board, brass saddle and nut and some cheap machine pegs. I bought it because it has a beautiful voice. Paid $125.00 for it and the case. I learned on that guitar, and bought and sold others, but I kept the Carlos. I had the neck trued, and the action dropped, some good quality machine heads installed, about 600.00 worth of work over the years. Plays like butter now, and 37 years of age has not diminished her voice one iota.. The second and last luthier who worked on the guitar (around 1995) offered me $1400.00 for her. I turned him down.

 

The story I heard is that the company which produced Carlos guitars had them first made in Korea (like mine), and then moved their operation to Madagascar. The Madagascar guitars were of much lower quality than the Korean guitars and line was eventually dropped. The Korean Carlos guitars were made out of good quality materials and basically built to a Martin D-18 in dimensions. They had some flaws which comes from cheap mass production, but a good luthier could reasonably fix.

 

I look on Ebay for guitars like mine. Haven't found one yet, though later (Madagascar) Carlos guitars pop up occasionally. If I find another one, I'll buy it. It will go to a luthier. It will go into my collection. It will get played.

 

Take care, Daniel.

 

Regards,

Chris

 

I forgot to mention that my Carlos has no "Carlos" logo on the machine head, like the Madagascar guitars. The Korean guitars displayed no logos.

Edited by Chris Stripling
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I got my Carlos model 249 in 1982.  It's got all brass fixtures so I had it worked on and added gold Grover tuning pegs.  It's looks beautiful with the dark finish.  This guitar plays well, good action and great sound!!!  It keeps in tune pretty well too.  I don't know how valuable they are now but this one was 300.00 back in the day.  I think they are unsung hero's in the cool guitars universe.

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I recently bought a Carlos from a kid who buys up storage spaces. His name is Carlos. He loved that the guitar held his name, and thought he would learn to play, but it did not work out. I put on new strings and totally LOVE this guitar!!!  So much so that I bought another one on ebay a few days ago to keep in my office, or in a different tuning. It veritably BOOMS out bass, holds its tuning all up the neck, and I am just in love with it. I wanted to buy all the doggone Carloses I could find!  {I  DID find mabye a half dozen....)  Going to sell my Ovation, keep my Sigma and two Carlos-es!!!

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A Carlos was my very first guitar when I was 7, so it was 1980. My older brother also had one, and actually STILL DOES. He just offered it to me today as he hasn’t played in 30 years whereas there’s probably not a DAY in that 30 years I HAVENT! I’m picking it up from him tomorrow. Im positive it will be a mess but I will give it some TLC. Look for photos soon!

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  • daddymack changed the title to Don't laught..anyone have a CARLOS acoustic?
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I am 65 years old and I got my Carlos in a trade.... around the early 70's.  Like you I own a lot of guitars, but the Carlos (12 string acoustic) is the one I play most often.  I have never had to do anything to it but change the strings.  Love it.  I wouldn't sell it for $500.  lol

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Yes, Daniel, You are right. the Carlos guitar you are describing was made in the very early 70's. it was most likely though made in the late 50's actually or mid 60's because i currently own a Carlos Maple wood Guitar model 2490 and it was made in 1982. It works WONDERFULLY and even with how old it is, it has only needed to be repaired once or twice. These guitars seem to be high quality but since production of them has stopped no one know the actual price these are worth. I bought mine at a pawn shop for $29 and it works wonders. It had the original strings on it and only had one repair done on it when i bought it. I know that this is a very long time after you posted but in case no one had ever replied, you got what you payed for and more. Mine is 38 years old and works as if it was new. The old owner of mine must of really taken care of it because mine was in GREAT shape. Your is most likely 40-50 years old so i dont know much about that one but Carlos guitars definitely are worth $50 if that is what you paid. If anything with how high quality it is, you should be lucky it wasn't more like $500.

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I bought a Carlos six string cutaway acoustic electric Model E238C. It appears to be mahogany back and sides with a solid spruce top and ebony fingerboard with stainless steel dot inlaid markers, scalloped X bracing, and enclosed stainless steel tuners. Neck is perfect; no warp, bow or twist and it has an adjustable steel truss rod. Frets are smoothly polished and even. The action is low and it plays fast and smooth. Big guitar with big clear sound and loud booming voice. The resonance and sustain are incredible. I own a Taylor 314ce, a Breedlove Pursuit Concert 25th anniversary, a 2005 Fender Strat, Gibson Les Paul Junior, Ibanez AG95, 1970s Yamaha Red Label, a Takamine Yairi classical, and an Alvarez Yairi classical. The Carlos is as good as any of them. I am keeping  the Carlos!

 

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My son has the Carlos I bought new in 1986 at college now.  I don't remember the model but it was, if I recall as a starving college musician at the time, a big investment for me at $65-ish including a case. I stumbled on this thread as it's my son's birthday soon and I was going to get him something a little nicer to play.  After reading all these comments I might just get the Carlos tuned up a bit 🙂 

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