Charvel Pro Mod DK24 Review: The #1 Guitar For Versatility?

By Christoper Horton •  Updated: 10/14/22 •  18 min read

The Charvel pro Mod DK24 has not been on my radar at all, but since playing one? There is a lot to to talk about! Today we go over the features that make this guitar a serious weapon!


Charvel Pro Mod DK24: Where Have I Been?

I guess when you’re a guitarist, it can be easy to get myopic about certain things. I mean, if you play Epiphone for example, then you probably only really keep up with what Epiphone does as a company. I know I am that way with Schecter, since that’s all I play these days.

I had a blast with the Jim Root Pro Mod that I got to try out a few weeks ago, and that was a pretty amazing guitar for the price. It made me familiarize myself with Charvel again. Since Charvel was absorbed by Fender, I often forget about the brand.

I have been reminded that Wayne Charvel was actually a pioneer for guitarists that wanted guitar mods. He and Grover Jackson did a lot of work back in the day to create what we know now as a “Super Strat”. Eddie Van Halen famously bought one of Wayne’s “B-stock” guitar bodies to make the FrankenStrat that we all know and love.

Grover Jackson, David Schecter, and Wayne Charvel were the people that you took your guitar to in California to get it hot-rodded. These were the guys that could take a stock guitar that you bought off the rack, and make it into something meaner, and faster. Before then, people usually just played the guitar as it came.

Fender had a few missteps when it came to the re-launch of Charvel guitars. The Desolation Series was a total failure, even though I owned one and loved it. It wasn’t until Fender decided to bring back the original models. like the San Dimas, that the Charvel moniker started to see success. People wanted the old-school Charvel guitars, not some total redesign.

The Charvel Pro Mod DK24 is a little bit of everything, past and present. I regret overlooking these guitars, because they are pretty amazing, and they fit the bill for a “Do it All” type of guitar. These are a blend of modern features, with classic designs that cross-pollenate between Charvel, Jackson, and even Fender guitars!

Lots of big name virtuosos have been flocking to Charvel lately, and now I can see why. People like Angel Vivaldi, Joe from Gojira, and Guthrie Govan have been playing Charvel for a few years. These are modern players that need all kinds of different tones, and now that I have been able to check these guitars out, I totally understand.

Today we are going to pick apart why the Charvel Pro Mod DK24 might be the most versatile guitar I have ever played, and talk about the features. This guitar can do just about every genre you throw at it, without sacrificing anything.

So let’s take a look at what makes the Charvel Pro Mod DK24 so special!


Charvel Pro Mod DK24: Features And Specs

Charvel Pro Mod DK24

There is a lot going on with the Charvel Pro Mod DK24, and it takes a little bit of inspiration from just about every brand that Fender owns. The body is the Jackson “Dinky” shape, but the headstock and knobs are all Fender. On the other hand, you have EVH electronics, Charvel compound radius, and a Gotoh 510 bridge.

The intention is pretty clear when you read the press release material, this is a guitar that blends the traditional looks and “basic” appearance, with a ton of mods that you will often find on a shredder-style guitar. Its like a Porsche 911 that is disguised as a Honda sedan. “Made for the progressive guitarist”.

There is a little bit of everything that Fender, Jackson, and Charvel all have to offer put into one guitar. I think this is super cool, but what you end up getting is a guitar that also lives tonally in between all of these brands. The features for this price point are outstanding:

If the whole idea behind the Charvel Pro Mod DK24 is to have a mass-produced guitar that “feels” like a custom shop piece, then Charvel nailed it. Things like a no-load tone pot and the Seymour Duncan Pickups make it feel like a guitar that started out “stock”, but has been to the mod bench a few times.

Charvel being owned by Fender allows the use of the famous Strat-Style headstock shape, which also lends to the idea that this guitar “started as something else”. The whole vibe behind the mod shop guitar is stuff of myths and legends from the 70’s and 80’s. Being able to just pick one off the rack like this is very cool.

The Charvel Pro Mod DK24 sounds good on paper, but do all of these features actually work well together? That’s the big question today. Considering the price tag, it seems a little too good to be true, so we went over both models that we had to review with a fine tooth comb.


Charvel Pro Mod DK24: Testing It Out

Like I said in the beginning, I might have had a serious case of “Guitarist Myopia” over the last few years when it comes to other brands. Of course I play and check out any of the guitars that get the review treatment, but I stay pretty laser focused on my Schecter guitars. I had seen these DK24 guitars at the shop, but never played one.

We tested the Charvel Pro Mod DK24 guitars through our trusty BOSS Katana, since that amp has so many sounds already dialed in and ready to go. When it comes to recording, and the sound samples that you will hear later, its the Katana straight into Reaper via USB.

The Body:

The Alder body Charvel DK24 is a very lightweight guitar, and the two that I have in front of me weigh in at about 7.5lbs. So about the same as your American Strat, or a similar guitar like the Schecter NJ Traditional. Out of the box there were zero issues: No sharp frets, no paint scuffs, bridge was almost perfectly level with the body.

It took a few minutes to set up, but that is going to be the case with just about any guitar that you get. Right out of the box, most guitars are going to need a tweak here and there. Learning how to do this yourself is easy, and will save you money in the long run.

The DK stands for “Dinky” and this was a Jackson design to avoid lawsuits from Fender back in the day. Dinky bodies are 7/8 the size of a Stratocaster, so just a little bit smaller. You notice this mostly in how slim the body of the Charvel Pro Mod DK24 feels against your body.

The body has all of the usual tummy cut and arm contours that you would find on a Stratocaster. The devil is in the details though, and the neck heel is practically non-existent. Add to this the contours of the heel, and the lower horn cut-outs and you have full access to the higher frets, even if you have huge hands, like me. You hand just sort of “fits” right into the contour carves.

For some people, these contours and cut-outs might not be a big deal. But for people that play solos on the “dusty end” of the fretboard will notice, especially when I played a Standard Fender Strat back-to-back. Those little carves make it easy to move your fingers quickly all the way up to the second octave, instead of fighting the heel joint to hit those upper frets.

Charvel pro Mod dk24

The Neck:

I have (recently) found that I absolutely love the look of a Roasted Maple Neck, and the Charvel Pro Mod DK24 is no different. But again, the details is what makes this neck so amazing. Starting with the finish on the back of the neck, that almost feels like bare wood. I know there’s a light urethane coating on there, but you barely feel it.

The rolled edges also make a huge difference and combined with the neck finish, it makes the guitar feel like is has been played for years. It feels very “worn in” but looks brand new. The fretboards on both models that we tried had beautiful grain patterns that were just shy of “Bird’s Eye Maple” in appearance.

The neck of the Charvel Pro Mod DK24 sits somewhere between a Fender and a Jackson. It has a familiar C shape carve that fills out your hand, but the compound radius is flat, even on the lower frets. We managed to get the action right at 1.3mm, without any buzzing or dead bends.

This neck is absolutely amazing, and I have a hard time putting it into words. The feeling is so familiar, like a Stratocaster, but only in the way it sits in your hand. This neck is super fast, and the string spacing is perfect for shredding, especially with the compound radius. This makes fast runs, tapping, and all the shred techniques effortless.

But once we hit the clean channel, that changed. Jazz and Blues licks are just as comfortable as playing crazy shred solos. The flat radius makes barre chords and more complex Jazz chords very easy to play all the way up to the 12th fret. The rounded back of the neck avoids any hand cramping while forming chords.

The neck is thin, and skinny, but not so much so that it hinders your playing. What I mean is that it feels just as good to shred as it does to play standard chords. Like I said, it is a little difficult to put into words! I think the familiar Strat neck carve with a flat fingerboard is nothing unique, but Charvel really nailed it.

Honestly, I don’t know how to describe it past “The Charvel Pro Mod DK24 neck is amazing”. This might be the most versatile and player-friendly neck I have ever encountered. The Fender shape, with the Jackson and Charvel modifications make it perfect for any genre of playing.

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Bridge And Hardware:

I have been very familiar with Gotoh bridges, especially the Floyd Rose style. I used to put them on all of my Ibanez Guitars back in the day. But I had never played with a Gotoh 510 bridge until the Charvel Pro Mod DK24, and this is an outstanding bridge.

The recessed Gotoh 510 is about as close to Floyd Rose you can get without having to lock everything down. The bridge itself is amazing, but its the total system of the Charvel Pro Mod DK24 that makes this bridge work so well.

The Charvel branded locking tuners are great, and they hold everything in place. The TUSQ XL nut also helps you stay in tune, since that’s where most tuning issues start. But when you put the locking tuners and the nut together with the Gotoh 510 bridge, you are in trem heaven.

I was able to do divebombs and flutters just like a Floyd, and the trem came back to zero point every time. You will be able to hear it in the sound demo, but I did dives and pull-ups and always came right back in tune. The string tension and bridge mass of the Gotoh 510 makes it a little less stiff than a Floyd as well.

But just like the neck, there is another “side” to the Charvel Pro Mod DK24 when it comes to the trem. It can also do subtle bends that you would expect from someone like David Gilmour. Again, it feels and looks like a traditional 2 point trem, but you can also go wild with it. Just like the neck, it can do subtle and shred stunningly well.

The only other guitar I know of that has a 2 point tremolo system that can handle this kind of abuse is my Nick Johnston HSS, although the bridge is not recessed. I compared both of the bridges, and it seems like Schecter took some notes from Gotoh (Sorry to call you out Schecter, but its true!).

Adjusting the bridge is dead simple, and we had no problems dialing in the intonation or setting the trem height. It functions just like a regular Fender trem when it comes to adjustments (Saddle height, etc). I wish I would have discovered these earlier, and I can see why expensive custom companies like SUHR use Gotoh.

My only gripe with the actual build and hardware of the guitar is the frets. If these were stainless steel, I would be seriously considering switching brands (if Charvel would have me). My other gripe is the Fender style knobs, but that is more of a personal taste issue. I think a knurled, dome knob would function better and be more aesthetically pleasing.

Another gripe is the string trees, even though these are not the cheap bent steel type. I think some TUSQ string trees would have “completed” the Charvel Pro Mod DK24, and would help to keep it in tune even better. This is a cheap fix for the consumer, and just a minor gripe.

Overall the hardware on the Charvel Pro Mod DK24 passes our tests with flying colors. Everything about the hardware choices make this guitar easy to setup and maintain. The spoke wheel truss rod adjustment is something that should be on ALL bolt on guitars in my opinion. This thing is a machine, and the rock solid hardware is way above the price tag.

Charvel Pro Mod DK24 Gotoh

Pickups, Electronics, And Sound

This is the real heart of the Charvel Pro Mod DK24, and these are the features that make it feel like a custom shop/mod shop guitar. Almost every company offers coil taps/splits these days, and I think that a “tapped” humbucker can get you about 90% of the way to a single coil tone.

In the bridge we have the popular Duncan Full Shred pickup. The Full Shred is the “brightest” pickup that Duncan makes, and has a tight low-end and scooped mids sound. This is good in my book, because you can always tone down the brightness. Adding brightness to a muddy pickup is much harder.

The Full Shred does exactly what the name implies, and you get a distorted tone that really cuts. It sounds good for solos with the tone knob backed off, but it really shines for distorted rhythm playing. Chords are articulate under high gain, and the bass response is enormous. Dial up the mids a smidgen on the amp, and you are in chug city.

The neck pickup is a Duncan Alnico II Pro humbucker, which is the opposite of the Full Shred in a lot of ways. The Alnico II is warm and smooth, and has a spongy-feel. Almost like a Les Paul with the tone dialed back. This makes it great for vocal-like solos under high gain, since it produces warm, vowel-like tones. This sounds great with overdrive, and all-out high gain.

But then we also have the “in between” positions, like a Stratocaster. The five way switch allows you to also get position two as the outer bobbins, while position four is the inner bobbins. But wait, because you also have a series/parallel switch for these positions. Its a little difficult to explain, so check this out:

Charvel Pro Mod DK24

This is not a coil tap switch. Humbuckers by nature are in Series, and the diagram above shows the switching for that. If you put the Charvel Pro Mod DK24 into Parallel mode, the humbucker acts like a “dual” single coil. But just because you are in single coil mode, these are still humbuckers, so you get no hum at all.

Hopefully this makes sense, and you get a total of 10 different pickup positions to choose from. This is where this guitar becomes one of the most versatile instruments I have ever played. You can get some great dirty single coil sounds, of course.

Demo: Clean sounds in series and parallel. The I show that the Gotoh 510 can totally dive bomb and keep up with the best trems out there! Totally surprising sound, and the pickups are hot. But as you hear, these sound like REAL single coils, not a coil tap.

But where these features really shine is the clean tones. Coil taps have never really sounded convincing enough to my ears when you are playing clean parts. For this reason, I have always recommended having a Stratocaster or Telecaster laying around in the studio, even if you primarily do heavier music. Because nothing replicates that sound.

But the Charvel Pro Mod DK24 definitely gets closer than any coil tap gimmicks, since technically you are running just single coils. You get a solid Strat tone when you flip the switch into Parallel with the bridge pickup, and more of a spank-you-very-much-Telecaster tone when you switch to the bridge. You have unlimited potential for single coil tone.

But the Charvel Pro Mod DK24 still has some tricks up its sleeve. The EVH Bourns Low Friction volume pot, and this is a popular mod for a lot of players, has to be felt to believe. It allows you to do volume swells with ease, and dial down the gain to clean up your sound a little more accurately without sounding muffled.

The no-load tone pot is also a “mod shop” feature that I used to have done to my Ibanez guitars, years ago! The tone knob always has an effect on your sound, just because it is another component in the “chain” of wiring. But a no-load potentiometer acts like the tone pot is “not there” when you have it wide open, resulting in a clearer sound.

All together, this is a lot to take in. The Charvel Pro Mod DK24 has just about everything you can think of to add versatility. The electronics are well thought out, and the result is that you can play just about anything. I could play a Metal gig, then immediately go to a Jazz gig and this guitar would cover it all.


Charvel Pro Mod DK24: Wrapping Up

We never give guitars a rating here at Electrikjam. But of we did, the Charvel would be a solid 10. It takes a lot to blow me away, but this guitar definitely did it for me. I have tried to think of who this guitar is for, and I think it has a pretty broad appeal.

If you have the Charvel Pro Mod DK24, and something like a BOSS Katana, or a Helix? You have a LOT of tones to choose from. Any kind of modeler, or rig that has a lot of tonal options would pair amazingly with this guitar.

You could literally do anything. If you are a working guitarist, that needs all kinds of sounds for different projects (like myself) then versatility is the key. Your rig needs to have many tonal possibilities, in a compact package. No one wants you to show up to the studio for work, and you have 4 guitars and a huge rig. Studios want simple and quick, and this Charvel would be perfect for that environment.

The press material we were sent mentioned the word “progressive” a lot. I can see the Charvel Pro Mod DK24 appealing to people that do progressive music, or experimental music that blurs genres. You have so many tones at your disposal, and professional “mods” that set this guitar apart.

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$1,099.99

Charvel turns modern high performance on its head with the new Pro-Mod DK24 HH 2PT CM electric guitar, a brazen instrument for the progressive guitarist searching for an unparalleled spectrum of sound. Featuring a sculpted shredder’s cut heel and a scalloped lower back bout for easy upper access to the fingerboard, the alder body in the classic Dinky style is cloaked in several stage-stealing finishes—Gloss Black, Matte Blue Frost, Satin Burgundy Mist or Three-Tone Sunburst.

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What Is A “Dinky” Or DK Style Body Shape

The DK stands for “Dinky” and this was a Jackson design to avoid lawsuits from Fender back in the day. Dinky bodies are 7/8 the size of a Stratocaster, so just a little bit smaller. You notice this mostly in how slim the body of the Charvel Pro Mod DK24 feels against your body.

What Is An EVH Bourns Low Friction Potentiometer?

If you listen to “Cathedral” By Van Halen, you will hear what these pots are capable of! These are low friction, and built for volume swells. They also give you better control, without making your sound muffled.

What Is A No-Load Tone Pot, And How Does It Work?

A no-load tone pot works just like a regular tone pot in positions 1-9, and reduces the high end. But when on 10, or fully “on” it acts like a true bypass pedal. It is like it is not even in the chain, giving you clearer overall sound.

Christoper Horton

Christopher has been playing guitar and piano for 27 years. He has been active in the professional music industry for over two decades. He has toured for years with several bands and music projects. He worked in LA as a studio musician and engineer working with bands like IAMSOUND, Baroness, Kylesa, Black Tusk, Reflux, and Tripping Daisy. In between giving private lessons, he is recording a solo album for 2022-2023. Christopher plays Schecter guitars, BOSS amplifiers, and uses STL Tones in the studio.

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