There are several banner years in Carvin's 50-year history, and 1976 is one of them.  So many things happened, it's hard to summarize them all.  First, in the marketing department, the 62-page 1976 catalog was printed entirely in color, the first time Carvin had done this.  This was also the first year that a wide selection of PA systems was offered (which may be part of the reason that the return address label on the catalog referred to the company as "Carvin Music & Sound Co.").  The catalog also represented the basic form that would continue for years to come, with an entire page devoted to each model, versus many models on each page.  

In the Guitar Department, Carvin offered something for everyone, and every playing style.  There were solid-bodies, hollow-bodies, doublenecks, Strat-styles, Gibson-styles and more.  Of special note, this was the year that the DC150 debuted - a model which is still in production today.  Although all Carvin guitars and basses still featured Hofner bolt-on necks, the look of the modern Carvin guitar was taking shape, with a new traditional headstock design on the DC150 that would continue to be used until the present day.

The guitars are shown in the order they appeared in the catalog.  Click each one to see the entire catalog page.

1976 Carvin Catalog Cover
1976 Carvin DC150 Guitar

1976 Basses

1976 Guitar Amps

1976 Bass Amps






The new DC150 was Carvin's flagship model for 1976, and was destined to become a mainstay of the Carvin line.  For the first time, extensive details regarding construction and components of Carvin guitars was presented in the catalog, and the DC150 had plenty to be written about: Schaller M6 tuners, Eastern hardrock maple body and 24" scale neck (clear gloss was the only available finish), chrome-plated brass tailpiece, adjustable truss rod, and MOP inlays.  Electronics consisted of a pair of APH-6 humbuckers with dual volume and tone controls, coil splitters with an "off" position for each pickup, and a master phase switch, and stereo wiring.  This was the first Carvin to have the new headstock shape, although the older "wide at the top" headstock with inlays was available with the optional 25" scale rosewood fingerboard/neck.

The DC150 with #900 neck (shown) sold for $319.00.  The left-handed DC150L with #900 neck was $329.00, and the DC150R with rosewood #850 neck was $319.00.  The HC10 hardshell case was an additional $41.00.

The CM95 had been a featured player in Carvin's guitar lineup since the early 70's, but in 1976, it was replaced with the new CM96.  This single-cut model had all the same features of the DC150, with the 25" scale, rosewood-fingerboarded model #850 neck standard.  Electronics consisted of a pair of APH-6 humbucking pickups with on-off mini switch for each, and master phase switch with mono wiring.  Stereo wiring with coil-splitters was optional for an additional $50.00.  A Bigsby vibrato was also offered for an additional $50.00.  The CM96 with #850 rosewood fingerboard was $269.00, or $279.00 for a left-handed model.  The CM96M, with #900 maple fingerboard was $279.00.  The HC11 hardshell case was $41.00.

1976 Carvin CM96 Guitar
1976 Carvin SS76 Guitar

Carvin offered a pair of Strat-style guitars in 1976, the SS76 (left) and the SS66 (right).  Both these models used the 25" scale model #500 removable maple neck with rosewood fingerboard and Schaller ST6 tuners.  Both guitars also had a pair of APH-6 humbuckers with dual volume and tone controls, phase switch and 3-way pickup selector switch.  The obvious difference between the two was the SS76 was natural-finished maple, while the SS66 was sunburst finish on non-specified wood.  Neither were available in left-handed models, but a Bigsby vibrato was offered on either for an additional $50.00.  The SS76 sold for $219.00, and the SS66 sold for $239.00.  The HC12 case was an additional $41.00.

1976 Carvin SS66 Guitar

Carvin's archtop guitars for 1976 were offered in two configurations also: the AS55 (left) and the AS51 (right).  Both had a German spruce top, flamed maple back and sides and body binding.  The AS55 was natural finish with the #850 neck standard, and the AS51 was sunburst with the #900 neck standard, although either neck could be ordered with either guitar.  A Bigsby vibrato could also be ordered on either model.  The AS55 sold for $309.00 with standard tailpiece and rosewood fingerboard, and the AS51 sold for $299.00 with standard tailpiece and maple fingerboard.  The HC14 case sold for $51.00.

A rosewood 12-string neck could also be ordered - see the picture below.

1976 Carvin AS51 Archtop Guitar
1976 Carvin DT640 Doubleneck Guitar

The doubleneck tradition that began in the fifties continued with the DT640 (left) and DB620 (right).  Both were constructed from Eastern hardrock maple, with maple necks and rosewood fingerboards.  Maple fingerboards were not offered.  Both also had AP-series humbuckers with on-off switches, master phase switch for each neck, master volume and tone controls for each neck, neck selector switch, and dual outputs.  A Bigsby vibrato could be added to the 6-string neck on either model.  The DT640 sold for $479.00, and the DB620 sold for $449.00.  The HC18 hardshell case was $51.00.

1976 Carvin DB620 Doubleneck Guitar/Bass
1976 Carvin Steel Guitars

As Carvin's guitar and bass lines expanded, the steel guitar lines began to fade, and this was one of the last catalogs that would showcase these instruments that had been anchors of Carvin's since the Kiesel days.  Four models were offered; the PRO-S6 6-string ($89.00) the PRO-S8 8-string (far left; $99.00), the PRO-D6 doubleneck 6-string (near left; $159.00) and the PRO-D8 doubleneck 8-string ($179.00). 

1976 Carvin Guitar Features

Carvin took advantage of the newly-redesigned catalog to show off as many features as possible in full color.  As would become standard in future Carvin catalogs, several pages were dedicated to explaining in detail the construction techniques, components, warranty and direct pricing philosophy.

1976 Carvin AS55-12 12-String Guitar
1976 Carvin Guitar Parts

As had been the case for many years, you could order just about every component that comprised a Carvin guitar or bass, except the bodies.  But even that would change in the near future...

1976 Carvin Guitar Necks