The early 80's gave rise to some fantastic new ground-breaking guitar players and styles, almost all where more aggressive than their predecessors. Heavy use of the tremolo was common, and many players chose to have their traditional brass vintage trems "upgraded" to the new Floyd Rose, or Kahler double-locking tremolo bridges. As a result, many of the early Charvels have been "Floyded", or "Kahler'd." Additionally, many players routed out single bridge pickups in favor of numbuckers, added a second humbucker in the neck position, added a coil tap switch, etc. These are only some of the more common modifications done to Charvels of the era. While these modifications may indeed actually improve the playability and utility of an early Charvel, they are also irreversible in many cases, and have a large impact on the collector value of a given instrument.
Prepro Charvels that would otherwise have been lost to parts, are sometimes restored by collectors using "era correct" parts. While they are no longer factory original guitars, they can play as nicely, and can be purchased for less money, making them accessible to both players and collectors. My personal philosophy on restoration and mods is simple; if the guitar still bears its' original finish, don't restore. If it has been repainted, that leaves the door open to restoring a Kahler back to a vintage trem, removing the extra knob or switch, and repainting back to the original finish. Otherwise, simply enjoy your Charvel as-is!
I would roughly estimate that (conservatively) over half of the total pre-serialized production run of Charvels have been destroyed, parted out, or modified in one way or another. This leaves the existing number of original, unmodified Prepro Charvels somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 or less, by my best estimate. For some Charvel collectors, these Prepro Charvels are considered en masse "Holy Grails." I am lucky enough to own Charvels from both the pre-serialized and serialized eras and love them equally. Construction techniques, feel, playability and attention to detail is superb in both eras, and I have yet to play a Charvel I did not like.
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