I am aware of Carvin from various magazines and the web but I don't think I've ever actually seen one. I know they are pretty lefty friendly which I am of course in favor of but I don't have a clue what their quality is like. That certainly looks like a nice guitar and from this corner of the planet $1600 is Epiphone money. :dontknow:
I've played (but not owned) probably about 6-10 different Carvin Guitars (including 1 bass). I can't think of a single bad thing to say about any of them! Not all of them were necessarily to my taste style-wise, but they are VERY well made guitars and do sound great. Though I think the overall shape of a PRS is more appealing to me, I would go for one of the Carvin California Carved Tops over a PRS anyday, and I've never played one myself, only read reviews! They quality is easily on par with the PRS, and it's somewhere around 1/2 the price! I'd really love to try one of the Holdsworth Fat Boys one day.
Carvin is competitive with Warmoth in that you get an instrument that is of (IMHO) *better* quality than something like a PRS for often LESS than 1/2 the price. You have so many more custom options with Warmoth & Carvin than with your normal "name brand" guitars.
As far as Warmoth vs Carvin, it really is a matter of preference in a lot of cases. Warmoth doesn't have a Holdsworth FatBoy, or the acoustic electrics, or any of the neck-thru guitars that Carvin has, and Carvin doesn't have NEARLY the options as far as wood, paint, mix & match woods, necks, bodies, etc. that Warmoth has. Carvin has no Thin-line teles, and nowhere near the different body shapes that Warmoth has. In the end, I think it's a matter of personal preference really. If I had the money I'd have about 3 or 4 Carvins, and about a dozen Warmoths!!!
Carvin does send their guitars to Guitar Player and other magazines for review. I'd love to see Warmoth send some completed guitars to the mags for reviews.
Back to the L5S discussion in this thread... Have you gotten it wired up yet? I am thinking of pretty much the same as what you've got, and I'm dieing to hear a good description of what the guitar sounds like tone-wise, and what other sounds/guitars you'd compare it to!