#1
Hey All,

Sooo... summer has started and I'm beginning to work and making a decent steady income (spending money ). I've been playing guitar for just over a couple years now and I'm really looking into getting a new acoustic. The one I have is a Washburn Lyon from a starter pack for $150 or sumtin, nothing special at all, although it plays really nice and a few of my friends say it plays better than some more expensive guitars they've tried.

Anyways, that's not the point. I visited the which one should I buy thread in this forum and really found a liking in the Alvarez guitars. They seem to be well made and constructed out of good materials. I really found a liking in the AJ418C model, which is a jumbo cutaway w/ spalted maple sides/back and a solid spruce top w/ rosewood fingerboard (I really think the spalted maple is sexy as hell).

So what I'm asking is have you had any experiences with this guitar? heard any stories? have an Alvarez? Pros and Cons? Anything that would be of help and also, other suggestions within the $600 - $800 price range?

Thanks for all the help!!

TL;DR
Alavarez AJ418C, comments on this guitar and company, also suggestions within same price range.

Pics + Info: http://www.worldmusicnashville.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=161&category_id=128&flypage=flypage.pbv.v5.tpl&page=shop.product_details&product_id=981&vmcchk=1&Itemid=161
GEAR:
Epiphone Les Paul Studio Deluxe
ESP LTD EX-360
Peavey VYPYR 30W

"There's nothing constant in the universe.
All ebb and flow, and every shape that's born,
bears in it's womb, the seeds of change".
Last edited by Maillouxlp18 at May 3, 2011,
#3
Breedlove make a fine guitar in that price range. Epiphone's Masterbuilt models are also superb. Parkers are amazing if you can find one - a P6 should be somewhere in your price range too.
Gibson ES-137C
Parker P8EN
AC Custom Special P Bass
#4
Alvarez make pretty decent guitars in general. I would suggest avoiding this model though. Spalted maple is a terrible material for acoustic guitars. It is essentially half rotten wood.

There should be other Alvarez around the $600-$800 range that are all solid wood.

As well, do NOT trust online reviews. They are extremely flawed.
Equipment:
- Art & Lutherie Cedar CW (SOLD! )
- Martin D-16RGT w/ LR Baggs M1 Active Soundhole Pickup
- Seagull 25th Anniversary Flame Maple w/ LR Baggs Micro EQ

Have an acoustic guitar? Don't let your guitar dry out! Click here.
#5
I actually demo'ed that exact guitar for a customer back when I worked at my local music store. Great guitar, solid lows and singing highs. One of the loudest friggin guitars I've ever played, but not boomy loud. In fact, my manager ran in panicking, thinking I had grabbed one of the Yairi's and was beating on it. Great choice, beautiful guitar.

RS93
#6
Quote by captivate
Alvarez make pretty decent guitars in general. I would suggest avoiding this model though. Spalted maple is a terrible material for acoustic guitars. It is essentially half rotten wood.

There should be other Alvarez around the $600-$800 range that are all solid wood.

As well, do NOT trust online reviews. They are extremely flawed.


Seriously? Spalted maple terrible in acoustics? Now There's a false generalization. In a jumbo, the maple will help balance out the overbearing bass that you get from the larger body. Helps accentuate the highs, so the lows don't drown them out. Played it, loved it, sold it to the customer.
#7
Quote by RockinSince1993
Seriously? Spalted maple terrible in acoustics? Now There's a false generalization. In a jumbo, the maple will help balance out the overbearing bass that you get from the larger body. Helps accentuate the highs, so the lows don't drown them out. Played it, loved it, sold it to the customer.


Spalted Maple is not a good choice because of it's composition. It is HALF ROTTEN wood. It will never be solid wood, always laminate. It will not age. Spalted maple on something like an electric guitar is lovely because of how the electric guitar works. It doesn't use the vibrations of the body. Acoustic guitars do. How can half rotten wood vibrate properly? It can't without the reinforcement of lamination, which hinders vibrations.

In the $600-800 range, you can get much better for the money. How about some real maple such as what Seagull offers? You can get a beautiful 25th anniversary edition S6 with gorgeous flamed maple side and back along with an LR Baggs micro EQ for $700 or so.

Why buy half rotten wood when you can buy real wood?

Spalted maple is a terrible material for acoustic guitars. Any luthier will tell you that. This does not mean that a spalted maple acoustic guitar is going to be terrible sounding or playing. My previous statement stands for itself.

The material is terrible, the guitar may not be. Why not have a great guitar with good material too?
Equipment:
- Art & Lutherie Cedar CW (SOLD! )
- Martin D-16RGT w/ LR Baggs M1 Active Soundhole Pickup
- Seagull 25th Anniversary Flame Maple w/ LR Baggs Micro EQ

Have an acoustic guitar? Don't let your guitar dry out! Click here.
#8
Please do your research on the phenomenon of "Spalting" before you post. There's a great tool called Google you should try.

Not All spalting is rotting. What you're referring to is White Rot, which is a form of spalting. In my experience (working with an established luthier for a year), there are three main types of spalting. White Rot, which actually does weaken the wood significantly. Pigmentation, where fungi (Which Doesn't imply rotting wood; just water and humidity) bonds with the wood, yet Doesn't break down the cell walls of the wood, and Zone Lines, which occur when two types of fungi penetrate the wood and meet. The latter two do Very little, if anything, to the structural integrity of the wood. Hence why White Rot wood is rarely used, except in electrics where the structural integrity doesn't matter. Spalted maple, flamed/quilted maple, and plain maple all have the same tonal characteristics, and the same strength.

RS93
#9
Quote by RockinSince1993
Please do your research on the phenomenon of "Spalting" before you post. There's a great tool called Google you should try.

Not All spalting is rotting. What you're referring to is White Rot, which is a form of spalting. In my experience (working with an established luthier for a year), there are three main types of spalting. White Rot, which actually does weaken the wood significantly. Pigmentation, where fungi (Which Doesn't imply rotting wood; just water and humidity) bonds with the wood, yet Doesn't break down the cell walls of the wood, and Zone Lines, which occur when two types of fungi penetrate the wood and meet. The latter two do Very little, if anything, to the structural integrity of the wood. Hence why White Rot wood is rarely used, except in electrics where the structural integrity doesn't matter. Spalted maple, flamed/quilted maple, and plain maple all have the same tonal characteristics, and the same strength.

RS93


Thank you for the information. I do not appreciate the attitude, however.

Cheers.
Equipment:
- Art & Lutherie Cedar CW (SOLD! )
- Martin D-16RGT w/ LR Baggs M1 Active Soundhole Pickup
- Seagull 25th Anniversary Flame Maple w/ LR Baggs Micro EQ

Have an acoustic guitar? Don't let your guitar dry out! Click here.
#10
Sorry, hard to express emotion through forums. I meant it in the least offensive way possible. I apologize once again.

RS93
#11
Quote by RockinSince1993
Sorry, hard to express emotion through forums. I meant it in the least offensive way possible. I apologize once again.

RS93


It's all good.

I really do appreciate the information. It's always good to learn.
Equipment:
- Art & Lutherie Cedar CW (SOLD! )
- Martin D-16RGT w/ LR Baggs M1 Active Soundhole Pickup
- Seagull 25th Anniversary Flame Maple w/ LR Baggs Micro EQ

Have an acoustic guitar? Don't let your guitar dry out! Click here.
#12
Quote by captivate
Alvarez make pretty decent guitars in general. I would suggest avoiding this model though. Spalted maple is a terrible material for acoustic guitars. It is essentially half rotten wood.

There should be other Alvarez around the $600-$800 range that are all solid wood.

As well, do NOT trust online reviews. They are extremely flawed.



+1

Spalted maple looks hot but it's not a good material for acoustic guitars. In that price range you can find sold back and sides along with a solid top and if you can get a solid back and sides instrument for the price and you want the best quality instrument then you should get a solid back and sides instrument.

Good solid top and laminate back and sides instruments can be had for around $350 give or take and if you want something that sounds good AND you can bang around a bit on camping trips than laminate back and sides is the way to go, but don't pay twice as much as you have to for the laminate.


Quote by RockinSince1993
Please do your research on the phenomenon of "Spalting" before you post. There's a great tool called Google you should try.

Not All spalting is rotting. What you're referring to is White Rot, which is a form of spalting. In my experience (working with an established luthier for a year), there are three main types of spalting. White Rot, which actually does weaken the wood significantly. Pigmentation, where fungi (Which Doesn't imply rotting wood; just water and humidity) bonds with the wood, yet Doesn't break down the cell walls of the wood, and Zone Lines, which occur when two types of fungi penetrate the wood and meet. The latter two do Very little, if anything, to the structural integrity of the wood. Hence why White Rot wood is rarely used, except in electrics where the structural integrity doesn't matter. Spalted maple, flamed/quilted maple, and plain maple all have the same tonal characteristics, and the same strength.

RS93



Sorry but what you are saying isn't accurate. Just because it can be found on google doesn't mean it's true. You need to check a reliable source like Bruce Hoadely's Understanding Wood for accurate info about this stuff. Spalting, flame, and quilt do not all the the same strength or the same tonal characteristics. The biggest problem with spalting is that it's impossible to tell if the wood has actually had it's integrity compromised without damaging the wood. The fungus is an indicator that decomposition has started which is why they don't use solid spalted back and sides on acoustic guitars. Instead they use laminated back and sides. There have been instances where luthiers decided to try it and they have usually had poor results both tonally and structurally. What you were saying about rot is mostly true, not quite, but it's somewhat out of context. All and all, your explanation is over simplified. This is coming from somebody that has been a luthier for more than 10 years.
Not taking any online orders.
Last edited by CorduroyEW at May 4, 2011,
#13
On a guitar in that pricerange, try to play very loud is something that always works. Try to get the most out of it, and after a certain level you can feel the sound of the guitar is not keeping up with your playing. That's how you know at what class that guitar is, eventually it will simply stop opening up and the sound feels stuck at some point in the guitar. Some a bit further away from the instrument, some will feel it's not even getting out of it.

Other things to keep in mind, test every string at every frest, playing loud. Fretbuzz is annoying and unnacceptable, listen to the guitar rattling on other places as well. Feel the body to see if there's any weird cracks or dents as well. Tuning mechanisms, soddy paintjobs. Lacquer can kill tone if it's used too thickly.
Wise Man Says: The guitar is obviously female, she's got hips, breasts... and a hole.
UG's Flamenco Club
#14
Quote by CorduroyEW
+1

Spalted maple looks hot but it's not a good material for acoustic guitars. In that price range you can find sold back and sides along with a solid top and if you can get a solid back and sides instrument for the price and you want the best quality instrument then you should get a solid back and sides instrument.

Good solid top and laminate back and sides instruments can be had for around $350 give or take and if you want something that sounds good AND you can bang around a bit on camping trips than laminate back and sides is the way to go, but don't pay twice as much as you have to for the laminate.


Sorry but what you are saying isn't accurate. Just because it can be found on google doesn't mean it's true. You need to check a reliable source like Bruce Hoadely's Understanding Wood for accurate info about this stuff. Spalting, flame, and quilt do not all the the same strength or the same tonal characteristics. The biggest problem with spalting is that it's impossible to tell if the wood has actually had it's integrity compromised without damaging the wood. The fungus is an indicator that decomposition has started which is why they don't use solid spalted back and sides on acoustic guitars. Instead they use laminated back and sides. There have been instances where luthiers decided to try it and they have usually had poor results both tonally and structurally. What you were saying about rot is mostly true, not quite, but it's somewhat out of context. All and all, your explanation is over simplified. This is coming from somebody that has been a luthier for more than 10 years.


I'm just taking my information from the mouth of a respected luthier with two decades in the biz. He showed me how to discern between the main three types of spalting. I guess a point should also be made that the spalted maple laminates we see in most acoustics is in fact a veneer over some other wood (probably plain maple). If it's a 3-ply laminate, then it's 2-ply plain maple, 1-ply spalted. Saves money and ensures strength as extra insurance. Thanks for the input though

RS93
#15
Quote by sonic_777111
Breedlove make a fine guitar in that price range. Epiphone's Masterbuilt models are also superb. Parkers are amazing if you can find one - a P6 should be somewhere in your price range too.


+1
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