#1
AOTM April 2008 - Alvarez AD60SC
Specs:
Body: Dreadnought with Cutaway
Top: Solid Spruce
Back/Sides: Laminate Mahogany
Neck: Mahogany
Fingerboard: Rosewood
Electronics: Alvarez System 600TMk II

Background:
Well, I’ve been playing guitar for maybe a year and a half or so, and by no means am I a good player, but it gives me something good to do. I started off with a Legend D20 (The brand Legend is now Legacy and they mostly sell rebranded Epiphone gear). It was an Ok guitar really, I mean, it stayed in tune perfectly, it played reasonably well (much better than the other stuff for the same price) and, most of all, it was cheap. But, being an all laminate guitar it sounded pretty cold and harsh. So I’ve been after a new acoustic guitar for a while now as I found I’d usually end up playing my electric guitar as it was a much better instrument, yet I like acoustics much better (Don’t have to plug it in, don’t need electricity etc.).

After a long hunt with many, many delays and budget changes, I ended up with this. The other options I looked at were the Cole Clark FL1, Maton M225 and the Breedlove AD20/SM and C25EFS. The Breedlove AD20/SM is a fantastic guitar but it is a good $280 more expensive here in Australia compared to the Alvarez (budget was a pretty big factor). The C25EFS is also a fantastic guitar, the Cedar top gave it such a rich and complex sound, but it just didn’t really suit what I wanted. The Maton is a very cool guitar too, but the low end Matons are a bit hyped IMO, still good guitars but most of them just weren’t doing it for me until we got into the next price bracket and weren’t anywhere near as good as the Breedloves.
Now, this is where I think it got interesting. The Cole Clark FL1. I have played quite a few of these and some have been fantastic, and some not so flash ones. And more recently there have been a few reports about issues with their durability. When I pick them up I feel like I could easily put my fist through the back and sides. The wood is so thin; it just doesn’t feel like ti could withstand much at all. Also the top and back are glued on with the use of kerfing, which I wasn’t so sure about. In the end I just didn’t feel comfortable about buying one, especially seeing as one of Australia’s top Luthiers doesn’t think very much of them at all. Oh, and for those interested in this kind of stuff, the bracings on the Cole Clarks is routed into the wood on the top and back and is not, like most guitars, separate pieces of wood.
In the end it was down to the Maton and the Alvarez (they were also the cheapest guitars that I was looking at) and in the end I went with the Alvarez because it was a bit cheaper (kept Mum happy) and because it had built in electronics. I’m not sure when I will next be able to buy a new guitar so the flexibility that the electronics and cutaway gave me was pretty appealing.

The Guitar Itself:
I really like the look of the guitar overall. I’m not overly fond of the shape of the pickguard but that’s a pretty minor thing. There isn’t really much to talk about here. It has a very simple, clean look and there is a really nice yet subtle grain on the soundboard but other than that, it’s just a plain old guitar (which was what I was after, I’m not really into the fancy looking stuff).

Sound:
Although I wasn’t spending heaps on a really outstanding sounding guitar, there was no way I was going to settle for a guitar that didn’t sound good. The Alvarez is really well balanced (and area where a lot of other cheaper guitars seem to have issues with) and it stays clear and defined even when strummed hard. I found that most other cheaper guitars tended to muddy up a lot when played hard, and even the Matons have a tendency to muddy up. Just as well as it handles a good strum, it handles finger picking quite well to. I much preferred the Breedlove with the cedar top for this, but I think the Alvarez was a much better all rounder. Something with a nice Cedar top is on my list of things to buy when I have some money.

Electronics:
Haven’t been able to properly test these out properly through an acoustic amp or decent PA yet but with a bit of playing through an electric amp, so far I’m pretty impressed. The EQ is simple and works well while still providing a lot of options. It’s a very simple procedure to dial in a decent sound even through an electric amp (obviously it’s not a scratch on the unplugged sound&hellip and cutting feedback is much easier than I first expected.

Action:
The action is superb. There’s absolutely no fret buzz yet playing bar chords suddenly became so much easier compared to my old acoustic guitar. It really hit the sweet spot for me.

Reliability:
I’ve had this guitar for 2 weeks now. It hasn’t broken yet (and I’d be extremely annoyed if it had broken in 2 weeks). I guess I’ll be revisiting this section at some later date if I have any problems but I can’t see much happening. It appears to be a very solid guitar. My only issue so far is that the adhesive that keeps the cable organiser inside the guitar stuck onto the side has unstuck so now I have some cabling showing. I’ll be fixing this when I next change my strings, as it’s not hurting anything so there’s no real rush.

Last Thoughts:
So far I’m extremely happy with this guitar. For me it was the best option for the best price. Everyone’s needs are different but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this guitar to someone looking for a cheap guitar, especially someone looking for an acoustic-electric on the cheap.


Pictures:







Last edited by johnos at Apr 1, 2008,
#2
Tomorrow I'll try to get some pictures outside in the natural light to give you guys a better look at the guitar. If theres anything in particular that you want to see, yell out and I'll get a picture.
Last edited by johnos at Apr 1, 2008,
#5
Stuck.

Great choice. I haven't played an Alvarez that I haven't liked yet.


Gear:
Partscaster/Tele into a bunch of pedals, a Maz 18 head, and a Z Best cab.
#6
i just wish i could find an alvarez in toronto =/ never seen one so far.
#7
great guitar! thanks for posting.

also, about the pickguard... somebody posted a thread recently where they removed the pickguard from their ad60sc12. maybe this would be an option for you. did you see that thread?
#8
Thanks guys. And yeah, I love the plain fretboard. Its just so clean and dots are just boring.

No I didn't see that. Been too busy at school lately to be able to come online as much as I used to but I did take the pickguard off my other acoustic and liked it a lot better.
I'll think about that one as I don't hate it and it's probably better for the guitar if I'm scratching the pickguard instead of the body.
#9
^-- i just brought it up because you mentioned in the description that you weren't overly fond of the pickguard
#10
I wasn't but its growing on me a little. Thanks for the idea though.
#11
My friend down the hall in my dorm has one, and its one of the easiest-playing (grammar?) guitars i've ever played. The neck feels great. It doesn't project as well as my fender dreadnought (spelling?), but the tone is great.
DOESN'T REALLY CARE ABOUT RON WILSON
#12
Quote by TDS
My friend down the hall in my dorm has one, and its one of the easiest-playing (grammar?) guitars i've ever played. The neck feels great. It doesn't project as well as my fender dreadnought (spelling?), but the tone is great.


Yep they're definitely a nice guitar. Never really seen how the Fenders project cos I've usually been the one playing but I know my Alvarez projects really well. Me and a few mates were playing outside, doing a bit of singing too and we ended up having to sing pretty loudly, and it could be heard well from a distance. I was really impressed with it then.
And I'm pretty sure you spelled Dreadnought correctly, not sure about the grammer
#13
Nice guit. I'm a big Alvarez fan currently playing a MF80C and a MD350C which are both incredible. I love the simplistic look of Alvarez. No frills just tone. Best of luck with your new ax and thanks for the review. I've been looking into the FD60SC same thing as yours but with the thinner body.
#14
I just bought this guitar too and I love it!!! Mine didn't come with a case, so I'm looking for a sturdy one that will fit. What kind of case did you get for it?
#15
Quote by meya
I just bought this guitar too and I love it!!! Mine didn't come with a case, so I'm looking for a sturdy one that will fit. What kind of case did you get for it?


I didnt end up getting a case, I got a multi-guitar stand and I have a gig bag for if it needs to be carried somewhere. I do like a nice Hiscox case for an acoustic, but they are a bit on the expensive side. A Gator case would do you as well. The guitar should fit in any standard Dreadnought case.
#17
The "A" in "April" stand for "Alvarez," from now on.
Sincerely, Chad.
Quote by LP Addict
LP doesnt have to stand for les paul.. it can stand for.... lesbian porn.
#18
Quote by Cold Flame44
what waz the price?

(sorry if i missed it, lol)


I picked it up for just under AUD$600 (about $580 I think, it ended up being over $600 with the stand that I got with it though.)
#19
Now lately I've been thinking about if it would be worth eventually getting a bone saddle and maybe nut put in. I know I won't be buying a new guitar for a while (Simply can't afford it) so I'm wondering about the advantages of upgrading those. I have had the occasional issue with the high E string catching at the nut (both the nut and the saddle are plastic btw) and was thinking it might be worth upgrading to Tusq or bone to help with that.

Also, I figure that upgrading the saddle might be a worthwhile investment just to make the guitar sound it's best. Also, I've heard people say that upgrading the bridge pins is a cheap and easy upgrade than can make a bit of difference to sound.

Now, I really don't know that much about this side of things so I was wondering if anyone could give a little bit of input here. Is it worth it?
#20
imo, upgrading the saddle is absolutely worth it. upgrading the bridge pins is also worth it to me because it simply doesn't cost very much to do.

the nut is another thing though. unless you are having issues with your current nut (which it sounds like you might be), i generally don't really think it is worth upgrading. it's a pretty expensive upgrade and just doesn't do much for the guitar imo. if you've got the money then sure, it's a fine upgrade.... but on a budget, it's one of the absolute last things i would change.
#21
^ I agree with Jim. I upgraded the saddle on my AD60S-12 and it's made a huge difference. Plus, the saddle you can easily fit yourself. The nut is a different story, and I know I wouldn't feel comfortable doing it myself.

Gear:
Partscaster/Tele into a bunch of pedals, a Maz 18 head, and a Z Best cab.
#22
Thats a fair point there. I'll definitely look into replacing the saddle and the brdige pins. I'll have a think about the Nut as it hasnt been much of a problem really. Just the few times that I've had it happen I wondered if it might be worth changing the nut. If it's going to be expensive, then I don't think it would be worth it.

Cheers guys.

EDIT:
Roamingbard
Did you use a bone or ivory saddle (or something else?) when you upgraded your saddle?
Also, I was looking at some premade saddles to give it a shot myself. The problem is that the current saddle is a compensated saddle or something (I think. Its not just straight. The string spacing changes the whole way along and the B string sits much further forward, I can take a photo if it would help.) but all of the premade ones I have seen are not. Is this an issue?
Last edited by johnos at May 8, 2008,
#23
Quote by johnos
Now lately I've been thinking about if it would be worth eventually getting a bone saddle and maybe nut put in. I know I won't be buying a new guitar for a while (Simply can't afford it) so I'm wondering about the advantages of upgrading those. I have had the occasional issue with the high E string catching at the nut (both the nut and the saddle are plastic btw) and was thinking it might be worth upgrading to Tusq or bone to help with that.

Also, I figure that upgrading the saddle might be a worthwhile investment just to make the guitar sound it's best. Also, I've heard people say that upgrading the bridge pins is a cheap and easy upgrade than can make a bit of difference to sound.

Now, I really don't know that much about this side of things so I was wondering if anyone could give a little bit of input here. Is it worth it?

Easily the most worthwhile upgrade for your acoustic. It's a night and day difference, and I would pick bone over TUSQ any day of the week. I recommend buying from Bob Colosi at his site. I've never been steered wrong by him, and his quality is impeccable.
Sincerely, Chad.
Quote by LP Addict
LP doesnt have to stand for les paul.. it can stand for.... lesbian porn.