Price paid: $ 150
Purchased from: Local Pawn Shop
Sound — 7
The Koa wood definitely gives it a very warm-bass sound. I use D'Addario med, and it suits the guitar. When I bought it a little over a year ago I talked the guy down from $250 (u.s.) to $150, it was a steal. The electronics it came with, are very well built, and bring out the natural tone in the guitar. The built in tuner and eq was a must. It sounds great mic'd up or just straight into the input to the mixing board. I also use a Zoom A2 pedal to add more effects, just to give it some brightness.
Overall Impression — 10
My overall impression... Well, I'm really impressed. For the price, I couldn't found a better acoustic. I fell in love with Alvarez long ago, and I'm glad I found this one in a Pawn shop, and at the time it went for $500+ new. If it broke, I'd probably do what I can to fix it, or invest in another Alvarez. My friend has an 80's Martin (can't remember what model), but the sound is very similar, if not identical. I've searched and searched, looking at Ibanez, Takamine (SP), Yamaha, Fender, and even played out of my budget; Gibson & Taylor. I would compare this guitar to a Martin acoustic, sound wise, warm and lucious. I guess it was dumb-luck I came across it.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar will withstand live playing, day in and day out. It's the number one guitar I go to when writting or practicing. I live in a harsh Nebraska climate where it is dry a majority of the winters, summers, and falls, but moist in spring. If I keep it out of it's case I have a humidifier in the room on the low setting, I have had to make few adjustments to it through these last few seasons, but that has to deal the the climate and the wood expanding and contracting, like every acoustic. I treat it like a baby, but it's an acoustic, so you have to in a way. I would use it without a backup, no problem, and the finish is durable, you don't have to worry about any of the laquer rubbing off, just give it some tlc cleaning now and again.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Since it was a Pawn shop discount special, I took the whole entire setup as; out of factory. I could move up and down the neck with ease on the purchase, but noticed the strings were to close for my liking, and got a good fretbuzz on the G string, just moved the truss a few degrees and it fixed the problem. The finish is very beautiful, and looks like alot of time was put into the final product. I can't complain of the finess of the craftsmanship, although, the bridge pins are a cheap plastic, I swapped them out with wood (can't remember what kind though) bridge pins, and it took the sound up a notch, still bassy, but a little brightness showed through.
Features — 10
Gator, soft/hard shell case was included. Here are the Specs: - Body Style: Cutaway Dreadnought - Back: Koa - Top: Solid top Koa - Sides: Koa - Fingerboard: Rosewood - Bridge: Rosewood - Soundhole Rosette: White Pearl - Tuning Machines: Nickel Die Cast - Finish: Natural - Electronics: System 500 II I would defiantly invest in a humidifier and keep it in it's case. My friend has one and the finish cracked on it, could be the environment it was in, but since then, it hasn't sounded like mine. That was about the only thing I invested in, besides a sh** load of 9 volts, this thing eats through them like there is no tomorrow.