Price paid: $ 300
Purchased from: Amazon
Features — 10
I got just the regular Artist series AD60, without the pre-amp or cutout. I just wanted a plain dreadnought. I never play my acoustics through an amp, anyway. It has a hand-picked grade A solid Sitka spruce top. My old lady said I couldn't get any more guitars until I got rid of a couple, so I had to sell my FG-730s, which broke my heart, until this arrived. If you shut your eyes, it really sounds like a Martin D-18. I know, some of you out there are calling bullshit, but my best friend has a D-18, so I'm used to hearing one. I can't wait to play them both together! The bass response on this guitar is awesome. But it leaves room in the midrange for vocals, like a good all-wood guitar. Specs:
- Hand selected, "A" grade, solid Sitka spruce top
- Hand sanded, scalloped bracing
- Mahogany back and sides
- Paua abalone and mother of pearl inlays
- Real bone nut and saddle
- 1 and 3/4 inch nut
- Gloss Sunburst finish
- Diecast chrome tuners.
Sound — 10
This guitar has the richest tone I've ever heard from a guitar with a laminated back and sides. The tone is deeper than my old Blueridge, I think. (which some asshole stole! I play stuff like Melissa by the Allman Brothers on it, and it sounds like the record. This is a professional recording quality guitar. I read all these reviews on Amazon saying it sounded as good as a Martin or a Taylor, which I took with a grain of salt. Sometimes reviews like that are by people who just bought their first guitar. But the great reviews were so overwhelming, I decided I had to have one, even if it meant selling one of my favorite Yamahas. Much as that hurt at the time, when I played my first chords, I knew I'd made the right decision.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The setup on this guitar is as good as I've come to expect from Yamaha, which means perfect. The only other Alvarez I ever played was a laminate, that was nothing to write home about, but this has given me a whole new respect for the company! The action is really low, but there is no fret buzz anywhere. It looks so perfect, I avoid letting my pick touch the pickguard, because I want to keep it looking perfect. The inlay around the soundhole and on the headstock makes it look like a more expensive guitar (I still find it hard to believe I got a guitar this good for $296 & tax. It feels like I stole a couple hundred!)
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar was made for live playing and recording. You should always have a backup, just in case something terrible happens, or you break a string in the middle of a set. But this guitar should outlast me by decades. The tuners are diecast chrome, and seem to stay tuned very well. And it's definitely got the looks, so people will be suitably impressed when you walk in with it. Alvarezes apparently last pretty well, because after I got this, I got on line and found a 1975 Alvarez 5022, which I will have to hide from my girlfriend, but it was in beautiful shape, and I'm dying to hear what a fully aged, Made In Japan Alvarez sounds like. So stay tuned!
Overall Impression — 10
I've been playing off and on for decades. Unfortunately, I didn't start until I was 25, so I'll never be as good as I'd like. Still, my friends and family are suitably impressed. I play a lot of classic rock and folk, and write some of my own stuff. I have a pretty nice Korg synth for backgrounds. My first guitar was a Sigma, but lately I've been getting mostly Yamahas. I was up to five of them a couple months ago, now I'm back to 3. But this Alvarez has converted me. Like I said, I've already ordered another, that cost more than this one. But I have no doubt that these guitars will hold their value, so when I'm dead and gone, they can sell them and make the money back. I certainly don't expect to ever sell or trade this. The Blueridge I had stolen was the only guitar I ever had that was as good as this one. And it cost about twice as much. A cutaway to get at the lower frets might have been nice, but I worry about cutaways effecting the sound of the guitar. Anyway, if you are in the market for a guitar, don't buy one until you at least try one of these!