Price paid: $ 489.99
Purchased from: American Musical Supply
Sound — 9
Mostly a finger pick style player myself, this guitar produces great lows and highs with tons of volume. Played/strummed with a flat pick produces a great deal of volume with beautiful tone. I play it thru PA's with no effects other than the on board controls. With the internal pickup engaged you may have to use the notch filter in order to clear out any feedback that may occur at higher volumes. The under saddle pickup is always engaged so you're only adding the internal pickup sound to the blend. I've found adding 50% of the internal pickup has a great sound.
Overall Impression — 10
Acoustic/folk (Nick Drake, Jeff Buckley, Duncan Sheik etc...) this is a great "jack of all trades" guitar for what I do. Been playing guitar for 16 years now. The rest of my gear includes: Alvarez AP710SB Parlor, ABT60E Baritone, 1997 Yamaha APX4A, 1997 Pacifica 112, Line 6 Spider III amp with an FBV pedal board. I'm an absolute fanatic about the entire Alvarez Artist series. The AG75CE is an awesome addition to my collection and another great piece from Alvarez. The duel pickup system really adds richness to the sound with the internal pickup. The only thing I hated was that it was not setup right out of the box. I don't know if if was a fluke that the first two Alvarez guitars I bought were spot-on, but having to have this one setup was a pain. As I stated above I will have one of each model from the Artist series because the line is that good.
Reliability & Durability — 7
I've only had this guitar for 3 weeks, 1 of which it was in the shop getting setup. Everything about it is solid but I did swap to Schaller strap locks (which all my guitars have). The finish is perfect and Alvarez has done this for all of the Artist series (I own 2 other models and plan to buy 6 more). It will be put the test this coming winter when I will be doing 3-4 shows a week from October to March 2014 so time will tell if it will do the job. This model will be my only stage guitar once performance season starts.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The setup was ok out of the box, but once I had my local shop guys set it up to my specs it's flawless. The action was a little low for my tastes so they had to shim the nut with a bit of Rosewood to raise it for the feel I like. Most electric players would probably prefer the setup of the guitar out of the box but I'm not really an electric player. The under saddle piezo was not set in position totally correct so my shop had to route the bridge a bit to make a flat total contact of the saddle, piezo and bridge (This was more of a hangup to my shop guy and there was no extra charge to fix this). The finish is beautiful which seems to be true of the whole Artist series. The use of pearl and abalone is always a nice touch as decoration. The tuning machines are solid with a quick turn feel.
Features — 10
Alvarez Grand Auditorium cutaway with B-Band Sys650 electronics. June 2013 production date. Made in China. Solid Cedar top, Spruce scalloped bracing, with laminate Rosewood back and sides. 20 standard frets on a Rosewood fretboard fitted to a Mahogany neck topped with a 2mm Rosewood headstock plate. Bone nut and saddle, Rosewood bridge and bridge pins. Standard gloss finish, with green abalone and rosewood rosette and the bridge pins are topped in green abalone as well. B-Band Sys650 electronics is standard on this model. 3 band EQ and volume with a blend slider to control the dual pickups. One pickup is mounted under the saddle and the second is mounted inside under the bridge plate. A notch control is included to control any feedback created by the pickup under the bridge plate. An onboard tuner is located with the rest of the controls as well.