Sound — 10
Sound wise this guitar is a shocker, it's much louder than any Ovation I've played and it projects so clearly, this acoustic sings like an angel. Well rounded is how I would describe its sound characteristics, the solid mahogany neck, back, and sides of course bring in warm, bluesy goodness, but it's flamed spruce top gives it the ability to be as light and airy as any all maple acoustic. I have never played an under two-hundred dollar dreadnought that projects this loud and clear. Easily my favorite part, you can just feel the guitars reverberations everywhere, there's such an even connection between all points of the guitar. Very uniform and very impressive.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall, this guitar is far better than I was expecting to get for even double my budget. Its looks are gorgeous and it's made of great tone woods. With a flamed spruce top and mahogany back, sides, and neck, the sound this guitar produces is diverse and clear. The neck profile and unfinished feel make playing it a breeze, especially when playing for a long time. The action and overall setup straight from the factory is perfect; as well, they give you a lot of saddle height leeway. It shows good craftsmanship all around and seems nice and solid. I would definitely recommend this guitar and any Alvarez.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar seems pretty durable, though I haven't had it long enough to really say how it will hold up. From what I can see and feel everything is very sturdy and even. The strap buttons are fairly nice, they have nice wide heads and I haven't had any problems with the strap disconnecting. The finish is just fine, but not thick enough to take away from it's acoustics. I would definitely rely on this guitar for live playing and traveling. To top it off, it came with an Alvarez gig bag of great quality. It has a lot of thick padding everywhere you need it and a convenient neck support block with a strap to keep it in place.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Now here's the kicker, the neck on this guitar is perfect. I have never played an Alvarez before, and if they can make a cheap acoustic have a neck like this I can't wait to grab a higher end model. The neck isn't clear coated, which I prefer, slick as silk. The action was wonderful from the factory. As well, they give you plenty of saddle height to play with to get your preferred action. I believe the machine heads are stock Alvarez ones, but they're as precise and note holding as any grovers I've had. The bridge pins are standard plastic one, which will be soon replaced with ebony, but they fit very snug in the bridge. The finish is very sleek and even, seems durable enough and holds a nice shine. The top is a bookmatched flamed spruce and looks flawless. The mahogany back seems like is a one piece and if it's not they did a perfect job hiding the seam. Overall it is a gorgeous looking and playing acoustic.
Features — 9
My Alvarez Regent series dreadnought was made in Korea in the early 2000's. It has a solid, nicely figured spruce top with gorgeous mahogany neck, back, and sides; as well as a standard Rosewood fretboard and two-tiered bridge with very precise machine heads and sturdy, shiny chrome hardware. First off I cannot give this guitar enough credit for how much I paid for it. To start, the looks are stunning. It's spruce top is nicely figured and has perfect flamed grains, as for the mahogany, absolutely flawless. Apparently, Alvarez is using top quality woods on all of their instruments. Strictly speaking about features, this guitar is a dreadnought styled acoustic, nothing fancy, but it does it's job better than any other competition. I would love to see one of these with an under saddle pickup and maybe a small preamp, but it's by no means a detraction from how jaw dropping this guitar is. Simply beautiful.