Price paid: $ 200
Purchased from: Morezville Music
Sound — 8
For an entry-level guitar, this guitar's sound is quite good. Although definitely not a Taylor or Martin, the RF8 has a pleasant, full sound. The bass rumbles clearly, and the treble notes sing away. I play an eclectic number of genres, ranging from hard rock to classical music. From the metal riffs of Rage Against The Machine to beautiful "Star Wars" orchestral arrangements, the RF8 sounds great.
Overall Impression — 9
I like to play rock music the most, but I also play a few neo-classical pieces and a bunch of Folk music. Obviously, an electric is best for the rock music, but this guitar holds up to it pretty well. And it performs very well on Folk and neo-classical. If it were stolen, I would probably upgrade to a higher-level model if I could afford it, but I would be happy with having the RF8 again. I do wish it had an amplification system, but I don't plan to play live with it, so I don't really need one. Overall, I am impressed with this guitar and would recommend it to a beginner or intermediate guitarist looking for a practice guitar with good sound and fairly good setup.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I think this guitar would withstand live playing, if people could hear it (the RF8 is totally acoustic, no amplification). I've hit the headstock and body on various doors and tables throughout the house by accident, and not a scratch can be seen. I don't really throw it around a lot, but my strap hasn't come loose yet. I don't trust myself enough to go on an actual gig without a backup, but I think this guitar would work by itself. The finish is still solid after five years, but I have kept it in its case when not playing, and I didn't start playing it again until about eight months ago. But I think the RF8 is a pretty durable guitar.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The only true gripe I have with this guitar is predictable for an entry-level guitar: the action. The action was set too high at the factory, and thus playing is a bit more difficult than it should be. I suppose one day I'll talk myself into taking it to a guitar shop to lower the action, but hey, I'm cheap. But compared to some of the "First Act" type guitars I've seen, the action is just fine. The finish is beautiful, exactly as one would expect from a more expensive instrument. Nothing seemed out of place.
Features — 7
I received the Alvarez RF8 as a gift in 2006, but I am unsure when it was made. This guitar was factory-made in China, as are all of the Regent Series instruments. It has a rosewood 20 fret fretboard and a beautiful mahogany neck. The body has a natural, glossy finish, and the mahogany wood looks very nice. It has no electronics on it - just a plain, old-fashioned acoustic. Its tuners perform exceptionally well, and I have gone for an entire week without tuning it, and it was still in tune! A surprisingly sturdy hard case with the Alvarez logo came with the guitar as a free bonus.