LV-03RE Review

manufacturer: Larrivee date: 09/15/2011 category: Acoustic Guitars
Larrivee: LV-03RE
This model is a sloped shoulder dreadnought style. Best suited for the player who likes the sound of dreadnought with the waist of an OM style guitar.
 Sound: 9
 Overall Impression: 9
 Reliability & Durability: 9.5
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9
 Features: 9.5
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reviews (2) pictures (1) 5 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9
LV-03RE Reviewed by: Steve BP, on september 15, 2011
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Features: The LV-03RE is the signature Larrivee "L" body. It has sloped shoulders and a tighter waist than a dreadnought, but the lower bout is still large enough to retain bass and volume. The "V" designation refers to a venetian cutaway to provide access to the upper frets. It has a solid Canadian sitka spruce top, and solid Indian Rosewood back and sides. The fretboard and bridge are ebony, and the single-piece, compound radius neck is mahogany. It has a hand-fit dovetail set neck. The neck is very thin, but less thin than the Taylors I have played. The body binding is maple. The LV has Larrivee's symmetrical parabolic X-bracing. It has a venetian cutaway that allows easy access all the way up to the 20th fret. It comes with a built-in active pickup, the L.R. Baggs Element Notch system (Single Source). The controls are built in as a "barn door", a hole in the side of the guitar. The pickup comes with a responsive three-slider eq system, battery life indicator, the "notch" system to eliminate hum and feedback at specific frequencies, and a tuner. It requires a 9-volt battery, which can be replaced through the "barn door", so the strings can stay on when the battery is changed. The tusq nut is 1.75 inches wide, which allows for more room for fingerpicking than a more narrow nut. Other features include: Rounded Larrivee Headstock, White Inlaid Larrivee Logo, Multi-Strip Inlaid Rosette, Ping Tuners w/ 18:1 Ratio, Ivoroid Fretboard Binding, Exclusive Beveled Tortis pickguard, Microdot Fretboard Markers. It has a matte finish, which I quite like, because it allows the quality of the wood to stand out, rather than a thick glossy finish. I purchased this guitar new from a guitar shop in Vancouver. It came with a hard-shell case (specially fitted for the guitar shape), a truss rod adjustment tool, and a couple of picks. I would rather that it did not come with electronics built in, so I could choose after-market electronics that did not need a "barn door" hole in the guitar. The Larrivee -03 series is known for having high-quality wood and construction without some of the bling associated with higher-end guitars (abalone, engraving, gold tuners, etc.). // 9

Sound: The soundboard is very resonant, and I have owned the guitar for less than six months. I look forward to the guitar "opening up" with more play. The Larrivee L shape is an invention of Larrivee guitars. In some respects, it puts this guitar between a dreadnought and a parlour guitar: it sounds fantastic and sweet when finger picked, but still has some bassy roar when strummed. One could also say that this could be the child of a Taylor and Martin: it retains some bassy roar, but the treble is sweet without being strident. I think the best way to describe the tone of this guitar is "balanced", because the volume is very consistent from bass to treble. The rosewood is a great complement to the bright spruce top. It provides a very lush tone, taking the edge off of the highs and rounding out the lows with beautiful overtones. I do mostly fingerpicking (travis, celtic, etc.) with some strumming. It was hard for me to choose between this model, with the rosewood back and sides, and the same guitar with sapele back and sides. The sapele emphasized the fundamentals of a note, had less overtones, and sounded more bright (which could be ideal for fingerpicking). But the richness of the rosewood won out for me in the end. The pickup sounds good in this guitar, not too quacky for an under-saddle transducer. I don't use the pickup often, so I'll remain mostly silent on it here. This guitar sounds wonderful when down-tuned. I've tried Drop-D, DADGAD, open C and open D tunings in addition to standard tuning. I played every guitar in most local shops for over six months before I settled on this guitar: the tone is very sweet for the price tag, and I thought it sounded better (to my ears) than many more expensive models from better-known brands. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The action was quite low when it was set up at the factory, but without any fret buzz. I still haven't taken it in for another set-up. I don't like my action too low because I like to down-tune, and I use light strings. The construction is high-quality: no sharp fret ends, seeping glue, etc. The wood is absolutely gorgeous to the touch and sight. // 9

Reliability & Durability: The neck feels solid and stiff. The guitar is heavier than I expected it to be, but this does not prevent it from being extremely resonant. I haven't owned the guitar long enough to comment on the finish. I don't use the strap buttons (it came with only the one on the lower bout). This guitar is ideal for a working guitarist because it does so many different genres well, and the balance between treble, mids and bass is so good that less eq-ing is required to get an appropriate tone. I think the bling-less look and the balanced tone make this ideal for recording. // 9

Overall Impression: For the fingerpicking (and a little strumming) that I do, this guitar is great. It has the bass I want for strumming, but the sweet mids and trebles for fingerpicking. The L shape is also very comfortable to play. I can play for much longer than on my dreadnought without feeling discomfort in my shoulder. My take is that this is a wonderful guitar in the $1, 500 - $2, 000 CND range. Since Larivee is less well known than other brands, perhaps there is a good buyers' market for second-hand Larrivees. To my ears, it outplayed other good guitar brands (I originally thought I was looking for a Taylor until I found this beauty). Since I live in the Vancouver area, I also liked the idea of purchasing something made locally. I do wish they produced the LV (L shape with cutaway) without the electronics, as I would rather have purchased a pickup or microphone afterward that did not require the "barn door" to be cut into the side of the guitar. If the electronics are still going to come stock in the guitar, perhaps they could imitate Taylor and put tasteful little buttons on the side of the guitar, rather than an incongruous plastic pickup, eq, tuner & battery holder. If you are shopping for a guitar, but haven't tried a Larrivee, I strongly encourage you to play one. They don't have the market presence of the "big three" acoustic guitar companies, but in my view the high quality at the price point deserves greater recognition. // 9

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overall: 9.4
LV-03RE Reviewed by: RossZ88, on december 21, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 1349.94

Purchased from: Saratoga Guitar

Features: -All Solid wood Construction -Single Piece Mahogany Neck -Canadian Sitka Spruce Sound Board & Bracing -African Ebony Fretboard & Bridge -Canadian Maple Body Binding -Rosewood Back & Sides -Symmetrical Parabolic X-Bracing -Hand fit Dovetail Neck Joint -Rounded Larrivee Headstock -White Inlaid Larrivee Logo -Multi-Strip Inlaid Rosette -Ping Tuners w/ 18:1 Ratio -Ivoroid Fretboard Binding -Exclusive Beveled Tortis pick guard -Microdot Fretboard Markers, Limited Lifetime warranty -L.R. Baggs Element Notch system (Single Source) -With a Larrivee hard shell case This model is a sloped shoulder dreadnought style. Best suited for the player who likes the sound of dreadnought with the waist of an OM style guitar. The model I picked up has a cool bear claw finish! It's not a stock feature but, I imagined if you ordered from the company you could get one with that kind of top. // 10

Sound: I play in an Acoustic pop duo and I wanted a guitar that could handle the rigors of gigging. I like the sound of a dreadnought but for me it is a bit cumbersome when I stand and play with one. The sloped shoulder design is what attracted me to the model for playing purposes and comfort. I run my guitar through an LR Baggs Venue Di and DigiTech Jam Man into a Fishman SA 220. The LR Baggs Element Notch system is a great sounded under saddle transducer. The notch feature helps get rid of unwanted buzz and feedback depending on the room and set up of your equipment. Plus the way it is built into the guitar makes battery changes fast and easy. You just press down on the unit, it pops up, and you swap battery. The Notch system is very clean, and full sounding. Obviously whatever you are running your guitar into will affect your overall sound but, the on board system has a great three band EQ. It's a much better under saddle system....It is LR Baggs after all! Unplugged, the guitar can literally fill a room with sound. The guitar is composed of rosewood which produces a sound very bass heavy and dark. The spruce top compliments the tonal balance creating a very smooth mid and treble range. Whether you flat pick or finger pick this guitar is very pleasing to the ear! // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar played very well when I picked it up. It had been hanging in the shop for some time so the strings were a bit dead. I asked the tech to throw on a new set and the guitar was born again. It sounded very full, rich, and had an inspiring tone! The frets might be a hair too wide for some players. The action was set very well. Had no issue in this area. This is a pro guitar, everything was handled very well and taken care of. It was housed in a part of the shop where the higher end acoustics are kept. Meaning, Johnny with boogers on his hands wasn't allowed to play it. No flaws whatsoever, and it was ready to go! I had the tech give it a quick once over and he hardly had to do any work. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I've owned the guitar for about 3 years, and have gigged with it since the day I owned it. It is built to be played and can handle gigs. The hardware is solid, no issues with the tuners or the strap buttons. The LV-03RE is very dependable for gigs. I would bring a backup just in case. The finish is satin, which I hardly ever polish. // 10

Overall Impression: I would recommend the guitar to a player who is looking for an all solid Acoustic guitar without having to spend an arm and a leg on a Taylor or Martin. The 03 models from Larrivee are considered their entry level series. But, don't let the name fool you. The construction on these models are excellent. They have great tone wood and for the money you pay it's worth it. If it were lost of stolen I wouldn't hesitate to buy a new one. I love the tone of the guitar. It responds very well to strumming, and finger picking. Like I said earlier the frets are a hair wide and may not suit your playing style. I do recommend buying a humidifier with this guitar. After all, you want to take care of it don't ya?! // 9

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