Hey guys, today we’re looking at Alvarez guitars. I’ve been around guitars over 40 years, and one of the first names I remember is Alvarez. They’ve been making quality instruments since 1952. Today, I’m reviewing eight Alvarez models. Here’s why we’re going with Alvarez. There’s an instrument included for every player, so let’s get started!! We’re going to find you a guitar that fits you style, satisfies your need and meets your budget.
Best Alvarez Guitars
When we do a guitar review, we need to ask. “What makes a good guitar?” Having built several guitars and worked in a world-class repair shop for many years, I look for a few things:
- Solid top tone wood
- Quality matching back and side wood
- Clean construction
- Decent finish
- Nice set-up
- Appropriately priced
How can you actually use this information? If I find these present, then it’s time to look further into the instrument and play it as well. If all checks out, someone’s going home with a nice guitar!!
The following Alvarez guitars made it into our review; continue reading to find out why these made our list:
|Alvarez AJ80CE||Solid Sitka||Maple||Check Price|
|Alvarez AD60||Solid Sitka||Mahogany||Check Price|
|Alvarez AG75CE||Western Red Cedar||Rosewood||Check Price|
|Alvarez AP66ESHB||Mahogany||Mahogany||Check Price|
|Alvarez AC65||Cedar||Mahogany||Check Price|
|Alvarez AG60CE||Solid Sitka||Mahogany||Check Price|
|Alvarez AD30CE||Solid Sitka||Mahogany||Check Price|
|Alvarez AD30||Solid Sitka||Mahogany||Check Price|
Our first review is from the Artist Series guitars by Alvarez. Noted features include solid tops, scalloped bracing and quality construction; two of these three are traits I mentioned earlier in looking for a quality instrument.
The AJ80CE is a big guitar!! Appropriate for this larger guitar is a solid Sitka spruce top with maple back and sides. Spruce and maple paired together can give you flat base and pitchy treble, but Alvarez seems to have some nice design features, including an attractive cut-away. The larger size of the AJ80CE should balance out any concerns.
But that’s not all. Some other nice touches are the sound hole trimmed in abalone shell and mother of pearl inlays on the neck. Another great decision for the AJ80CE and Alvarez’s Artist Series are real bone saddles and nuts. Adding these two items to most any guitar, old or new, can work wonders. Throw in a lifetime limited warranty and you’re ready to play!!
The AD60 is another selection from the Artist Series we mentioned earlier. The best part? Top grade tone woods and quality construction are included in the collection’s highlights.
The AD60 is a decent take on Martin’s famous Dreadnought line of acoustic guitars. They are treasured by bluegrass players and other flat pickers for their bold bass notes and clean, crisp trebles.
Alvarez has chosen a solid Sitka top and mahogany back and sides, reminiscent of the famous Martin D-18. But the AD60 goes further. Add in scalloped bracing and abalone sound hole trim and now we’re looking more in lines of the D-41.
That’s not all; the AD60 from Alvarez is a quality guitar way below the price range of many other dreadnoughts. With a nice set-up out of the box that incorporates a bone nut and saddle, you’re ahead of the game with Alvarez.
The Alvarez limited lifetime warranty is nice, but there’s one thing I don’t like about the Artist Series; it appears they are shipped in a box, without a hard-shell case.
Please correct me if I’m wrong, but this quality of a guitar needs a hard-shell case included. All high-end instruments should be shipped in a case. But one point remains; if the guitar survives being shipped in a box, you can purchase an aftermarket case and still have money left in your pocket at the end of the day. The AD60 is a fine guitar if you like the dreadnought shape and the booming sound for flat pickers.
The AG75CE is a fine instrument for live work or recording; here’s why. The cedar/rosewood combination used in this guitar is my favorite for acoustics and the GA body shape is nice. This Grand Auditorium model has the same scale length as the popular dreadnought, but a slightly smaller body with a trimmed down waist sets off the silhouette of the AG75CE. Cedar tops give a warm, aged sound while the rosewood back and sides really brings out the projection.
Scalloped bracing aids in getting the top moving and a maple bridge plate is the perfect match for added strength and clear notes from any register.
I like the mahogany neck and the semi-gloss finish. It is a joy to experience moving up and down the neck of the AG75CE. A nice inlay at the 12th fret really sets the rosewood fingerboard off, and the die-cast tuners keep you in tune through your playing sessions. Included is a LR Baggs StagePro EQ and Element pick up.
At first glance, the AP66ESHB looks like a classical guitar, but it’s not. What’s the real story? The slotted peghead usually found on classic guitars is a nice fit for the AP66E’s smaller steel-stringed body. I used a slotted peghead on the last steel-stringed guitar I made, and it turned out really nice.
If you’re unsure if the guitar is a classical or steel-stringed model, the slotted peghead can deceive you. Instead, look at the strings and the bridge in a few clear photographs. You can easily pick out the steel string bridge and bridge pins. Classical guitar strings are usually tied off on the bridge with no pins.
The AP66 has a solid African mahogany top with mahogany back and sides. I’ve seen this combination work in the past, so it should work here. The smaller body will give you a nice warm sound around home or in small group get-togethers. If you need to record or play live in a band, Alvarez has included the LR Baggs StagePro EQ with an Element pick up. The onboard electronics is a nice touch for the AP66.
The AC65 is an attractive classical guitar that made today’s line up; that’s not all. Alvarez combines a hand selected, solid cedar top with mahogany back and sides. I see a lot of classical guitars with rosewood sides, so we’ll have to hear how this one compares.
The classical bridge looks great on the AC65. Using this traditional bridge and nylon strings requires a Spanish fan bracing system. The best part; these braces are lighter than the “X” bracing system, so the top is free to easily respond to the nylon strings and finger playing styles of different musicians.
In the studio or small group sessions should be fine, but it may not project enough around other instruments. Adding a pick-up will help as needed.
The slotted peghead is done nicely, and so is the wood mosaic around the sound hole. Alvarez’s continued use of a bone nut and saddle help this beautiful guitar really project for classical players.
The AG60CE is a full-sized guitar with a cut-away. This cut-away is not as attractive as others I have seen, but it will do the job if you need to reach those higher registers. Most cut-a ways on larger guitars seem to be for appearance, as I rarely see a steel-stringed guitar played there.
The AG60 gives you a solid Sitka spruce top and mahogany back and sides. This is a fine paring that has worked on Artist Series guitars before. The fingerboard has an attractive 12th fret inlay found on many Alvarez instruments; a nice touch.
The standard Alvarez electronics package is found onboard here as well. Fingerboard binding and an abalone sound hole trim add to the package. The AG60 should provide hours of fine playing and practice.
The AD30CE from Alvarez is a dreadnought body with a cut-away. As mentioned previously, I doubt many would need a cut-away in such a large guitar. Some have argued the cutaway takes away from body mass and volume. I would probably skip the cutaway here, but it’s still a decent guitar.
What’s the real story for the AD30CE? A solid Sitka spruce top with mahogany back and sides is a nice pairing. Add in the scalloped braced “X” pattern and you’ve got a good match for a big guitar.
That’s not all; a mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard compliments the AD30CE features. Die-cast tuners and the SYS250 3-band EQ with tuner rounds out the package for the AD30CE.
Today’s review concludes with another dreadnought, the AD 30. Alvarez offers us a traditional dreadnought at an attractive price.
The solid Sitka spruce top paired with mahogany back and sides will really project volume. The scalloped bracing system Alvarez uses will gives the top a better chance to respond than traditional “X” bracing systems. This should be a lively dreadnought!!
These big dreadnoughts with steel strings are under a lot of tension. Alvarez uses a dovetail neck joint to ensure the neck stays set for years to come. This system allows for excellent set-ups and enhanced playability for every musician.
Alvarez still doesn’t offer a case here, but the limited lifetime warranty is included. When you purchase the Alvarez you’ve chosen, buy a case the same day to protect your investment.
Wow!! What a great lineup of Alvarez guitars!! After seeing all of these instruments, it’s time to make a choice and get one in my hands.
I’m selecting the AG75CE as my choice today. Why? It has everything I’m looking for in a quality guitar; cedar top, rosewood sides, scalloped bracing; the list goes on.
I also like the departure from a dreadnought style toward these more graceful lines. The on-board electronics package will help when I record or mix it up with a band.
To me, you really can’t go wrong with the Alvarez AG75CE guitar.