Gots me an Alvarez accoustic!!!

Discussion in 'Jazz, Acoustic, Classical & Fingerstyle' started by Nik, Jun 12, 2006.

  1. Nik

    Nik Arrogant asshole

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    Well, I got tired of scouring ebay seeking an Ibby 7, so I decided I should just get a nice, cheaper 6 string and save some dough for future purchases.

    I finally found a store in town that sells Alvarez guitars. They had only one with a cutaway, and I knew that was the one I had to have. So let me share my thoughts on this baby. Oh, and of course, there's the mandatory .mp3 at the bottom of the page ;) Nothing special, just a quick tone test I did to see how good of a direct-recorded sound I could get.

    Anyway, here we go:

    THE GUITAR:
    ------------------------

    The guitar is an Alvarez model RF20SC. Design-wise, it's what I would consider the perfect 6-string accoustic: accoustic-electric with a cutaway for easy high-fret access. Oh, and the angled headstock is nice, too.

    For a guitar in the $300 range, this baby has one of the most gorgeous finishes I have ever seen. You really have to see the spruce top up close in-person to appreciate the rich grain and beautiful polish. The back of the guitar is equally beautiful, such a deep reddish-brown that it almost seems to glow. The guitar is lined with some very clean binding and tiny fret markers remniscent of my RG1527 prestiege. There are absolutely no flaws in the finish except for a weird "thing" where the neck meets the body that I'm not sure how to describte, but I'm sure this could be cleaned up.

    FUNCTIONALITY/PLAYABILITY:
    ------------------------------
    The action on this guitar is pretty good for an accoustic, although the bridge could probably be sanded down a bit and the action lowered a tiny bit more. I might look into this further down the line since I got a coupon for luthier services at the shop where I bought it, although for the moment, I am content as-is.

    The tuners feel pretty solid, although a couple of hours of hardcore playing are enough to put it out of tune. I can be a bit of a harsh player and play pretty hard when I get into a song, so I suppose that is understandable. The tuners don't feel quite as solid and smooth as the tuners on my RG7, although they don't have any issues like my old Squier, so they are decent.

    Intonation is pretty much spot on, and thanks to the cutaway, everything up to the 17th fret is pretty easily accessible. The guitar simply feels great. The neck is considerably fatter than my RG7 and even my 6-string Squier, but not to a point that it becomes a discomfort. Then again, I've never had any problems switching between guitars with various neck widths, so this is a complete non-issue for me. There are some picky people out there, though...

    The built in tuner works pretty good, though I prefer to use the tuner on my PodXT for fine tuning and getthing the pitch spot-on. The built in EQ settings feature volume, bass, and treble. There is no Mids control.

    THE SOUND:
    ----------------
    Well, I'm no expert, but this thing sounds amazing. Other accoustics I've tried include everything from Yamahas to Ovations to high-end Taylors, and this guitar easily beats out all of them except for the Taylors (and not by that much). I mean, the Taylors were perfect in every way, but they also cost 8 to 10 times as much as this guitar so the truly is no comparision. This guitar does have a very sweet tone and it projects really well.

    Plugged in, it produces typical piezo tone, so no surprises there. With the accoustic piezo model on my PodXT, though, I can get a slightly better tone. This is how the clip was recorded.

    CONCLUSION:
    ---------------
    Alvarez accoustics kick ass; if you need a cheap accoustic to fulfill your needs, go for these guys. Their guitars can easily be sold for twice the price they are going for.

    CONS: Made in China, no 7-string models...
    PROS: Doesn't feel/sound/look as if it was made in China, great value

    And the clip (remember, quick tone test, direct-recorded ;) ):

    http://home.comcast.net/~petsev/socbt1.mp3
     
  2. Ancestor

    Ancestor Contributor

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    Hey, man, nice song. To be honest, your playing is more interesting than the tone. But the tone is really good.
     
  3. Dive-Baum

    Dive-Baum Bite Me Fan Boy!!

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    You did a great job on the song. I love Alvarez Accoustics. I have an electric accoustic myself. I bought it years ago. I agree, they sound like they should cost much more than they do. I actually have a 12 string that I only use 6 on. I love the wide fretboard (big hands). How many tracks did you use on that recording?
     
  4. Nik

    Nik Arrogant asshole

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    Thanks for the comments guys. Ancestor-the tone is as good as I could get it. For plugged-in tone, I think it's pretty decent. It can't compare with mic-ed tone, I suppose, but it has it's own flavor.

    Ah, I think they make some nice classicals.

    The song generally has 3 tracks-one panned left playing the main melody, one panned right that plays the chords (these switch out) and a 3rd solo track that is either an improvised solo or harmonizes the melody in some way.

    For those who didn't recognize it, that was a flamenco-nized cover of Dream Theater's "Stream of Consciousness". I'll post a full, finalized 10 minute version with real drums in a couple of days :agreed:
     
  5. Bregaladar

    Bregaladar Nichts

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    AH HA! I knew I recognized that, but couldn't figure out from where.

    Alvarez are great, I may be getting a PD100S for my birthday in a month :hbang:
     
  6. Nik

    Nik Arrogant asshole

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    It's a good sign you didn't recognize it at first-I want to change this baby up as much as possible.

    I'll hopefully finish recording by Wednesday, then it's on to improv jams and recording da album :cool:
     
  7. Metal Ken

    Metal Ken Hates the Air Contributor

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    Alvarez are probably the best acoustics you can get for the money.
    That said, the only high end acoustic i'd ever want would be a Yairi series alvarez.
     
  8. Michael

    Michael Forum MVP

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    Great review, it sounds like an awesome guitar. :yesway:
     
  9. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    This kicks the crap out of all of the acoustic simulator clips you've posted trying to get a good acoustic-sounding tone. :yesway:

    And, for a $300 acoustic recorded direct, that's damned good.

    What do you have it strung up with?
     
  10. Desecrated

    Desecrated Guest

    I have a alvarez nylon and I like it, it has a bit to bright tone for me, but I bought it for 30 dollars second hand so I dont complain.
     
  11. Nik

    Nik Arrogant asshole

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    Thanks ;)

    Do you mean what kind of strings it's got on? Cause it's with the strings it came from the store; I didn't bother to restring it.

    Hopefully I'll post some pics tomorrow :shred:
     
  12. Metal Ken

    Metal Ken Hates the Air Contributor

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    they come with elixer 12's, stock IIRC. not sure bout the guage, but i know for a fact its elixers unless they've changed it since last september.
     
  13. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Yeah, I was wondering about the brand and guage.

    Lately I've been rockin' the Elixer Phosphor Bronzes in 12s - they're a little pricier, but I love how they sound. I guess it's a sound a little more associated with bluegrass, but there's this great warm twang to it... :)
     
  14. Nik

    Nik Arrogant asshole

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    I couldn't add pics to the original post (maybe cause I'm stooopid) so here they are.

    They came out a bit blurry, I guess because of low lighting. Oh, except for the last one, the mandatory metal-pic. The blur comes from the head-banging on that one :hbang:
     

    Attached Files:

  15. Mastodon

    Mastodon Songs about My Cats

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    I loved that song...but the way you just ended it is killing me...
     
  16. Nik

    Nik Arrogant asshole

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    Yeah that song sadly ain't gonna happen anytime soon. I'm getting drum/bass/key tracks for my album tomorrow, and I'm gonna have to get busy recording that if I want to get done by the time summer is out.
     
  17. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    And the thing's gorgeous too, dude. :yesway:
     
  18. Shawn

    Shawn Ibanez Guitars Forum MVP

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    Cool song, Nik, that sounds great. Congrats on the Alvarez, that is very nice. :yesway:
     

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