Quite literally, were someone to ask me advice on buying an acoustic guitar for themselves or for someone else who was interested in learning the guitar. I would advise them to look towards the well known Japanese manufacturers first, as they are always available throughout the USA and Canada, and they provide a tremendous value for the money spent. Not only that, Japanese guitar manufacturers such as Alvarez, Yamaha, and Takamine also make some splendid professional level instruments that are often quite a lot more affordable for the serious amateur or aspiring professional with a tight budget.
Frankly, the only real way that someone could go wrong by purchasing a nice Japanese model acoustic guitar would be for the person who bought it, or the person it was purchased for to simply show no interest post purchase, and even in such an instance, there is still the ownership of a very nice musical instrument, which is always an asset.
For a bit of a short bio about myself – I grew up running around with my Maternal Grandfather who was quite an Aficionado of all manner and style of acoustic stringed instruments. I went with him during his later years to every last flea market within driving distance, and he seemed to live to find, buy, swap, repair, and sell acoustic guitars, and other stringed instruments. In his time he owned untold hundreds of Alvarez, Yamaha, Takamine, and other similar instruments, and I played every single last one of them for hours on end.
So while Martin, Gibson, Guild, Taylor, and other high end American made all solid wood instruments were always revered as they should be in my family of amateur musicians, so too were the outstanding Japanese made instruments that can generally be had for a lot less money, and in some instances, provide an equal value.
Alvarez guitars might sound Spanish, but they are primarily made in China, and thus their very low cost whilst sacrificing nothing in value. Especially is this true in solid wood constructed models. Alvarez Yairi instruments, the top of the line for the brand, are made in Japan.
Following is a short list of mainstream and front line musicians that endorse and play Alvarez acoustic guitars:
The guitar pictured above is an all solid wood Alvarez MD60, which is an all solid wood guitar with mahogany back and sides, a spruce top, and rosewood finger bard. There is a pick guard on the guitar, of course, but in this instance it is transparent, or clear plastic material. I’m the type of person that loves nothing more while in a city than to visit the local Guitar Center, go to the back where all the fine acoustic instruments are kept, and play every last one of them for a minute or two.
When living in a city such as Dallas, Texas; I make a habit of doing just that, and am often interrupted by people that assume I must be a salesperson there, or maybe they just want my advice because they can readily see that I know what is what, and generally know the answer to the question being asked anyway.
In any case, the story here is about an older used Alvarez guitar similar in structure to the MD60 pictured up above in that it was a full sized dreadnought with fourteen frets clear of the body, a solid spruce top, and solid mahogany back and sides. This particular instrument, unlike the MD60, was built to be an exact replica of a Martin D 18. Oh there inside North Dallas Guitar Center where I was at they had so many fine guitars that one could go mad playing them all and imagining ownership – but the peculiar thing happened that ever single time I went there, and I went there often – I always returned to that one very used old Alvarez D 18 copy that was priced to sell at $600.00.
The guitar drew me in as if it had the proverbial tractor beams.
I began to lust. I proceeded to plot. I wanted that guitar, and the price was astounding by comparison of the other similar instruments in the store.
No, there is no happy ending here, and I’m sorry to report that one day while making my evening rounds in Dallas, Texas…I found my guitar was stolen from me forever. Someone had beat me to it. It was the one that got away.
I Fell In Love With a $600.00 used Alvarez.