Attention to Detail
Research and design play a massive role in the building process of an Alvarez acoustic guitar. Every component has either been designed from scratch, tested heavily or chosen for its quality and performance. Whether it’s the neck carve, the bi-level bridge or the model-specific bracing system, the attention to detail is bordering on obsessive! Alvarez’s painstaking approach to building quality guitars that are affordable and reliable truly sets them apart from many of their contemporaries.
The term “hand-made” typically implies that an item is of a higher quality than one that was mass produced by a machine. The human touch and refined skills of artisans are what make Alvarez guitars so special, setting them apart from the competition.
Alvarez guitars are crafted on work benches by highly skilled luthiers who have perfected their craft through years of experience. There are twenty four luthiers at the Yairi factory, four of which are Master Luthiers, each with over fifty years of expertise under their belts. This wealth of expertise, combined with premium, naturally seasoned woods, results in a playing experience like no other.
Of all of Alvarez’s player-friendly features, the internal bracing may not be the first thing that springs to mind. It does, however, play a crucial role in the overall sound and response of the guitar. The entire line of Alvarez guitars features genre and model-specific bracing, with everything designed specifically for purpose and performance.
FST2 – Forward Shifted Type 2
Forward-shifted bracing refers to the X brace and its relative position to the soundhole. By moving the X forward, or closer to the hole sound, it creates a larger soundboard area yielding a louder, more open tone with enhanced bass.
FST2 Bracing System
MST1 – Middle Shifted Type 1
The X brace is positioned further back than with FST2 and is optimised for mid-size guitars, creating a darker, more mid-focussed sound. It also allows smaller bodied guitars to generate more energy, resulting in better projection, something that many smaller bodies guitars lack.
MST1 Bracing System
FS6 – Forward Size 6
Alvarez’s newest bracing design, the FS6 is forward shifted and features lighter-weight bracing materials. This system delivers enhanced soundboard resonance and brings a uniformity to the guitars, allowing their individual shape and size to influence their tone.
FS6 Bracing System
Original Bridge Designs
Kazuo Yairi’s original direct couple bridge changed the game back in 1980 and became a big part of Alvarez’s DNA. By increasing string tension and transference of vibrations to the soundboard, the guitars delivered improved projection with an immediate response. Today, all standard guitars in Alvarez’s range feature a one-piece bi-level bridge, a design based on Yairi’s original direct-couple design. The bi-level bridge drops the bridge pins lower than the saddle, creating a more acute string angle. In doing so, it increases the string tension for improved resonance.
So there you have it…five things you should know about Alvarez guitars and why they’re one of our favourite acoustic brands! Don’t just take our word for it though, as tone and playability are very subjective things. We would always encourage to you drop by the shop and try one of our many Alvarez guitars for yourself. You may just be surprised at how good they really are!
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