50 Years Of
Alvarez Guitars

Our Story

1965: A year of inspiration
A Partnership
Alvarez Artists
Alvarez Beyond

1965: A year of inspiration

Frank Sinatra had just played the Peabody Opera House. The magnificent St Louis Arch had just been completed. And in a quiet part of the city, a company called St. Louis Music had a vision. A vision for a line of guitars that could reach out to the musical revolution sweeping the world and inspire a generation of new players.

This new line of instruments would become Alvarez Guitars.

A Partnership

Just a few years later, Alvarez would form a momentous alliance that would take every aspect of the brand to new heights. Then-owner of Alvarez, Gene Kornblum, fused his mastery of marketing and steel-string manufacture with the transcendent luthiery of Kazuo Yairi, of Kani, Japan. This union created a culture of constant improvement at Alvarez, one that still exists today.

It’s a partnership that has born many successes over the years. St. Louis Music’s ability to put fine instruments in the hands of the world’s greatest players has made Alvarez a globally recognized brand, while the craftsmanship and design of Kazuo Yairi has defined the brand’s quality for many years. Until his passing in March of 2014, Kazuo would personally sign the neck block of his Alvarez-Yairi instruments. His son now carries on that tradition, and the Master Luthiers taught by Kazuo and his contemporaries continue building amazing guitars. We will miss Mr. Yairi greatly. He was a driven and charismatic leader and in this, our 50 anniversary year, we remember him with fond memories and great thanks.

Alvarez Artists

Over the last 50 years, Alvarez and Alvarez Yairi guitars have been played by artists of every genre, from folk and blues to Rock and Heavy Metal. Bob Weir and the late Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead each have signature models, and Bob’s WY1 has become one of the most popular handcrafted guitars in the world, played regularly by Joe Bonamassa and Ani DiFranco.

Other artists that have brought Alvarez to their stages are Paul McCartney, U2’s Bono, David Crosby, Johnny and June Carter Cash, and Carlos Santana.

And while those amazing talents humble us by choosing our guitars, we’re also driven by the thousands of everyday players that pick an Alvarez for their unique musical experimentation and growth.

Alvarez Beyond

For Alvarez, the years to come are a promise of further innovation and excellence. Our design team are constantly honing the specs of our guitars, committed to delivering instruments that don’t only look and sound great, but also offer a wide variety to consumers, and at a very accessible cost. In the last few years alone, the brand has won many awards around the world and continues to garner recognition as a leader and pioneer in the industry.

The 50th Anniversary of the brand will see the release of some stunning commemorative models, each featuring tightly grained, seasoned woods, hand cut Abalone purfling, Acacia back and sides and our wonderful Shadowburst finish over the shimmering Sitka.

The 1965 Series

The 50th Anniversary of the brand will see the release of some stunning commemorative models, each featuring tightly grained, seasoned woods, hand cut Abalone purfling, Acacia back and sides and our wonderful Shadowburst finish over the shimmering Sitka.

Thank You

Back to Top