Choosing Your Alvarez

Alvarez has taken great care to design and produce a wide range of guitars that will fit the needs of any player.  From parlor guitars and classicals to jumbo models and baritones, we didn’t stop at shapes.  Our guitars are also presented in a variety of different woods to help you determine the exact sound that you want.  We also deliver our guitars in an array of price points, so you’re always comfortable with what you spend.   Whether you’re softly picking away every night in your bedroom or tearing up a stage in the big city, we’re sure we’ve made a guitar that’s right for you.

FINDING THE RIGHT SHAPE

Let’s begin with the smaller shapes. Parlors and Travel Guitars are great for several reasons. They sound excellent finger-picked, and have a classic, bluesy tone, but their size is a great advantage as well. If you travel frequently or if you’re a young player that can really dig into a small guitar, these shapes should be considered. Grand Auditoriums and Folk/OM guitars have the most versatile shapes. They’re balanced to do everything well. But if it’s sheer punch and volume you’re after, you can’t go wrong with the Dreadnought and Jumbo shape. These guitars are designed to draw as much projection as possible from the body, so you won’t have to work hard competing with the sound of other instruments in a band, or of a busy city street if you’re in a busking situation.

WHAT’S THE RIGHT WOOD FOR ME?

Tonewoods are harvested all around the world and each has distinct properties that luthiers will choose to affect sound, cosmetics and price. Here is a list of the woods that Alvarez uses, along with the benefits of each:

TOPS

SITKA SPRUCE – By far, Sitka Spruce has become the most popular top wood in the world. It’s a fantastic all round material, and valued among luthiers for its elasticity, response and its ability to deliver great sound no matter what the playing style. It also looks beautiful when finished correctly, and has a very natural and timeless aesthetic.

WESTERN RED CEDAR – One of the softer top woods, Cedar responds with more vibration than Spruce, which is a great benefit to gentler styles like fingerpicking. Cedar will deliver more projection for quiet players, but the trade-off is overall volume. Players that really like to dig in will find other top woods projecting more, but if you’re an intimate player that enjoys warm, soft tones, this is a great wood for you. Cedar has a wonderful, deep and natural look that can vary in color from dark, reddish browns to blonde.

MAHOGANY – Another popular top wood is Mahogany, which is incredibly strong and dense, translating into a very responsive, tonally bright soundscape. Players will notice a lot of sparkle in the high end, a subtle and fun difference in the flavor that a lot of blues and folk players prefer. Mahogany is another natural beauty with a striking reddish brown or chocolate aesthetic.

BACKS & SIDES

ROSEWOOD – One of the most popular body woods, Rosewood has a great tonal range from deep lows to shimmering trebles, and can benefit any player’s style. It has wonderful color and grain, enhanced by its dark, reddish hue.

ACACIA – Wonderful color, grain and tone. Like Mahogany, its density gives it a brightness that many fingerstylists and folk players love, with deep low end tones and bright highs.

MAPLE – It’s a very hard wood with excellent tonal properties, often valued for its sustain. We use this wood in our Jumbo for this very purpose, so you not only have a guitar with great punch and projection, but tones that really soar and can hang extended in a sonic space.

MAHOGANY – Another popular body wood is Mahogany. It’s a fantastic all round material, which is why it’s used in our tops as well. As a body wood, Mahogany lends itself to great mids and bright tone. It is again valued by blues, folk and fingerstyle players, and can be recognized by its wonderful, chocolate color.

LEFT HANDED?

We offer a left handed version of every shape we make in our award winning Artist Series. If you need to order a left handed guitar for special order we’ll be happy to accommodate you.

CUTAWAY OR NO CUTAWAY?

Like many decisions when selecting your preferred guitar, having a cutaway comes down to personal preference and playing style. There’s actually very little tonal or volume difference between a cutaway and a full body shape. Some players really prefer the look of a dreadnought to a cutaway version, and some players do a lot of “fret-walking” and can use the extra space a cutaway affords them.

ACOUSTIC OR ACOUSTIC ELECTRIC

Do you gig a lot? Do you enjoy playing with pedals and digital effects? If you have a need to plug in or love experimenting with sound, having an acoustic electric will be the most fulfilling for you. But if you’re really looking to rein in your budget and aren’t playing out or gigging, a standard guitar is a fine option, too.