Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #100192  by tapestry
 Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:32 pm

In one day last year, I played a $3500 Alvarez/Yari, A $4500 Taylor and a $350 Yamaha. The Yamaha played and sounded best out of those three.

I have a $400 Alvarez that I love!

I still try every guitar in the store when I go to a guitar store, but each guitar (no matter the price) is different and I would never spend serious cash without playing the guitar first. Some are duds. Some are gems. Without playing it first you never know.
 #100200  by tcsned
 Wed Jun 29, 2011 6:24 pm
Vic - that guitar is a beauty. It's been a long time since I was at the music store and selling Yairi's so my memory is a bit foggy but I remembered them having non-solid back and sides and went to their site and it listed the back and sides as "mahogany" not solid or laminate which sent up the "plywood" red flag. Are you saying that it is a tonewood laminate not a veneer of nice wood and some cheap filler wood in the middle? That's a different story and Alvarez should make that more clear in their product description. My Dell'Arte is a rosewood laminate a la Selmer Macaferri and is right up there with any acoustic I've played. My apologies for making that assumption. I would agree that the smaller builders like Bourgois, Collings, Olson, and others are making better guitars than any factory built instrument. I'm hoping to get on the list to get a Henderson as soon as I'm done with grad school but that's at least a 4 or 5 year waiting list and he ain't getting any younger.
 #100202  by playingdead
 Wed Jun 29, 2011 7:47 pm
My understanding is the laminate is the same wood as what it's laminated to, i.e., east indian rosewood over east indian rosewood, and so forth. If you look inside one of the coralwood or rosewood guitars, you have the same grain on the inside wood that you do on the outside wood.

The koa guitar may be the exception, I never looked at mine closely, but it was definitely not plywood inside. I know the top on the koa WY-1 is laminated, unlike the other guitars in the WY-1 line which are solid cedar tops.

Yairi uses very traditional methods building these guitars, animal hide glue instead of white glue (hide glue is an expensive option on a Martin, for example), hand-scalloped bracing instead of pre-cut braces, cut depending on the stiffness of the top, dovetail neck joints instead of bolt-ons, wood aged for years by air, not baked in a kiln as most big guitar factories do.

Again, this is for the Yairi guitars, not the entry-level Alvarez instruments.

Another nice feature on the WY-1 guitar is the pickguard, which is clear, but underneath the finish so it will never peel and is barely visible. The tuners on my guitar were top notch, as well. I miss that guitar sometimes, but my D-41 Special has been living in its case since I got the Gibson and I suspect the Yairi would be there, too.
 #100205  by playingdead
 Thu Jun 30, 2011 5:43 am
I can't even tell you how good that little Gibson is ... highly recommended. Mine has figured maple back and sides, sitka top and no cutaway. I found it last year at Southpaw Guitars in Houston, where I sat in a little room for hours playing $6000 Martins, every Gibson made, every high-end Taylor made, an assortment of others including another Yairi and a Collings, and that little maple guitar blew them all out of the water.

They don't make the CJ-165 anymore, they replaced it with the J-165EC which is a cutaway. Still comes in rosewood or maple. The maple is a little crisper sounding. However, the guitar is now made with the Aura system onboard, and it's killer.

No plywood on that one, either :shock:
 #100211  by TI4-1009
 Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:12 am
Isn't Southpaw a trip! I thought I'd died and gone to heaven when I walked in there. Prices are high, but for a lefty, it's like nothing else. I recently sold my Ric 12 and it ended up- by a convoluted path- at Southpaw.
 #100212  by playingdead
 Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:34 am
Jerry's Lefty Guitars in Sarasota FL is even better ... he has boutique acoustics and electrics in stock. Super nice guy and reasonable prices.
 #100310  by Rusty the Scoob
 Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:48 am
Bobby might have been onto something with his preference for plywood/laminate sides and back. Jazz Upright bassists prefer them over solid basses for road duty, they hold up better structurally and react less to changes in humidity.
 #100317  by Jon S.
 Sat Jul 02, 2011 9:41 am
I'm just back from Beat Street Music where I played the exact guitar referenced in the OP. I came very, very close to pulling the trigger on it but in the end passed. The guitar is stunning in almost every respect, impeccable woods and construction, perhaps the best overall combination of neck carve and action I've ever played on an acoustic guitar (it's 1 3/4" but feels like 1 11/16", if that makes sense - plays like the proverbial buttah), with fine-sounding and versatile electronics. Where I was stuck was on the acoustic sound. It's got a pleasing and balanced tone but lacked (to me) the low end and lower mid depth I associate with larger bodied guitars like this type. My impression would be, though, that for someone intending to play it primarily amplified, he or she would love it. I also left with an extremely positive impression of their staff. One last thing: though the guitar is advertised with case, in fact, there isn't one for the guitar in the shop now, it will have to be ordered for the buyer.