WHY ALVAREZ

Our vision is clear:

Make great guitars affordable to all.

With so many brands of guitars in the market today, how do you choose the right one for you?

Which guitar gives you unsurpassable value, quality designed by a team of dedicated luthiers and engineers, and a guitar that you will find hard to put down. We believe that brand is Alvarez, because we commit to making instruments that are truly crafted with creativity in mind.

At Alvarez we acutely understand that the relationship you have with your instrument directly affects how much you want to play, how better you can develop as a musician and therefore has a direct impact on the quality and frequency of your creativity.

Making music can be one of the most fulfilling gifts in life but it can also be frustrating and demanding. Having a guitar or any instrument that you bond with can help to inspire us. This is always in our thinking and our approach when designing and making our instruments.

We also understand we must design for a lifetime; guitars are not consumable products; they can be kept for generations and beyond and therefore need to be built with that in mind. From the choices of woods and components to the accuracy of wood joints and seasoning, every step of our careful approach impacts how our guitars are enjoyed, kept and even treasured – That is our hope and directs our design decisions.

Perpetual R&D

Being dedicated to quality and value is not easy, it means you have to make better decisions and therefore gain more knowledge and keep trying and exploring, we call it “perpetual R&D”.

So throughout our development we can believe in the decisions we make and also expose decisions that are also incorrect, so that musicians playing our guitars never experience any failings. Musicians need to trust their instruments, they are the tools of their trade, they are voices and communication devices and create something that can change a person’s feelings. Music is a powerful medium and therefore best made on dynamic and trustworthy tools.

That is why we obsessively study sanding process, test the smallest of components, cure our woods properly, R&D different paints and finish process, invest in tooling and education and take deep dives into production design as well as product design. For our goal is not just to make great guitars, but to make the greatest value guitars, and for us to incorporate the design and quality we want and you need, means we have to work out how to make them efficiently so as many players as possible can own them.

Only then can we be proud to offer beautiful looking, wonderful sounding instruments that we hope can inspire creativity for a lifetime and help bring more music into our lives.

YAIRI

The handmade approach and obsessive R&D.

In a world of mass-produced, fast goods and globalization there seems a growing number of people seeking out handmade products. Items made with a more human approach and the refined skill of Artisans who know their craft and consider the user at every step of production. Alvarez-Yairi is such a product, bench made guitars, obsessively crafted by a humble and inspiring group of Luthiers who have dedicated their lives to guitar making.

There are 24 Luthiers at Yairi, four of them are Master Luthiers and worked at their benches for up to 55 years. This wealth of expertise helps to set Alvarez apart from many guitar companies. We are known for our endless stockpiles of vintage, and naturally seasoned wood. The Yairi build quality and player experience offer quality rarely found at such accessible price points for bench-made instruments.

Tone design and bracing architecture

One of Alvarez’s unique selling propositions is genre and model-specific bracing design throughout the enter line. From Yairi to Regent Series, everything is specially designed for purpose and experience.Our Bluegrass and Blues guitars have pre-war style bracing delivering vintage tone with a more modern dynamic range. Our larger body guitars such as Baritones and Jumbo’s are fitted with our FST2, forward shifted system, and our mid-sized and smaller body guitars are fitted with MST1 which allows those body sizes to generate more energy, resulting in greater projection.

All of our bracing designs have what we call ‘asymmetric tone bars’. This is where the lower braces (tone bars) are scalloped in opposition to each other. One accentuates the middle frequencies, the other the bass and treble which we believe enhances separation and balance across all six strings.

FST2

Forward shifted type 2

Forward-shifted refers to the axis of the X brace being closer to the soundhole than many traditional placements. Placing the X forward creates a larger soundboard area around and behind the bridge, and when coupled with detailed scalloping, generates heightened vibration which can be harnessed and voiced by the tone bars, influencing volume and openness, especially in the bass frequencies.

In Yairi models there are various styles of FST2 that are used to get the best from certain wood configurations and body sizes. Although the differences are very slight, they are clearly audible and bring the best out of Adirondack or Honduran Mahogany tops. Furthermore, each Masterworks Yairi is tuned by ear, this is when the Luthier tap tests the top as he’s caving the bracing to optimize the voice. In designing FST2, 12 bracing designs were developed and tested before narrowing it down to the main FST2 pattern.

MST1

Middle shifted type 1

We call it ‘Middle Shifted’ because the axis of the X is positioned between our forward placement and some of our other positions for pre-war style bracing patterns. Moving the bracing back allowed us to make the bracing lighter and not tie it into the lining of the top, again to generate desired levels of energy while finding the correct balance between strength and vibration. This bracing design works great for mid-sized bodies and creates a slightly darker, earthier tone to that of FST2.

FS6

Forward size 6

Our latest bracing design being introduced across most of our mid-size guitars (except Yairi) is forward shifted with a reduced weight of bracing material. This system really allows the soundbox to sing and brings uniformity across Dreadnought, Grand Auditorium, OM and Parlor body sizes, so the voicing has a similar character, but the individual tone is more purely influenced by the size and shape of the guitar.

Finish

Sanding and painting the Alvarez way

Achieving a truly clear, thin, and rich gloss finish requires knowledge and care. When we say ‘clear’ we’re referring to our gloss clear coat being as free of ‘inter-coat’ scratching as possible. Any guitar maker will attest that this is not easy and requires real attention to detail, especially in the sanding processes to achieve such a high-end finish.

In many guitars you will see circular scratching between the coats, this is usually due to aggressive sanding processes being adopted to sand back each coat of paint before the next. Although using large industrial sanding machines is quicker, it can’t help achieve a professional level finish. That’s why at Alvarez we slow it down by using hand sanders and painstakingly build our finish through all of the coats with the end result of ‘clearness’ in mind. Our finish looks amazing and is also thin to allow the soundbox to resonate just that little bit more.

If you’re going to do it, do it properly

No matter if it’s a tweak in our bracing, or design of our Ukulele line, we only release models when we know we’ve developed them to the best of our knowledge at any given time. A great example of this is our Cadiz Series.

Embarking on a classical and flamenco series took us to Andalucía several times to study voicing and construction in the home of classical and flamenco guitar making. We worked with Luthiers and talked to local musicians to learn the nuances of flamenco design and made prototype components there before starting any production. The Cadiz bracing design gives a slight nod to that of Jose Ramirez III’s asymmetric architecture in the fact our guitars have a treble bar. This is to stiffen up the treble side of the top a little which helps us create very round, bell-like trebles on our first three strings. We keep the bass side of the top light by using slightly thinner braces which helps us give the player very open, clear, and strong bass response.

We believe this type of attention to detail, an almost obsessional commitment, is a huge part of our ‘Why Alvarez’, when it comes to choosing a guitar.

Quality is in the detail

We believe a continual culture of R&D is not just about innovation, it also means we review ourselves as we move forward and learn more. Each component on our guitars is designed, tested, or chosen. For example, our complex curve, standard neck profile has evolved as our capability in production becomes more technical.

Many neck profiles were designed in order to find what we believe to be the most comfortable in different fretting positions and balance between playing at the low, middle, or high end of the fretboard. Everything is considered with the player in mind.

Direct coupled and bi-level bridges

In the 1980s Mr. Yairi developed the Direct Coupled Bridge. He wanted to raise the string tension of the guitar and take the vibration created at the bridge into the top. The bridge design drops the bridge pins much lower than the saddle and that creates a more acute angle increasing the downforce on the saddle, heightening string tension. This really impacts response and projection – one thing you notice and about Yairi and indeed most Alvarez guitars is their immediate response no matter how soft you play.Alvarez guitars are fitted with a one piece bi-level bridge that is based on Yairi’s direct coupled design. This also heightens string tension due to the break angle of the strings at the saddle. As well as functionally, the Alvarez bridges have also become part of our branding and with the logo makes our guitars instantly recognizable.

Retain design through stability

All of the work that goes into making guitars means little if the guitar is not stable throughout its lifetime, especially in the first year or two when the woods are still settling in varying environments and climatic challenges.
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Guitarists always need more guitars

One of the great things about Alvarez is we have such a comprehensive offering making the brand truly interesting to so many more players. Guitarists love guitars, and often want to explore various options to achieve their sound, or venture into new tonal landscapes.

We have everything for everyone from multiple wood configurations for standard sizes to Baritones, 8-Strings, 12-Strings, Parlors, Flamenco and everything in between and every single model is designed correctly for the application it is needed for. Not so many brands go to this extent to keep things exciting.

Our Values

  • 01. Always put
    the player first
  • 02. Achieve our goals through better design
  • 03. Commit to perpetual improvement
  • 04. Offer genuine and unparalleled value
  • 05. Make guitars that people love to play
  • 06. Bring quality into everything
  • 07. Know the guitar better than our competitors

Production design is at the heart of value.

We make great guitars affordable because we invest in and design the processes needed to make them that way. From machinery to hands-on applications, quality assurance, and supply chain management. We manage everything in order to realize our designs and levels of quality and bring our wonderful guitars to the market at unbelievable value.