Am I the only one who's noticed a new interest in "specialty" guitars? It seems as though, lately, people are foregoing the tried and true 14-fret neck Dreadnaughts and OM styles and opting for other, less common guitar types. If what was on display at the January NAMM Show was any indication, the answer is "No, I'm not the only one who's noticed it". Guitar companies are sitting up, taking notice and offering up a tasty smorgasbord of various guitars.
One of these companies is Alvarez.
Alvarez, along with their expected crop of Dreadnaughts and Folk (think "OM") models, offer a couple of instruments outside the usual selections found in the line-up of an import guitar line. In particular is the one upon which we will heap the title of "Pick Of The Week", the AP-70 Parlor Guitar:
|An AP-70, in all of its 12-fret splendor...|
The AP-70 is from the "Artist Line" of Alvarez Guitars. It features laminated East Indian Rosewood back and sides, and a finely grained, solid Sitka Spuce top.
|East Indian Rosewood back and sides on the AP-70...|
The fingerboard and patented bi-level bridge are Rosewood, as is the peghead veneer:
|The Alvarez bi-level bridge...|
The neck meets the body at the twelfth fret and is topped off with a slotted headstock that's fitted with open gear tuners. It comes equipped with D'Addario EXP strings.
|The slotted peghead on the AP-70...|
This little guitar plays extremely easy. The 12-fret neck makes for slightly less tension while, at the same time, helps round out the sound. The slotted headstock allows for a bit of a greater break angle over the nut, which helps to counter any "slack" feeling you might otherwise perceive in this guitar.
Being a smaller body, it doesn't have the low-end punch that some guitars have, but it's not supposed to. The guitar has center-scalloped bracing which permits the top to respond to even the slightest of touches. This is a fingerstyle player's guitar, first and foremost, and it performs that role convincingly well.
The smaller body also makes it a perfect choice for young beginners; maybe 12 years old and younger, or those adults who enjoy a petite build and have a difficult time properly handling a larger bodied instrument. In either case, this is a guitar which will stay viable for who ever is playing it for a long time.
I remember being rather impressed with the AP-70 the first time I picked it up, and that impression hasn't waned in the weeks since that first encounter. After spending some "quality time" with it over the last couple of weeks, this is a formidable instrument which scores high marks on the BFTB (hereafter and forever known as "BANG FOR THE BUCK") scale.
So, what's the bottom line?
This guitar is a winner. For someone looking for a well-made 12-fret guitar, that doesn't cost $1,000.00, one needn't look any further. For a "street price"of $379.00, this guitar matches up quite well to other similar, but higher priced, instruments on the market.
So, if you're looking for a guitar which isn't going to break the bank or raise the eyebrows of your significant other, the Alvarez AP-70 is a good way to go.
Actually, when your significant other hears how inexpensive it was, the eyebrows might get raised, anyway, but only for all the right reasons.
*Text and photos by Steve Parr