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  #1  
Old 02-08-2018, 08:19 PM
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Ed-in-Ohio Ed-in-Ohio is offline
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Default NGD: Alvarez AJ80CE Maple Jumbo

My recent search for a "maple jumbo under $1k" ended with my acquisition of a new Alvarez Artist Series AJ80CE. I took delivery today, and have spent the evening getting to know the guitar.

Construction, fit, and finish are nothing short of remarkable for a guitar at this price. Two very minor, nitpicking things would be a slightly rough perimeter on the pickguard, and a very slight edge (can't be seen, and just barely felt) where the cutaway binding meets the heel. All things considered, however, the build quality and attention to detail are remarkable!

Playability is exceptional! All the fretwork is perfect, the neck angle is spot on, there is plenty of saddle, and the C-shaped medium neck profile combined with the 12" radius on the fretboard makes for easy and comfortable play.

Tone is outstanding! The balance across the strings is excellent, with clear and well defined articulation. Also, as expected, the low-E and A strings pack a nice wallop. If this guitar suffers at all from having laminated maple back and sides I sure can't tell! Plugged-in the guitar sounds great through my Carvin AG-200 amp, and the impressive tone shaping tools on the Baggs StagePro (3 band EQ, phase switch, and notch) provide the ability to find a good, usable tone without an additional preamp.

Appearance is stunning! Wow. Take a look below!

Value is incredible. It is nothing short of amazing that a guitar of this quality is available at this price point...It's a good time to be an acoustic guitar player.






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Carvin AG200 Acoustic Amp - FOR SALE
2017 Alvarez Artist AJ80CE Maple Jumbo - FOR SALE
2016 Alvarez Artist A-E Folk/OM - FOR SALE

c.1966 Regal Sovereign R235 Jumbo - Old Dollar
2009 Martin 000-15 - Brown Bella
1977 Gibson MK-35 - Apollo
2017 Fender Custom American Telecaster - Brown Sugar
1995 Fender 'David Gilmour' Stratocaster - Crazy Diamond
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Old 02-08-2018, 08:25 PM
Borderdon Borderdon is offline
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Amazing looking guitar.
- I'm in the market myself for a budget instrument, something to leave in an alternate tuning.
I'll be checking them out if possible.
Congrats !
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Old 02-08-2018, 09:08 PM
knollhavenguita knollhavenguita is offline
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That's wild. I just tried one in a tiny, locally owned store today. Nearly came home with it, for all the same reasons. Didn't, only because I just got the Seagull Momentum and knew they were in the same price/quality bracket. Good luck!
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Old 02-08-2018, 10:10 PM
marty bradbury marty bradbury is offline
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Beautiful guitar! Enjoy!
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Old 02-09-2018, 09:46 AM
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Default WOW!

Loving that Maple! Always curious to find what you think of the placement of the strap button by Alvarez? They build some great acoustics at a fantastic retail price
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Old 02-09-2018, 10:50 AM
cmd612 cmd612 is offline
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Congrats! Artist Series Alvarez have consistently impressed me. In fact, of the many former guitars I no longer own, the only one I sometimes miss is an Alvarez that I gave to a friend's kid when she was starting to play. She really took to it, so it was worth it, but I tell ya, that little guitar was a lot of fun.

Their strap button placement is odd, though.

Enjoy that beauty!
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Old 02-09-2018, 11:49 AM
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Ed-in-Ohio Ed-in-Ohio is offline
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Thanks everyone! I couldn't put her down last night - was up playing way past my bed time. ...What a great sounding, great playing, and fun guitar!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpd View Post
Loving that Maple! Always curious to find what you think of the placement of the strap button by Alvarez? They build some great acoustics at a fantastic retail price
Thanks! It has been a while since I played with a strap, but I'll have to at least try it this weekend to see what I think. All my other acoustics with the second button have them in the more traditional location on the treble side, and just north of the heel.

As good as this guitar sounds plugged it, it will be a strong candidate for open mics, jams, and other situations where playing while standing might be called for. Thanks for pointing this out now (better to find out if it's an issue for me before a live situation. )
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Carvin AG200 Acoustic Amp - FOR SALE
2017 Alvarez Artist AJ80CE Maple Jumbo - FOR SALE
2016 Alvarez Artist A-E Folk/OM - FOR SALE

c.1966 Regal Sovereign R235 Jumbo - Old Dollar
2009 Martin 000-15 - Brown Bella
1977 Gibson MK-35 - Apollo
2017 Fender Custom American Telecaster - Brown Sugar
1995 Fender 'David Gilmour' Stratocaster - Crazy Diamond
Think Hippie Thoughts...
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Old 02-09-2018, 12:55 PM
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I love my Now D/C Alvarez AJ80. It my big curvy Blonde

You picked a good one, Ed.
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Old 02-10-2018, 11:05 AM
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Ed-in-Ohio Ed-in-Ohio is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpd View Post
...Always curious to find what you think of the placement of the strap button by Alvarez?...
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmd612 View Post
...Their strap button placement is odd, though...
Thanks again all.

Regarding the strap button location...though the placement on the heel is odd, it didn't seem to be too much of an issue for me. However, having the button there does create a sharp twist at the end of the strap. On the plus side, the heel end of the strap does not touch the guitar body like it does with the button in the more conventional location.

My main strap is a Long Hollow Softie which is 3" wide and made of leather. Because I wear the guitar fairly high when playing with a strap (my band mates always said I looked like I was in the Beatles), I found the Alvarez to be much more comfortable with a narrower (2") canvas strap. More of an issue was getting the strap (any) onto the Baggs endpin jack! The jack is very wide, and a strap hole will not fit it well without modification.

Here are a couple of additional observations about the Alvarez, now that I have put several more hours on it:
  • This guitar sounds excellent under a capo...better than any of my other guitars! The capoed tone is just about identical to the open string tone. This pleasantly surprised me.
  • Again, the Baggs StagePro (despite its ridiculously wide endpin jack ) sounds great with zero quack. Also, the phase/polarity switch on the preamp yields two vastly different (but usable) amplified voices. Very nice.
Finally, here are a couple of nicer, better lit pics of the guitar highlighting the maple sides and the body binding:

__________________
Carvin AG200 Acoustic Amp - FOR SALE
2017 Alvarez Artist AJ80CE Maple Jumbo - FOR SALE
2016 Alvarez Artist A-E Folk/OM - FOR SALE

c.1966 Regal Sovereign R235 Jumbo - Old Dollar
2009 Martin 000-15 - Brown Bella
1977 Gibson MK-35 - Apollo
2017 Fender Custom American Telecaster - Brown Sugar
1995 Fender 'David Gilmour' Stratocaster - Crazy Diamond
Think Hippie Thoughts...
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Old 02-10-2018, 11:10 AM
Big*Al Big*Al is offline
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I had a couple of the previous generation cutaway Alvarez Artist Series maple jumbos. I had an AJ60SE that was a very nice guitar and an almost identical one with spalted maple (AJ418C) that was even better. Nothing wrong with Alvarez jumbos.

One of my Alvarez jumbos had the strap button on the heel cap. I'd prefer having it on the side of the heel, but I never had any kind of problem using it.
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Last edited by Big*Al; 02-10-2018 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 02-10-2018, 11:10 AM
JStotes JStotes is offline
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For strap issues with an A/E is use the Planet Waves Cinch Fit. Check them out and see if it might work for you.

Nice guitar BTW.
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Old 03-08-2018, 11:00 AM
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Default One Month Follow-Up

I have owned enough guitars to fully appreciate the "honeymoon effect", and how it can influence our opinion of a new guitar. The newness of the guitar, its feel, its voice, the excitement of owning a "new thing", all these things often make us "over appreciate" the instrument during the first couple of weeks. With this in mind, and considering my glowing review of my new Alvarez jumbo, I decided early on that I would post this follow-up one month in. So...

I have been playing this guitar almost exclusively for the past month, and I completely stick with everything I said above.

If anything, I find this guitar even more impressive than I did a week into owning it.

The positive difference between my perceived value of this guitar, and what I paid for it is nothing short of jaw-dropping. This guitar is so good, and such an incredible value, it has caused me to completely re-evaluate my concept of the "required specs" for a guitar to be an "outstanding" guitar.

Of course, I may have lucked in to an exceptional example, and YMMV.
__________________
Carvin AG200 Acoustic Amp - FOR SALE
2017 Alvarez Artist AJ80CE Maple Jumbo - FOR SALE
2016 Alvarez Artist A-E Folk/OM - FOR SALE

c.1966 Regal Sovereign R235 Jumbo - Old Dollar
2009 Martin 000-15 - Brown Bella
1977 Gibson MK-35 - Apollo
2017 Fender Custom American Telecaster - Brown Sugar
1995 Fender 'David Gilmour' Stratocaster - Crazy Diamond
Think Hippie Thoughts...
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  #13  
Old 03-08-2018, 12:57 PM
jparis51 jparis51 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed-in-Ohio View Post
I have owned enough guitars to fully appreciate the "honeymoon effect", and how it can influence our opinion of a new guitar. The newness of the guitar, its feel, its voice, the excitement of owning a "new thing", all these things often make us "over appreciate" the instrument during the first couple of weeks. With this in mind, and considering my glowing review of my new Alvarez jumbo, I decided early on that I would post this follow-up one month in. So...

I have been playing this guitar almost exclusively for the past month, and I completely stick with everything I said above.

If anything, I find this guitar even more impressive than I did a week into owning it.

The positive difference between my perceived value of this guitar, and what I paid for it is nothing short of jaw-dropping. This guitar is so good, and such an incredible value, it has caused me to completely re-evaluate my concept of the "required specs" for a guitar to be an "outstanding" guitar.

Of course, I may have lucked in to an exceptional example, and YMMV.
I bought one a few years ago to be my "campfire guitar," going to places I wouldn't want to take something expensive, and I feel the same way about it; I tried many guitars in that price range and nothing came close.

Glad you're still enjoying your guitar! Unfortunately when I got mine they still came with the Alvarez B Band system, not great plugged in but it does the job as an onboard tuner.
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Old 03-08-2018, 05:04 PM
Oldguy64 Oldguy64 is offline
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I spent a couple of very good years with an AJ60S.
It was, and I assume, still is a stellar guitar.
It’s one of the few that I miss.
Maybe another one, a 12-string will find me at the right time.
You have what should be an amazing guitar on your hands.
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  #15  
Old 03-08-2018, 06:37 PM
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jpd jpd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed-in-Ohio View Post

The positive difference between my perceived value of this guitar, and what I paid for it is nothing short of jaw-dropping. This guitar is so good, and such an incredible value, it has caused me to completely re-evaluate my concept of the "required specs" for a guitar to be an "outstanding" guitar.

Of course, I may have lucked in to an exceptional example, and YMMV.
Yes you did...you lucked into an Alvarez! My little Delta-00 blew away my jam session last night
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