Alvarez PD311AV Refurbishing

I bought this old Alvarez for a refurbish because I simply love this brand.

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The PD311AV was from the 2009 catalogue. This one was from the Professional Series which sat between the Masterworks and Artiste Series. Although China made, the Alvarez guitars I’ve tried (and owned) have been consistently well-built and always sound amazing for the money.

Solid top and solid back construction for the Professional Series. The antique violin finish would make everyone think that it has a mahogany top but no, this has a spruce top and rosewood body.

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Beautiful maple binding all over the guitar – headstock, neck and body. Herringbone around the body as well.

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There’s also abalone inlays on the rosette and headstock. Quite a bit of bling going on here.

The big and nasty surprise here was the plastic saddle. It seemed like a stock part and I would expect Alvarez to use bone saddle for this range. Well, Guitarbear can always get down to work on this new baby.

Slotting the bridge for high-E string

But we have a problem here. The high-E string rubs the bi-level bridge and there’s a need to slot the bridge so as to get a better break angle.

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I use a needle file to make a slot for the string.

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Final sanding using 2000 grit sandpaper. This ensures there are no rough edges that may cause the high-E to break.

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Bone saddle

Now let’s craft a nice bone saddle for the guitar.

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The stock saddle seems too curved for the fretboard. Using my radius gauges, I measured it to be about 12″ but the fretboard was more like 15″. No worries, we’ll just shape it according to the fretboard.

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OK, we have a nicely shaped saddle with a more “correct” fret radius. Adjustments to be done later to get the best setup.

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A new set of ebony bridge pins matches the abalone inlays perfectly. I’d prefer to have a taller saddle but sometimes the construction of the guitar (neck angle) may not allow that.

Bearclaw Special

It’s time to give the guitar a good cleanup and polish. I suspect the previous owner NEVER bothered to clean the guitar. Never mind, Guitarbear will give the guitar some TLC.

Fret shine and fingerboard nourishing with steel wool, lemon oil and Dr Duck Ax Wax. Bowie was my assistant for the day. Here he is smiling away.

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Lovely maple bindings and herringbone on display.

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Fresh set of Elixirs as usual. By now, the pickguard was gone.

I had to re-adjust the saddle quite a bit because the stock saddle was way off.

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High-E string doesn’t rub against the bridge anymore. Bridge is also taken care of now. No more dry and dirty rosewood. It’s all nice and shiny.

The entire guitar was cleaned up with Music Nomad and Dr Duck Ax Wax products.

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I hope the guitar is happier now than before. It must be happier now. 🙂

Here’s a look at the dark rosewood back. It’s solid rosewood.

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The not-so-attractive differing wood grains can be seen here on the multi-piece mahogany neck. OK, you get what you pay for.

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But it does have some nice appointments. Abalone headstock inlays, maple bounded with gold tuners. Nice.

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One more look at the maple binding. It’s all over the guitar. I love such things.

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Maurice and Murphy were there to pose for shot. Let’s hope this one stays.

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