Alvarez PD311AV Refurbishing

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


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.


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


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.


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


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


Bone saddle

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


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.


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


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.


Lovely maple bindings and herringbone on display.


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.


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.


I hope the guitar is happier now than before. It must be happier now. đŸ™‚

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


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


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


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


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







Alvarez New Models

Alvarez has been consistently churning out great affordable guitars so it’s always good news from them as they launch their new range at Winter NAMM.

Armrest Models for Artist Series


AG70AR – Sitka top with rosewood b/s and maple bindings

The Artist Series guitars get a new beveled armrest this year as players look for more comfort when playing the bigger body guitars.


AG60AR – Sitka top with mahogany b/s and rosewood bindings

It seems like the GA sized guitars are first to be launched with the armrest and the website shows the AG60AR and AG70AR sporting rosewood and maple bindings respectively.


Delta DeLite


A vintage looking short scale travel guitar that looks set to compete with the likes of Baby Taylor and Little Martin. This one should please players who want the ol’ school look. It’s also worth noting that this model comes with a 1-3/4 inch nut that is widely preferred.



The new LJ2 replaces the LJ60 in the lineup. Well-received as a more affordable alternative to the Taylor GS Mini, the LJ2 should do very well here in SG. Again, the 1-3/4 inch nut may prove to be decisive.

Read more on Alvarez website:

*pictures from Alvarez

Alvarez Artist Series in Shadowburst

Alvarez has announced the Shadowburst finish in their Artist series guitars.


The shadowburst finish was first introduced to the Masterwork series in the MDA66 and MFA66 mahogany guitars two years ago. Now, the beautiful finish has been made available to the more affordable Artist series. Pictured above (L to R) are the AP66SHB, AD60CESHB and AF66CESHB.

Also new are the LR Baggs Stage Pro Element pickups found on guitars with electronics.  Starting in 2016, the new pickups will replace the outgoing B-Band units. Guitarbear reckons this is a fantastic move.

Let’s see how Luther Music (local Alvarez AD) will price these new guitars.

Read more:

*photo from Alvarez

Alvarez Jazz & Blues unveiled

Alvarez has launched the Jazz & Blues series. This series features guitars in vintage vibes with hollow bodies and nice parlours in shaded finishes.


Jazz Arch-tops

The arch-tops are probably Alvarez’s first foray into electrics and if these follow the tone and quality found in the acoustics, Guitarbear is sure they will be a hit.


The Jazz arch-tops come in a full bodied AAT35 with humbuckers, a slim AAT34 with P90s and a slim AAT33 with humbuckers and stop-tail.


Tonewoods are the tried and trusted maple for the body and neck. Loaded with Duncan Designed pickups, these guitars come in nice finishes such as sunburst, burgundy and walnut

Blues – 00 Parlours

Named as the Blues body size, these 00 parlours further confirm the ongoing trend of smaller bodies with vintage vibes.


The 14 fret parlours have a slightly shorter scale of just under 25 inches. Featuring all-solid construction, these guitars also come in shadow burst and sunburst finishes.


The 12 fret Blues 51 has a shorter overall length due to its construction and also a rosewood arch back.


Although Guitarbear is pleased NOT to see slotted headstocks, there is some disappointment that the Alvarez bi-level bridge is not employed here. The bi-level bridge is a great design that allows good break angle and low action on many Alvarez acoustics.

There is a choice to get these with electronics and Alvarez has chosen the LR Baggs VTC which leaves a much smaller footprint than the B-Band types previously used in their previous models.

No word on pricing yet, but it would be interesting to see if the arch-tops will make their way into SG.

See the full collection here:

Jazz & Blues

*photos from Alvarez Guitars