Alvarez MD70 Bone Saddle Installation

Did a drop-in bone saddle project on this Alvarez MD70 last week.

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This is a previous model from 2013 but this guitar is just stunning in terms of value, quality and tone. While the latest MDA70 gets a wider nut width and abalone bindings, the MD70 still carries attractive appointments like flame maple bindings.

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Guitarbear still prefers the older 43mm nut widths over the latest guitars.

Here you can see that the saddle doesn’t have the suitable curve. The thicker strings sit too “straight” and a new saddle with the correct radius is required. While it is easy to simply drop in a saddle, it takes more time and effort to get the best curve for playing comfort.

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There are also too many shims being used. Not sure how much tone is lost here, but it is always good to make a new saddle with the correct measurements.

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A comparison photo where you can see that the original saddle was way too straight at the thicker strings.

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No problems. We got sandpaper from 100 to 2000 grit, as well as the good ol’ jeweler’s file to craft the new saddle.

The wire anchor of the LR Baggs Anthem (previously installed by owner) came off so we need to tape it back. Easy job here.

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Remove the anchor, remove the old tape, and clean up the contact. Then, cut some new double-sided tape to reinstall the anchor. Just use a pair scissors to snip off the excess bits.

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Okay, all neat and tidy now. Nothing loose or rattling anymore.

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Bearclaw Special

Let’s do some TLC for this lovely guitar.

Fretboard wasn’t too dirty in the first place, but all guitars deserve a good massage and moisturising session. Steel wool and Ax Wax are good friends here. Bowie was assistant today.

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Bridge was also nourished with Ax Wax, while nut slots were lubricated with pencil lead.

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We got a good fit on the new saddle. Restrung with Elixirs in owner’s preferred super light gauge 10-47.

Gave the guitar an overall clean and polish and we’re good to go. Miffy was ready to pose.

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It’s a lovely guitar. I asked the owner if he would sell it to me, and I got a flat “NO”.

Nevertheless, my trusted AD30, my No.1, came out to pose with his cousin from the same year (2013).

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Giveaway sign would be the fret markers. High end models have only the 12th marker and not the dots.

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MD70 has solid rosewood body while the humble AD30 has laminate mahogany. Both just beautiful to me. I love Alvarez.

One more shot of the MD70 that mesmerized me. Sexy back.

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Owner was really happy to get back his guitar with the improved playing comfort.

 

 

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Alvarez Guitars Flash Sale 9 Aug

Our good friends at Luther Music are giving great discounts on selected Alvarez models on National Day.

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The Masterworks Series at such prices are worth overnight queues and fistfights. No joke. These beautifully made guitars can beat the hell out of guitars many times the price.

MUST – GET – Alvarez.

*poster from Luther Music Facebook

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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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

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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.

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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

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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.

LJ2

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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:

http://alvarezguitars.com/

*pictures from Alvarez