Magazine article Acoustic Guitar

Alvarez Marks Its Gold Anniversary

Magazine article Acoustic Guitar

Alvarez Marks Its Gold Anniversary

Article excerpt

Bernard Kornblum founded the St. Louis Music Co. in 1922, and its initial business was importing European violins for American distribution. In 1965, the company launched the Alvarez line of guitars, which really took off a couple of years later when the company began collaborating with Japanese luthier Kazuo Yairi.

Five decades later, the Alvarez brand is still going strong.

To commemorate its 50th anniversary, the company has introduced two intriguing and affordable new series. One is the Grateful Dead Series, in honor of the legendary band that is also celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and the other is simply called the 1965 Series.

As many Dead fans know, Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir both worked with Alvarez in the 1980s to produce signature models. Weir, in particular, was instrumental in the creation of the WY1 model, which remains in production and is based on the original prototype that Alvarez made for him.

The new Grateful Dead Series features solid A-grade Western red-cedar tops, custom mother-of-pearl inlays (including a lightning bolt at the 12th fret), rosewood fingerboards, and bi-level bridges. Also of note is Alvarez's FST2M hand-finished, forward-shifted, scalloped bracing system.

"It's a great honor for us," says Chris Meikle, Alvarez's head of development. "The Grateful Dead people came to us and said, 'We'd like to make some guitars to celebrate, would you be interested?' And we, of course, said, "Yes."'

Players can choose from one of two models in the series, each with a street price of $399. The Montage incorporates Big Bertha, Dancing Bear, and Steal Your Face images on its top. …

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