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is anyone here knowledgeable on Alvarez acoustics?


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I figured there are a lot of folks here (like maybe KSDaddy) who probably know as much as I am going to find on countless web searches.


I am helping my friend Ed's family with some of his other guitars and gear that he left behind. Ed had this guitar in his basement since I've known him and I played it many times but never paid much attention to it otherwise until now.


It's an Alvarez Model 5016. From what I can tell so far it was made in Japan, and was "Commemorating the 60th Anniversary of SLM 1922-1982". SLM must mean St. Louis Music. The serial number is 000067, so I assume this was the 67th guitar of a limited run, but not sure how many. :-k There are no electronics. I have done some searches but found nothing on this Model 5016.


The guitar itself seems very nice but pretty plain in looks. Has binding on body and neck (no nibs). The action is good (not super low, but not too high either) but the intonation is about perfect.










Any info is appreciated.

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I don't know much about Yairi guitars myself but, somewhere in the body-copy below, is a link to someone who has posted info elsewhere.

He seems to be happy to help people find out more about what they have;


Apologies if your search has already shown you this but, just in case you haven't already seen it, here's a cut'n'paste from an answer he gave on a similar (but 1970) guitar;


"First, I want to tell you that if you wish to receive the most accurate info you would need to send a few photo's to me at yairi_luvr@comcast.net ~

Clear shots of the label/rosette, front of headstock, and front/back of guitar if possible.


If you have no way to do this, then I will give you info on what I know from my 5016 and we'll just assume it is indeed the same guitar, but keep in mind there are variations of this model.


Solid Spruce top in light amber finish.

Split (bookmatched) Rosewood back and sides.

Rosewood Veneered headpiece.

Genuine ebony fingerboard which has been aged over two years before bonded to the neck.

Hand inlaid traditional wood marquetry around sound hole.

Gold patent heads with butterfly celluloid buttons.

Celluloid bound edges.

All internal bracing is hand sanded."


As you have no doubt already discovered there is also a Classical version of the 5016.


Good luck with your search, Jay.



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I had one of those in the early 70's, fabulous player, I really miss it, but it left with a girlfriend. Look inside the sound hole to the heal block. If it was made by Yairi, there should be a 3 or 4 digit date code. 45 = 1970 up to 63=1988, then it recycles to 1= 1989 through 12 = 2000. 01 on up each year after that. The last two digits are the month. You can email Alvarez and they're pretty good about getting back to you. ( http://alvarezguitars.com/contact/ ) Disclosure , I have 6 Alvarez or Alvarez Yairi acoustics but nothing that old anymore.

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The Yari's from back in the 70s were top notch.


This one looks like it predates the one I have (1978 Dy74 Snowflake) the label has the DOB (8/25/78) and Yari's signature. I see this one doesn't. is there any date info inside at all?


I had some restoration work done to this last year (fret leveling and recrowned, tidied up the nut and bridge) and I replaced the Fishman Natural that started to fail on me (it was about 20 years old) with a Fishman Matrix. She's still a good ol' work horse.



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That's a beautiful looking guitar, kb. Simple, 'Classic' but with fine detail touches.

I love the inlays ('Snowflake', I'm guessing?), peghead and the 'guard. Actually there's nothing I don't like!

Is the latter Braz rosewood?


Lovely thing all round.





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Hey Philip!


Thanks mate, and yep, I do believe that is Braz rosewood, that back and sides look just like it. and I am almost certain that those were called "snowflake" inlays as well.


This one came to me second hand in 1989 and it reeked of stale cigarette smoke to the likes I've never seen (well smelled) before. But it only took a few seconds to know it was a keeper. Eventually (thanks to Vanilla Little Tree Air Fresheners I kept in the case) it didn't smell like an ashtray. It was bad, I smoked at the time too.


these Yari's from this era were incredibly well made. This one seems almost impervious to the climate changes we have here in Massachusetts, I rarely have to tweak the truss rod. I usually keep the acoustics cased when not in use, but I have to adjust the taylors a few times a year. not this one.




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I have a '91 Alvarez-Yairi, and it's simply the best-made guitar I have ever owned. Yes, the body isn't solid, but it doesn't seem to matter at all. This goes without saying, but never confuse an Alvarez-Yairi - made in Japan, often by hand - for an Alvarez, which are made in China and not nearly as good.

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Well I guess this is a mystery guitar. :-k After a few emails and some photos sent, here is my answer from Tom at STL Guitar Service:


"We have no record of this model in any catalog or price sheet from 1982 or any years close to that. It was most likely a limited edition model introduced mid year that then went out of production before the next years catalog. Sorry we cannot help."

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My first guitar was an Alvarez from a similar year - model 5014 - the smaller "folk" body style and a laminated top. I got it in 1978 for my 15th birthday. The label inside mine is identical to yours - 'cept for the numbers. It's aged very nicely and has developed a beautiful sound - despite the laminated top. These are quite easily found for around $300 though. Yours is definitely a nicer guitar, however, particularly if it's a Yairi.



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  • 3 weeks later...

I still haven't decided if I am going to sell this for the family or buy it myself.


I had 10 minutes of privacy, so I made this very quick demo. My hair is a mess and I'm unshaven. Just something to get an idea of the sound. I don't think I'm going to leave this crappy vid up on the Tube too long. [blush]




Edit: I don't know why this video doesn't embed like they do any other time? :-k

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