If you’re in the market for an Alvarez guitar, it can be difficult to know where to start. They have hundreds of different guitar models across various series and can vary greatly in terms of quality. One of the best ways to identify the quality of a guitar is to identify where the guitar is made.
That said, where are Alvarez guitars made?
Alvarez guitars are made in either Japan or China depending on the series the guitar falls under. The Alvarez-Yairi and Masterworks Elite series guitars are made in Japan while the Alvarez Masterworks, Artist, and Regents series guitars are made overseas in China.
Alvarez Guitars: Some Background Information
For those unfamiliar with the Alvarez brand, they have been a leading acoustic guitar brand for over 50 years. They are an American guitar brand that was founded by St. Louis Music in 1965 in St. Louis Missouri and are currently headquartered there to this day.
While they are technically an American guitar brand, they currently do not manufacture any of their guitars in the United States, but rather distribute them in the US.
In 1965, owner Gene Kornblum partnered with Kazuo Yairi, a Master Luthier in Japan who produced handmade guitars, and this was what put Alvarez guitars on the map.
To this day, their top-of-the-line models are known as the
Alvarez Guitar Collection Explained
The Alvarez guitar collection can be broken down into several different “series” of guitars.
While Alvarez is one of the best acoustic guitar brands out there, they make guitars catered towards all different skill levels and budgets, so it’s important to understand the different series to make sure you’re getting the best fit you.
Understanding their collection of guitars will also help identify where the Alvarez guitars are made.
Where are Alvarez Yairi Guitars Made?
The Alvarez-Yairi series guitars are still handmade in Yairi Japan to this day. The Yairi series is their top-of-the-line, flagship series of guitars. With the Yairi series guitars, Alvarez has continued to stick to their roots, as these guitars are what started it all for them as a brand.
If you’re looking for a best-in-class acoustic guitar, then the Alvarez Yairi series is your best bet.
While these are the most expensive guitars Alvarez has to offer, you’re getting a handcrafted guitar by experts in the industry.
Where are Alvarez Masterworks Elite Guitars Made?
The Alvarez Masterworks Elite series guitars are made in Terada, Japan. The Masterworks Elite series guitars are relatively new, first released in 2019. They became an instant success and have become a mainstay in Alvarez’s lineup.
As previously mentioned, the Alvarez Masterworks Elite line of guitars is manufactured in Japan, making them the only other Japanese-made Alvarez guitars, aside from the Yairi series.
These guitars, however, are not handmade like the Yairi Series, making them a slight step down in terms of quality and performance.
Nevertheless, the Alvarez Masterworks Elite series are professional quality guitars with a much cheaper price tag than the Yairi guitars, making them a practical choice for advanced players.
Where are Alvarez Masterworks Guitars Made?
Alvarez Masterworks guitars are made in China. The Masterworks series was previously their highest-end production model guitars before the introduction of the Masterworks Elite series in 2019.
These guitars are intended to be professional quality guitars at an affordable price. While Alvarez Masterworks guitars are currently manufactured in China, they are definitely considered high-end guitars and are comparable to what you would find from guitars manufactured in South Korea in terms of quality.
As a result, the Alvarez Masterworks series guitars are some of the best acoustic guitars for the money you can get. They are suitable for players of all skill levels whether you’re a beginner player still learning, or a professional performs live.
If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, then definitely consider the Alvarez Masterworks guitars.
Where are Alvarez Artist Series Guitars Made?
The Alvarez Artist series of guitars are also made in China. The Artist series is Alvarez’s award-winning line of guitars, known for being some of the best value guitars on the market.
These guitars feature stunning design and construction quality at an extremely low price, making them a solid pick for beginner to intermediate level players.
Alvarez guitars pride themselves on is their top-notch design and craftsmanship across all series of guitars, including their budget guitars.
Despite the fact that the Alvarez Artist series guitars are made in China and are one of their lower-end lines, they are still amazing guitars, outperforming most other guitar brands in their price range.
If you’re a budget shopper look for an excellent value, then look no further than the Alvarez Artist series guitars.
Where are Alvarez Regent Series Guitars Made?
The Regent series guitars are Alvarez’s entry-level guitars, which are also made in China. These guitars are the least expensive guitars that Alvarez has to offer. If you’re a beginner looking for your first acoustic guitar, then definitely check out the Alvarez Regent series.
While these guitars are made using cheaper parts than the Artist and Masterworks series, they share similar award-winning design elements that Alvarez guitars are known for.
Personally, I feel like Alvarez Regent series guitars have better build quality than most other guitars in their price range. If you’re on a tight budget, but still want a solid performer, then the Alvarez Regent series definitely punches above its weight class.
Does it Matter Where Alvarez Guitars are Made?
In most cases, where a guitar is made is a good way to determine the overall quality.
Generally, the highest quality guitars are made in either the United States or Japan. Major guitar brands will only have their top-of-the-line guitars made in American or Japan since the production and labor costs are significantly higher.
Guitar brands will then have guitars mass-produced overseas in countries such as China, Indonesia, or South Korea. Since these guitars are much cheaper to produce, they sell them at a lower price. This allows brands to cater to the masses, by producing multiple lines of guitars at every single price range.
Typically, the order in terms of quality relative to where guitars are made is as follows:
United States > Japan > South Korea > Mexico/Indonesia > China
That said, the quality of budget guitars has been constantly improving over the years as technology advances and the skill of labor increases. Nowadays, most players wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a high-end Chinese-made guitar and a Japanese guitar.
Are Alvarez Guitars Handmade?
Only the Alvarez-Yairi series guitars are handmade. The rest of their guitars are mass-produced overseas in factories in China.
Alvarez guitars built a name for themselves due to the top-notch, handmade craftsmanship of their guitars in Japan since partnering with Kazuo Yairi in 1965. For over 50 years, it is clear that they have stuck to their roots, as they are still handcrafting guitars in Yairi Japan to this day.
However, Alvarez has also expanded their lineup by adding more budget-friendly options that are mass-manufactured in factories in China, due to the lower production costs.
While these mass-produced Alvarez guitars aren’t quite as high-quality as the Yairi series guitars, they are still excellent guitars, featuring similar design elements at a fraction of the price.
Are Alvarez Guitars Good?
Yes, Alvarez guitars are very good. In my opinion, I feel like they have some of the top-performing acoustic guitars in every price range. Their top-of-the-line guitars are still handcrafted in Japan, which is rare to see nowadays.
Even their budget line guitars are some of the highest quality instruments in their respective price ranges.
One thing that makes Alvarez guitars good is their attention to detail and consistency. Whether you’re spending $300 on a guitar or $3,000, you can rest assured that you’ll be getting a good instrument with very few quality control issues.
How Much Do Alvarez Guitars Cost?
Alvarez guitars can cost anywhere from $250 to $2,500+ depending on which series the guitar is in and where it is made.
In general, here is a breakdown of Alvarez guitars cost by series:
- Alvarez Regent Series – $250-$300
- Alvarez Artist Series – $350-$500
- Alvarez Masterworks Series – $600-$900
- Alvarez Masterworks Elite – $900-$1,600
- Alvarez-Yairi Series – $2,000-$2,600
Should You Buy an Alvarez Guitar?
If you’re in the market for an acoustic guitar, then you should definitely consider an Alvarez guitar. They have been one of the leading acoustic guitar brands for over 50 years. They are one of the only guitar manufacturers out there that have stuck to their roots and handcraft acoustic guitars in Japan.
In addition, they have a wide variety of guitars to choose from in practically every price range, meaning you’ll be able to find something regardless of your budget.