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Music Gear Review - Alvarez AD70SC Acoustic Guitar
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[Update - Oops!  I didn't think to remove that LR Baggs pickup before snapping these pictures.  Sorry if this caused any confusion!]

You know that thing where sometimes you're working on a project and for the sake of hammering through it you just leave something that you're not happy with and you say "we'll fix that later"?
Well somebody came back to me with something recorded last year so that we could try out this Alvarez AD70SC where other guitars just hadn't "done it".  Played right, the Alvarez turned out to be an excellent match for the material.
[AKG 414 at the soundhole and a cardioid SDC at the 12th fret - in case anybody's interested.]

 
Alvarez' AD70SC dreadnought acoustic guitar sports a solid spruce top with Indian rosewood back & sides.  Varnished and with that cutaway - this wood combination sounds like what you'd expect it to: decent lows and an excellent midrange, with a subdued complexity in the highs.  I didn't have an AD70S (non-cutaway) to directly compare this guitar to, but i've done enough of those comparisons to know what kind of changes take place sonically when you cut away the shoulder of an acoustic guitar.
[More details on how it sounds unplugged and plugged on page3.]

Tuning gears are the nickel Grover-style closed-back type you see on most acoustic guitars.  I couldn't find a spec on the ratio; they feel like 16:1.  As with other Alvarez guitars i've used, these gears have no play and they don't drift - what more could you ask for?
 

I am all for the three-piece mahogany neck design, as this will decrease (some say eliminate) the future risk of neck twist.  But i do wonder about this particular guitar, because the neck heel is the 'sharp', more pronounced type, whereas my memory of these guitars is that they had the rounded style.  Also, there is dark coloration where the neck meets the body side.  A factory second?  Hmm...

Headstock face has an Indian rosewood veneer with the Alvarez "double A" logo inlaid.  The truss rod adjustment screw is accessed via the sound hole.  Headstock is bound, as is the rosewood fret board.
There are small black markers along the neck binding, but no markers/inlay on the fretboard itself other than a decorative inlay at the 12th fret.

Headstock face has an Indian rosewood

veneer with the Alvarez "double A" logo inlaid.  The truss rod adjustment screw is accessed via the sound hole.  Headstock is bound, as is the rosewood fret board.

Like many people, i personally don't dig Alvarez' pick guard shape - i think it just looks goofy.  But i have to say that now that i'm looking at it on a guitar with a cutaway, it does make a certain aesthetic sense.
 

Nut and partially-compensated saddle are either TUSQ or a TUSQ clone.  This saddle has the kickback edge for the B string to
help with intonation.  Bridge pins are plastic.  There is a strap button on the underside of the neck heel, and yes, it certainly is annoying when playing box scales in D at the 10th fret!

The Alvarez AD70SC comes with a factory-installed piezoelectric undersaddle (UST) pickup, and the System 600T MKII preamp/EQ.  For more on this, keep reading.

 

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