|Body And Neck:|
Most times, when you think of an acoustic guitar, a dreadnought or a grand auditorium style comes to mind (at least…it does for us). Parlor guitars are often overlooked, and with the Alvarez AP70, you’ll find a perfectly capable acoustic-electric guitar that may be small in size, but huge in the tone department.
Regardless of the type or style of acoustic guitar you are looking for, one thing is common for all of them — a good sounding model will use the best tonewoods and construction methods. The AP70 is no slouch in this department, as it features a parlor-sized body with a solid Sitka spruce top along with the use of walnut for the back and sides. Special FST2 bracing helps to magnify and enrich the overall tone.
Mahogany is the tonewood of choice for the neck, and you’ll find a Pau Ferro fretboard as the resting place for its 18 frets (yeah, that’s fewer than most acoustics, but you have to remember that it IS a parlor guitar, therefore a bit smaller overall). Pau Ferro is among many of the sustainable alternatives for true rosewood being used these days, and there certainly is no detriment in tonal quality to our ears.
One thing to note is that there is only one fret marker; it’s an attractive mother of pearl design on the 12th fret only. While it does look great, not having anything else to guide you may take some getting used to.
The AP70 is one parlor guitar that was intended for live performances, and pulling that off is super easy thanks to the LR Baggs StagePro EQ preamp system that comes with an LR Baggs Element pickup. This StagePro has all of the features you need, such as a 3-band EQ, a chromatic tuner, as well as Notch and Phase controls to help minimize that pesky feedback.
The Element pickup itself is a step above most typical undersaddle piezo systems. It utilizes a thin film element that helps to absorb the actual vibrations from the solid spruce top instead of relying solely on string vibrations through the bridge. This results in less of that “quack.” which is typical to piezos, and it also expands the overall dynamic range.
Materials choices for other hardware elements are just as top-notch as they are for the body and neck, as the AP70 uses both Pau Ferro and Indian Laurel for the bridge along with real bone for the nut and bridge saddle.
The tuners are die-cast but are also in the open headstock style similar to many nylon string guitars. It’s a nice touch that helps to add a distinctive look.
Once you hear the AP70, you may be surprised as to how much sound is coming from that small parlor-sized package. The combination of the solid Sitka spruce top and the FST2 bracing gives a tone that is rich, warm, and full. It has a well-defined low end that isn’t too boomy, while it has impressive clarity on the higher end without being shrill.
And – that’s just playing it without it being plugged in. Hook it up to your favorite acoustic amp or direct into the PA, and the AP70 may sound just as good as many of the larger acoustic-electric models that are currently on the market.
Sound quality is one thing, but a good acoustic has to play well too in order to round out the whole package. The neck feels fast and smooth, with easy fingering for chords while taking very little effort to pull off single note runs. As the scale length is shorter (thanks to the parlor design), the frets are a little closer together than what you may typically be used to, so that’s something to definitely consider.
For the size, the tone is awesome. For the price, you may find the impressive material selections, and build quality is hard to beat. Put it all together, you may find that the Alvarez AP70 is the best choice if you’re looking for a great sounding acoustic that isn’t too big and unwieldy.
For more info about the Alvarez AP70WE, click here.
For more of the best acoustic guitars under $500, click here.