Considered the most popular acoustic brand in the world, the successful Alvarez line has not always had it easy, as noted by their history. Today, however, these attractive and warm sounding guitars are a major part of the instrument industry and demand respect. That respect, however, cannot be measured by any one feature that the Alvarez line is responsible for. Each of the Alvarez instruments are excellently crafted and unique in features.
The Products Alvarez makes a wide variety of string instruments including mandolins, banjos, folk guitars, baritone guitars, classical and 12 string guitars as well as electric guitars under the Yairi name.
History The history of Alvarez Guitars began with Matsumoku Industrial which was established in the early 1900s. The company started out as a woodworking business which specialized in Japanese furniture and created a small success doing so. After WWII the Singer Corporation contracted Matsumoku Industrial to build its sewing machine cabinets. Shortly after, in 1951, a partnership began and Matsumoku became a subsidiary of Singer. Around that same time the company also built amplifier cabinets, entertainment cabinets and speaker boxes for several audio and television manufacturers. Around the mid 1950s Matsumoku decided to make additions to his companies endeavors. There were already skilled luthiers working on his staff so naturally the company veered toward stringed instruments. In order to establish an instrumental reputation for themselves, Matsumoku aimed for quality though he was only building them on contract to various companies with their own designs. He continued manufacturing for the following companies and their affiliates through the 60s.
In 1978 Matsumoku began making their own line of guitars called Electra-Westone since Electra Music Co. distributed for them. In 1979, however, the company was releasing guitars under Westone alone, and began an instrument making journey for itself. 1981 marked the launch of the first Westone instruments which included Thunder guitars and Rainbow I 6 String basses but the use of laminate exterior and brass hardware were not popular amongst consumers. Over the next few years Westone also released many others, creating a hit and miss reputation with both mild and moderate successes as well as several disappointments.
Because of the mottled reputation of Westone guitars along with other business related reasons, Matsumoku dropped out of instrument manufacturing completely in 1987. The self reliant company, however, moved on and began making Fender-influenced solid bodies with no success and the Westone image had already become so damaged that Westone ended in 1991. Born from the ashes, Westone became Alvarez.
Today The much more modern instrument maker has certainly made its way in the luthier industry. Quality, reliability and beauty grace their many products today.
The Artists Alvarez guitars are suitable for a wide range of music from jazz and rock to alternative, metal and everything in between. There is also a very long list of artists who use Alvarez instruments.