So, Martin vs. Alvarez, which guitar brand is better? Which of the two is better when it comes to sound quality? Which of the two is better when it comes to build quality? Which has the better value for its worth? These two guitar companies have always been competing to be named the best acoustic guitar company in the world. So, we are now going to find out which is the better guitar company between the two.
Martin Guitars? Any idea about them? Martin Guitars is a renowned guitar manufacturing company that was established by Christian Friedrick Martin in 1833. Aside from its popular flat top guitars, the company also used to produce mandolins, some electric guitars, and bass guitars in the past. The company’s primary factory and main headquarters are located in Nazareth, Pennsylvania.
Aside from their main manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania, they also have a manufacturing plant in Navojoa, Mexico. As of this moment, the current range of instruments manufactured by the company includes steel-string and classical acoustic guitars and ukuleles. Approximately, they can produce 270 guitars per day.
Martin Guitars is highly credited with the development of the renowned X-bracing, which gives the acoustic guitar excellent stability and a balanced voice. X-brace is necessary to prevent the top side of the acoustic guitar from destroying itself from the tension of the strings, as it braces and gives the necessary stiffness needed to the top.
Aside from its manufacturing facilities, Martin Guitars also opened its Custom Shop division in 1979. One of its most popular signature series of acoustic guitars is the OM-28JM Limited Edition, which is one of John Mayer’s signature models made by Martin. Another popular signature acoustic guitar model is the 000-28EC, which is one of Eric Clapton’s signature guitars manufactured by Martin.
On the other hand, Alvarez is a guitar manufacturing company established in 1965 by its owner and distributor, St. Louis Music. The company manufactures steel-string guitars, classical guitars, and ukuleles.
St. Louis Music’s founder, Gene Kornblum, met a master luthier in Japan who produced handmade classical guitars named Kazuo Yairi. Together, they started to design and manufacture steel-string acoustic guitars and imported them to the US. They use the brand name of St. Louis Music’s Spanish guitar line, “Alvarez.”
In the year 2005 until 2009, the company was owned by LOUD Technologies, which also owns the Crate, Ampeg, Mackie, and many other music-related brands. However, in 2009, St Louis Music bought back the management and distribution of the guitars to them.
Most of the Alvarez guitars are produced in China, while its flagship guitars, named the Alvarez-Yairi instruments, are handmade at the Yairi factory in Kani, Gifu-Japan. All of Alvarez’s guitars undergo a full setup and quality inspection in their main guitar shop in St. Louis, Missouri.
Alvarez guitars are categorized by their price point and specialty into series. The Regent Series is its entry-level product line and the most affordable for their guitars. They are designed for younger and novice guitar players. Next is the Artist Series, which is widely renowned by musical institutions. Another is the Masterworks series which is all solid wood construction, and last is the Alvarez-Yairi series, which is the company’s flagship guitars.
The most notable guitar players that use Alvarez guitars are Bono, Joe Bonamassa, Carlos Santana, and many more famous guitar players.
Martin VS Alvarez: Sound Quality
Martin is a sought-after name brand for acoustic guitars. They are highly regarded and are usually used in mainstream music. Martin guitars are known to produce a bright sound, even when you play them in a crowded group. In the recording with rock bands, Martin guitars stand out well with their bright and high-end tone.
Whether you use a Martin guitar in recording or live performances, it always produces a very nice sound. They respond well in all situations, which is why they are one of the dream guitars of every guitar player.
On the other hand, Alvarez guitars are really known to sound very warm and deep. Their Artist Series is known to deliver professional sound at excellent value. They sound really nice even if you plug them in an acoustic guitar amplifier or directly into the mixer.
Most of the acoustic guitars made by Alvarez are really excellent sounding for their value. Their flagship products are one of the best-sounding guitars in their category, which is why they are used by top-notch guitar players like Santana and Bonamassa.
Build Quality of Martin VS Alvarez
Martin guitars have one of the best build qualities in the market. You can choose varieties of wood that are used in making their acoustic guitar bodies like Mahogany, Rosewood, Koa, Cherry, Ovangkol, Sapele, and many more. The top material is either made of Spruce, Mahogany, Sapele, Ovangkol, Curly Mango, or the High-Pressure Laminate.
Martin guitars are also categorized in sizes as they offer different options like the Junior, Concert, Grand Concert, Auditorium, Grand Performance, Jumbo, Grand Auditorium, and Dreadnought. They also offer traveling guitars like their Little Martin and the Backpacker acoustic guitars.
On the other hand, most of the bodies of the Alvarez guitars are made of Mahogany, while some are made in Rosewood. The top material used for their guitars is either Spruce, Mahogany, Cedar, or Acacia. Its back and sides are either made of Mahogany, Rosewood, Maple, Walnut, Ebony, Cypress, or Pau Ferro.
Alvarez guitars can also be categorized by their sizes as they offer different options that you can choose from, like the Dreadnought, Grand Auditorium, Jumbo, Classical, Flamenco, and many more.
Both guitar companies offer acoustic guitars that come with built-in pickups. For Martin guitars, their pickup systems are developed by Fishman Transducers. Fishman products are really popular and known to really sound great, which is why no wonder Martin chose to work with them for their acoustic guitars.
For Alvarez acoustic guitars, they use LR Baggs Stage Pro Element for its side-mounted preamp system and the Element Pickup for its under-saddle pickup. LR Baggs pickups are also very popular for professional guitar players as they really sound good and have very nice EQ also.
Overall, Martin vs. Alvarez? Which is really the better guitar company? Honestly, this is really a very hard question as both companies make excellent guitars. No wonder why famous guitar players use them in their live and recording performances. They are really top-notch acoustic guitars in the music industry, so it really ends up with what you prefer.