The company, based in St Louis, MO, builds both professional and student model guitars and markets them through a worldwide network of dealers. Their finest guitars are made in the Japanese factory of Kazuo Yairi, perhaps that nation’s most successful guitar builder, with others made at a variety of facilities in southeast Asia.
Alvarez has never made a strong push into the bluegrass market, but seem determined to do so with the Brad Davis model. It will be built like the classic 1930s dreadnaughts that have been the touchstone of bluegrass guitars for the past 80 years. Current plans include a run of high end professional guitars, and a larger run of less costly ones.
Brad has chosen an interesting finish, which Alvarez calls a coffee burst top, a bit darker than a traditional sunburst but with the same graduated, hand-rubbed stain.
One of the hardest working pickers in and around bluegrass, Brad often flies under the radar as so much of what he does is behind the scenes. He performs widely as a solo artist, fascinating audiences with his super fast picking, using a technique he developed that utilizes crosspicking patterns at faster speeds. As a songwriter, he’s seen many of his compositions recorded by bluegrass artists, and his studio in Texas is busy around the clock. Perhaps his greatest honor was serving as guitarist for Earl Scruggs in the last run of live performances he made towards the end of his life.
Davis shared a bit about how he found himself working with Alvarez.
“I was contacted by the Alvarez guitar company to see if I would entertain the idea of co-designing a Brad Davis signature guitar with them. Since their VP of Sales and I have known each other from many years, I felt good about working with Alvarez on this project. So I decided to move forward with a signature model guitar, with my friend, Robert E Lee (VP of Sales) at St. Louis Music (parent company for Alvarez), and with new acquaintance Chris Meikle, VP of Product Development – the brain behind the build.
This was the first time that I was introduced to Chris, and I quickly began to like his ideas and design direction. He spoke of making a Brad Davis signature guitar that would emulate early 1930s vintage dreadnoughts. He had my attention. We began working on the design over several months, and came up with the prototype rosewood dreadnought signature BD guitar. The wood comes from a very old Alvarez Yiari wood collection in Japan.
This guitar is totally handmade, and I am told they will make a few hundred of this pro-level Brad Davis guitar, and then many production line copies that will sell for around $600. Production line copies will be made on CNC machines from less costly wood that will look just like the signature model guitar.
Alvarez and I will work hard next year to promote the Brad Davis model, and my brand as an artist. I am honored to be part of this very first Brad Davis signature model guitar.”
Look for more details soon about these new Alvarez guitars.