Alvarez Yairi WY1 Acoustic-Electric: A Brief Review

By R. S. Rasnick

Alvarez Yairi instruments fuse old world construction with new world technology. They are handcrafted in a Japanese mountain village workshop under the careful eye of master luthier Kazuo Yairi.

Even though the company uses modern appointments with their instruments, the guitars are still made with with tonewoods selected by hand that have been naturally air dried. The instruments are hand-crafted using such classic construction techniques as dovetail neck joints and hand-molded bracing. It is under these demanding standards that the Alvarez Yairi WY1 models are constructed.

There are a variety of WY1 guitars available, including the WY1 Standard, WY1K, WY1M, and WY1TS, each with a different choice of world-class tonewood. The standard WY1 has a cedar top with rosewood back and sides. The WY1M uses beautiful flamed maple for the top, sides, and back whereas the WY1K is built using gorgeous Koa wood. The WY1TS relies upon a spruce top with figured maple back and sides.

Though the WY1 models share a basic feel and build, the tonewood choice allows each model to have its own unique "flavor." The different models each feature their own style of binding and soundhole ornamentation as well. The build quality on the WY1 models is universally excellent. The action is smooth and lends itself to a wide-variety of styles.

The WY1 models listed above all come outfitted with the company's own System 600T MK II electronics, providing a true "translation" of the guitars' natural acoustic tones into a warm electronic signal.

The MK II electronics are built with the future in mind, since they provide for the possibility of adding a condenser microphone when needed. The onboard electronics also include a built-in guitar tuner.

The guitars' construction is just as innovative as the electronics. The company's crucial innovations regarding their guitar designs include a coupled bridge design that decreases the forward pull from the bridge which results in much more stability and more "free" tone. The models also incorporate an extended neck tenon that provides a much wider range of truss rod adjustments. Obviously, these guitars have been carefully designed for maximum playing efficiency and strength of construction.

So, the result is clear. The Alvarez-Yairi WY1 guitars provide superior craftsmanship with great playability, and are a solid purchase for anyone considering a world-class acoustic-electric guitar. - 32186

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