Alvarez Yairi WY1 Review

By R. S. Rasnick

Few guitar builders have the beautiful marriage between state-of-the-art technology and classic craftsmanship as does Alvarez Yairi guitars. These world-class guitars are handcrafted under the care of respected luthier Kazuo Yairi in a Japanese mountain village workshop.

Even though the company uses contemporary 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.

A number of WY1 models are currently available, including the WY1K, WY1M, WY1TS, and WY1 Standard. Each model is offered with a particular quality tonewood. For example, the standard WY1 uses a cedar top coupled with rosewood back and sides whereas the WY1M relies upon a gorgeous flamed maple top, sides, and back. The WY1 is constructed using a beautiful Koa wood and the WY1TS used a spruce top with figured maple for the sides and back.

Though the WY1 guitars 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.

Each model in the WY1 series includes the company's System 600T MK II electronics as stock equipment. This system does a superb job in translating the WY1's beautiful acoustic sounds into electronic signals.

The system also provides future expansion with a condenser microphone, should you want one, though they do not come with one as standard equipment. Wisely, the engineers at Alvarez Yairi also incorporated an onboard guitar tuner into the 600T MK II system.

Regarding the construction itself, Alvarez Yairi's clever design innovations include an extended neck tenon, providing broader range of truss rod adjustment with no neck/body irregularities. A unique coupled bridge design removes the forward pull from the bridge itself. The result? Greater stability and lighter bracing leading to freer tone.

So, the result is obvious. The Alvarez-Yairi WY1 models offer superior craftsmanship with great playability, and are a logical purchase for anyone considering a world-class acoustic-electric guitar. - 32186

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