Alvarez AJ80CE Review & Prices

Alvarez AJ80CE Review
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  • From Alvarez's 2017 Artist series
  • Made in China
  • 6 strings
  • 25.512"'' scale
  • 14.96" Fretboard Radius
  • Solid A+ Sitka Spruce top
  • Maple back
  • Maple sides
  • Maple neck
  • Indian Laurel/Rosewood w/12th Fret Inlay fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: LR Baggs StagePro EQ and Element Pick Up (Preamp/Active)
  • Bi-Level Indian Laurel/Rosewood bridge
  • Acoustic Alvarez Set neck
  • 21 Medium frets
  • Premium Die Cast tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 70
Sound 88
Build quality 74
Value for money 82
Overall Score 77
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Alvarez AJ80CE
  • Bone Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Electronics
  • Bone Saddle
  • Solid Top Wood
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in China
  • No Expensive Woods
  • Laminated Side Wood
  • Laminated Back Wood
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $440, which means that the Alvarez AJ80CE costs around 36% more than the competition. It might be due to it having additional features, but know that you can find cheaper similar alternatives. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 6 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in China.

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Your feedback

Not all instruments are created equally. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our users who have played this instrument say. If you've played it before, help others by voting below!

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Is it Easy to Play?

The Alvarez AJ80CE meets 3 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's not recommended for complete beginners. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players to get used to.

New Player Friendliness

Alvarez AJ80CE
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable shape
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Narrow nut
  • Short scale
  • Soft Strings
  • Locking tuners

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Alvarez AJ80CE's construction favors people with relatively small hands.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this guitar—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Small Hands

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the Alvarez AJ80CE's 25.512" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Alvarez AJ80CE Scale Length Comparison
Alvarez AJ80CE's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This scale is close to the popular 25.50" length but longer, which allows you to tune your strings lower while keeping the action low without causing fret buzz. This is useful for lower tunings, 7-string, or even classical guitars.

You want to avoid such a long scale if you don't plan to play in low tunings since the longer scale also means the frets are more separated, making it harder to play fast, especially for small hands. It's also harder to bend the strings.

More with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Alvarez AJ80CE Neck Profile
Alvarez AJ80CE's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

It has a D type neck. It's similar to a C shape, and it's one of the most common shapes right now. It's a bit flatter and thinner, even though sometimes it has a bit more shoulders. It's a fast type of neck that is comfortable, and shredders love it.

More for different hand sizes

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The Alvarez AJ80CE has a 14.96" fingerboard radius.

Here's an image comparing this fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Alvarez AJ80CE Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Alvarez AJ80CE's fretboard radius compared to others

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Alvarez AJ80CE has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

Alvarez AJ80CE
This model
25.512'' Scale Length
D Neck Profile
1.75'' Nut Width
14.96'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
23.622'' Scale Length
D Neck Profile
1.75'' Nut Width
14.96'' Fretboard Radius
23.622'' Scale Length
D Neck Profile
1.75'' Nut Width
14.96'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.75'' Nut Width
16'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Alvarez AJ80CE Nut Width
Alvarez AJ80CE Nut Width

The Alvarez AJ80CE has a nut width of 44.5mm (1.75''). This is within the most common range of nut widths for a 6-string guitar. It offers a good balance of string separation at the nut. It's the size that most guitarists prefer as it gives them just enough space to play open chords without muting the strings, but without spreading the strings too wide and making bar chords difficult to perform.

Frets

It comes with nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you might need to replace the frets after a few years. But this is unlikely as most people change instruments before this happens.

More with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

Alvarez AJ80CE Fret Size Comparison
Alvarez AJ80CE's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The Alvarez AJ80CE's frets are Medium size. With medium frets, you can feel the fretboard more than with jumbo frets, but it's still easier to press the strings cleanly than with small frets; notes might change their pitch just slightly if you press hard on the fret. Also, if you need to do some fret leveling after years of playing, you'll have some room to sand them down without having to replace them.

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 75
Chord Playability 65
Solo Playability 70
Playability 70

Tone Analysis

The type of wood and even the shape of the body will have a lot of influence in the final tone of an acoustic guitar. Here's we'll talk about what kind of tone you can expect from its specs.

Wood

Spruce wood pattern used for guitar building
Spruce Top
Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Maple Back, Sides, Neck
Laurel wood pattern used for guitar building
Laurel Fretboard

Spruce Top: This wood has a light color with tight grain patterns. It's very stiff but relatively light. It's known for producing a well-rounded tone with a broad dynamic range.

Maple Back, Sides and Neck: This is one of the most popular types of wood used in all kinds of guitars. It's heavy, strong and compact, which makes it great for necks. However, it's also used for fretboards, bodies and tops due to its light color, resistance and beautiful patterns. When it comes to tone, it highlights the mid and high frequencies.

Laurel Fretboard: There are many types of Laurel, but East Indian is the most common for guitar building. Its color can vary from dark to light brown with black lines. Many people find its tonality similar to Rosewood, which favors the warmer frequencies.

Pickups

This guitar comes with pickups from one of the top brands: LR Baggs. So you can expect well built pickups with great sound that shouldn't need an upgrade anytime soon.

Sound Score

Sustain 85
Versatility 95
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 88

Build Quality Analysis

Country of Origin

Knowing where the instrument is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive instruments are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The Alvarez AJ80CE is made in China. So you can expect lower build quality when compared to others made in Korea, Japan or the United States. Guitars made in this country are meant for mass production, which translates into less attention to detail and quality control. This doesn't mean the product is made poorly at all. Chinese products have a bad reputation since long ago, but they've definitely improved a lot the last few years.

Bridge

Bi-Level Indian Laurel/Rosewood: The advantage of fixed bridges is that they don't require any kind of set-up. This makes it extremely easy when changing strings because you don't need to adjust anything besides tuning the guitar. Also, the fact that the bridge is directly attached to the body will help to increase sustain. The disadvantage is the lack of versatility since you can't create the same vibrato effects as with tremolo bridges.

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your guitar. A well-cut nut will make sure it stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Alvarez AJ80CE has a Bone nut. This material is one of the highest quality you can get. It provides excellent sustain and tune stability if cut well. The only disadvantage is that it's an organic material, so it's not consistent. Two different bone nuts, even if made from the same bone, will probably sound slightly different. However, bear in mind that this is only relevant when playing open strings.

More with the same nut material:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 76
Features 85
Quality Control 60
Build Quality 74

All Specs

Alvarez AJ80CE
General
Brand: Alvarez
Year: 2017
Configuration:
Strings: 6
Made in: China
Series: Artist
Colors: Natural
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Hollowbody
Body Material: Solid A+ Sitka Spruce
Bridge: Bi-Level Indian Laurel/Rosewood
Neck
Neck Joint: Set
Tuners: Premium Die Cast
Fretboard: Indian Laurel/Rosewood w/12th Fret Inlay
Neck Material: Maple
Decoration: Mother-of-pearl Design at 12th fret
Scale Size: 25.512"
Shape: Acoustic Alvarez
Frets: 21 Medium
Fretboard Radius: 14.96"
Nut: Bone
Nut Width: 44.5mm (1.75'')
Electronics
Switch: 0 Way
Knobs:
Volume Controls: 0
Tone Controls: 0
Bridge Pickup: LR Baggs StagePro EQ and Element Pick Up (Preamp / Active)

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