12/15/2011

c.1982 Alvarez Model 5040 Dreadnought Guitar


This is a Japanese-made Alvarez 5040 model from '82. Fit, finish, build, and (after setup) playability are all great, and the sound has a nice, even (great for recording), and balanced sort of thing going on. Rosewood fretboard, rosewood bridge (with "half pyramid" style wings like on old Chicago-made parlor guitars), and synthetic nut and saddle. The body is made from incredibly flamed koa wood, but it's laminate.

I picked this guitar up locally and it still had the pickguard-protective film on it! -- though it had been played a little bit, but must've sat fairly "as new" in its case for most of its life. My work on it was a setup though I did do a light fret dressing. It's a good player with a neck that feels halfway between an electric-style thin and a Martin-style thicker type. It's very similar to the newer Martin-made models like D-16s and whatnot.


Just visually, this is an incredibly pretty guitar. Lots of snazz including doubled and tripled binding, pearl position markers and inlays at the 12th fret and headstock, and of course all the fancy flamed koa.




Koa headstock veneer on a mahogany neck. Note the pearl headstock logo.






Just trying to show off the cool tortoise binding.



Check out that back!





Tortoise heel cap, too.




Judging from the reviews online and also my own experience with older Alvarez models -- these are sturdy, well-built guitars, and excellent deals for the money. Even with its laminate top this is a great sounding instrument in the vein of older all-mahogany guitars -- very balanced through the spectrum and with good sustain.


...and it even comes with a hideous yellow-lined original chip case, too.

17 comments:

shanahan said...

I have that exact same guitar and I've been wondering about its history, etc.. Thanks for the info and the great pics. I've always loved this piece. It has nice action and a very bright sound, which I understand is a trademark of the better Alvarezes.

Tony Whitehead said...

I also own one of these beauties and the serial number on the back is 000250. I have always wondered if how many of these were manufactured. What is the number of yours? I couldn't read it, but mine is almost in as good of shape as yours.

Anonymous said...

I hade one but i broke it. Still have the plate tho.. my number is 001154

Anonymous said...

I have serial#23536

Anonymous said...

I just bought this same guitar at the flea market for $140 ... a steal. Beautiful instrument ... I keep seeing folks saying these are laminate Koa. Mine is solid Koa top back and sides. The serial on the plate celebrating 60th anniversary of SLM is stamped 000017 ... so I'm guessing mine is the 17th one made ... maybe they used laminates in guitars higher in the series?

Anonymous said...

I think this is the one my husband has. Although the sticker on the inside does not have a serial number printed on it and I can't find a number similar to what what guys are saying. I have found on the inside where it says Alverez handmade and there is a 6 digit number that starts with 8, but I doubt he made 800,000 by hand. I am not sure what all this means. I know nothing about guitars so if someone could help me it would be very much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

In response to anonymous ... This particular model 5040 we're discussing should have a brass plate on the back of the headstock that says model 5040. The serial number is stamped below that .. my guess is the six digit number that starts with 8 is a neck blank tracking system used by the factory as it is stamped on the neck block. Hope this helps

Anonymous said...

what would you price it at- yours being in excellent condition. I've got one and looking to slim down my guitar "collection"... Although no one can really have too many guitars. Thanks!

sprokets 925 said...

I was told my made in korea model had a value at $500-$700 dollars and that japanese versions were going for $800-$1,300
... I just wonder how many are left floating around?

Jake Wildwood said...

FYI everyone -- the ones that I have seen are laminate. I have plenty of people who think the tops are solid -- I have yet to see a solid one. It can be tricky to tell if you don't handle this stuff every day.

Next up, pricing: if one of these went anywhere near $500 that would be incredible. I sold this one, maybe, for $225? $250? -- locally, after work. I think that was a fair "market price" for an all-lam guitar that sounds/plays decent.

Tony Parnell said...

Mine is 000489 is it worth anything

Tony Parnell said...

I made mine to electric also so I can play it threw a speacker

Michele Raiderfan said...

I just got ahold of my Dad's 5040 stamped 000439, I'm going to teach myself to play

Michael said...

I have this model. I like it a lot. Mine is worth at least 20k dollars...probably more because I like the laminate top. Plus my Dad gave it to me so it is priceless.

Darryl Usher said...

I have this model but it doesn't have a plate on it it is stamped 801289 on the neck block . and stamped Alvarez handmade on the inside above the sticker. Anyone know what it is. Also had a black binding instead.

Darryl Usher said...

I have this model but it doesn't have a plate on it it is stamped 801289 on the neck block . and stamped Alvarez handmade on the inside above the sticker. Anyone know what it is. Also had a black binding instead.

Mikey Little said...

I picked up this model guitar at a pawn shop for around $200 it's the best sounding guitar I've ever played even if you don't know much on the guitar with this acoustic it sounds like you're a pro if that makes any sense my serial number is 00763