1/24/2015

1994 Alvarez A-100 A-Style Mandolin



For a student, all-ply mandolin, this really isn't too shabby. After leveling/dressing the frets, fitting the bridge a bit better, and giving this a good setup and stringing with 10s, it plays spot-on and has a convincing tone. It's certainly no Gibson, but it sure is a lot better than your average Rogue-style product.

The previous owner told me it's circa 1994 and that makes sense: that's around when most of these models were made. It's quite clean save a couple finish weather-cracks... the most obvious 3" finish crack being right under the pickguard.


I'm familiar with plenty of entry-level archtop mandolins as they come in for setups a lot in Summer. This one follows the typical "sunburst A-style" approach and laminate construction but changes the usual dual-tonebar bracing up for a single, central brace. The upside is that this has a bit more of that ka-thunk honk that one associates with slightly more expensive instruments but the downside is that the top deflects more near the f-holes when it's tuned up. It's stable, but before I refit the bridge a little better it was not sitting comfortably hugging the top at all. 


Everything's original kit on this. The tuners are inexpensive but do the job.


A bound rosewood board with long 13 7/8" scale gives the usual A-style feel. This had very minor relief/slight warp overall but that was dialed out in the fret work.





The back of the headstock bore the model number and next-to-useless serial number labels which I have removed (I hate the feel of stickers on the back of a peghead). I've penciled in the information in the treble f-hole on the back for future historians of 90s Asian-import gear...


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"I've penciled in the information in the treble f-hole on the back for future historians of 90s Asian-import gear..."

Somebody is going to thank you for your foresight!