1970s Alvarez 5055 J-200 Clone Jumbo Flattop Guitar

I'm no stranger to these Japanese-made J-200 clones. This one is branded Alvarez and has the 5055 model number. Despite its all-ply construction, this giant parade of a guitar actually sounds excellent and has quite a generous bottom-end and fullness to the mids. As you expect with ply, it's really mostly the treble response that feels a little dull -- and we can look past that for this fella because, really, this box was made to strum-strum-strum!

A consignor sent this in and it only needed the lightest work which included a fret level/dress, compensation at the saddle, cleaning, and a good setup. It's playing on-the-dot, has a straight neck, functional trussrod, and a height-adjustable saddle at the bridge. That latter bit combined with the good build, comfy neck, and all-ply body means that this is a great choice for gigs if you want stage presence, low price, and practicality/reliability.

Specs are: 25 5/8" scale, 1 11/16" nut width, 1 13/32" string spacing at the nut, 2 1/8" spacing at the bridge, 17" lower bout, 12 1/2" upper bout, and 4 7/8" side depth. Action is 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE at the 12th fret, strung with 54w-12 strings -- and fully adjustable up/down. The neck is a mild-to-medium C-shape with a 12" radius on top.

Woods are: ply spruce with x-bracing for the top, ply flamed maple for the back/sides, and a 3-piece (stable!) maple neck. The board and bridge are both rosewood. The guitar is entirely original except for its bridge pins and a set of later, replacement (upgrade!) Gotoh tuners.

There's a ton of finish weather-check and finish-cracking as well as average use-wear (it's still pretty clean), but being ply, there are no "real" cracks.

The inlay is pearloid.

Gotta love the faux-pearl accents in the pickguard!

The neck angle is good and the joint is stable.

It comes with a nice, hardshell, original case.


Tim Gueguen said…
This reminds me of an El Degas J200 copy that was in a local shop for some months in the early 2000s. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it came from the same factory as this one. El Degas was a Canadian market brand in the '70s and '80s.