2008 Alvarez ABT60 Baritone Guitar

Outside of boutique builders, acoustic baritone guitars of good quality can be hard to find. Frankly, I'm shocked at how good this guitar is. New ones cost $400. This is an older one and has a few differences (it's a little bigger in the body), but bang-for-buck this is a great box.

A customer sent this in -- bought used -- for a going-over, and that's what it got. Before adjustments it played a bit funky and had the usual import-guitar issues here and there -- a truss that'd never been adjusted, nut that'd never been setup, frets that weren't seated quite right, and need for a taller and better-compensated saddle. After work, though, it plays beautifully and has a big, growly rumble.

Work included: a light fret level/dress, new bone saddle, mild cleaning, and a good setup. Action is 3/32" BEA and 1/16" DF#B low to high. The lowest B note might be just a hair higher than that, though. The neck is straight (though it does have minor backbow starting from fret 11 and onwards over the body), the truss works, and it's good to go. Strings are a D'Addario baritone set.

Scale length: 27 3/4"
Nut width: 1 11/16"
String spacing at nut: 1 7/16"
String spacing at saddle: 2 3/16"
Body length: 20 3/4"
Lower bout width: 17 1/8"
Upper bout width: 12 1/4"
Side depth at endpin: 4 3/4"
Top wood: solid spruce
Back/sides wood: ply mahogany
Neck wood: mahogany
Fretboard: rosewood
Neck shape: ~12" radius fretboard, slim C neck profile
Bridge: rosewood
Nut: bone
Saddle: new bone, compensated

There's a set of nice StewMac Golden Age pegs destined for this headstock to cut-down on the Rotomatic-style weight.

So, how about that nice bit of pearl inlay, huh? Can't argue with the simple aesthetics...

It's nice to see that so many more modern guitars have removed design flaws -- finally -- from old bridge designs. The thick front and deep saddle slot supports the saddle in this guitar while the thin, lower-deck rear where the pins are guarantees that you get a good break-angle on the saddle if you need to cut it down as the guitar ages.