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Thread: Alvarez A900 F style

  1. #26
    Registered User Don's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alvarez A900 F style

    I'm a fan of the 1970s and 1980s Alvarez mandolins- and banjos and guitars. I've owned a bunch and I think they are ,mostly, quality instruments that play and sound pretty good. I've said all this before in posts on the Cafe. Can't say as to how they compare to the current line of imports. I have an A900 that was made in Japan. Will prolly never sell it. For one thing, I don't think I could get enough out of it to make it worth selling. List price , new, maybe about 1989 was around $1600. The top on mine does seem to be a tad thick, but it plays well and sounds really good. I think $1000 could be a fair price. Depends on the what the buyer is looking for, and what else is available in that price range. If I needed the money, I might sell mine for $1000. Just my 2 cents.

  2. #27

    Default Re: Alvarez A900 F style

    I have a similar question as Blugjam. I've run across a 1986 Alvarez A900 (made in Japan). The owner is asking $500 for it and includes a hard shell case. The play ability is good, frets are in good shape. Does show some signs of wear, but nothing out of the ordinary. Solid wood top, back and sides, new strings, and sounds very good. The wood has aged great. Is this a legit price? Thanks for any and all feed back.

  3. #28
    Fatally Flawed Bill Kammerzell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alvarez A900 F style

    Quote Originally Posted by Blugjam View Post
    I have found one of these in an isolated music shop that has been hanging in there for 30 years. It has never been owned and is in brand new condition. It appears to be a well constructed mandolin and I know they were made in Japan from 1981-1991. The guy wants $1000 plus tax. He came down from $1399.00. This appears to be a well built mandolin, but I've never seen an Alvarez worth this price. Does anyone have some insight for me? Is this a good deal? Could my money be spent better elsewhere and if so, please advise?
    Having owned a A-800 and finding out through personal experience how low the resale was I would say no. I know if I had 1000.00 dollars I'd look around before I bought an A-900. Mandolin Blue Book gives a price of $350.00 for one of these in Average condition and $700.00 in mint. I was able to get $300.00 for a A-800 in good condition, with a case. That was just about what the Blue Book called for.
    The A-800 didn't have any punch and was the only mandolin I ever owned that was not improved by a CA bridge. Most people I spoke to attributed to the top thickness as I recall.
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  4. #29
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alvarez A900 F style

    This (thick tops, thick finish) was a big issue on many 70's mandolins, including Gibson, of course...

    There is no way it is worth paying $1K or even close. The market says (rightly) that they are worth nothing like it.

    Given you can now get far better sounding and frankly better built instruments for much less new, it just makes no sense to pay over the odds for something like this. If you have a budget of around $1K, you are in the range where you could pick up a very nice used Kentucky KM-1000, or even one of the smaller independent builder's more basic instruments on the used market if you are lucky. I would say Willkamm's valuation is about right. More like $350 than $1399!!! Leave it on the wall gathering dust and cobwebs...
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  6. #30
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alvarez A900 F style

    Being a proud owner of one which has gotten many compliments by well respected folks over the years, I think I'd still have to,say $500 is the topi would ever pay for one.
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  7. #31
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alvarez A900 F style

    Quote Originally Posted by loug615 View Post
    I have a similar question as Blugjam. I've run across a 1986 Alvarez A900 (made in Japan). The owner is asking $500 for it and includes a hard shell case. The play ability is good, frets are in good shape. Does show some signs of wear, but nothing out of the ordinary. Solid wood top, back and sides, new strings, and sounds very good. The wood has aged great. Is this a legit price? Thanks for any and all feed back.
    We're now discussing two A-900's, the OP's which the dealer was asking $1K for (too much, IMHO) and the one in Post #27, offered at $500 w/HSC. I'd pass on the first, buy the second if it "sounds very good...has aged great." That price for a decent solid-wood carved F-model seems pretty much a no-brainer to me -- but hey, whadda I know?
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  8. #32
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    Default Re: Alvarez A900 F style

    I absolutely agree. I'd say that you can buy these for $500 to $700, but I'd not trade mine for a $1500 instrument--unless it was a $3000 instrument that someone was selling and didn't know what s/he was doing.

  9. #33
    Fatally Flawed Bill Kammerzell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alvarez A900 F style

    Quote Originally Posted by Blugjam View Post
    I have found one of these in an isolated music shop that has been hanging in there for 30 years. It has never been owned and is in brand new condition. It appears to be a well constructed mandolin and I know they were made in Japan from 1981-1991. The guy wants $1000 plus tax. He came down from $1399.00. This appears to be a well built mandolin, but I've never seen an Alvarez worth this price. Does anyone have some insight for me? Is this a good deal? Could my money be spent better elsewhere and if so, please advise?
    First, Have you played it and how does it sound? You could also check the top thickness. The best Alvarez I played was a Japanese model I bought around 1978 and it was either an A-700 or 800, which we know is an "F" style mandolin. I always thought the best were made in Japan. They were still making them in China until the early part of this century and in Korea prior to that IIRC? The Japanese models I found to be the best. The rest were hit or miss and did suffer from the tops being carved too thick. If it was in a music store near where I lived I would play it until I was satisfied or not satisfied. However I do believe 1000 bucks could be better spent. I myself would go over $700.00. It may be an outlier. I'd play it if the opportunity exists.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Oh, that's just great. A thread revived from 2016. Got me again, old thread.
    Gibson Custom Shop F5G Wide Nut (2010) Dave Harvey
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