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Thread: Alvarez a400

  1. #1

    Default Alvarez a400

    I have just started playing the mandolin and I am borrowing an Alvarez a 400. I know nothing about this instrument and have found nothing online. Does anyone know about this instrument?
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alvarez a400

    Here is a link to every thread with the word Alvarez in the title on the Cafe. I don't see the 400 here but I see a lot of its cousins. The only mention of the A400 we have is this thread.

  3. #3
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alvarez a400

    Very few mentions found in a Google search; the only ones that were at all descriptive called it a "teardrop flat-back" (which I assume you already knew), and also referred to it as a "Hatfield" model. Can't be of much assistance. No easily-found info with regard to construction, original price etc.

    Perhaps posting a couple of pictures might help.
    Allen Hopkins
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Alvarez a400

    Thanks for the information. It is a bit of a mystery that there is so little data available about an instrument made by a major company like Alvarez.

  5. #5
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alvarez a400

    Not to me. We found an oddball made by Gibson from the 30's in the last few months that wasn't in any catalogs. We aren't even sure of the model number but we suspect there were 9 of them made. Unfortunately they might have labeled this with a model number that was unique and it may be the same as another model they sell. It might have been a prototype they threw in with someone's order just to get it out of the factory, it might have been a model that just didn't sell so they only made a few. There are a dozen reasons why you don't find catalog information on instruments made by any company. Enjoy your unique mandolin.

  6. #6
    Registered User Don's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alvarez a400

    This is a scan of a copy of a catalogue from 1980-81.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  7. #7
    Registered User Don's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alvarez a400

    Don't know why it mangled the image, but it does give the info. I have a ton of Alvarez catalogues.

    Don.

  8. #8
    Registered User DoubleE's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alvarez a400

    I know this thread is older than dirt, but it doesn’t seem worthwhile to start a new one considering there’s little information about this model online and the catalog shot above is about the most informative thing I’ve found.

    I picked up an A400 back in the fall as a backup to my Martin A. After a little fretwork and setup I’m really happy with the way it plays. I emailed St. Louis Music Co. a couple of months ago to try to get more information, but they haven’t gotten back to me.

    Just thought I might try to see if I could jog anyone’s memory. I know it was most likely made in the early 80’s, but I was hoping to narrow it down to the exact year. And maybe find info about totals and years of production and what the original price was.

    In the end I know that even if I don’t find any more information that it is what it is and I’m quite happy with this find.


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  9. #9
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alvarez a400

    I owned one. Sold it. Neck problem.

    f-d
    °papŠ gordo ainít no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

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    Default Re: Alvarez a400

    These Martin A copies made in Japan were sold in small numbers with different brand names. I recently saw a similar one (with fancier woods) for sale in the UK branded 'Hokada' and the label said 'made by Tahara'.
    Anglocelt
    mainly Irish & Scottish but open to all dance-oriented melodic music.
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  11. #11
    Registered User DoubleE's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alvarez a400

    Quote Originally Posted by fatt-dad View Post
    I owned one. Sold it. Neck problem.

    f-d
    Thanks f-d. I have noticed that the depth of the neck is slightly less than a Martin and it has more of a sharp v shape. Not quite as beefy as a Martin, so there is a substantially less amount of material in the neck that could compromise its strength. Something I’ll keep in mind. Thanks again.

  12. #12
    Registered User DoubleE's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alvarez a400

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglocelt View Post
    These Martin A copies made in Japan were sold in small numbers with different brand names. I recently saw a similar one (with fancier woods) for sale in the UK branded 'Hokada' and the label said 'made by Tahara'.
    Thanks Anglocelt. I find it interesting that someone chose to copy Martins at a time when Martinís mandolin production was on the decline. Maybe they were hoping to fill a void that they could profit from. Just speculation on my part. You said the one you saw had fancier woods. Was it rosewood?

  13. #13
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alvarez a400

    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleE View Post
    Thanks f-d. I have noticed that the depth of the neck is slightly less than a Martin and it has more of a sharp v shape. Not quite as beefy as a Martin, so there is a substantially less amount of material in the neck that could compromise its strength. Something I’ll keep in mind. Thanks again.
    then again, somebody may have put j74 on a j73 instrument? There was a period of well made Alvarez. I have an A100 that was just great. All wooden binding and hand made. I think the a400 I had was just too strung!

    f-d
    °papŠ gordo ainít no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

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  15. #14
    Registered User DoubleE's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alvarez a400

    For now I only have flat/canted tops, so Iím very concerned with string tension. Not only for the neck, but for top sinkage too. Thankfully I donít have any J74ís on hand so I wonít make that mistake, even accidentally!

    Overall Iím quite happy with the build quality of this instrument. I know itís not the cream of the mandolin crop, but for what I paid Iím quite smitten!

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