This is an unabashedly pretty guitar; since we have had it in our possession, it has attracted a number of unprompted compliments. The diminutive body size, pale, almost red-tinged sunburst, and delicate abalone rosette really come together to catch the eye.
The top is the ubiquitous sitka spruce, a finely grained two-piece with an impressive amount of silking, to the extent that this almost looks like a flame top. Top and back are bound with caramel-coloured maple, and the soundhole rosette consists of twin slim concentric abalone rings; an unusual and very fetching style.
Back and sides are solid mahogany, and in a move that we can’t quite believe every manufacturer doesn’t make, there is a second strap button on the heel plate, meaning the Delta is ready to be slung on a strap and used on stage.
Alvarez doesn’t specify the bridge material; you might imagine rosewood, but given the new CITES regulations, and the relatively pale colour of the bridge, we’re less than certain. The saddle, however, is a real bone, compensated item, matched by a bone nut at the other end of the 24” scale.
The neck itself is mahogany in a very soft V profile, with a rosewood fingerboard carrying the 20 fairly skinny vintage style frets, and no position markers on the fingerboard apart from a swirling pattern at the 12th (dot markers are provided on the fingerboard edge, so navigation is no problem).
The simple headstock has a rosewood faceplate with an inlaid Alvarez script, and an attractive inlay that’s part spearhead, part shamrock. The tuners are good quality open back units and work very smoothly.
The OO is designed to look acoustic only, but there is an undersaddle pickup here, an LR Baggs VTC unit, with the preamp built into the endpin jack, and the controls secreted just inside the soundhole. You trade off the functionality of a fully-loaded head unit with tuner and multi band EQ to maintain the vintage look of the instrument, but the battery position, on the back inside the upper bout, will mean battery changes are impossible without string removal.
For this instrument, and any where avoiding obviously modern accoutrements is a priority, it feels like the right choice. For the street price of just over £500, this guitar is fantastic value; Alvarez has stinted nowhere, and things like the bone nut and saddle and maple binding are real standout features at this price point.