I was shopping around for a new acoustic, something used that I could pick up for around a grand. I already had Too Many Guitars, but I was gassing for something different. I already had a Blueridge BR-140, a Guild D-120CE all-mahogany and D-140CE sitka and mahogany, a couple Michael Kellys, an Alvarez AD-60, etc... But I still felt like I hadn't found That Guitar, you know, the one that you've always wanted, but thought you could never really get on your budget. For decades, I was happy with just a solid-topped Sigma. It didn't need to be all-wood. Then, a couple years ago, I bought my first electric, a Les Paul copy that just kicked butt and looked beautiful, and I was hooked. I had to have better and better guitars. I was up to over 20 for a while, and then I started selling my older ones so I could buy new ones. Anyways, I heard a Larrivee on Youtube, and thought it was the best sounding guitar I had ever heard for under $2,000. And it sounded better than a lot of guitars in that range. The bracing on Larrivees gives them a uniquely balanced sound, that blows Taylors away, and only the best Martins and Santa Cruzes can beat Larrivee's entry level D-03 mahogany backed or D-03R rosewood. These are amazing guitars. I finally feel like I've found that Final Guitar. Bluegrass players may complain that they don't have as heavy a bass as a Martin or Blueridge. Those guitars are heavy on the Bass end, and Taylors, which don't impress me, are heavy on the treble end. But Larrivees are balanced all the way across the tonal spectrum. They sound more like a Santa Cruz, but without the $4,500 price tag. Larrivees have been going up in price in recent years, especially since the video made with one on the Space Station. Used to be, a new one with a free case ran around $650. Now the price has almost doubled. But they are still really cheap for a guitar of that quality. I wouldn't trade mine for a Martin D-18, and that's saying a LOT. Check one out. They have the most dedicated fans of any guitar made. This guitar has no cons. And they are made in America (California or Canada). Go to Youtube and check one out, I think you'll be shocked, like me!
I wanted an all solid wood acoustic guitar. I didn't have a whole lot of money, so I figured to get an "entry" level solid wood guitar, save up, and buy a more expensive model, perhaps a Martin or Taylor.
There were Martins and Taylor in my price range, so I checked them out. I compared the MArtin D16GT, Martin D15, Taylor 310 and Larrivee D-03.
The Larrivee didn't enter into the picture unitl the very day I bought it actually. I went to the local music store and liked the Taylor 310 better than the MArtin D16GT, but I was gonna be stubborn and buy the MArtin anyway. C'mon, it's a Martin!
So after I talked myself into commiting to the Martin over the Taylor, as well as the other MArtin, I went to the bank, and pulled out the money to buy the D16GT.
When I arrived at the store, I saw a Larrivee D-03 that had just arrived. I gratuitously picked it up and started playing it. I could not believe what I heard. So I scurried about the shop and picked up every single mahogany dreadnought they had in inventory. I wanted to compare the sound of the D-03 to much more expensive models, because clearly the D16GT could not compete with the Larrivee.
SO I tried a Gibson Hummingbird, J45, J50 and Working Man 45. Beleive it or not, this lowly $600 guitar sounded WAY BETTER than any of these, that were on hand.
Then I tried the Martin D18, and SPD16. Again, no comparison. the Larrivee blew them away too.
So then I compared the D-03 to the Larrivee D-05. Finally! I found a guitar that sounded better than the D-03. No surprise that it was a Larrivee as it turned out.
But for twice the price, it didn't sound THAT MUCH BETTER, than the D-03. the choice was clear!
At first, I wasn't thrilled about the clear pickguard. After all, it is kind of unconventional for a dreadnought. I guess it's something that you expect to see, but on Larrivee, it is not visible.
Of course when you inspect it you can see it, but if you were one stage, it owuld be hard to see that it actually had a pickguard.
The top has darkened now, and it is so beautiful. I have a few "bear claws" on mine. All in all, it is a great top. It has turned a nice pumkin like color now. After 5 years, I guess that's what you come to expect.
I keep it out of the case on a guitar stand, in the living room. After five years, I still find myself admiring it. When I look at it, I just want to pick itup and play. It it a blessing that I have the abiltiy to make it come to life.
The action is so good. I love the way it plays. The intonation is perfect, the tone is perfect.
I have tried Elixir strings, DR, D'Addario, but have found that MArtin phosphor bronze, medium guage make this thing sound remarkable.
I can't say enough about the fullness of the tone. A mahogany guitar is not supposed to be the greatest flatpicking rhythmn instrument, but I have no promblem at all playing mine. Lead or rhythmn!
The construction was flawless, and the woods that were used, should have been reserved for a higher price guitar. I really think I got the better end of the deal!
This guitar is worth twice what I pais for it, interms of sound, playability and appearance. It never fails...every time I take it out in public, I get comments about how great it looks and sounds. Every time.
I jsut can't beleive it was 600 bucks!!!
I don't like the way it sounds with light strings. I have also deisovered that I do not like elixirs on it. Medium phosphor bronze strings will make it sing.
Before it really opened up, there was a period after the "honeymood", wore off, where I second guessed my purchase.
In subsequent months, I had firends who had purchased the EXACT SAME guitars I compared this to. That's right. On ebuddy of mine bought the D16GT two days after I bought the Larrivee, and another friend bought the Taylro 310 a week later. Again, these were the same models I compared mine too when I was shopping.
The more they played theirs, they opened up beautifully. I was very impressed with how the Martin matured, as well as the Taylor. Therefore I second guessed my purchase.
Little did I know that they both thought that mine was maturing in a special way, but I guess since I played it everyday, I didn't notice it as much.
The Martin and Taylor sound as good, especially since they matured. In the sotre neither sounded as good, but after they took them home, theirs are as good as mine, so ther have been times when I wondered if I would be as pleased with the AMrtin and Taylor.
The quality of the instrument is absolutley flawless, in construction, and superior in the materials used. I am very pleased all around with the constructino and quality.
Since I was impressed with the D16GT after it matured, I would have no reason to expect different form the D18. I was right.
So now I have 2 Martins and a Larrivee.
You woudl think that I would never touch the Larrivee since I have two supreme Martin guitars. Think again. Though I have never timed it, I would almost guarantee I log as many hours per week with the Larrivee as I do with the two Martins.
I would never sell it! I thought after I bought the Hummingbird thatI would keep it and get rid of the Larrivee, but no way! The Larrivee is now a dear friend of mine.
If someone comes over to the house, and they want me to play a song, I just reach for a guitar. I don't purposley go out of my way to pick up one of the Martins. If I pick the MArtin, fine...but I lose nothing at all, when I chose the Larrivee.
That says a whole lot. Five years, and getting better every day! Thank you Jean Larrivee!!
After a lot of whining about my lack of a decent guitar, my wife--supporting my butt while I'm in school--OK'd me to purchase a decent acoustic. I did a lot of shopping at the local stores, looking at the now standard array of Martins, Taylors, and Gibsons. I found some nice guitars, but had a hard time feeling good about having her spend $1200-1400. While on ebay, looking at Martins, I found a listing for a Larivee guitar and started doing some research. What I saw was all solid wood and lots of good reviews. I found a local dealer, Music Shack, who had a D-03 for $599. After A/B'ing it with some comparably priced Tacomas, I bought it.
There is a lot about this guitar that I like. Solid mahogany back and sides, solid spruce top. Most of the comparably priced instruments I tried were laminated back and sides and sounded like crap compared to the Larrivee. It's not a flashy looking instrument and that is appealing as well...simple and elegant. But what I like most about it is the sound. It's rich and full (I had never been a big fan of mahogany guitars before this one) and very evenly balanced. It's an incredibly good acoustic for the price.
There's not much I don't like about the D-03. I wish I could have afforded the version with the built-in electronics, but I'm not gigging right now so I'll deal with that when the time comes.
I have not been able to find any construction-related flaw on this instrument. Every joint is flush, the fretwork is excellent, the tuners are smooth, and the satin finish is lovely. Cosmetically, the top has a dark area on the lower bout, just below the bridge. It does not bother me though...it actually looks kind of interesting.
If you are looking for a great acoustic guitar without having to shell out Martin/Taylor prices, the Larivee D-03 is a great choice. I don't know how many dealers there are around the country but there are usually several listed on ebay. I've had mine for about 2 months now and I like it more every time I play it. As it ages and the top opens up I'm sure it will sound even more amazing.
I paid $400 with a fender acoustic trade-in, here in Anchorage, AK.
With this particular instrument, The first thing that I noticed is the simple, yet very clean, look of the guitar, which I prefer. Upon playing the instrument with the very limited talents that I posess, it was readily apparent that this instrument had a very distinct sound compared to the other instruments that I tested. I was suprised by the sound output, which was very robust and clean, in comparison to the guild(DV06), taylor(?), ovation(?), and the Takamine that I had played. This is a very enjoyable guitar played both softly and with vigor.
The only thing that I didn't prefer about the instrument is the action came very stiff. I understand that most guitars come that way so that the individual customer can set their guitar up the way they prefer, which I plan to do.
This particular instrument had no apparent flaws with both materials and craftsmanship. The choice of wood (mahogany, spruce, and ebony) not only put out a pleasant sound but also blended well asthetically.
Many people had told me about their thoughts about Larrivee and the instruments that they produce, but I tend to take such things lightly and see for myself. After shopping around and trying different instruments from other respectable brands, I can see that their words are much warranted. This has to be one of the best values in the market.