A special run of guitars with custom inlay celebrates a milestone.
by Teja Gerken
June 12, 2017
Jean Larrivée began building guitars in Toronto, Canada, fifty years ago. Since then, Larrivée Guitars has become one of the most respected and successful makers of acoustic guitars in North America, and Larrivée’s imprint can be found on a generation of Canadian luthiers, many of whom apprenticed in the Larrivée shop. The company, which moved its operations to Oxnard, California, in 2001, is celebrating 50 years of steel-string flattop excellence with a limited edition of 50 guitars built with master grade woods from Jean’s reserve and featuring custom inlays.
The LV-10 50th Anniversary Limited Edition has Larrivée’s original “L” body shape, which is similar to a classical guitar’s outline, though slightly enlarged, making it similar in size to many grand auditorium guitars. The LV-10’s body includes a deep Venetian cutaway for easy access to the upper frets, its top wood is European Alpine “moon” spruce, and the back and sides are Indian rosewood. You’d be hard pressed to find higher-quality examples of either material. The instrument includes Larrivée’s original symmetrical top bracing (also made with Alpine moon spruce) with parallel tone bars that run straight across the lower bout.
The most eye-catching aspect of the LV-10 50th Anniversary Limited Edition is its elaborate inlay work. The peghead is home to an elegant commemorative inlay designed by Wendy Larrivée that depicts a seated woman and includes the number 50. Larrivée calls the fingerboard inlay the “Impossible Knot,” a Celtic knot–inspired design consisting of nearly 200 pieces of pearl, and the Celtic knot theme extends to the inlay in both wings of the bridge. Abalone purfling further enhances the guitar’s appearance.
While the LV-10 50th Anniversary Limited Edition is a beautiful display of high-end contemporary lutherie, it’s also a great-sounding guitar. It has a balanced sound with a strong, yet very defined bass, a response that develops great volume and sustain without much effort, and a dynamic range with a high volume ceiling, even when the guitar is played hard. All in all, the guitar is an excellent reminder of why Larrivée has been a favorite of guitarists looking for an instrument with great craftsmanship, fine woods, and great sound for 50 years. All that’s left to say is “Bravo,” and to congratulate the Larrivée crew on a fitting tribute to its legacy.
SPECS: “L” size body with cutaway. Solid European Alpine “moon” spruce top. Solid Indian rosewood back and sides. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 25.5-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. 2¼-inch string-spacing at saddle. Enclosed “JCL” tuners with 18:1 ratio. Made in USA. $7,498 list. Larrivee.com
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