• Alvarez 5021 12 string acoustic guitar
    Alvarez 5021
  • Alvarez 5021 12 string acoustic guitar
    Alvarez 5021


Brand name: 


  • acoustic guitars

Series name: 

Variant of: 

Dates of manufacture: 

1970 to 1993

Introduced sometime in the early 1970s, the 5021 was an acoustic dreadnought style 12 string guitar, with a spruce top bound with w-b-w-b-w-b top purfling and black pickguard. There's some debate over whether the top is solid or laminated - some owners say its a solid  spruce top but other commentors say laminated. The back, sides and neck were made from mahogany. The round sound hole had an attractive synthetic shell rosette. It had a rosewood fingerboard with pearl dots (some later versions had a bird wing inlay at the 12th fret). Rosewood veneer peg-head overlay with a mirrored "A" inlay (or a script Alvarez logo in early models),  6-a-side chrome open-gear tuners. It came in natural or sunburst finish. Measurements were 15-3/4" at the lower bout, 25-5/8" scale, 1-7/8" nut width, 3-15/16" to 4-3/4" body depth,

The Alvarez 5021 was made in Japan. The Alvarez Artist 5021 was discontinued in 1993 (some later models might have been made in Korea).

Photo from the collection of Bill Carling.

Specifications (15)


Finish colorsnatural finish
Finish effectssunburst finish
Made inJapan
Number of strings12 strings
Scale length25.625 inches scale-length


Body back materialmahogany body back
Body depth4.75 inches body depth
Body sides materialmahogany body sides
Body styledreadnought-size body
Body top materialspruce body top


Fingerboard materialrosewood fingerboard
Fingerboard position markersdot fingerboard position markers


Neck materialmahogany neck
Neck width1.875 inches wide at nut
Tuner layoutsix-per-side tuners

Prices (47)

2007$160excellentRay Cooper
2012$200goodsilver anniversary edition
1972$60.00excellentLois AlvarezI bought mine used from a young man who bought it new several months before he decided to sell it. I don;t know what he paid, but he asked 60 dollars for it
1970$104.04newI still have it and it still sounds great and is easy to play.
1977$250newMikieDid I get ripped off? Looks like I can't hardly even sell it for that much now. I really do love this guitar, but it's sad I never really became very accomplished, I'm hoping to trade for an easier-to-play 6-string.
2013$200goodDaniel MeyerSounds great
2013$50poorMike chirhartReplaced tuners, adjusted truss rod and replaced nut. Plays like dream. 50 dollars well spent.
1972$125.00newOl' SargeAwesome voice & playability, has only improved with age!
1984$500newRandiHas held up very well. Have only had to change strings maybe three times in almost thirty years
2014$350goodBought it at a estate sale and think I got a great deal
1974$250newBillGreat guitar. Made much more enjoyable with the onset of digital tuners!
1974$75poorBryanThe guitar was in a cardboard case, no strings, the bridge was pulling from the body, and it was covered in grime. I took to a guy who built Chet Atkin's Yakkity Ax and he charged me $14 to fix the bridge and give a cleanup job. I bought a set of a Martin Marquis strings, and at the first chord I knew the guitar was special! I still have the guitar and will probably be buried with it.
2014$0poorJacobThis is a mid seventies dreadnought 12 string acoustic Alvarez guitar. It's missing 1 of the tuning pegs and has minor body damage.
2015$40poorNeeds a lot of work, reviews make it sound worth the effort, though. Can't wait to play it!
2000$0excellentThis guitar was left to me by my Dad when he passed in 2000. He very rarely played this guitar, but when he did it was beautiful. He said he received it in a trade. He preferred his 6 string, which I also have. I think tuning it was his problem, so he never bothered with it much. I don't play this guitar and it has been in its hard case for the past 15 years. I took it and had it cleaned up a few times over the years, just to keep it in it's excellent shape. I am considering selling it, for I feel like it's beauty is being wasted. It's a 5021 AO1267 Japan.
1980$28.00excellentThis guitar is in every good condition, no diets, dings or scratches. S/N 00351
2017$199good1974 model I found on Ebay. Excellent condition with just a bit of belly that you'd expect in a 40+ year old 12 string. Took to my local guy who gave it a fret dressing. She's a beautiful addition to my Alvarez collection....
1984$250newmikeexcellent condition
2015$300goodJoeBought a 1979 with an original case for $300. Absolutely love it. Best sounding acoustic I've played. These should be a lot more expensive than they are.
1981$250newSkunkbeardI bought it new in '81. It has never been set up, has been tuned to pitch for the last 37 years, and endured all sorts of environmental conditions, and it still plays and sounds like a dream. It was the only guitar I owned for a very long time got played a lot. A few frets are worn and it has a few nicks and scratches but is still a prize. The only thing I've done is put on better tuners and added a bridge pickup. It is 2nd only to my Martin D28 and rates higher than the Ovation 12. Best $250 bucks I ever spent.
2018$200goodGreat sounding guitar - a few dings but nothing to affect play-ability and tone. Excellent action for an older 12 string. Also received an Alv 5023 with this purchase that was in very poor condition (hazy/flaking refinished on top & broken headstock) - both guitars are ~1972 vintage.
1973$250newBertBought this in college and still have it. Neck is straight, frets are flat, and it stays in tune well. It sounds very full- can't tell much difference compared to a Martin at 10x the price.
1991$75excellentBertYardsale deal of a lifetime
2018$150.00goodSteve YPurchase March 2021\ SN: 41383
2018$500wornApril of 2021, great 12 string. sounds amazing!
2018$450goodbought this in january of 2021, and I've been playing it nonstop ever since!
2018$200goodjfScript Alvarez logo (1972, I believe). Put on a set of new strings; now it plays and sounds great. For the price, the seller threw in a beat up Alvz 5023 that had a peeling refinished top, not the original tuning machines, and had a badly repaired broken neck at the headstock - made the deal even better, since the tuning machines were Grovers.
1975$000.00newJudyI have no idea what my parents paid for it new, probably between 1974-1975. I used it all though High School with our youth group, then hardly ever after. It could almost be sold as new. There's a shallow thin one inch scratch on the back near the neck, but I almost didn't see it.
1977$200newPaul OldeI bought this guitar new in September 1977 in Houston, Texas. I still have and play it. One of the best purchases I have ever made. Great tone and playability.

Reviews (0)

Gallery (5)

Players (0)


my Alvarez 5021 has a solid spruce top

My 1990 Alvarez 5021 12-string has a solid spruce top as far as I can tell by looking at the edge of the sound hole.  I can not see any sign of it being a plywood top.  I specifically insisted on a solid top 12-string of a good name brand when I was shopping for it.

5054 solid spruce and rosewood

According to information on the inside of my guitar, it was made October 22, 1980 (22-10-80), it is a solid spruce top with rosewood back, sides, and fretboard, and a mahogany neck.  the headstock has the mirrored A logo.  Made in Japan.  Stays in tune remarkably well over time for a 12 string.  Am looking to get a Rickenbacker electric 12 string now.


My 5021 has the serial number 40465. Can the date it was made be found from this number? If so, can anyone tell me the date it was made?

12 String Alvarez

My serial is in the low 100's. Purchased it in the late 70's. Had some fret and neck work done a few years ago and she still sounds beautiful. They don't make them like this anymore.

Alvarez 5021

Mine appears to be from 1978 and has the tortoise shell pick guard and the mirrored 'A' on the headstock. Just picked it up dirt cheap and looks like with a little TLC, it will fit in my 'zoo' just fine. Intonation up high is just a little off, but the action and playability down low are great. I need to see if I can get the neck adjusted just a bit to bring the whole thing into line.

Top not solid

I hve been in contact with an Alvarez dealer. Gave him a detailed description of the 5021 I was thinking of buying (no the one shown). Open gears, metal saddle, low serial # (four digits), made in Japan. Head stock had the Alvarez "A", not the cursive name written across the top. I was particularly interested in the top. This post states the guitar has a SOLID spruce top. His comment: "All of our records show the 5021 to have a LAMINATE spruce top with LAMINATE mahogony back and sides, regardless of age.". Again, this is from an ALVAREZ dealer - St. Louis Music, not just some guitar store.

Alverez 5021

Mine is a '71 model...definately laminated

Alvarez 5021

Bought mine new in early '72 at a music shop in Corpus Christi.
SN 0871 with script logo.
Definitely laminated top, back & sides.
Over the years I've installed pickups (currently K&K Ultra Pure 12 string), a bridge doctor, bone nut, saddle & pins...
I don't plan on selling it :)

Alvarez 5021

I saw your post about the work you have done on your 5021.  I just bought a 1974 vintage. It needs a Bridge Doctor.  I have that on order and can do that work.  I have ordered bone nut and saddle. Is there anything I need to look out for on the bridge? I haven't taken it apart yet but the screws on the ends puzzle me.  Can you tell me how they work?

Alvarez 5021 Technical Question

I just purchased a 1974 vintage 5021. It needs much of the work you have described doing to yours.  I have ordered a Bridge Doctor and am confident about installing that.  I have ordered a new nut and saddle.  I have installed acoustic nuts and saddles before but I don't understand what is happening with the two screws and the metal plates in the bridge.  Is there something that I need to know that you could tell me?

Alvarez 5021 Top

So what if it's laminate? A solid spruce top on a 12-string of that age would be a roller-coaster by now anyway. Also, Kazuo Yairi was renowned for his techniques for making thinner, lighter, stronger laminates out of good quality wood that could rival the tonal qualities of many of the solid-tops of the day, while being much more forgiving of temperature and humidity fluctuations, abuse, and neglect. These techniques carried over into the factory-made Alvarezes.

I concur

I own three (1 6 string, and 2 12s). I’ve heard all the wrangling about tops, for years, and I’ve realized it just doesn't matter. These late 70s/ early 80s Japanese models are as good as I could want.