March 06, 2015

Alvarez ›

Richard has been playing guitar since the age of 8, educated at the Guitar Institute in London and specializing in online consultation and World Wide deliveries for 21 years - Each and every one hand finished bespoke to the customers requirement.

Richards reputation for first class playing instruments and dedicated service goes before him - with customers in most Countries around the World.  In the past 3 years alone Richard has accrued over 1000 testimonials from customers all around the World.  Every single customer dealt with personally by Richard.
Richard only sells guitars he truly believes in - each brand being an Industry benchmark in their price or genre - a view built on 21 years research.
Richard is available most hours for consultation which is provided in a personal but comprehensive and professional manner via the live chat facility.

Specialist guitar advice for 21 years

I (Richard) have been providing specialist advice for 21 years. My previous business Regent Guitars ran from 1995 to 2008, starting with just 6 guitars and closed selling 8-10 guitars a day with a turnover well in excess of £1,500,000.

So why did it close?

In 2008 I closed Regent Guitars and opened Richards Guitars with a desire to get back to ONLY selling guitars I love, that I have a true passion for – which should also mean a volume that I could handle personally from beginning to end – like my previous business USED to be!  To this day the only person I have to rely on is my wife Teresa who liases with all my customers during the order process and I am more worried about letting her down than vice versa - behind every good man as they say!

Regent Guitars had left me disillusioned and “too close” to the reality of how most guitars are sold. I didn’t want to be part of the marketing “machines”. It just wasn’t me and I believe anyone who is truly passionate about guitars and in my industry will know exactly what I mean.   It seems 90% of my industry is hype - so I try and focus on the 10% I truly believe in.

My reputation now spans Locally, Nationally and Internationally with customers from Stratford Upon Avon  to Singapore.

I specialize in a select range of guitar brands—Brands which I believe represent something unique in the market be it value, quality, tonal range or shear beauty.

You may not realise you can buy all solid wood hand made acoustic guitars from as little has £500, even a superb quality electric guitar hand made in the UK from £600!  If you chat to me I will tell you how to avoid the mass produced, over hyped brands and focus your attention to stunning beauty!

Guitars sold on personal passion, not marketing hype

Heard of Eastman, Furch,  Faith, Gordon Smith or Godin?  If you haven’t then you need to have a chat with me before you spend your hard earnt cash on your next guitar.

I am aware that many people do not buy for “quality only” but for image and prestige. If you want a Fender, Ibanez, Shecter, Gibson, Jackson etc. then you are talking to the wrong man entirely (although I do specialize in used examples which will play better than new and won’t lose value on resale) – you can find these products hung on a hundred guitar shop walls around the UK but for me personally they just don't excite me and conversely represent well marketed, over hyped mediocrity.

Just remember when you are talking to the next salesman that he probably cares not for you, but for his employer. His job is to sell you what is hung on the wall – not to ensure you get the very best guitar available in the market.

Want to know about guitars with heart and soul? I am your man. From a quality starter guitar through to World Class hand made guitars.   With honesty and integrity central to my philosophy in life and business I assure you that you are in safe hands and I will guide you based on your needs and requirements. If I can’t help I will tell you and point you to “a man that can”.

Try guitars in a welcoming environment..

I try and make your stay at Richards as enjoyable as possible, which may include boring you to death about the guitars available, their history/pedigree etc. or it may just be you want to spend some time on your own trying out the guitars available. Either way you should find the shop welcoming and totally un-intimidating.

Read: Richards History - From Birth To Now!

Goodbye to Alvarez following 18 Months of Unresolvable (?) Quality Issues

I am afraid this story has all the sad similarities to the demise of my Gordon-Smith guitars account  - Maybe it IS me after all....

It has been a tough couple of years working with Alvarez but the supplier (Goto Guitars) have been very supportive in trying to help me help my customers.  However, it seems that its been too big a problem for the UK distributor to handle - the cost of rectifying guitars in order to make them sell able made the line unprofitable commercially as well as a massive drain on their resources.

Although I knew the distribution was changing hands I thought I would find out what the new distributor could tell me and whether there was any light at the end of the tunnel.

Wow what a massive mistake that was...

I didn't get past first base - I kid you not.   The sales managers decision after talking to me and receiving emails etc. was that I would be "too high maintenance" for him to work with.  I lost my temper with him (who me?) and presumed this was just a power hungry sales agent who needs a good kick up the backside -  so I contacted the Director of Blackstar.

Well... I was told in no uncertain terms that whilst they don't know who will be representing Alvarez in my area, it won't be me! 

Of course I didn't need to lower myself to beg a valid reason but I did.... and didn't get one other than they need to make decisions based on what they believe is the right direction for the brand... Now call me cynical but when you tell a distributor that you know all about the quality issues, you are prepared to work with them to overcome the problems but in return you are told you are  "too high maintenance" and they are not even interested in supplying the guitars to you...... it doesn't take too much working out where their priorities lie.

I will continue to promote guitars I believe to be benchmarks in the industry but it shows I will always be fighting against what goes on at the production line in any one given period of time.  It also shows that I will always have a fight in finding like minded Distributors that give a damn about working with specialists.

Things to look out for...Bi-Level bridge design which seems almost inherently compromised.  It was designed to allow for when you do not have enough saddle height to ensure you always get enough downward pressure.  However the geometry tends to be SO out that you end up with no saddle at all and the string rubbing along the lower tier of wood.  Keep your eye out for that, the most prevalent issue and would always be a "reject" when found in our quality control.

Poor finishing - especially around the sound hole.  Big drips of lacquer in the sound hole and often felt pen is used to mask where the lacquer has missed its target in the burst around the sound hole.

Lifting saddle - Just pop your eye at board level and see if there any gaps under the saddle.  If there are - don't touch it.

Now you may ask why did I sell them if they had all these problems!!?   The reality is every brand has its issues but it has to get to a point where you realise this isn't a bad batch but an inherent problem.  The distributor did their best but it got to breaking point for them and they just wanted out.  I appreciated the brands value enough to chase it and see what the next chapter  would bring - I put a lot of energy into Alvarez and didn't want to just throw away all the hard work.

On a personal level it will be sad not to see the next chapter - I will look forward to testing one at "my local dealer" when the new shipments arrive in June!!!!

PS.... OK I admit it.... I AM high maintenance but its all for YOU I promise!