Larrivée Guitars Review: Pros and Cons

Review of Larrivee Guitars

In the 1950s a young teenage boy from Canada became enamored by the smooth licks of American guitarist Duane Eddy. He went to his local music shop and bought a cheap $18 guitar in an effort to learn Eddy’s style. Nobody knew at the time that this teenager, whose name was Jean Larrivee, would go on to become one of the most influential Canadian guitar makers, whose guitars would be valued at over 150x’s that of his first guitar.

In 2013, a Canadian astronaut named Chris Hadfield floated through the International Space Station strumming the song Space Oddity on his parlor guitar. 25 million views later, the rest of the world was introduced to a guitar that Canada already knew to be great: Larrivée guitars.

If you’ve ever come across a Larrivée guitar, chances are you it made an impression on you. So much so that perhaps you’re looking to purchase one yourself – or at least find out what all the fuss is about surrounding this unique guitar.

In a market saturated by hundreds of tiny guitar-makers but dominated by only a handful, Larrivée has distinguished itself as a quality guitar that has been a workhorse of musicians across the globe for decades.

Introduction to Larrivée Guitars


Prior to 1960, the flat-top acoustic market was dominated by a single company: C.F. Martin. It was the best guitar available at the time and most any other acoustic guitar manufacturer just ended up copying the Martin signature style.

This was of no consequence to Canadian-born Jean Larrivée, who had begun to seriously study classical guitar instead of the popular steel-string guitar. His job as an auto mechanic provided an income but it wasn’t long before his passion for guitar turned into an interest to become a luthier.

Fortunately, a German luthier named Edgar Mönch had recently moved to Toronto and was willing to take on Jean as an apprentice to his classical guitar building. The apprentice relationship only lasted a short time but the impact has lasted decades.

As Jean began to test new shapes, bracings and construction methods, he found success by crossing elements of the popular Martin steel-string guitars with classical guitars methods he had learned from Mönch. To this day, the innovative symmetrical X bracing used on the soundboard is implemented on every Larrivée series except the “30.” It was an innovative process and a tradition that he would pass on for generations .

Humble Beginnings

Larrivée guitars began in 1967 in the workshop of Jean’s small home and has grown to include manufacturing plants in Vancouver, Canada (now closed) and in Oxnard, California. While the company produces a limited number of mandolins and electric guitars, the bulk of its manufacturing is dedicated to its venerable acoustic guitars.

In 2013, the Canadian-born company was moved completely to the U.S. where all manufacturing currently takes place.

The Larrivée Model Breakdown

Every guitar-maker has their own method of naming guitar models and each has its own quirks. Larrivée guitars are no different so before we dive into the pros and cons of the guitar, let’s take a look at the acoustic models they produce and how they designate them.

All Larrivée guitars begin with the body size indicated by a letter such as “D,” “L,” “LV,” “OM,” and is followed by a series number such as “03,” “04” and so on. Finally, a model can be modified with additional letters indicating electronics (“E”), different woods (i.e. “R” for Rosewood) or number of strings (“12” for a 12-string).

Examples of a Larrivée guitar model would be a “D-03,” an “L-03-12E” or an “OM-05” among others.

Below is a quick breakdown of the various body sizes and series models for reference:
Larrivee Body Type   Larrivee Series Numbers
L Larrivée Body   03 Recording Series
D Dreadnaught Body   40 Legacy Series
OM Orchestra Model Body   04 Performer Series
LS Larrivée Small Body   05 Mahogany Select Series
P Parlor Body   09 Rosewood Artist Series
SD Slope Dreadnaught   10 Rosewood Deluxe Series
      11 Fingerstyle Series
Add “V” Indicated cutaway   50 Mahogany Traditional Series
 Add “E”  Indicates electronics   60 Rosewood Traditional Series

For a more detailed look at what makes each model series different, see the Larrivee comparison chart here.

So with this as a reference, it’s easy to see that a Larrivée model “LV-10” is a Larrivee body guitar from the Rosewood Deluxe Series that includes a cutaway. The Larrivée “PV-09” is a Larrivée Parlor guitar body from the Rosewood Artist Series that includes a cutaway but no onboard electronics.

Larrivée Review | Pros & Cons

In my opinion, the most important aspects of any acoustic guitar are its tone, playability and projection. The aesthetics of a guitar are certainly note-worthy but tend to be more subjective in nature. It is with this framework in mind that I provide my review of theLarrivée guitar.


All it takes is a single strum on any Larrivée guitar to understand why so many people love Larrivée. I’m a huge fan of the guitar’s crisp tone complimented by its beautiful sustain. The solid wood construction of every Larrivée guitar makes itself known via the excellent projection that could fill a concert hall.

In addition to being clean and crisp, it’s worth noting that the Larrivée offers a very balanced tone, meaning that its highs and lows are treated in equal regard throughout the final tone. Those critical of Taylor guitars for its preference to higher register tones or those critical of Martin for its preference of the lower register tones will find this quality of Larrivée guitars to be appealing.


The solid wood used in the construction of a Larrivée guitar is also worth mentioning because not all wood is created equal. Jean Larrivée is known among luthier circles to have a keen eye for woods and he travels all over the world sourcing only the best. In fact, Larrivée has even become a major supplier of good Sitka spruce to other guitar manufacturers. The wood on a Larrivée guitar has a beautiful color in addition to an even grain that is a subtle reminder of the quality of the guitar.

In terms of playability, every Larrivée I’ve ever picked up easily compares with any Martin or Taylor I’ve played. Some people consider the neck to be a bit flat but I find the single-piece necks to be fun to play and easy to slide around. The standard 1 3/4″ nut width (for most Larrivee series guitars) is comfortable.

Larrivee 03 Series Acoustic Guitar

In terms of action, I think that at this price point it should go without saying that all Larrivée guitars come with extremely low action, making them a dream to play. You won’t be disappointed in this regard.


The biggest “pro” for the Larrivée guitar is that all of the above-mentioned qualities – qualities which set these guitars among the likes of Martin and Taylor – are often priced well below comparable acoustic guitars. Aside from the “wow” factor of a Larrivée, the “value” factor is the most cited benefit among owners of the guitar.


Although it’s hard to find many “cons” with a Larrivée guitar, I’ll take a moment to mention the one thing I find lacking: the guitar pickup. While Taylor Guitars has continually innovated with their “ES” Expression System, Larrivée is stuck still using an undersaddle L.R. Baggs pickup. It’s a good pickup, don’t get me wrong, but not one I’m keen to work with on stage. Despite the name “Stagepro Element,” this L.R. Baggs pickup doesn’t reproduce the beautiful sound of the Larrivée as much as I would like it to.

This one critique aside, there’s no doubt that Larrivée Guitars are some of the best value guitars you’ll find no matter what you compare it to.

Larrivee Guitars vs Taylor Guitars

Larrivee vs Taylor guitars

One of the most common questions I hear about Larrivée guitars is how they compare to a similarly-priced Taylor guitar. As the owner of a Taylor 310ce, I feel somewhat qualified to answer this question.

Both the Taylor and the Larrivée are constructed using some of the best woods available (both Bob Taylor and Jean Larrivée are sticklers for good wood) and the quality of construction is superb. Bob Taylor proved the value of quality construction when he produced the Taylor pallet guitar.

Whereas many value Taylor guitars for their balanced midrange and gorgeous high notes, the Larrivée guitar finds a bit more balance in the lower register. Both guitars have crystal clear tone without the overpowering lower register of the Martin guitar.

The biggest difference between a Taylor acoustic guitar and a Larrivée acoustic guitar is in aesthetics and price. It’s hard to place my finger on exactly what makes the look of these guitars different. Each is recognizable in its own regard. I love the modern look of a Taylor guitar but fully appreciate the beauty of the Larrivée design. It’s all personal preference.

Once you find a comparable Larrivée and Taylor model – let’s say a Taylor guitars 300 series and a Larrivée 03 “Recording Series,” you’ll immediately notice that the Larrivée is hundreds of dollars cheaper than a Taylor. This is not an indication of lower quality, merely a recognition that the Taylor name is currently more valuable than Larrivée. So if brand isn’t an issue for you, Larrivée is certainly a better value for your money than Taylor.

Larrivée Parlor Guitar Review

Before I conclude , I’ll make special mention of one of their most popular guitars: the Larrivee Parlor guitar.

The Larrivée Parlor guitar is a guitar that have effectively packed an amazing sound into a smaller-body. This series includes the P-03 Mahogany model, the P-09 Rosewood model and the PV-09 model with a cutaway. These guitars have a somewhat elongated body, making them different in both tone and look from something like the Baby Taylor.

Unlike most parlor guitars, the Larrivée guitars are American-made, solid-wood guitars that boast a great tone. The parlor has the same nut width (1 3/4″) as the full-size Larrivée guitars so the playability feels the same.

You won’t find any electronics on the Larrivée parlor guitar. However, you can add this simple aftermarket addition if that’s a must-have feature.

Overall, this parlor guitar makes for an excellent songwriting guitar or even a beginner guitar. Although, the $1,000+ price tag might cause you to consider just purchasing a full-size guitar instead.

Larrivee P-03 Parlor Guitar

Larrivee Parlor guitar P-03

–>Check pricing on the Larrivee P-03 Parlor Guitar<–

Larrivee P-09 Parlor Guitar

Back and sides of the Larrivee Parlor guitar P-09

–>Check pricing on the Larrivee P-09 Parlor Guitar<–

Larrivee PV-09 Parlor Guitar

–>Check pricing on the Larrivee PV-09 Parlor Guitar<–

Conclusion: Is a Larrivée Worth the Price?

I’d like to echo the sentiments of most every Larrivee guitar owner before I conclude my review. The Larrivee is one of the best value guitars in the above $1,000 range.

Looking to upgrade your guitar but haven’t yet pledged allegiance to any of the major manufacturers? Larrivée is well-worth your consideration. You’ll get an equally beautiful tone for a price that is much lower than its competitors.

73 thoughts on “Larrivée Guitars Review: Pros and Cons

    1. You are absolutely right! I knew that…not sure why I wrote it wrong. Thanks for the correction, Ray – I’ve noted it in the article above.


      2. I am a recent convert to Larrivee. As a lefty, living in Central Victoia, Australia. You are not likely to run into them everyday. I have as 00040R. What a beautiful instrument. I think a better finish than a Martin. (I have three). I love the maple binding on the Larrivee. Love everything about it; even the case is a work of art.

    2. Last time I checked, Canada was a North American country. I hate it when people act like the only Americans come from the US.

      1. My son and grandson are Canadians, with my son being a transplant from California and my grandson a native born Quebecois. My grandson refers to himself as Canadian and to me as American.

      2. Thank you- a lesson I learned from many years in Latin America. We’re from the United States- South Americans and Mexicans believe- rightfully so- that they’re Americans, too.

  1. I think Josh nailed it with the “balanced tone comment” I also owned a Taylor 310ce which I loved but the sometimes harshness of the mid to high-end register, especially when played electrically always annoyed me.It was a heck of a guitar for strumming though. I now own a Larrivee’ L03 Custom with a cedar top and quilted mahogany back and sides. I payed $1200 for it which is more than I paid for my Taylor. In fairness the Taylor also had the original “Expression” pickup system which made it even more bang for the buck.The Larrivee’ came without the electronics so I was able to install an L.R.Bagss “Anthem SL” in it. That system uses the UST and their Lyric microphone and works beautifully to reproduce the acoustic tones of my guitar.
    I should also mention that the Larrivee’ is a striking in appearance guitar, representing itself as a much more expensive-looking than it is. instrument.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Jim! I agree with you – the Larrivee has a very striking appearance that leaves an impression on anybody who sees it.

  2. I agree with Josh’s review. For the money, neither a Taylor or Martin can hang with a comparable Larrivee. I own a D03-R. I knew about Larrivee’s prior to purchase but spent many hours in the guitar shop playing lots of guitars, but focused on equivalent Martins and Taylors. As an aside I tried a few Seagulls and these guitars to me represent good quality if your budget puts a Larrivee out of reach. I personally find the Taylors tone not to my taste for what I play. Too much high end and no bottom at all. Maybe more suited to fingerstyle. There wasn’t much to choose between the Martin and Larrivee tone wise – balanced was a great descriptor in the article. Great bottom end in the Larrivee but a nice, clear high end with great projection. I actually liked the playability of the Larrivee a bit better than the Martin but in a shop this can be down to the factory setup and how much it has been bashed around in the shop. At the end of the day, the LV was about 25% cheaper than the Martin, and at least it’s equal. So home it came and I’ve loved it ever since. I’ve had it about 5 years now and it still plays and looks as new but might sound even better.

  3. I’m a gigging professional performer in the Orlando, Florida area. I perform sometimes 5 days a week a s a solo acoustic player. These are the best guitars available if (like Josh said) you don’t get concerned about the aesthetic. (However Larrivee does create some beautiful inlaid models as well). Point is their less expensive models sound just as good as their super expensive models. I purchased a Taylor 300 series and gigged with it for 3 weeks and the thing frustrated me electronically. And here is where I disagree with Josh. I returned it and paid a little more for an LV-03 and loved it right from the first gig and on. And I just could not say enough about its performance and durability. I also recorded 2 albums with it and people have remarked about the sound of the guitar after hearing the album.

  4. I have a Larravee D-10, and one thing worthy of note is that even though it’s a dreadnought it responds beautifully when you’re Fingerpicking. An outstanding guitar top to bottom.

    1. I have a d10 B which is brazilian rosewood.
      Do you have the same
      mine is in the $5000 range
      I was thinking about selling it but not sure.
      Any opinions

  5. I’m a new visitor to your site, and I must say I agree with most everything said here, including some of the differences of opinion. These are personal preferences. I’m fortunate to have Larrivee’s LV-10 45th Anniversary model, as well as Taylor’s 814ce Limited Edition L10. Both are awesome in their own rights, and satisfy my need to have options across the tone/balance spectrum. The price point on Larrivees is very hard to beat, and I’d put my LV-10 (it is stunning) up against any other, and I’ve had many Taylors, Martins and Larrivees (the C-10 perhaps my fave of all). None I would complain about or have issues with. Again, it’s usually down to personal preference. If I were new to guitars, or considering upgrading to a higher-end brand/model, I would STRONGLY give attention to Larrivee over all others if price was a factor, and even so if it wasn’t.

  6. I own a Martin (DX-1), Larrivee (LV03-RE) and Taylor (310-CE), and they are all wonderful guitars. I agree with everyone that the tone of the Larrivee is probably the best balance, but the “playability” of the Taylor can’t be matched by either my Martin or my Larrivee. How Taylor achieves such fantastic neck action I don’t know, but both my 6 string and my 12 string (Jumbo 355) Taylors almost play themselves. They are different, but my “favorite” one is always the one I have just finished playing. I tend to use the Taylor a bit more for recording stuff, but the Larrivee and Martin are also used in this area. Regardless of which one a new buyer selects, they won’t be disappointed.

  7. I bought my Parlor in 1999. I stay on the road 11 months a year pipelining and wouldn’t think about leaving it behind. BTW. It’s one of the first issued serial# 032999

  8. I recently acquired two used Larrivee’ OO O3, both with walnut back and sides, one with an Italian Spruce top and one with a Western Cedar top. I also have a Martin 000 15 (custom). I can’t really say which I love more. The Larrivees are 12 fretters, but all play very well. I mostly fingerpick, not much strumming.

    1. I got a DO4W performer series with mother-of-pearl vine inlay Heard the inlay is his wife ebony fretboard made in USA California it’s a $3000 guitar Canadian got it for 1500 Canadian on sale… Just try to pry it out of my hands…lol with the walnut it reminds me I’m on Martin but with a lot of clarity…… Every time I pull without the case and someone strums it there immediately in love……

  9. I’m a “student” level acoustic guitar player. I own a 60’s Maton and a 90’s Yamaha solid top. All fine guitars in there own way. Good necks and they stay in tune. I recently restrung them and then played the 2 guitars and compared them to a recently bought Larrivee D-03R . Same 2 songs ABC’d with fingers then plectrum. ( sorry neighbours ).The difference was amazing. The tone; rich & beautiful, fuller but not brash. Balanced sound between the strings. Minor chords sounder “sweeter” and cowboys chords have never sounded so good. The neck is comfortable with some “meat”to it and the frets smooth and no buzzing.Finish is lovely in satin with beautiful grain and the scratchplate a nice touch in faux tortoise and headstock and logo understated but classy Everyone should own a Larrivee or at least try one, borrow one but don’t steal one ’cause you will break their heart. Now a Larrivee parlor might be on the wish list for Xmas.

  10. I’m going for the Larrivee P-10 Custom used but in Mint Condition $1800 and change, After watching and listening to video after video and reading review after review I feel I’m ready to dive in and make this purchase, actually I may be trading a 2013 Gibson Memphis Custom Shop 59′ reissue ES-330 for the aforementioned Larrivee parlor P-10 Custom. From all my research What stood out the most for me at least was the Larrivee parlors Volume & Projection it’s simply unbelievable! I would even close my eyes and listen expecting that when I re-open them I would see a full sized Martin or Gibson, I can’t get over it! and the inlays and attention to detail was 2nd to none! and I mean that! At 62 years young I can attest that Izvestia had some of the finest guitars available, Gibson Hummingbirds, Martin 000-28 EC model, Fenders, Guilds, I’ve played em all…for me this Parlor guitar has everything and more than I could ever expect or ask for in a guitar bar none…perfect for ease of play, projection, songwriting, recording, it just has it!
    Merry Christmas!
    Jeffery S Mercer

    1. Hi Jeff,

      I’m looking at a used Laivee and want to learn more about them. Can we talk. I teach at Lakeland CC.

      Anyone else willing to help me find out wnat a Larivee serial number 03702l

    2. Hi Jeff, I’m looking at a used Larivee. Can you help me learn more about them? I teach at Lakeland CC. I’m trying to find out what Larivee serial number 03702l is worth.

      1. Hi George
        I also wanted to know that same question for an LV-05 I just bought, and I found it by going to Larrivee Manufacture Date Lookup. It took less than a minute to find that mine was made on July 18th 2002, which suprised me, as it looks almost like new, and using your serial yours was made in 1984. Hope this helps, if you haven’t already found that out..


  11. I like many of you have had some great guitars a martian d76 Taylor 310ce a gallerger (doc Watson)and won a koa macphearson a early sigma I used to try out many different pick ups on .a sunrise and pre amp are on it now .I use Newman mics and record theses instruments with much expertise .when you record a l_30 made by this company it simply shines .we no longer are talking about how a guitar sounds by it self…they all sound good…but what if you need to record this sound…you will no hear what a Mic hears well two of them and then we add the there is now a major difference ..the L 30 maybe the best sounding guitar in the world to is beautiful.

  12. I bought my first Larrivee, February, 2016. It was one of those “this guitar is speaking to me, and I must own it!” things. It’s an L-03 Custom with a 1 11/16 nut, 40 style neck and head stock with open tunners. The tone of this guitar is intoxicating.

    Now an OM-40R Legacy Series has been speaking to me recently and I recently ordered a 50th Anniversary model…

    Be careful! Larrivee guitars are addictive.

  13. I don’t own a Larivee yet. But I intend for a D-03 to be my next guitar purchase. I own a couple of Guilds, a Michael Kelly MKD52,an Alvarez PF90SC, and a Blueridge BR-140, and that’s just my all solid wood acoustics. But I never heard a Larivee dreadnought until recently. So now I’m saving money for it. BTW, Taylor guitars are overpriced, and lack the woody sound of a Martin or a Guild in my opinion. They sound too bright and boxy. And the Baby Taylor sounds like an overpriced kid’s guitar.
    Oh, love your blog. First discovered it researching Oscar Schmidt Stellas. Or maybe it was when I was deciding on an Art & Lutherie I have since then sold. Anyway, always entertaining.

    1. 10 years ago I went in to buy a Taylor cutaway acoustic-electric – and had the money for a good one – and walked out with a satin-finish mahogany D-03, its hard-shell case, and twice what I paid for it left over. It came home and, maybe I imagined it but, it just kinda yawned at a Taylor 412GC and a Martin HD-28, both as old as I am. I know it comes down to style and setup prefs, and I’ve read that was a good year for the D-03, but it is an exceptional guitar among others that most expect to be far better by default. If you haven’t gotten yours yet, I can’t encourage you enough to keep it in mind. Play around with others, of course, but it’s been everything I’ve ever needed and more.

  14. I would agree with your assessment. I have a JV10-E that I purchased in 2006. It has done nothing but get better and more beautiful with age. The downside is the B-Band dual pickup system. It has an under saddle pickup and a soundboard pickup. I would consider that to be the weak spot. As far as it’s tone, completely balanced and beautiful. The jumbo body produces great resonance and volume even when unplugged.

  15. Hello there,

    I bought a Lakewood M-18 in 1994 after a real hard competition with Martin, Larrivee and some others (all in all it was about 12 guitars in that shop, all was OM size. This Lakewood that I picked out was an real outstanding one. But in 2001 I decided to look out for a second acoustic, so I checked out some Lakewoods (they never could reach mine), Martins and Taylors. Ther was a lot of nice guitars but none of them managed to touch my heart. Since I got the chance to play the OM-40 (mahogany). Wow! That was what I looked out for more than 20 years. It´s different to the Lakewood but I cannot describe the differences. It´s much easier to play than any other guitar I touched before – I´m not talking about the low action (this can be adjusted for every good guitar), I mean all the impression like the lovely profile of the neck, the feedback of the body, it´s great! It´s perfect! It´s unbeliebable!

    None of the other Larrivees I tried before could touch me like the OM-40. Although a good friend ov mine is the happy owner of an 40 years JCL OM. It´s a great guitar, but for me it seems to be a lady from the upper class and I ever prefer the tops of the avarage class. 🙂

    So it happend that I played more hours in the last years than the 5 years before, especially since I put the LR-Baggs i-Mix in it. Wow! My old Fishman Loudbox Performer never sounded so well before.

    When I find enough money on the street (or in the garden) I´d love to check out the OM-60 but the risk is low although I keep my eyes open all the time.

    At the end I want to say that nobody should buy a steelstring without playing a Larrivee, there was about 15 of them I played for hours and they were all great guitars.

    (Just the Stevens OM – Munich I found in January would be a compotitor for it, but they are as rare as 1000 bucks in my garden…)

    Hey Josh,

    thank you very much for this great revieuw of this great guitar company!

  16. I tried a Taylor PS worth $13,000, beautiful guitar and sound.
    But I found the fret board action not as low as my Larrivee LV 10 and I still think my Larrivee has a better sound.

  17. I own a 2008 Taylor 210CE which for a cheaper Taylor holds its own IMO against some of the bigger boys. However, I was looking for something higher end and compared mine against a 2013 Martin D28 and 2016 Taylor 410CE.

    The Martin I did not like the dull woody tones, and the 410 was a little too jangly – maybe it was too new??

    Had a chance to compare against a 2008 Larrivee LV-09.
    The first E chord I played I was hooked!!!! The richness in tones of this guitar was amazing. It had been kept in pristine condition and I bought in on the spot.

    Well and truly converted.

  18. I’m the very happy owner of an L-02. The 02 series are limited-run models that have gone through a number of fit and finish iterations. Mine looks to have maple trim around the body, ebony bridge and fingerboard, spruce soundboard and mahogany back and sides.
    Wonderful tone and playability. After having the chance to enjoy and extended chat with Jean Larrivee at the North Vancouver Long and McQuade store a few years ago, he confirmed that the trim and finish don’t add up to anything acoustically….it’s the quality of the wood, the design, and the construction that count. The L (i.e. Larrivee-specific designed) body provides amazingly balanced sound and tone. The satin finish helps this sound come through. The simpler trim keeps the price down without any affect on the sound or playability.
    Thanks Jean! What an amazing instrument!

    1. I also have an L-02, purchased from Long and McQuade Toronto in 2000. The guitar blew me away when I bought it after playing it alongside a bunch of Martins many hundreds of dollars more expensive. It was well under $1000 as I remember it, and I consider it a great bargain as it has only gotten richer and more characterful with time. These are special instruments to be sure.

  19. I own a Larrivee OM-05. I also have a Martin D-16GT and I’m looking forward to owning either a Taylor 414cr-R or a Stonebridge G22CR-C or G23CR-C in the future If you’re serious about playing the guitar you’ll be like the rest of us and own multiple guitars. It’s not an either/or situation with Larrivee and Taylor, just a matter of which one you buy first.

  20. Hi, I have owned several high end acoustic and currently purchased a DYRM70SB Yairi that a farm in Georgia would not come close to getting it. But since this is about Larrivee I recently owned a D03R that was a great instrument to strum. Foolish I sold it and purchased off ebay a P04 Spruce and Rosewood. It was manufactured in 2014 and with standing the abuse of who knows how many owners or one ungrateful owner it does have some issues that are being corrected but once complete it will be a great little guitar to take to lessons or just enjoy playing in the (parlor). I do believe Jean has perfected a great line of guitars. Hard to stop when trying to recall all that is good about them.

  21. OK, I own my Larrivee now, and it is easily the best guitar I own. However, I now my sights set on an Avalon jumbo rosewood. It will take me a while to save up for this one, but I love rosewood jumbos, and I REALLY love Avalons. Those and Santa Cruzes have to be the holy Grails of acoustic guitars! (Better be. This has gotten to be a really expensive hobby.)

  22. Well it looks like a good time for an old thread resurrection.

    I purchased my Larivee L-O3-12 in 2003. Having a quality 12 string was something I dreamed about from childhood. My wife surprised me with the gift of a guitar purchase. I tried Taylor, Martin, Breadlove, Ovation, Yamaha and a couple others, just to compare tonal qualities. They all had something, but they didn’t have what the Larivee had. It’s all subjective really, but sometimes you come across an instrument that sings to you, or even speaks to you. That’s what I found. It matched the sound I dreamed of and became an instant friend, confidant and a part of the family. I would never consider getting rid of it, it’s kind of a part of me now.

    1. I totally agree with you about the Larrivée 12 string guitar. I too have a L-03 12 string and could not believe such an instrument existed in the 12 string form. It has the action of a 6 string but the rich sound of the 12. I have had a number of 12s and this is by far the best. The rich overtones are amazing. Mine is mahogany and has a tone wood with over 200 years so growth lines, count them. This makes for a strong tone wood but sometimes a muted tone too. But with a 12 string the strength of the face is critical. The stress on the soundboard too often causes the instrument face to raise and then the action is negatively effected. I believe that Larrivée knows this and picks out special wood for the 12 string models. Congratulations to you for having a wife who is supportive, that too is rare, as rare as a good 12 string!!

  23. I have played a ton of guitars. I owned two Martins and a Gibson. All fine guitars.
    I bought a Larrivee on the recommendation of a friend without ever playing one. It is a limited series Indian Laurel L-03 and the effect was immediate.
    I truly love this guitar. The response, the balanced tone range, it stability. All these qualities and more make this guitar pretty much the only guitar I will need or play.
    I have played other Larrivees and it pretty much the same story although the characteristics of different models do set it apart from the L series.
    And of course the pricing is so attractive it’s hard to say no.

  24. I’m selling my DV-10E (#39567) due to a severe left hand injury and resulting financial need. If interested, check eBay – seller handle guildstrummer.

  25. I tried everything that I could find (back in 2000) then came across the Larrivee in Victoria BC, one of the old LV-10s with the clear pick guard.

    I have been all over since, including visits to Gruhn’s and Mandolin Bros, plus every guitar shop in London and most of the UK. I have never once found a guitar that I would swap for mine. There are loads of great instruments out there, but the balance and handling of this Larrivee is absolutely wonderful. Will be my son’s when I am gone and I know he will never sell it…

  26. Hello all,
    Been playing guitar since 1962. Martin mostly, D-28’s, D42’s, D18’s , 000’s
    Present instruments are: 3 Washburn turn of the century “New Models” , 1920’s Washburn 000, Martin turn of the century New York 121, Gibson CF-100 (53) and my latest Larrivee OMV-09 (2004). Sold a Taylor 814ce to get the cash for the larrivee. Played a Larrivee in a SF Bay Area store and I was smitten. I guess that tone is a matter of taste but all folks who hear this OMV-09 can tell the difference and seem to prefer it over my Martins, Washburns and Gibsons.
    Sustain is the clearest and longest of any guitar I have owned. Bright, clear and even tone. Not to mention , wonderful woods and details.This came with a Baggs dual with the controls in the sound hole. All for less than a grand. I am a very happy puppy and recommend Larrivee to whom ever will listen. Wouldn’t mind having a parlor 09 or C-10

  27. I’ve owned many high dollar acoustic guitars…Martins, Gibsons, Taylors, Avalon, Yairi…but none compare to my Larrivee SD-60! I fingerpick blues and the wide spacing between the strings makes playing a lot easier. The sound is amazing…very balanced with beautiful sustain. Love it! I plan on getting a second for backup…I’ll use a different style of strings so as not to duplicate the exact sound of the other. Highly recommended!

  28. I have played on and off for 35 years. I had a yamaha I played for 28 years. Then I got the Martin bug, I had an HD-28, great guitar but something was missing for me. I have 4 other Martin mid range guitars. I was looking for another higher end Martin when one day I looked up in a store and saw something I had never seen before. I knew about Larrivee but dismissed them for reasons unknown. I pulled it down from the hook and took one strum and then ask my wife to look up the specs on her smart phone. I left the store and when I traveled back home I went to their sister store in another town. I ask them to send the Larrivee to their store so I could give it another look. I went home with a SD-40R and I am now in the process of selling all of my Martin’s. I may look for another Martin to replace them with or I might look for another Larrivee. The one thing I do know is this. This Larrivee is the first guitar I ever bought that I didn’t have at least some buyers remorse. I finally found the guitar I have been looking for, for the past 6 years. Who would have known?

  29. I had 2 Larrivees I bought mail order (I will never do that again for an acoustic) that would never have left the factory (Oxnard) if I had been doing the final inspection. Construction defects that were glaring. Returned first one and traded off the second that replaced it. Recently I bought a Canadian L03r from a friend. It seems to be fine in every way. One of the best sounding guitars I’ve ever owned. It’s certainly changed my general opinion about the brand, but not the Oxnard factory.

  30. I have been looking and playing Taylors, Martins, Breedloves for a few years.
    I decided on a Larrivee D-03 WL (walnut) signed by Jean

    It is one beautifully sounding guitar!

  31. I have Canadian built Larrivee 000-03, Spuce/ Mahagony for sale. Love it but have to sell in order to pay for older Guild F30R that I recently found.
    This Larrivee has beautiful, clarity and respnds to lightest touch.
    Serial number 113210. Sell for about $1,000 USD. Generic hard case Inc.

  32. I have Canadian built Larrivee 000-03, Spuce/ Mahagony for sale. Love it but have to sell in order to pay for older Guild F30R that I recently found.
    This Larrivee has beautiful, clarity and responds to lightest touch.
    Serial number 113210. Sell for about $1,000 USD. Generic hard case Inc.

  33. I’ve owned a Larrivee OM-03 for ten years. It is magnificent. It has a pedestrian appearance, but it is a joy to play. Over the years as my hands have gotten stiffer I’ve put lighter strings on the guitar, but to my ear it actually sounds better, not thinner. It is the most musical acoustic guitar I’ve ever owned.

  34. I am cosidering buying a Larrivee P05 custom for $2800 new but a Martin 00 17s is $2300 both are 12 frets which should I buy

  35. I got LO3R Recording series. It is fine guitar, satin finish but I have to say that somehow I didn’t find this guitar to be good for recording as they suppose to be. Generally I think that gloss finish guitars are just more used for recording. To my experiences when ever I tried to record and that is often, there was always something missing. I thought ah it must be mics, no it is not, premics than, no it is not.. If you look what actually pro musicians use for recording it is always 90% high end gloss guitars. I mean we can discuss about it but facts telling me different story. I have LO3R and I thought it must be almost the same as LO9 it is made the same way, it is same guitar. It is just finish and maybe higher grade of wood, beside that what is difference? Difference is that you can’t get that sound of LO9 in studio with LO3R!!! There is big difference, people sad it is only 10-15% difference. Maybe but I would not agree.. That small difference in sound is everything when it comes to recording, how ever you want to call it, my experience is telling me that..

  36. Your statement “Martin guitars dominated the flat-top market” is a bit of an overstatement. While they certainly dominated the country and western market, Gibson was co-dominant, especially with the J-45 and J-200 models.

  37. The biggest difference between Taylor and Larrivee
    Is that the latter build gteat sounding guitars on a consistent level. I’ve owned both for many years, including Martin and Gibson, and Larrivee are a cut above any other brand when it comes to consistency of tone.

  38. I’m here representing the -05 models. I have the dred and the jumbo which both sound spectacular. My jumbo has a b-band A1 pickup/preamp that always gets compliments from the crowds. Like others on this list, I find the sound balanced and even between frequency ranges. Also like other folks all it took was one strum to match the desperate sound in my head, and when that happens I have to listen. Happened with Gretsch too.

  39. Hi read your review with interest . I have a OM-02 but it has a 2 piece neck. Is this the norm ? Fantastic guitar though can`t fault it.

  40. I’ve just purchased a used, but in excellent condition 000-40M 12-fret all-mahogany Larrivee. I haven’t received it yet, but can’t wait. A local player has a Larrivee dread that is just to die for, and I was looking for a 12-fret blues box when I found this one on Reverb. Sold my Martin JC12RE to get it, so hope it was worth it. I also have a Gibson J45 Custom, and an inexpensive American made Guild dread, so the Martin was a bit redundant as far a large body gigging guitar and I wanted something for open tuning slide and blues. The value of this guitar is amazing, assuming it sounds and plays as good as it looks. I’m like a kid two days before Christmas… come on, come on, come on…

  41. No one here is commenting on the Larrivée 12 string guitars. All my long life I have played 12 string guitars as I have big hands and love the Lund of a goo 12 stringer. I live here in South Korea and there are many guitar shops where one can sit down and try all the guitars. I had never heard of Larrivée guitars as I was fixated on MartinGuitars. My father left me his 1945 Martin D-18 and that was why I never looked to any other guitar manufacturers. But I was looking for a 12 String Martin and just happen to try a L-03 made in California in 2014. I could not believe the tone and the action of this guitar. I also loved the width at the nut at 1 7/8 inches. A 12 string needs a wide nut when finger picking and this one was perfect. Also the shape of the neck allows my thumb to cover the low strings too. I could not put it down and went through all the songs that I play nightly in a Live Cafe here in Daejon. I do not plug in in as the projection does not need electronics on board. It is a truly amazing instrument. I also worry about the bridge pulling and the face distorting from the tension there. I was amazed that there is little distortion and the ebony bridge shows no sign o pulling. Here is is a 6 year old 12 string guitar and it is still holding together very well. I also love the tone of a mahogany baked instrument. To my ear it has a mellower sound than the rosewood as exhibited by my vintage D-18. This instrument has that mellowness that is needed in a 12 string. Usually 12 string guitars have a tiny sound but this one is very well balanced and has a wonderful sound. As for price, it was much cheaper than I had expected considering it sound, construction and action. I am now th proud owner of th best 12 string guitar in the world. Thank you Larrivée for making an unbelievably excellent all around 12 string guitar.

  42. I first ran across a Larrivee guitar many years ago at a Guitar Center. I was absolutely floored by the sound! At the time, it was out of my price range, but now I am determined to buy one. I was fortunate enough to meet up with Jean Larrivee and his family a year or so ago, and I definitely agree with everyone who says Jean knows the wood of his guitars inside and out. He showed me the supply of wood he has in his factory, and could tell me when and when he picked out each batch. Jean is the real deal. It is often difficult to find a Larrivee guitar to try out in a store, as the Guitar Center doesn’t appear to stock them (they are all special order). Do whatever you can to hear and play any of his guitars. You WILL be absolutely amazed!

  43. I have 2 Taylor’s, a 314ce and an 812ce dlx 12fret. I also have a 1994 Larrivee D-50. It’s hard to say which is better. Each one inspires in a different way. The Larrivee has a sound that vibrates through to my bones, while the 12 fret sends shivers to my outer skin. The 314 is smooth and mellow with it’s mahogany body and is pure and relaxing. You can see how each one inspires from a unique place.

    When initially purchasing, it was the Larivee the best spoke to me as a representation of my style.

  44. I just stumbled upon your site, and love it almost as much as my a Larrivee L10 SE! I played my beloved Fender F35 for 20 years, always waiting to have enough dough to guy an “expensive” guitar. I was young and always equated how good a guitar was to how much it cost.
    Then I was at a small shop where I studied with the owner in my teens, and I noticed his Martin wasn’t in the studio, he was playing a Larrivee! . . . He on hand 5 different models, as he was was approved as a rep/retailer . . . And I walked out with a my L10. It put the whammy on my wallet, paying 10x what I did for my Fender. ($3000+) but haven’t regretted it for ALL the the reasons you so aptly layer out in you article.
    Though I have a few “guitar friends” who can’t believe I didn’t by a Martin, or a Taylor, I just smile. Until you’ve compared… The bliss I get is when some says, “you own a Larrivee!?” Then I I really gush.
    Especially since in the bought of every Taylor guitar you’ll see my name.

    – Bob Taylor (no, not THE Bob Taylor) I’m the one who passed on my namesake guitar for an L10se!
    PS. I do hit Taylormade golf clubs!

  45. I really enjoyed this article. I own a Larrivee and very few people have heard of it here in rural Louisiana. But I love mine and when my guitar buddies ‘occasionally’ get to play it they can’t help but be impressed. I own a Larrivee Model OM-03-12. I’ve searched the website and looked in the OM-03 section and I can’t find my guitar listed. I’m wondering if it may be discontinued or something else. I was thinking maybe someone who reads this site may be able to shed some light on this.

  46. really enjoy this article. I already have one Taylor guitar but Its become old now. thus I am looking for a new one. honestly, I was definitely going to buy one Tylor model again due to the great experience I have with its 317e guitar. but after reading this, I am thinking to give chance and have something fun with larrivee’s.
    I ordered one but not received yet, and it might take more time due to pandemic. I don’t know, hoping for the best.

  47. Anybody ever hear of an LV03 made with Red/Bearclaw Spruce Top, and Tasmanian Blackwood Back/Sides?
    I have one. We sold them at Caruso Music in New London, CT, in early 2000’s and a pair of them (twins) came through the at a time, about 3 weeks apart. I bought the second one. Fortunately, I got the better, more figured woods on mine! Have loved it for years. I also played it professionally for all these years, so now, she is unfortunately, more of a “player grade”..she’s got some finish checking, little cracks and dings all throughout, but still gorgeous. I just have never heard of, or seen another one since. Wondering what my little Lady is worth..? Although, I doubt that I could ever part with her…

  48. How can I get my Larrivee guitar appraised? It’s a P V -09 serial #11617 manufactured in 1991 it’s in mint condition. I’m not interested in selling it. It’s the primary guitar I play, I’ve had it since 1993 I bought it online from Elderly Instruments, my very first online purchase 1,500.00. It showed up smudgy dirty with only two strings. Any help would be appreciated, I’m curious about its value now.

  49. Any thoughts on sunburst OM 50? I have an opportunity to buy one.
    Current guitars I play are Collings C10, Martin D35(BR), K Yairi parlour and a Kinkade model P.
    An OM size would be a great addition I think – does anyone have experience of the Larrivee OM 50 they could share?
    Thanks in advance – this seems like a friendly thread!

  50. I own 6 Larrivee guitars, including 3 12 strings. Needless to say, I think they are excellent for sound and playability.

    There are, however, some drawbacks to these guitars. I present them not to be negative, but to balance the glowing and accurate praise so many have provided.

    The thinly coated tops (that contribute to great tone) also make the guitar prone to cracking. Owners in seasonal climates need to be diligent about humidifying their Larrivee. I own several with repaired cracks, and they still play and sound fine.

    The high E string is located very close to the edge of the fretboard (look down the neck and you will see that the strings are offset. This makes the high E string prone to getting hung up on the fret if you pull off downwards. A fret repair may be necessary if this occurs.

    The high quality Schaller tuners on the old 12 strings are barely long enough to connect with the threaded bushings, as the wood is thicker than normal. Thinner washers or longer bushings may be required. I don’t know about the tuners used on current models.

    Then there’s my old Larrivee 12 string with a non adjustable truss rod made of airplane steel…don’t know what Mr L. was thinking on that one!

    None of these drawbacks are deal breakers, but Larrivee guitars do have limitations of which buyers, especially of older models, should be aware.
    Happy strumming!

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