Alvarez Paramount AE 500 BK, got one!

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Alvarez Paramount AE 500 BK, got one!

Post by The Chad on Wed Apr 11, 2012 3:40 pm

Found an Alvarez Paramount AE 500 BK, been wanting to find one for a reasonable price. It'll be coming in a couple days. What a Face









It's the black one, not the red cutaway thingy. I think the Paramount AE 500 is the top of the line non-Trevor Rabin/non-Scoop guitar from Alvarez. Suspect I think so, anyway. It's basically just like my Dana but with the fancy Dan Armstrong pickups, a mini humbucker and a "maxi" 3 coil. Hope it sounds good, the triple coil thing scares me. If not, it's going back to Guitar Center! Only $169 and $10 to ship. Can't go wrong. It does have two stickers I'll have to remove, which stinks, but I'll remove them and see how the paint is.


Speaking of triple coils, have you noticed they're coming back again?! I've seen several new guitars come factory with triple coils. Interesting...

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Re: Alvarez Paramount AE 500 BK, got one!

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:36 pm

Yeah I also noticed the triple coils recently, I was looking at one at warman Guitars just yesterday:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Warman-G-rail-triple-coil-pickup-6-wire-output-/180840905561?pt=UK_Guitar_Accessories&hash=item2a1af53b59

I love the single coils I bought from him, I wonder how these sound........6 wire output!!

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Re: Alvarez Paramount AE 500 BK, got one!

Post by hobster on Thu Apr 12, 2012 1:49 pm

Nice one Chad, looks like a sweet axe. The triple coil thing is pretty cool, i've never played a guitar with triples. You gotta let us know how they sound! I'll bet you can get alot of tones from coil splitting from one of those suckers. Very Happy

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Re: Alvarez Paramount AE 500 BK, got one!

Post by The Chad on Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:44 am

I think that Brain has a triple coil Alvarez, and he likes it a lot. I hope that the triple coil on this Paramount isn't muddy, but we'll see! Laughing

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Re: Alvarez Paramount AE 500 BK, got one!

Post by Brainfertilizer on Fri Apr 13, 2012 5:28 pm

I have two triple coil Alvarezes.
One Dana II, one Dana Custom. They are basically the same thing, just the II has the trem and rosewood fingerboard, the custom has a fixed bridge, flame maple top, and maple fingerboard.
This Paramount, however, has a double coil in the neck, whereas my Danas have a single coil.

The pamphlet describes it thusly:
Combines three single coil pickups in one package without the use of a battery, and yields these sounds:
Traditional single coil bridge
two pickup strat sound with no noise [me: obviously a hum-canceling setup]
a traditional single coil
a fat, humbucked Tele tone
a traditional humbucker sound

Now, it doesn't say what position the "traditional single coil" sound is, but I'm guessing it is probably the neck position.
The "fat humbucked Tele tone" must be 2 of the coils of the triple coil + one other single coil, but I wouldn't be able to guess if it is the inside-most triple coil or the neck single coil.

I would hazard a guess that all this really is an H/S/S with the middle single coil moved up next to the bridge. But I'm sometimes too cynical.

In any case, I'd have to say that the switching is still unique. Here's my guess

5way position 1 (pointing toward neck): single coil of bridge only
position 2: neck pickup and 1 coil of Tri Force, in parallel for twang and hum-canceling
position 3 (middle): neck pickup only
position 4: full Tri-Force (2 coils as a HB in series, third coil in parallel for twang)
position 5 (all the way toward bridge): double coils closest to bridge

But the pamphlet didn't say those were in order. I can't tell which pickups are one when I try it out. All I know is there is plenty of twang and quack, plus a good rock sound from the traditional humbucker position.

I like them, alot, yes.


Last edited by Brainfertilizer on Sat Apr 14, 2012 12:46 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Alvarez Paramount AE 500 BK, got one!

Post by The Chad on Sat Apr 14, 2012 10:40 am

Thanks Brain. I love these forums.

Anyway, it arrived yesterday but we're still in the Poconos and won't be back till Sunday. I'll check it out then.

This thing will have the Dan Armstong pups, of which I know nothing about. I'm assuming they're hot and on the thin sounding end of things, based upon the era it's from and the design of the guitar.

Again thanks for the insight Brain, I'll let everyone know me thoughts once I get it in my hands!

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Re: Alvarez Paramount AE 500 BK, got one!

Post by Brainfertilizer on Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:45 am

I should clarify:
When I say "The pamphlet describes it thusly", the "it" refers to my Dana's. I don't have a pamphlet for the Paramount. Sad Yet.

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Re: Alvarez Paramount AE 500 BK, got one!

Post by Brainfertilizer on Sat Apr 14, 2012 12:48 pm

The Chad wrote:Thanks Brain. I love these forums.
I think I'm getting to be almost an expert on these areas:
Westones (remember: I'm memorialized as a source of information on the 2nd coil tap switch for the 1989 Dimension, no?)
Alvarez
Hamer imports
JB Player
Vantage
Jon Kammerer Guitars

I'm learning about Peavey Vandenbergs, too...

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*** UPDATED *** Alvarez 500 Paramount

Post by The Chad on Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:01 pm

UPDATE:

The guitar is going back to Guitar Center today.

It just sounds bad.

Feels great, though. Laughing Neck is flat and a little wide, pretty cool.

The neck minibucker is the only thing half good about it. The middle position is extraordinarily quiet and thin, completely unusable for live music. The Maxi 3 coil at the bridge is completely lifeless and harsh. It's grates your ears, not very nice. Sterile, flat, and a little distant. Distorted it's almost ok, but when compared to my other axes it really falls short.

So there ya have it. I don't think anything's wrong with it, I think it's just how it sounds. Sad but true. Sad I had high hopes.


For posterity's sake, here'a comparo to my much loved Dana III:





Brain, you may be the only one who will care right now, but anyway... The Paramount has a slightly wider neck, thickness is the same. Angled headstock vs. flat on the Dana. Flatter horn profile on the Paramount whereas the Dana is more carved and sharp. Slightly wider lower horn gap as opposed the Dana. Control layouts are different. Headstock shape a little different. Overall quality is less on the Paramount.

But the sound is where it's night and day. The active Dana sounds alive and thrilling and the passive Paramount is brittle and harsh. Sad. Crying or Very sad

All in all, the Paramount is the less attractive, less talented, and insecure little sister to the sexy Dana III, by a LONG shot. Hate to say it that way, but hey, it's true. One is inspiring to play and the other is demotivating.

I had hopes of cleaning it all up and making a great gigger out of her. Not so much anymore!!! She's going back to GC today. I'd offer to sell it on here first, but trust me, you wouldn't want it.


Last edited by The Chad on Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:07 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Change title)

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Re: Alvarez Paramount AE 500 BK, got one!

Post by Brainfertilizer on Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:29 pm

Interestingly, the reason I sold my old Alvarez Villain Graphite was because I thought the Dan Armstrong pickups on it were too thin and weak.

I regretted not just swapping out the pickups, but was able to rectify the mistake by getting a Westone Villain Graphite, so the story ended up fine for me.

I didn't say anything earlier because:
1) Maybe the problem was just my guitar was a clunker
2) Maybe different pickups on the Paramount have different construction and will sound better
3) You already made the purchase, and I didn't want to rain on your parade unnecessarily

Now we know: 2 out of 2 Westone fans don't like Dan Armstrong pickups.

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Re: Alvarez Paramount AE 500 BK, got one!

Post by Westbone on Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:41 pm

Sounds as if it might be wired up incorrectly.

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Re: Alvarez Paramount AE 500 BK, got one!

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:26 pm

Brainfertilizer wrote:Now we know: 2 out of 2 Westone fans don't like Dan Armstrong pickups.

make that 3

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Re: Alvarez Paramount AE 500 BK, got one!

Post by The Chad on Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:13 pm

Hmmm... interesting. 3 of us. Maybe it's the pups then.

And the wiring looked untampered with. If I get the chance to play another I will compare.

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Re: Alvarez Paramount AE 500 BK, got one!

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:30 pm

oops!......read that as Kent armstrong.....beg yer pardon.....back to 2 Embarassed Embarassed Embarassed

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Re: Alvarez Paramount AE 500 BK, got one!

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