After more than 30 years of building guitars exclusively in Canada, Jean Larrivee established a state-of-the-art facility in Oxnard, California, in 2001. In the early days, this new facility allowed Larrivee to explore new avenues and produce greater numbers of guitars with the same level of quality and workmanship that built the company's reputation. In 2013, Larrivee ultimately closed the doors of its Canadian operations to concentrate all of its production in its California location.
The early US-made Larrivee guitars are exceptional instruments, built to the refined designs Jean Larrivee began exploring in the late '60s. While the Canadian-made Larrivees of the '90s appeal primarily to fingerstyle players, the US-made Larrivees of the early '00s seem to capture more versatility and produce sounds that are usable across a variety of genres and playing styles. This 2003 Oxnard, Ca.-made L-05 illustrates that.
At first glance, this L-05 looks a lot like a dreadnought, but at 16" across on the lower bout, it is a good bit wider than most Ds. Interestingly, it has a narrower waist—just 10-1/4"—and also sloped shoulders, which tighten the bass response. The result is a guitar that packs the power and volume of a dreadnought, but its tone possesses greater overall balance, and the tighter waist facilitates quicker projection when played with a light, fingerstyle touch. With a Sitka Spruce top and Mahogany back and sides, the L-05 has a warm, rich sound that covers a wide sonic landscape.
This USA-Made L-05 was built in 2003, and it shows the expected bumps and bruises of a well-enjoyed, used—but not abused—guitar (see photos). In 2018, Larrivee offered exclusive "JCL" Limited Edition tuning machines, and this sports one out of only 50 black chrome sets that were offered. With an 18:1 gear ratio, these tuning machines are a substantial upgrade from the originals. The tuning machine package also included an upgraded bone saddle and bone nut. Other than those upgrades direct from Larrivee, the only other modification is the addition of a top-of-the-line K&K Trinity System under the hood. The Trinity features a soundhole condenser mic in stereo with K&K's acclaimed Pure Mini bridge plate pickup. With K&K's Dual Source Preamp (included), you can blend each pickup source to dial in an authentic sound plugged in. This 2003 Larrivee L-05 includes a y-cable for the preamp and its original hardshell case.