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 2004 Oxnard, Ca.-made P-05 illustrates that.
The P-05 is inspired by the small-body 12-fret guitars of the Parlor Music era. Its lower bout measures 13-1/4" across. With only 12 frets clear of the body, the P-05 feels small on your lap, but it has a big voice that is nicely balanced. Thanks to its Mahogany back and sides and lightweight, minimalist x-bracing, the P-05 packs a warmer sound than you might expect from a parlor. It's a great fit for fingerstyle—and oh man, can this guitar play the blues!—but it can also handle a flat pick and steady strumming. Constructed with a dovetail neck joint, curly maple body binding, and an abalone rosette, the P-05 is hard to beat.
This 2004 Larrivee P-05 has an extremely playable setup, and it produces warm tone that is rich in nuance. It has a repaired crack on the top, and the bridge was likely reglued at the same time. It has been played over the years, but fortunately much effort was made to make sure it plays and sounds like it should. It has been refretted, and it has an after-market aged bone saddle as well as a new bone nut (1-3/4"). Its original tuners were swapped out for the Larrivee's popular JCL 18:1 tuners, and you can still see some of the set screwholes from the old machines (see photos).
This 2004 Larrivee P-05 is a great-sounding parlor guitar with a lot to offer. It includes its original case, which has acquired some cool stickers along the road.