Sorry to get in on this discussion so late, but I will try to discuss the differences between my Larrivees. My L-09 is the first, and probably the best, Larrivee I bought. It was built in Canada in 1978, so it was built with lots of attention from Jean Larrivee from rosewood and sitka spruce. It is deeply melodius and well balanced, but fairly quiet. The L body is very comfortable and similar to a dreadnought in size, but without the booming bass. The Forum III (LS-03) is a 12-fret mahogany/Italian spruce model built as a special run before Larrivee left Canada. It is a smaller L (roughly the same volume as an OM) with smooth, dry tone and excellent playability. It is perhaps my favorite. My OO-09 was a custom built by Wildwood Guitars in 2012 and bought used recently. It is also a 12-fret and is surprisingly loud. I am just getting acquainted with this one, but I think it may turn out to be a new favorite. I've had a few others, notably a J-03 that was nice but too big and a total sunburst 12-fret OM-03 with a mahogany top that I just couldn't bond with. I have had an ongoing love affair with Larrivee and hope to continue it.
L-03R: I had played this guitar before, but made a new discovery. The other two guitars had labels with "Made In California," but this one said "Made In Canada." Knowing that Larrivee closed its Canadian production, I asked the employee if he could tell me when they got this guitar. It turns out that they received it in 2010! So, it's new, old stock, right? Will stores take a better price to move an older "new" guitar like this? Anyway, it sounds deep and beautiful, and the wood is the same as the OM (although the top obviously appears a little more aged).
The New Old Stock (NOS) Larrivee has been sold. One of the employees confirmed that it finally moved about a month ago, and the buyer got a "bit of a discount" to take the 7yo "new" guitar. They only had one Larrivee guitar in stock... I think it was an OM-40R.
Wow, that took some time to sell. I have played the L03R. I can recall that guitar having a huge bass response and being exceptionally warm sounding. The highs were also very piercing. Probably the most scooped sonic profile I have heard in any guitar.
A friend of mine has just purchased an OM40R (Moonspruce). I think thats just a fancy name for European or German spruce (Pices Abies). It sounds magnificent, and has a bit more headroom than the Sitka model to my ears. It sounds less sparkly, but the highs are still much more prominent than my OM40 with mahogany b/s.
I have a Larrivee OM-03 and I think the 03 series is one of the best value for a guitar around $ 1500 (mahogany) and $1900 (rosewood)
-All solid wood -Herringbone rossette -Maple banding on body -plastic banding on neck -Ebony Bridge and Finger board -Real mahogany and one piece neck -Dovetail Neck Joint
No American or canadian manufacturers offers the same characteristics for the same price. The satin finish does not appeal to everyone, but it is a way to reduce manufacturing costs by keeping the same quality.
Martin OM-35 (2003) with K&K Pure Mini Larrivee OM-03 Deluxe Edition (2012) with K&K Pure Mini (DADGAD) Gretsch Lapsteel G5700 (Open D) Gretsch Resonator G9220 Bobtail with Fishman Nashville (Open G) ----------------------- Fishman Aura Preamp Tech21 sansAmp GT2 Boss Digital Reverb REV-6 Boss Digital Delay DD-7 ErnieBall Volume Pedal JR ----------------------- Ebow Fishman Loudbox Mini
Although a gloss finish is more practical, I love the feel of the satin finish. It has a "raw" appearance. As long as you are careful, it should last just as long. I agree the 03 series is great value when you consider the specs.
I have the OM40, which is similar to the OM-03 , but with different bracing structure, squared off headstock and open gear tuners. I haven't been able to compare them side by side, but I have been told that the 03 series has a more modern sound, while the 40 series has a more "traditional" sound. Whatever that means!