Larrivée 0-44R, 000-44R and OMV-44R review

Larrivée’s 44 Legacy Series introduces a range of characterful guitars in a selection of body sizes, each with an upgraded high-gloss finish. Let’s find out exactly how they shine

Larrivée 000-44R
(Image: © Future / Phil Barker)

Guitar World Verdict

Once again, Larrivée has provided us with some instruments that we were truly happy to spend time with. All three have a lot of character and would suit a range of briefs, depending on a player’s needs.

Pros

  • +

    0-44R is compact, characterful and boisterous for its size.

  • +

    00 is a delightful instrument.

  • +

    00 has sweet trebles and girthy mids and basses.

  • +

    OMV-44R is a toneful all-rounder.

  • +

    It would suit practically any gigging situation.

Cons

  • -

    The 0-sized body always sacrifices some bass-end.

  • -

    Price with pickup makes the OMV-44R a major investment.

You can trust Guitar World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing guitar products so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Larrivée’s acoustic guitars have charmed us often in the past. With build quality that’s typically very sharp, Jean Larrivée’s team of builders – based now in Oxnard, California, and originally hailing from Canada – deliver the business time after time. So we were excited to hear that there was another batch heading our way from across the Atlantic.

These latest guitars belong to the 44 Legacy Series, which itself is based on the models from the 40 Legacy Series – the difference being that the 44s offer a high-gloss finish as opposed to the 40s’ satin. 

Whether this was a request from the established acoustic-guitar fraternity (who like their instruments to look like mama used to make…) or not remains unclear. Let’s just take things at face value here. It’s also worth noting that the 44 models have to be specially ordered via a Larrivée dealer, as opposed to the more off-the-peg nature of the 40 range.

If you’re wondering what the Legacy Series comprises, the answer is really in the title. All the guitars therein are based on traditional body sizes from days of yore. So you have the baby of the group, the 0 model, right up to a dreadnought, passing through the 00, 000, OM with a few variations chucked in for good measure.

Construction is tried-and-true traditional, too, with no real surprises in terms of body woods along the way. Both the staple mahogany or rosewood back and sides options are catered for in the 40 Series, but here our 44s are rosewood only. As far as body dimensions are concerned, we had our pick and decided to pluck out an 0, an OMV (essentially an OM with a cutaway) and a 000 in order to cover as much of the acoustic well-trodden path as possible.

Larrivée 0-44R

(Image credit: Future / Phil Barker)

As you can see from the prices listed above, we’re not talking impulse purchase budget or mid-price ranges here; we’re considering guitars that will be a target for the semi-pro to pro market. 

Obviously, the desire is for a top-class, well-constructed package that will stand everything from occasional gigging to full-on touring. We’ve heard from luthiers in the past that building an instrument that’s both strong enough to cope with the rigours of the road and yet be sweet-sounding with a full set of frequencies is a difficult nut to crack. So let’s dig in and see how Larrivée has fared in this respect.

Larrivée  OMV-44R

(Image credit: Future / Phil Barker)

Before we begin, though, we’ll cover a question that you might be asking yourself. If these guitars are intended for the pro market, how come they’re not fitted with pickups? 

The answer is that, seeing as the 44s are by-order only, if you want a pickup installed then Larrivée offers a range of LR Baggs options, with a price hike of between £199 to £269, depending on which model of pickup is appropriate. Sounds like a sensible idea to us. 

After all, there’s nothing worse than finding a guitar that ticks all the boxes for you but then has a pickup installed that doesn’t float your boat. It’s a choice that bespoke builders offer their clients and so it’s not at all out of place here.

Larrivée  OMV-44R

(Image credit: Future / Phil Barker)

On to the guitars themselves, then, and despite the fact we have three different models of varying dimensions, the actual menu of woods and accessories remains pretty much consistent. A side note of this, of course, is it’s interesting to see exactly what sort of differences there are in terms of performance from the different body sizes. But more of that later. First, let’s run down the basic build details.

The backs and sides for all three are Indian rosewood, while the tops are Sitka spruce. As many players will know, this is a winning combination and sits at the very heartland of acoustic guitar building. 

On all three instruments the grain on the spruce is fairly wide, to the extent that it takes on the look of Adirondack. And, naturally, it’s fresh-from-the-workbench pale, but will soon begin to take on the more familiar yellowing, given time.

Larrivée 000-44R

(Image credit: Future / Phil Barker)

The necks here are all single-piece mahogany and the fretboards are ebony. Saddles and top nuts are bone, the former being compensated to ensure stable intonation and the latter measuring in at what is rapidly becoming the new norm for acoustics, 44mm. 

The bridges are ebony, too, and the inlay around the bodies is what Larrivée refers to as “Bold Rope”, which, to our eyes at least, is not a million miles away from herringbone, and the outer binding is figured maple.

As you may have gathered, everything here takes a centre line through the tradition of acoustic guitar building. And as far as what’s going on under the Sitka tops is concerned, Larrivée tells us that “scalloped hybrid” bracing is the order of the day, adding, “we blended a non-symmetrical scalloped lateral cross-bracing pattern with our tried-and-true balanced X-Brace system. This means maximum strength using the least amount of material.”

Feel & Sounds

The 0-44 is the smallest of the bunch, with a reduced scale length of 609mm (24 inches), 12 frets to the body, plus a sort of parlour-ish diminutive compactness. We did notice that initial tuning was a game of stop and start, and orchestrated with the occasional ‘ping’, owing to a couple of minor nut issues that clearly missed QC and could easily be fixed with a nut file. Nothing serious and it  would probably be fixed at point of sale.

The feel is good. It’s compact enough to play comfortably on a sofa and the neck – a generous shallow C – feels good in the hands. Sound-wise, whereas it’s inevitable that a body size this small is going to result in a little boxiness, this isn’t at all pronounced. 

In fact, there’s a sweetness and good balance to the overall output that’s really quite endearing. Both fingerstyle and strumming yield good results and whereas you’re hardly going to get a dreadnought response from an 0-sized acoustic, it packs a good sized punch, all the same.

Moving on to the 000-44, we retain the 12-frets-to-the-body ’board but with the more familiar 648mm (25.5-inch) scale length. With the increase in body size the output takes a step up with a more robust bass response, but the trebles maintain their sweet nature and the mids are all present and correct. 

There’s a transparent quality to the tone that is inspiring. Our hands tell us that the neck seems wider, but the ruler denies this. An illusion, then, no doubt.

The last of the trio is the 14-frets-to-the-body cutaway OM, which is the most expensive of the bunch. As we know, 000s and OMs are very close in terms of spec and everything we’ve said before about sweetness, punch and clarity in response from all the frequency ranges remains true. 

It’s just that the cutaway makes things easier if you’re adventurous enough to stray up the neck. If anything, we’d say that the 000 has a smidge more robustness in the bass and lower mids, but the OM has everything it needs in terms of balance between lows, mids and highs.

Larrivée 000-44R

(Image credit: Future / Phil Barker)

Verdict

Once again, Larrivée has provided us with some instruments that we were truly happy to spend time with. All three have a lot of character and would suit a range of briefs, depending on a player’s needs.

The 0-size, although diminutive in stature, provides a great slice of acoustic goodness and would be a worthwhile companion for someone who favours smaller-bodied instruments. If we were asked to choose, the 000 is possibly our favourite – it’s an all-rounder in every sense. 

Larrivée 000-44R

(Image credit: Future / Phil Barker)

Chock-full of good tone, with a body size that’s neither too big nor too small. The cutaway OMV has a lot of charm and would provide a gigging acoustic player with just about everything they need for either a singer-songwriter strummer or fingerstyle soloist situation.

So where it might be tempting to look to the major players when venturing into this price range, it’s definitely worth remembering Larrivée’s presence in the market, as you may very well find exactly what you’re looking for.

Specs

Larrivée 0-44R

(Image credit: Future / Phil Barker)
  • PRICE: $2,806/£2,649 (inc case)
  • ORIGIN: USA
  • TYPE: 0-sized acoustic
  • TOP: Sitka spruce
  • BACK/SIDES: Indian rosewood
  • MAX RIM DEPTH: 102mm
  • MAX BODY DEPTH: 336mm
  • NECK: Mahogany
  • SCALE LENGTH: 609mm (24”)
  • TUNER: Open back 18:1 ratio
  • NUT/WIDTH: Bone/44mm
  • FINGERBOARD: Ebony
  • FRETS: 18
  • BRIDGE/SPACING: Ebony/56.3mm
  • ELECTRICS: Optional (see below)
  • WEIGHT (kg/lb): 1.56/3.46
  • OPTIONS: LR Baggs pickup factory installed from £199 to £269 (depending on model). Non-gloss 40 Series model 0-40R (£2,279)
  • RANGE OPTIONS: The LA 44 Series comprises the models featured in this review plus the LA OM-44R (£2,899) and the dreadnought D-44R (£2,899)
  • LEFT-HANDERS: Yes, no upcharge
  • FINISH: High Gloss

Larrivée 000-44R

Larrivée 000-44R

(Image credit: Future / Phil Barker)
  • PRICE: $2,806/£2,899 (inc case)
  • ORIGIN: USA
  • TYPE: 000-size acoustic
  • TOP: Sitka spruce
  • BACK/SIDES: Indian rosewood
  • MAX RIM DEPTH: 114mm
  • MAX BODY WIDTH: 390mm
  • NECK: Mahogany
  • SCALE LENGTH: 648mm (25.5”)
  • TUNERS: Open back 18:1 ratio
  • NUT/WIDTH: Bone/44mm
  • FINGERBOARD: Ebony
  • FRETS: 18
  • BRIDGE/SPACING: Ebony/57mm
  • ELECTRICS: Optional (see below)
  • WEIGHT (kg/lb): 2.22/4.9
  • OPTIONS: LR Baggs pickup factory installed from £199 to £269 (depending on model). Non-gloss 000-40R (£2,279)
  • RANGE OPTIONS: See 0-44R
  • LEFT-HANDERS: Yes, no upcharge
  • FINISH: High Gloss

Larrivée OMV-44R

(Image credit: Future / Phil Barker)
  • PRICE: $3,152/£3,229 (inc case)
  • ORIGIN: USA
  • TYPE: OM-sized acoustic
  • TOP: Sitka spruce
  • BACK/SIDES: Indian rosewood
  • MAX RIM DEPTH: 108mm
  • MAX BODY DEPTH: 387mm
  • NECK: Mahogany
  • SCALE LENGTH: 648mm (25.5”)
  • TUNERS: Open back 18:1 ratio
  • NUT/WIDTH: Bone/44mm
  • FINGERBOARD: Ebony
  • FRETS: 20
  • BRIDGE/SPACING: Ebony/57mm
  • ELECTRICS: See below
  • WEIGHT (kg/lb): 1.8/4.02
  • OPTIONS: LR Baggs pickup factory installed from £199 to £269 (depending on model). Non-gloss OMV-40R (£2,699)
  • RANGE OPTIONS: See 0-44R
  • LEFT-HANDERS: Yes, no upcharge
  • FINISH: High Gloss
  • CONTACT: Larrivée Guitars

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

David Mead

With over 30 years’ experience writing for guitar magazines, including at one time occupying the role of editor for Guitarist and Guitar Techniques, David is also the best-selling author of a number of guitar books for Sanctuary Publishing, Music Sales, Mel Bay and Hal Leonard. As a player he has performed with blues sax legend Dick Heckstall-Smith, played rock ’n’ roll in Marty Wilde’s band, duetted with Martin Taylor and taken part in charity gigs backing Gary Moore, Bernie Marsden and Robbie McIntosh, among others. An avid composer of acoustic guitar instrumentals, he has released two acclaimed albums, Nocturnal and Arboretum.