Well, I finally did it and joined the Avalon owner's club!
Managed to get the L32C in the ex-demo section on Tuesday. Arrived intact today at work, but I left it to acclimatise a bit after being on the road last night in sub-zero temps.
First impression on opening the case was "Wow!" It is indeed a beauty as JB mentioned in his post in the sales section. And the smell!! Gave it the once over and am mightily impressed: beautiful workmanship throughout. Could only find one very minor
flaw where the end of the fretboard meets the nut and the wood has chipped slightly. However, to sand it out would have probably meant altering the nut. A pity, but this is a handmade instrument and nothing can (or indeed should) be laser perfect and it's not going to spoil it's playability. After all, isn't that why we buy them? So a conservative 9.8/10 for workmanship.
Action seems very good and it plays easily. It does look a fraction high at the saddle - correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't I read somewhere that shims are inserted to set the action as if there were a UST there? In which case job done, but to be honest, I think I'll manage as it is for the moment.
Family were in bed, so I've only been able to do some very light strumming and fingerstyle stuff, especially as I think this baby is going to be loud! Tuning up from slack to CGDGAD, Andy McKee's 'All Laid Back & Stuff" was a breeze and the harmonics were so easy to get. Another tweak to CGCGCD for some Celtic fingerstyle a la Huw Williams and again no problems, even playing pieces I normally play capoed at the IVth. I was a bit nervous about the neck after my 1 11/16 Collings, but didn't need to be. Tomorrow, I'll put her up to DADGAD and standard and see what she can really do and I'll update this over the weekend. However, based on what I've done so far: 10/10 for sound and playability.
So, do I regret having bought a guitar site unseen? No. Do I regret not having done so sooner? A resounding yes! Many thanks to everyone here for helping me decide to take the plunge, especially JB and also Rick, who convinced me as to the L32's versatility. And greypicker, I may well have found that guitar with my name on the case!