Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Breedlove Passport and The Breedlove Atlas - Two Great Breedlove Dreadnoughts For Under A Thousand Dollars


The Breedlove Guitar company started as an offshoot of American giant Taylor Guitars. Master craftsmen Larry Breedlove and Steve Henderson started the company after moving to Oregon from California, where they'd worked for Bob Taylor making Taylor instruments.In 1991, the first models of Breedlove guitar became available on the market. The builders at Breedlove are known for experimental bracing patterns, and also being very environmentally conscious - they do not wish to contribute to deforestation, and especially in regards to woods harvested from rain-forests.
Breedlove Guitars offers a model of guitar in a number of price ranges - and on their upper end, and with my own personal experience with the company's products, I know them to be stunningly beautiful to the eye and to the ear, and exceedingly playable and competitive with their competition in every realm.As for myself - I'm a lifelong devotee of the dreadnought guitar body style. I'm not un-fond of other styles, I'm just very accustomed to the shape, feel, and sound quality offered by a dreadnought acoustic guitar, and so for the duration of this webpage, I'll be discussing Breedlove dreadnought guitars.If you're the kind of person with a flair for social media, well, I have to tell you, Breedlove guitars has a VERY active Facebook page, and you can see it or "like" it here.


I can assure you with total confidence here that the makers of Breedlove guitars are not pursuing some fad when they market their products as "environmentally responsible." I'm not an owner of a Breedlove instrument, but only because I'd already owned several fine guitars by the time Breedlove's business was launched. I hang out in every guitar store I can whenever I can, and I obsessively look over every instrument I'm interested in. I've strummed, picked, and played a bit on hundreds of Breedlove guitars, and I know for an absolute fact their instruments compete very evenly with those of more well known and esteemed manufacturers, and Breedlove does make instruments in models ranging from amateur to professional.In this day and age we are seeing the real golden age of acoustic guitar building, and we are seeing this from innovation.
Environmentalism is not a fad in this industry, it is the future, plain and simple, as old forest mahogany, rosewood, and ebony - need to be replenished.The facts have ALWAYS been that many another species of tree can be used for bodies, for necks, for soundboards, and for fret-boards Traditional wood species models will always be with us, and will continually be popular - but new tonewoods are being explored, and being used with huge success, and all successful acoustic guitar manufacturers of tomorrow are building instruments with new woods Breedlove guitars are hardly alone in regards to guitar manufacturing from sustainable wood sources, C.F. Martin & Company have their "Smartwood"series guitars, and Bob Taylor of Taylor Guitars has also made real commitments towards ecological/environmental sustainability and experimentation with guitar building.


I can hardly imagine a much superior guitar or bargain for just three hundred dollars, the Breedlove Passport is a terrific guitar for beginners, or for anyone, really.The maple sides will be laminated, of course, but the top is a solid spruce soundboard, and the design and appearance are both traditional, and not at the same time - very attractive instrument, and with the solid top, will have some real sound quality.
The neck is mahogany, and is bolted to the body as a means of cost cutting - the bridge and fretboard are both rosewood.I've read the lack of much in the way of lacquer on the wood, and the lack of a pick guard make this guitar have more volume than comparable guitars that do have those things.This guitar is going to compare to any Yamaha or TakamineEXTREMELY favorably, and if you live in the USA, and are considering an acoustic guitar in this price range, then I would certainly encourage you to purchase the Breedlove Passport dreadnought instead of a foreign made guitar.


The Breedlove Atlas dreadnought is advertised as a stage guitar, so I suppose some mention of just why the guitar is preferable for performing onstage is in order here.Here is the truth - people often keep at home and in the studio their prized guitars. You don't go taking a multi thousand dollar instrument across the USA in a bus to perform on stage just don't.
What you take is a nice guitar that is outfitted with acoustic electric electronics, and is typically a guitar that isn't so valuable to you that you'd lose your performing soul were it lost in an airport, or stolen somewhere in transit, or damaged in either of those places.Outside of the electronics offered with the Atlas guitar, the other major differences between it and the Passport are those of the wood used for the back and sides, and in the Atlas, the wood is laminated mahogany rather than maple. Whether or not you consider that an upgrade, I assure you, is merely your own personal preference and opinion.Another major bit of upgrade with the Atlas is that it comes with an actual dovetail neck joint instead of a bolt on neck joint, the dovetail, as always, comes with a double action truss rod for setup performance tuning - in other words, you can adjust the neck and the string's height off of the neck to either higher or lower.More specifications for this terrific American made guitar are as follows:
  • Dreadnought, acoustic-electric, soft cutaway
  • Solid Sitka spruce top
  • Solid rosewood back and laminate sides
  • Depth 4-9/16" at tail block, 3-3/4" at heel
  • Lower bout width 16"
  • Improved Breedlove bracing with ultralight JLD bridge truss for stability and sustain
  • Ivoroid bound body and neck
  • Abalone rosette with purfling ring
  • Abalone top purfling with BWBWB purfling
  • STAGE inlay pattern by Kim Breedlove
  • Glossy finish, satin neck
  • Rosewood bridge, fretboard, and headstock overlay
  • Nut width 1-11/16" (43mm)
  • Compensated saddle
  • Dovetail neck joint
  • Double action truss rod, soundhole adjustable
  • Chrome Grover mini tuners
  • L.R. Baggs LR-T CV Tuner Preamp pickup
  • Onboard chromatic tuner with inline mute, notch, phase, EQ
  • D'Addario EXP strings
  • Breedlove logo hardshell case included
  • Designed by Kim Breedlove


In conclusion, these two guitars are very good guitars for under a thousand dollars, both solid spruce tops, and laminate sides.These guitars are not copies of Martin, Gibson, or Taylor, but are uniquely Breedlove, as all Breedlove instruments are, as they employee Breedlove's unique stylistic designs, and bracing patterns. They are made in the USA, and for that alone, a purchase over foreign made products is commendable; but yet these will be superior products as well.As always, I suggest playing dozens of guitars before making a purchase. Choose the one you want, and leave the store with no regrets.


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