By Greg Cahill
Hey, fellow guitarist! Did you know 99.9% of visitors to this site will scroll past this message without making a contribution? Many plan to pledge later, but then forget. So we're asking you to give just $1 (or whatever you can afford) right now.

The first thing you notice when you strum the Blueridge BG-1500ESB Jumbo is the robust warmth of its tone—like a splash of sunlight filtering through tall trees in the Smoky Mountains that give this company its name.

OK, the allusion to the Smoky Mountains is a bit misleading, since this guitar has several modern appointments that defy the laws of tradition. Those include a bright orange sunburst, Art Deco-style rosewood bridge and headstock inlay, and vintage-style keystone tuners. Overall, the effect is Gibsonesque. But strumming an open-G chord, unplugged, delivers a full, rich sound with punchy bass, clear mids, and shimmering treble—a sparkle that is characteristic of Blueridge guitars.

Add to that the low string action that makes even a barred F chord easy to play, loud volume (the super-jumbo body boasts a 17-inch lower bout), a solid Sitka top, and stunning flamed maple back and sides, and you have a guitar that delivers the goods.


While Blueridge has made its name manufacturing affordable unadorned dreadnoughts with high-end tonewoods that are popular with bluegrass players, the BG-1500ESB is a kin of the company’s flagship BG-2500, but with less ornate woods and inlay.

An afternoon picking session with AG contributing editor Mark Kemp finds the BG-1500ESB to be a well-rounded, versatile guitar. It’s low action, thin neck profile, and 111/16-inch nut are comfortable for fingerstyle while playing Elizabeth Cotten’s “Freight Train,” using my thumb to bar the descending bass line on “The House of the Rising Sun,” and noodling a parcel of moody chord shapes.

Strumming the Beatles’ “Eight Days a Week” produces a woody tone, and that signature intro-outro riff is blessed with a chiming effect.



Kemp’s bluegrass licks fly effortlessly from the rosewood fretboard. He found the guitar’s high register a bit bright, a product, in part, of the maple back and sides, but I also attributed that to the new strings.

The BG-1500ESB really shines when played through a Henriksen “Bud” acoustic amp—lightly picked folk songs sparkle and country ballads have a suitably warm glow.

The onboard Fishman Presys Plus electronics deliver a natural tone and add fire to Kemp’s rendition of the Grateful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil.”

At a street price as low as $799, the BG-1500ESB holds its own against many higher-priced jumbos, offering a unique blend of the modern and the traditional.

BODY 14-fret super jumbo; Solid Sitka top; Flamed maple back and sides; Rosewood bridge; Orange sunburst high-gloss finish

Get stories like this in your inbox

NECK 3-piece laminate maple; Rosewood fingerboard; 25.6-inch scale; 1-11/16-inch nut

ELECTRONICS Fishman Presys Plus

EXTRAS Bone nut and saddle; Hardshell case


PRICE $995 MSRP, $799 street

Made in China

Hey, fellow guitarist! Did you know that if just 1% of people who visited this site in December became patrons, we'd be secure for all of next year? Many plan to pledge later, but then forget. So we're asking you to give just $1 (or whatever you can afford) right now.