Founded in 1990, Breedlove Guitars made its mark with innovative approaches to design and construction. The company’s original designs are immediately recognizable by their dramatic headstock designs, nontraditional shapes, and nontraditional tones, but in recent years, Breedlove—which was recently purchased by the Two Old Hippies company— has also given a nod to more traditional instruments with its Revival series.
For this review, Breedlove sent us a Master Class Atlantic model. Although not as radical as Breedlove’s original designs, the Atlantic takes a fair number of liberties with the OM, yielding a unique blend of old and new. The distinctive headstock shape gives a slight hint of the typical squared-off OM headstock but signals a willingness to depart from tradition. The stunning quilted maple back and sides, paired with a widegrained Adirondack spruce top, is an unusual, though not unheard of, combination. The abalone top purfling and rosette, as well as the medium-size pearl snowflake fingerboard inlay, add a bit of flash, and the dark ebony fingerboard, bridge, bridge pins, and headstock overlay provide a sharp contrast to the light-colored maple. Internally, the Atlantic uses traditional scalloped Adirondack spruce X-bracing that is forward shifted substantially. The bolt-on big leaf maple neck has a smooth satin finish and a rounded profile that is shallow near the nut.
In our test drive, the impact of the maple back and sides was immediately evident. The Atlantic produces an intimate, pleasing tone with overtones reminiscent of maple-body archtop guitars. The guitar exhibits quick response, good volume from a very light touch, and a midrangey tone that Nygaard felt would be perfect for chord melody jazz ballads and also provide a nice snap when digging in. The guitar has a particularly tight bass tone, warm and round when played softly, but with a quick attack and very short sustain. We found the guitar to have a compressed character when played hard. It didn’t break up easily with a hard attack, but it quickly reached its volume ceiling, which produces a smooth, though not particularly powerful sound that Gerken felt would make the guitar a good choice for strumming styles.
SPECS: Solid Adirondack spruce top. Solid quilted maple back and sides. Bolt-on big leaf maple neck. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 25.5-inch scale. 1 3/4-inch nut width. 2 5/16-inch string spacing at the saddle. Nickel Waverly tuners.
PRICE: $5,999 list/$4,499 street.
MAKER: Breedlove Guitars: breedloveguitars.com.