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Author Topic: Breedlove Atlas Series Ad20/sm Acoustic Review  (Read 12391 times)
woodshed
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« on: March 29, 2005, 05:25:23 PM »

I have got to get the word out on these amazing guitars. I recently purchased a Breedlove Atlas series AD20/SM. Solid sitka spruce top, solid african mahogany (sapele) back, ply mahogany sides. The top is fairly even grained and has some beautiful silking figure. The back and sides have a pronounced striped figure that is common on sapele guitars, think low line Taylor's. Very nice appearance for such an inexpensive tonewood. Beautiful gloss finish on body, satin finish on neck. I have come to really appritiate a satin finish on guitar necks, once you play one you'll always prefer it. This guitar incorporates Breedlove's bridge truss system, relieving belly pressure off of the top and allowing it to be thinner and resonate more. Intonation for the neck and adjustment for the bridge truss are accessed through the soundhole. The binding is tortoise with b/w/b/w/b purfling. All the seams and edges are very clean and the overall fit and finish is quite surprising considering these are built in Korea. The soundhole rosette is a blueish-green abalone, also very nicely done. I was surprised at how much better the rosette looks on this guitar than my Taylor 710, very sloppy for a $1500+ guitar. The neck is solid mahogany with Indian Rosewood fretboard, bridge, and headstock veneer. Pearl "B" logo inlaid on headstock veneer is flawlessly done as well. Gold Grover tuners (same ones that came on my Taylor!) keep the guitar in perfect tune.

The first thing I noticed picking the guitar up is how comfortable the neck feels. It's similar to the carve of a Taylor, a little fatter than a Larrivee. It immediately felt like home. Strumming open chords produces large, full sound, even across the strings with way more bass response than I expected. Compared to the Martin D-18GE I had last month it is not as boomy, less bass but not thin sounding like some mahogany dreads. The setup is perfect, nice low action all the way up the neck. Really surprising how good the playability is past the 12th fret, exceptional for an economy acoustic. It is strung with lights, makes me wonder how much bigger it would sound with mediums on it. I actually like this guitars overall character and sound quality over my beloved Larrivee's and that's saying something. They were my previous benchmark for quility acoustic tone on the cheap. I simply can't put this thing down, really fun to play! Overall a totally killer guitar for the money. Actually, it would be a killer guitar for 2-3 times the money, IMHO! In summary, if you are in the market for a quality low budget acoustic guitar, you owe it to yourself to check these out. You won't be dissapointed!

Experimented last night with a transducer pickup, cheapie Dean Markley Artist I picked up on ebay for half price! Nice little pickup housed in a maple case, either instrument cord or end pin jack installation. Initially I placed the pickup on the treble side of the bridge resulting great, clean acoustic tone. Really reproduced the "true" acoustic voice of the guitar. Moving the pickup towards the bass side brings out more bass (duh!), but takes away from the balance of the tone. It really sounds best on the treble side. Placing the transducer on the soundboard gives it a little less snap, more mellow tone. I called Breedlove and they suggested placing the transducer on either side of the bridge truss, depending on what kind of tone you were after. I'm not sure how you would install, say, a K&K Pure Western pickup as the middle transducer would normally go right where the bridge truss is. I suppose you could place that one on the soundboard. They also suggested using a L.R. Baggs saddle type of pickup with the Atlas Series guitars. Overall, the guitar lent itself very well to electric use. With a decent EQ or board this would make a great little setup for performing.


Scott


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Randy_R
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« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2005, 06:08:58 PM »

SPAM[/size]
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Randy R., Georgia, USA
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« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2005, 06:21:26 PM »

Any one notice the fine "Corinthian Leather"?

 
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« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2005, 08:16:55 PM »

Quote
SPAM

Just wanted to let you guys know that I am "NOT" a dealer for Breedlove, or any other guitar company for that matter,  just a huge fan.  I just want to get the word out about how nice these guitars are.  I have owned many high-end acoustics (Larrivee, Martin, Taylor) and these guitars really can deliver those kind of tones on a tight budget.

P.S.  I deleted the pricing info.  Should relieve any panty twisting that it may cause for you jaded folks.  I am a huge fan of Larrivee guitars, but in reality these guitars make a D-03 look like a bridesmaid and sound and play very similar in comparison.  This is an honest opinion of these guitars, not a sales pitch.  If I would have been selling this guitar I would have posted it int he "for sale" section. ;)

Scott
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« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2005, 08:39:05 PM »

Quote
Should relieve any panty twisting that it may cause for you jaded folks.
 :lol:  :lol:   :lol:  
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« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2005, 08:43:46 PM »

Quote
that I am "NOT" a dealer for Breedlove, or any other

excuse me. but your web site listed these guitars as FOR SALE.

You are not a regular forum member.

You drop in and make a big sales pitch for a non-Larrivee guitar.

You say to contact you about how to buy one.

Your web site indicates that you are about to receive a 'shipment' of them.

You have other non-Larrivee guitars for sale too.

Your web page clearly says you are dealer and that you buy-sell-trade.

DEALER TROLLING ALERT.[/size]

hmm .. my shorts are knotted...  ;)  
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woodshed
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« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2005, 09:15:26 PM »

Again, I am "NOT" a dealer of Breedlove guitars.  Check out their dealer list, I'm not on it.  I buy and sell used instruments for fun, not a bigtime dealer in any way, shape, or form.  I have a Breedlove guitar for sale, this is true.  I am ready to move on to another acoustic and try something different, maybe a D-03 Blackwood.  Am I spamming myself, nope.  I actually was going to tell people to go to where I bought the guitar, Music123.com.  Amazing deals and really great people to deal with.  Also, this is not an anti-Larrivee post.  I love Larrivee guitars, have owned several.  They sound wonderful and are amazingly consistent instrument-to-instrument.  I just like to buy different guitars and try them out, pass along the information I collect.  This forum seemed like a good place to post about a guitar I am very excited about.  Several other people have asked about these guitars on this forum.  Too bad there are knobs like you around to spoil all the fun.  ;)

Scott
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« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2005, 09:25:28 PM »

hey woodshed. i think youre funny as hades...and ive been laughing my butt off at your last 2 post, but youre probably not going to make many friends w/ your current approach. fwiw.
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woodshed
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« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2005, 09:32:13 PM »

I'm not trying to ruffle any feathers, just standing my ground against a guy who obviously just learned the word "Troll" and got a little overzealous in his use of it.  Probably used it in the first post he came across.  I post alot on The Gear Page Forum and thought this was a really great acoustic forum, lots of great info and good people.  Not like the Taylor Forum, or UMGF.  Again, I'm not trying to cause trouble, just passing along information about a great guitar.  As far as being anti-Larrivee, I think I remeber saying that Larrivee D-01, 02, 03 were my benchmark for great acoustic tone on the cheap.

Scott
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Caleb
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« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2005, 09:46:45 PM »

Quote
I'm not trying to ruffle any feathers, just standing my ground against a guy who obviously just learned the word "Troll" and got a little overzealous in his use of it.  Probably used it in the first post he came across.  I post alot on The Gear Page Forum and thought this was a really great acoustic forum, lots of great info and good people.  Not like the Taylor Forum, or UMGF.  Again, I'm not trying to cause trouble, just passing along information about a great guitar.  As far as being anti-Larrivee, I think I remeber saying that Larrivee D-01, 02, 03 were my benchmark for great acoustic tone on the cheap.

Scott
fair enuff. never accused you of being anti-larrivee, btw. i happen to also really like the breedloves that you mentioned. take care and enjoy the forum.
 :)  
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el guitana
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« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2005, 09:57:23 PM »

Quote
I have got to get the word out on these amazing guitars. I recently purchased a Breedlove Atlas series AD20/SM. Solid sitka spruce top, solid african mahogany (sapele) back, ply mahogany sides. The top is fairly even grained and has some beautiful silking figure. The back and sides have a pronounced striped figure that is common on sapele guitars, think low line Taylor's. Very nice appearance for such an inexpensive tonewood. Beautiful gloss finish on body, satin finish on neck. I have come to really appritiate a satin finish on guitar necks, once you play one you'll always prefer it. This guitar incorporates Breedlove's bridge truss system, relieving belly pressure off of the top and allowing it to be thinner and resonate more. Intonation for the neck and adjustment for the bridge truss are accessed through the soundhole. The binding is tortoise with b/w/b/w/b purfling. All the seams and edges are very clean and the overall fit and finish is quite surprising considering these are built in Korea. The soundhole rosette is a blueish-green abalone, also very nicely done. I was surprised at how much better the rosette looks on this guitar than my Taylor 710, very sloppy for a $1500+ guitar. The neck is solid mahogany with Indian Rosewood fretboard, bridge, and headstock veneer. Pearl "B" logo inlaid on headstock veneer is flawlessly done as well. Gold Grover tuners (same ones that came on my Taylor!) keep the guitar in perfect tune.

The first thing I noticed picking the guitar up is how comfortable the neck feels. It's similar to the carve of a Taylor, a little fatter than a Larrivee. It immediately felt like home. Strumming open chords produces large, full sound, even across the strings with way more bass response than I expected. Compared to the Martin D-18GE I had last month it is not as boomy, less bass but not thin sounding like some mahogany dreads. The setup is perfect, nice low action all the way up the neck. Really surprising how good the playability is past the 12th fret, exceptional for an economy acoustic. It is strung with lights, makes me wonder how much bigger it would sound with mediums on it. I actually like this guitars overall character and sound quality over my beloved Larrivee's and that's saying something. They were my previous benchmark for quility acoustic tone on the cheap. I simply can't put this thing down, really fun to play! Overall a totally killer guitar for the money. Actually, it would be a killer guitar for 2-3 times the money, IMHO! In summary, if you are in the market for a quality low budget acoustic guitar, you owe it to yourself to check these out. You won't be dissapointed!

Experimented last night with a transducer pickup, cheapie Dean Markley Artist I picked up on ebay for half price! Nice little pickup housed in a maple case, either instrument cord or end pin jack installation. Initially I placed the pickup on the treble side of the bridge resulting great, clean acoustic tone. Really reproduced the "true" acoustic voice of the guitar. Moving the pickup towards the bass side brings out more bass (duh!), but takes away from the balance of the tone. It really sounds best on the treble side. Placing the transducer on the soundboard gives it a little less snap, more mellow tone. I called Breedlove and they suggested placing the transducer on either side of the bridge truss, depending on what kind of tone you were after. I'm not sure how you would install, say, a K&K Pure Western pickup as the middle transducer would normally go right where the bridge truss is. I suppose you could place that one on the soundboard. They also suggested using a L.R. Baggs saddle type of pickup with the Atlas Series guitars. Overall, the guitar lent itself very well to electric use. With a decent EQ or board this would make a great little setup for performing.


Scott


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Quite a review. Impressive starting post! Enjoy the Atlas!
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jimmyd
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« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2005, 10:01:14 PM »

I tried a few of the Atlas series. They are nice imports. Jason, (guitar crazy), is a dealer/forum member who thinks they are a good buy. I trust his opinion. If I were inclined toward a Korean acoustic I would not hesitate to work with him for both price and service. No way I would but from music 123. I admit to a predudice against mass merchant sellers. IMO the Atlas is OK if you like the signature Breedlove sound but they are generally not remarkable instruments. I don't think they are in the same league with Larrivee. Any suggestion that compares them  in any way to a D18GE is, well, an interesting claim.
Randy is just trying to look out for the interests of his fellow forum members which I appreciate. I hope you will have the time and inclination to join in some future posts. It's too bad this one has been contentious. Please consider comming back.  BTW I checked out your web site. I had no idea that a Tyler Psychedelic Vomit Strat would fetch so much money. In fact I had no idea there was such a thing.  
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woodshed
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« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2005, 10:09:06 PM »

Yeah, I know comparing the Atlas to a D-18GE was a stretch, but I had them side-by-side and they really did sound alot alike.  The Martin obviously had a bigger, boomier sound with better bass, but the Atlas had a similar overall tone.  Similar woods probaly.  I didn't intend on that comment meaning that an Atlas was a better guitar than a GE, which it is not in any way, shape, or form.  The GE is probably the best mahogany acoustic I have ever played, better than any Taylor, Larrivee, etc.  But take that commnt with a grain of salt, it is only in the eye of the beholder.  At the time I was looking for a vintage, traditional dread to play bluegrass stuff on and the GE was the cat's meow.  Now I am leaning towards more folky sounding acoustics.  My $.02.

Scott        
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« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2005, 11:28:56 PM »

I once fell for a AD200SM Breedlove Atlas.

Then my local Larrivee dealer showed me its weakness.  It compresses tone further the harder it is strummed.  This has the effect of not having a responsive control of volume.  It like once you have a certain volume you cant take it further.

I still liked it very much.  Its not as ugly as some of the more expensive Breedloves [seen that draping banner bridge?  ewwww!]
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« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2005, 12:42:57 PM »

After reading that last post I went home and played some boomy Steppenwolf/CSN&Y type stuff and I have agree with your point.  It really doesn't get a whole lot louder when hit hard, not like the GE did.  That thing just got bigger and louder the more you dug into it.  The Atlas sounded basically the same no matter how hard you strummed, not really gaining much volume or character.  I suppose I overlooked this as I have not been playing any music that really showcases that kind of sound.  A small drawback to a really great guitar.

Scott
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« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2005, 03:46:52 PM »

When I tried out the Atlas series...

For one the action was way too high on all their models. I know it is adjustable, but it is hard for me to tell if I like it when it is not properly set up.

Another, I didn't think they stood too far above the other quality offerings in that price range, though they certainly were nice guitars. But they weren't amazing tone monsters, and in my own opinion when played alongside any of Larrivée's offerings clearly suffered quite a defeat.
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« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2005, 04:37:03 PM »

That's very interesting.  Mine came from Music123.com and it was setup perfect, ultra low action, no buzzes, squeaks, or rattles, really amazing sound.  Makes me wonder if they are inconsistent instrument to instrument.  The ones I have played have all been on par with the lowend Larrivee's, except nicer apointments.  Maybe they vary alot or don't handle climate changes very well.

Scott  
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« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2005, 04:40:35 PM »

I tried them out in two different stores. One week I went to one store and I didn't notice anything. They may have adjusted the action, it was a great store. The next weeks I went to other stores. The action was high in all of them. Multiple Atlas models. Absolutely no buzzing, of course. I mean the action was actually high enough to be probably not suitable to most people. An easy remedy, of course. And they still are great guitars. The AC shape is very nice.
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« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2005, 05:22:58 PM »

That's what struck me at first, the beautiful simplicity of Breedlove's concert shape.  Really visually appealing and very comfortable to play.  But alas, I'm a dread-head through and through.  :D

Scott  
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« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2005, 12:26:02 AM »

I owned a Breedlove AD-25SM for two months and recently hocked to get a Larrivee! It was way too quiet, tinny, and although a beauty to look at, it just sounded weak and the fretboard was so uneven that no amount of adjustment could get rid of the buzzes!  The action had to be very high to prevent buzzing on the g, b and e strings around frets 7 to 10. Lots of shims under the saddle.The dealer did nothing to remedy this, and would not take it back. Blue Note Guitars, Berekley. Beware, get one by internet--at least they don't stick you with a lemon. $650 shot to hell...

The Larrivee L-05 I bought plays like butter, has a better pickup system, and although unadorned by abablone and shiny finish, is an all around superior
instrument! It is less fatiguing to play, too, due the the lower action and smaller body shape---important if you have had a rotator cuff injury like me. I think Breeloves have a good idea going, but Avalon does it better in Korean-made guitars. Plus, you can buy one locally for all of $375 at Gelb in Redwood City.

The neck on my Atlas was terrible---More quality control by the guys at Tumalo is required. It really was not "set up at the factory" as they claim.

Doug Jones
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