Breedlove Acoustic Guitars: a History of Manufacturing Passion
It is time to look into an acoustic guitar company that – even though young – has been making a respectable name for themselves over the past 30 plus years.
In 1990, luthiers Larry Breedlove and Steve Henderson left their jobs with Taylor guitars in San Diego, California with the goal of taking their luthier knowledge and making guitars under their own name using the most modern methods, developing advances like graduated tops, bridge trusses, asymmetrical headstocks and winged bridges, all while discovering and introducing Oregon Myrtlewood (a large hardwood tree native to coastal California forests extending to coastal forests in Oregon creating a tone similar to Mahogany and Hawaiian Koa) to the guitar world. The two luthiers relocated to Tumalo, Oregon, just northwest of Bend, starting their new company in what was essentially an old barn.
A Family Vision
1992 saw the initial launch of some of Breedlove’s innovative designs. By 1994, Larry’s brother Kim Breedlove – who was an accomplished maker of banjos and skilled in marquetry (the art and craft of applying pieces of veneer to a structure to form decorative patterns, designs or pictures) – joined the team as master luthier. Kim’s skills and vision helped guide Breedlove through close to 25 years of constant innovation and refinement.
A New Vision
November 2010 became a time of new vision for Breedlove with Tom Bedell purchasing the company through Two Old Hippies, L.L.C. By this time the facility had already moved to Bend. In 2012, the current larger facility of USA-made Breedlove Guitars was dedicated and opened.
Many of the craftspeople working with Breedlove Guitars have been there since the early days. “Breedlove has continued, really, from the dreams of Larry and Steve”, Bedell says, “Everything we’re doing today is still based on innovation and customization. Those are the themes that inspire us. We’re constantly learning. It’s just this real passion to create the best sounding instruments possible.”
A Unique Classic
Breedlove Guitars have a look that is truly unique but classic at the same time. Innovations such as a pinless bridge system are commonplace on Breedlove Guitars. Many models also have what is referred to as a “soft cutaway”, a steep sloped shoulder that provides excellent access to the upper frets. Breedlove continues to look to the future, even leaving behind some of the founders’ concepts or altering some with fresh ideas building on core principles.
Breedlove Guitars employs nearly three dozen craftspeople who – unlike many of the major American guitar makers – craft the USA-made guitars largely by hand. Each guitar is literally a piece of art!
Here To Stay
All ranges of Breedlove Guitars are built incredibly well and have a look and sound that resonate with guitar players everywhere. Artists such as Ed Gerhard, Jeff Tweedy, Chris Hillman, and Trace Bundy express their voices through Breedlove Guitars. This company has very much earned its place as a quality and trusted builder and will only continue to grow in innovation and popularity as time passes on.