When I think of nylon string guitars I am always taken back to my childhood and the first guitar I ever played. It had a really wide neck, a string action you could drive a bus under and it would go out of tune as soon as you looked at it. Not the most inspiring instrument to play and certainly not ideal for someone just starting out on their first musical sojourn. Luckily it didn’t put me off playing although it did colour my views on classical/nylon string guitars for many years to come.
Fast forward 45 years and here I am with another nylon string guitar but this one is nothing like the tortuous instrument I remember from my childhood. This is the Breedlove Discovery Nylon CE. A very different type of nylon string guitar. This is a Hybrid and if I had this guitar all those years ago I think I would probably be a much better player than I am right now. Still, it’s never too late!
So let’s have a look and see what Breedlove have done to help change my mind about nylon string guitars.
On first appearance the Breedlove Discovery Nylon CE looks pretty much like their other steel string guitars. This is because, more or less it is a steel string guitar…only with nylon strings. This is what makes it special and such a great guitar for someone just starting out. It gives you the best of both worlds. The feel and sound of nylon strings with the easy playability of a steel string body.
The guitar has a really nice feel to it and also looks great in its Satin Bourbon Burst finish. The neck also has that same smooth satin finish which, combined with the slim profile makes moving up and down the fretboard very easy. If you are used to playing electric guitar I think you would feel pretty much at home here. The tuners have a vintage vibe and are smooth in operation. A nice touch here is the addition of pearloid buttons which against the unmistakable shape of the Breedlove headstock look quite classy.
The top of the guitar is made from solid Engelmann Spruce. Not as dense as Sitka Spruce it has a slightly richer midrange which gives it that sort of “old” guitar sound that many of us are always looking for.
Back and Sides are layered mahogany and whilst not as prominent a part of the sound as would be the case with an all solid build guitar they do lend a little warmth and go well with the Engelmann Spruce top.
The neck is Okoume, which is a lighter weight alternative to mahogany with similar tonal properties. Fretboard and bridge are made from Ovangkol, a tropical West African wood with tonal properties similar to rosewood.
There is a nice black binding around the the body which is complemented by a very thin off-white stripe running around the front and rear facing edges. I think it looks great and goes well set against the satin bourbon burst finish.
- Solid Englemann Spruce Top.
- Mahogany back & sides (layered).
- Okoume neck.
- Ovangkol fretboard & bridge.
- Top Finish, Natural Satin, Bourbon Burst.
- Back & Sides Finish, Natural Satin
- Fishman T Pickup System with tuner.
- Scale length 647mm/25.5″.
- 47mm/1.875″ nut.
- Comes with Breedlove padded gig bag
As you can hear in the video below the Breedlove Discovery Concert Nylon CE is quite a versatile guitar both acoustically and when using the onboard Fishman T pickup system. There is a well-balanced tone with good dynamic range and no lack of overtones. The distinctive sound of nylon strings is still very discernible but not as prominent as you would find with a traditional classical styled guitar.
I have always liked the sound of a nylon stringed guitar but could never quite persuade myself to buy one. The hybrid approach Breedlove have taken here, combining the advantages of that unique nylon string sound with the easy playability of a steel string body shape just works so well and has been quite a turning point for me.
Thankfully we are starting to see more hybrid guitars like the Breedlove Discovery Concert Nylon CE coming to the market and for personally I think this is definitely the way forward. I would certainly be tempted to buy this particular guitar or one like it in the very near future. Something of a “Discovery” you might say!
More info: https://breedlovemusic.com
Also why not join the discussion on the acoustic section of our forum? We would love to see you there!