Breedlove Rainforest S Papillon CE Review

It has been some time since I looked at a Breedlove guitar. I have owned several over the years and I still have one of their Organic all-solid wood series. They are always stylish and different and lean towards exotic woods and sustainability. But, is this a case of style over substance?

When will guitar makers stop with the ever-lengthening model names? The ‘Breedlove Rainforest S Concert Papillon CE’ is part of the company’s Rainforest series all of which feature solid African mahogany tops with layered African mahogany back & sides. There are five guitars in the range, the only difference between them is the finish.

The guitar we are looking at today is finished in what Breedlove calls ‘Papillon’ which “puts all the colourful beauty of the rainforest right into your hands.”

I am not entirely convinced but I must admit it does look pretty good, especially when the light catches the surface of the guitar. However, I did note that unless the lighting conditions are right, much of the colourful detail is lost. It didn’t quite match the photos on the Breedlove website.

The Spec:

  • Body Type: Concert
  • Neck Wood: African Mahogany
  • Solid Wood Top: African Mahogany
  • Layered Back & Sides: African Mahogany
  • Top Finish: Papillon
  • Back & Sides Finish: Papillon
  • Fretboard: Ovangkol (stained black)
  • Number Of Frets: 20
  • Nut Width: 1.69″/42.926 mm
  • Tuners: Premium Breedlove Copper/Copper Buttons
  • Lower Bout: 15.37″/390.398 mm
  • Waist Width: 9″/228.6 mm
  • Upper Bout Width: 11.28″/286.512 mm
  • Body Length: 19.874″/504.7996 mm
  • Body Depth: 3.58″/90.932 mm (neck) 4.2″/106.68 mm (Tailblock)
  • String Gauge: D’Addario XT PB Light
  • Pickup: Fishman Presys I
  • Bridge: Ovangkol
  • Binding: Black
  • Inlay: Copper Colour Logo & Brass FB/Side Dots
  • Scale Length: 25.3″/642.62 mm
  • Sound Hole: 3.94″/100.076 mm

Build Quality & Sound

As with all Breedlove guitars, I have tried the Rainforest S Concert Papillon CE appears to be very well-made. These guitars are made in China but designed in the USA. The finish was good all around with no blemishes at all and the fretwork has been finished well. No sharp edges at all. The tuners were smooth and the guitar holds tune well.

The Fishman Presys I pickup is not bad. There is the usual slight piezo quack here and there but overall it sounds fine.

Acoustically the guitar projects fairly well and has a rounded smooth sound that lends itself well to fingerstyle guitar and light strumming. I would say it feels most at home with folk-style picking.

Action out of the box was a little high and were this my own guitar I would probably lower it a few mm. The intonation was good all the way up the fretboard.

The guitar does feel rather heavy. Especially when compared to my own Breedlove Signature Concert Copper E, which is an all-solid wood guitar. But this is a minor niggle and overall it is a very well-made, great-sounding guitar.


Is the Breedlove Rainforest S Papillon more style over substance? I don’t think so. Everything has been well thought through and although it certainly looks quite impressive, this is not at the expense of sound and playability.

Everyone is going down the sustainable route these days but Breedlove has always been ahead of the curve in that respect. The Rainforest S series gives you sustainability, great sound and beauty in a package that won’t break the bank. Saving the planet has never looked so good!


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