Tom Bedell from Breedlove Talks About Guitar Building

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Tom Bedell from Breedlove Talks About Guitar Building

Unread post by Saul »

This is an interesting video giving insight into how Breedlove design and build their guitars.

It is quite long and initially, I wasn't going to watch the whole thing but I got drawn into it. I have been a Breedlove fan for some time and I have one of their Organic Signature models on the way to me next week :)

In many ways, they remind me of how Dowina build their guitars.

Anyway, if you are interested in the acoustic guitar build process it is well worth a look.



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Re: Tom Bedell from Breedlove Talks About Guitar Building

Unread post by Paul_A »

Very interesting , I watched it all as well , I have seen another video that shows how they do the voicing, I am sure it is similar to Dowina in terms of voicing at the end of the process however i expect its computer verses an experienced masters builders ear , I would expect the end results to be similar tho , my Dowina GA has a top tuned to C# for fingerstyle no idea why a c# but I guess that's the best frequency for that style of play for that particular size of guitar.


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Re: Tom Bedell from Breedlove Talks About Guitar Building

Unread post by Saul »

Yeah, Dowina voices their guitars in a similar way but it is done or was done, not sure if they have any tech now, by a master luthier, normally Stan, tapping the wood and tuning by ear.

I would imagine though that with Erika at the helm, things are being modernized quite quickly :)


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Re: Tom Bedell from Breedlove Talks About Guitar Building

Unread post by SKYWALKER »

A really fascinating video ! He really explains the science of guitar sound and the real luthier's art of working with that understanding to create a great instrument . It's good to know that here lies a fine art that no mass production process can truly surplant .

It squarely answered a lot of questions in a vary down the earth way .

Nice one Saul for posting this one πŸ‘πŸΌ.


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Re: Tom Bedell from Breedlove Talks About Guitar Building

Unread post by puremusic »

Yes that was very informative! Thank you for this!


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Re: Tom Bedell from Breedlove Talks About Guitar Building

Unread post by Saul »

It is good to see that they still do a lot of work by hand, at least for the USA models.

This is another interesting video about how Breedlove constructs their new Eco series laminate guitars.

There is a discussion to be had about how much the back and sides of a guitar affects its tone, especially when we are talking about laminate but, putting that aside, they are really nice guitars and, why not use good quality tonewoods for all layers instead of the usual cheap middle layer?

I don't think these guitars are available in the UK yet but I see they are on sale in the USA for around the $400-500 mark. Which probably means they will be around £799 by the time we see any over here 😒



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Re: Tom Bedell from Breedlove Talks About Guitar Building

Unread post by SKYWALKER »

Interesting . This video seems to imply that typically a cheaper non- tone-wood is used for the inner layer in guitar laminates .
This further makes ludicrous the typical marketing claims that an instrument with laminate back and sides gains the acoustic qualities of the tone-wood used . It sounds like one lie on top of another to me !

I imagine that between lamination methods , glue types and wood types in the sandwich , the tone qualities of given laminates are bound to differ greatly . Again ....not something to assume to be a universal any more than a solid spruce top for example .
I think we tend to view these things as black and white to get some grasp on them , but it's just not that simple in reality .


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Re: Tom Bedell from Breedlove Talks About Guitar Building

Unread post by Saul »

My personal opinion is that the back and sides of a guitar lend very little to the tone if anything at all. And with laminates, it is all pure marketing spin.

It really annoys me when I hear manufacturers talk about their laminate body guitars and the "tonewoods" used as if there was some sort of magic going on. For example, a guitar with a Solid Spruce Top and Rosewood back and sides. What they mean is a thin veneer of rosewood stuck on top of a cheap middle layer such as basswood and sometimes even a cheap bottom layer...the one you see from inside the guitar. How on earth are you getting anything from that thin Rosewood outer layer? :angry-tappingfoot:

All those wonderfully rich tonal properties of the various tonewoods are completely lost once you laminate it with other wood.

I don't for one moment think that Breedlove truly believes that the construction of their laminate back and sides guitars add anything at all to the overall tonal properties of the guitar. However, I do applaud them for not cheaping out on the wood used and for at least attempting to make these guitars "eco friendly". And they look great, which is a definite plus :clap:


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Re: Tom Bedell from Breedlove Talks About Guitar Building

Unread post by SKYWALKER »

Yes !😀 unscrupulous and misleading marketing which muddles people's understanding . U.S. marketing regulation seems to be very permissive about this sort of nonsense and its disturbing to see it cross the pond . In the States I've seen drinking water being sold with the claim " 0 calories " ! The term " Natural flavoring " can be used for artificially synthesized flavoring etc.
It's stuff that muddies lines and confuses people . ( no offense to you Americans , but having lived in both the States and Europe one can't help but notice these things !)πŸ€”.


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Re: Tom Bedell from Breedlove Talks About Guitar Building

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My point earlier regarding laminates , is that naturally they DO have tonal properties , but theses tonal properties are NOT simply those of the woods used ,but also the glues, compression methods and resultant densities created in the sandwich .
There are some quite high end cellos now being made entirely from laminate , so here again there is a science and art that can be applied to attain differing results using the laminate process .

I believe the manager of Martin guitars said something to the effect of " We build our guitars as thin as possible without them collapsing ."

Laminates can be thinner than solid wood while still providing the structural requirements , so perhaps there lies a trade off there in which laminates may have some merits ( I don't really know.... I just like to be open minded ! )


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Re: Tom Bedell from Breedlove Talks About Guitar Building

Unread post by Saul »

The key thing with laminates and tonal qualities is where they are used. If you put them on the back and sides of a guitar they contribute very little to the sound. Put a laminate top on a guitar and you will hear whatever tone that top generates but it will be fixed. It will not mature over time. This is fine because there are some great all laminate constructed guitars out there right now.

What is really perfidious is guitar companies providing all this marketing that promotes the tonal qualities of the woods used in the back and sides of the guitar and how these influence the overall sound. Do they have "tonal properties"? Yes of course. But those properties are lost when not used for the top plate, which is where all the resonance and tone comes from.

I really don't mind having beautiful looking laminates on the back and sides of a guitar. It keeps the cost down, increases strength and can look breathtaking. Why not just concentrate on that?


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Re: Tom Bedell from Breedlove Talks About Guitar Building

Unread post by SKYWALKER »

Yes indeed Saul ! I have to say that we seem to agree so much it's almost no fun ! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

One guitar that occurs to me ,which uses laminate back and sides in a way which might actually make it sound better than if it were all solid , is the Taylor GS Mini . It has a curved back ..... Well really more of a little pot- belly down between the main bouts ( I could be describing myself ! πŸ˜…).But probably more significantly in the matter of its acclaimed sound/ volume for size , they have dispensed with the back plate bracing . I can't help but suspect that in narrow body acoustics , the bracing starts to act as a baffle against the sound . If they were to put a solid back they would need to put braces . Of course , this is all conjecture but I guess I'm just arguing the Devils advocate ,that laminates probably can have a place in guitar making beyond lowering construction costs . ( Hopefully not too much of a place ! πŸ˜…πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚).


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Re: Tom Bedell from Breedlove Talks About Guitar Building

Unread post by SKYWALKER »

Sorry Saul 😳!... I speed read then reread your views on this . So you reckon that the material of back and sides really has very little if nothing to do with tonality. I imaging that that is probably true . From what Tom from Breedlove seemed to be saying ,the sides only play a roll in rigidity between top and back . In fact that makes the sides perfect candidates for laminate with its grain strength in both directions !πŸ˜…. As for the guitar back , I really have no idea , but I would imagine it's roll in tone is small . Rather like how much string sound comes down through the neck .

There is a lot of calk sniffing in the world of musical instruments . I really like this forum for your down to earth opinions . I'm the kind of guy who can tell you what wine to pick up in the supermarket so long as it's under a tenner πŸ˜…. A great dinner is going to come from the company not the finer points of which wine you slosh into the glasses . ( well..that's how I see it...probably can't afford to see it any other way ! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚)


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Re: Tom Bedell from Breedlove Talks About Guitar Building

Unread post by Saul »

Wine under Β£10? Now your talking my language πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

There is just SO much marketing spin in the guitar world and for some reason, we expect this not to be the case? Guitar builders try to convince us that they are our best friends and have our best interests at heart. But these are "businesses" first and foremost. They are ultimately interested in profit and that inevitably means selling us guitars we do not need.

I have some great guitars here. All of them do everything I "need" so, why am I still looking at new guitars? :think:

It is the age-old sales tactic of making you think that you are missing out. That you really must have that guitar with the latest bracing configuration. Because THAT will improve your playing no end :lol: Taylor's much-vaunted "V-Bracing" comes to mind. So much hype over so little a thing. And it really makes no difference. This is why Taylor are reluctant to show a comparison between bracing systems. In truth, it makes little to no difference.

It's all hype and very little substance. That is not to say there are no innovations in guitar building or that certain model ranges of a brand are not playing and sounding excellent. But the really important changes are far and few between. This probably explains why there are so many "retro" guitars around right now. Going back to older designs and keeping it simple. Exactly the way it should be (Y)


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Re: Tom Bedell from Breedlove Talks About Guitar Building

Unread post by SKYWALKER »

Well ...guitars are beautiful things and have their magic , or are at least a bit like magic wands . I can see how some people end up with a large collection . It may not make sense , but then our little personal passions that don't make sense are important to us because we just love them free of rational 😍.

A very talented painter friend of mine once told me that what she loved about art was that it's completely useless .

We probably like a bit of cork sniffing of minutia for similar reasons .

I'm fascinated by the alchemy of sound , both in instruments and music as a whole .
It really IS alchemy , creating gold from base material .

Living in Spain , occasionally one is around some gipsies who spontaneously break out in a ' palmos ' clapping rhythm.
It can sent the goose- bumps running up my arms . It's very powerful and pulled out of thin air !

The alchemy of guitar sound is best explained by luthiers like Tom from Breedlove however . In the end it is a science based of physics and observation , the less mumbo-jumbo the better .


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