Stage Dreadnought review by Breedlove

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  • Features: 10
  • Sound: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.6 Superb
  • Users' score: 9 (1 vote)
Breedlove: Stage Dreadnought

Price paid: $ 600

Purchased from: SamAsh used

Features — 10
Serial 14012643 (2014 guitar) "Stage Dreadnought" (that's their label spelling). You can see all the particulars, but it is Sitka top and solid dark rosewood back/sides. Gloss all over but for the neck and rear of headstock, which is nice satin. Electronics are LR Baggs and the tuner is very easy to read and changes color when dead on the note as well as with small arrows to denote which way to tune (up or down). Vol, bass, mid, treble and presence sliders on the control plate. Battery loads at the output jack. Black Cordura clad firm foam case with plenty of pockets and the best styling I have seen. Tuners are chromed Grovers with the nice smaller kidney shaped buttons and unusually smooth operation.

Sound — 9
I write songs and play fingerstyle from classical lessons. This is a deep body cutaway dreadnought. It is fairly loud with a very authoritative bass and mid range. The treble is not at all "tinny" or thin as in some Taylors (I have to compare it to my 214CE at the same price point). This is the sort of guitar to use at open mic if you are comfortable with a full bodied guitar. Some folks want a more compact package. I look for tone and action and neck feel. This model is very well suited to strumming or picking, as it has a complex and authoritative sound. It looks impressive all over.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Top is Sitka spruce and close grained and very straight grain. Rosewood (all solid) back/sides is dark with a reddish and nearly black alternation. A very handsome rosewood that we see less and less of. I see no defects at all. Gloss is perfect in all joints and only the neck and headstock rear/sides are satin. I do not see how a more well-finished guitar could be factory made. The wood selection and feel exceeds Taylors. The setup as I got it was perfect at fret 12 and can tolerate just a light file touch to lower several nut slots (nut and saddle looks like micarta and bone would help the sound if used in the saddle... about a $15 drop-in improvement and well worth it).

Reliability & Durability — 10
This is unknown for me, since it is my first Breedlove. But having played guitars for 50 years, it seems well designed and made very well. LR Baggs electronics is trouble-free and high quality sonically. I like guitars and trade all the time to get good guitars priced well (the best reason to get a new guitar that some guy was too picky about). My view is that this is an excellent design, build, cosmetics and electronics example. For modest $$ used and in perfect condition, it's a remarkable value and a guitar anyonwe would be proud to show and play in public as well as in private.

Overall Impression — 9
My one objection is the string loading design: you push the string ends from the back of the bridge and must gently curve the ends to allow for a smooth rise to the level of the bridge top. I bend the tip of the string and take my time and it's a small accommodation to eliminate bridge pins! I suggest you lay stiff paper behind the bridge when restringing and work carefully. Save your finish! The case is particularly nice in design and is "understated elegance" in its pockets, look, padding, lining, movable neck support, and handles/straps. At $600 like new physically versus a $700 Taylor 214CE also physically new... the Breedlove is the easy winner in every regard: sound, case, beauty, tuners, electronics, neck and nut width and feel.

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