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This article was originally published in issue #13
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Old Hippies - what do they know? When it comes to acoustic guitars, quite a bit, thinks Rick Graham as he tackles a Dreadnought from new/old comers Bedell.
Born in a time and space where Peace, Love and Rock and Roll were at the forefront of everyone's minds, the success of Bedell Guitars has been a long time in the making. Originally based in Iowa, USA and set up in the 1960s by the then 14 year old Tom Bedell, the Bedell Guitar Company eventually had two retail stores and also supplied retailers in other states with instruments.
After a successful career out of the music business and several years of retirement, Tom Bedell yearned for a return to the 'good old days' and made the decision to start in the guitar business again and in 2010 his Company 'Two Old Hippies', run by Tom and Molly Bedell, joined forces with one of the most highly respected luthiers in America, Kim Breedlove of Breedlove guitars. Both brands are being run as separate companies, it seems, so Breedlove fans needn't worry!
Bedell has a varied product line which includes some top end instruments such as the 'Limited Edition' series and 'Performance' series and counts such big names as Kenny Loggins, Skunk Baxter and Phil Keaggy on their artist roster. The subject of this particular review, though, is the HGD-28-G model, which forms a part of their more accessible 'Heritage' series of guitars.
This guitar comes with a classic Dreadnought body style and features an Alaskan Sitka spruce top with rosewood back and sides. This traditional tonewood combination should give a pronounced attack on the bass notes and increased clarity on the treble range. The neck, which has a scale length of 25.5" and has 20 frets, is attached via a dovetail joint, is made from Mahogany and bears a rosewood fingerboard. The nut has a width of 1 11/16" and is crafted from bone, as is the bridge saddle itself. Vegetarians might not approve but tonally and historically it's a good, traditional choice! Attached to the rather neat and tidy looking headstock are chrome die-cast tuners and there is a Bedell logo (without the brand name) emblazoned across the very top of the headstock itself.
Inside, the Bedell has a customised 'X pattern' scalloped bracing pattern crafted from Engelmann spruce, while outside you find a hi-gloss finish, which adds a touch of class to what is already a very well constructed guitar indeed.
You can tell a lot from first impressions and the Bedell felt right from the start. It comes in a very good quality gig bag and it immediately felt comfortable to hold. I was at home with it right from the word go.
Soundwise, the first thing that I noticed was how full the bass strings were. I always liken a good quality bass register of a guitar to have a very 'piano' like sound and this guitar offered that comfortably. The treble register had plenty of clarity though and was never at any point overshadowed by those big, bold bass notes. That classic combination of spruce with rosewood back and sides was working in perfect harmony. You'd be right to expect a larger sized guitar like this Dreadnought to be capable of producing some volume and it didn't disappoint in that department either. You'd certainly have no trouble being heard amongst your bandmates gigging at small pubs and clubs with this guitar, that's for sure. Although the action felt a little on the high side for me, I had no issues with playability at all and the intonation was absolutely spot on.
There's a lot to like about the Bedell HMG-28-G. It's an attractive looking instrument, if a little on the plain side, is well constructed and has a great sound with lots of volume on tap. And that's without taking into account the affordable price tag you'll find attached to it.
If you're in the market for something with a powerful voice, good build quality and tone on a limited budget then this guitar is recommended for your 'ones to try' list. We liked it a lot.