Read the full article
This article was originally published in issue #14
To read the article in its entirety, view the digital magazine
Breedlove's reputation has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years, the US brand consistently winning 'best buy' awards in reviews. Its Cascade series sits right in the middle of the Breedlove range - professional grade solid wood acoustics that are still a sensible price. Tom Quayle checks out the Cascade 000/CRe and gives his verdict…
Breedlove has come a long way in a relatively short time. Once a specialist maker, it is now a mainstream brand - and a very highly thought of one, with models covering much of the quality acoustic guitar market. Somewhere in the middle of quite a large range sits Breedlove's Korean-made Cascade series, featuring seven different models constructed from quality tone woods and with high spec appointments, at sensible prices for the average guitar player. All models in the range also come fitted with an LR Baggs Element Active VTC system for added versatility in the studio or on stage.
The Cascade 000/CRe model is constructed with a solid East Indian rosewood back and sides with a solid cedar top bound in rosewood. The neck is constructed from nato mahogany with an East Indian rosewood fretboard. Both are finished in natural gloss and are beautiful to behold, with a very tight grain and super high quality binding work. A slotted headstock sits atop the neck and breaks away from the recognisable Breedlove shape that we've become used to. I have a real soft spot for slotted headstocks and this one adds a real element of class to this guitar and is given a unique twist by way of the subtle wave design at its crest, topped off with Breedlove's understated logo. The headstock is adorned with nickel Grover open back tuners, offering great tuning accuracy and stability as well as elegant good looks.
Vintage sized frets, an abalone rosette, a rosewood bridge and small mosaic pin inlays add to the guitar's elegance, giving an overall design that is understated whilst still impressive - this is a very good looking and well made guitar.
The 000 body shape is a personal favourite of mine thanks to its more balanced and delicate tone than that often associated with larger bodied instruments, so I was excited to try the Cascade 000/CRe and was very pleased to find that it's a great guitar in terms of both tone and playability. Lifting it out of the supplied deluxe hardshell case, our review model was strung with medium/light gauge strings and set-up exceptionally well, offering an easy but interactive playing experience. This is a guitar that I felt at ease with immediately, thanks to its compact body size and comfortable neck radius and width, meaning that you'll never have to fight with this guitar to play at your best!
The included LR Baggs Element Active VTC pickup is a very clever and simple design that doesn't intrude on those good looks, or the playability of the guitar. A simple tone and volume wheel setup extrudes slightly below the upper curve of the sound hole, allowing for adequate tone shaping and easy access. It also boasts an impressive 1,000hrs of battery life.
Tonally, the Cascade 000/CRe is everything you could want from this body shape, delivering a delicately warm but tight sound that has more richness than you'd normally associate with such a small guitar. The dynamic response is immediate and brings a smile to the face as the guitar translates everything you play with a graceful accuracy. This guitar would be perfect for the studio thanks to its tonal evenness and small size. Mic'd up in our studio, the 000 shape was particularly good for melodic single note playing and lighter fingerpicking passages, but performed very well for louder strumming too, although Breedlove offers a Dreadnought and a J200 style shape that may be better suited if strumming is your main pastime.
Plugged into our studio desk using the LR Baggs Element Active VTC pickup the tone remained very realistic with no quacking or breakup in louder passages and an equally dynamic response. This is a pickup that befits such a high quality guitar and offers enough tonal control for all but the most demanding tonal aficionado.
There is no doubting the pedigree, quality, looks and playability of this guitar but where things get really impressive is in the price. This guitar is exceptional value for an all-solid construction instrument with such high quality workmanship and features. With the deluxe hardcase thrown in to the deal, the 000/CRe and its siblings represent a very affordable way to enter the world of 'serious' acoustic guitars. You wouldn't call them cheap by any stretch of the imagination but in a world where the trend seems to be that you get what you pay for, Breedlove seem to have broken that trend. I recommend the Cascade 000/CRe very highly indeed.