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This article was originally published in issue #58
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You can tell a lot about an acoustic guitar manufacturer by where they sit on the spectrum between orthodoxy and originality.
Balanced, powerful tones with great projection
Superb setup right out of the box
Several unusual wood choices to pick from
Doesn’t come with a hard case (although the standard gig bag is excellent).
Nick Jennison reviews this Breedlove Pursuit Exotic Concert CE. Crafted in Breedlove's most used tonewood, Myrtlewood, that grows along Oregon's Pacific coast. This model is ideally sonically matched with Sitka spruce for an alive feel and presence that is something to behold.
You can tell a lot about an acoustic guitar manufacturer by where they sit on the spectrum between orthodoxy and originality. It’s a very tough line to tread. Stick too rigidly to traditional designs and construction methods and you run the risk of being branded bland and uninventive. Push the boundaries too far and you’ll alienate the notoriously conservative guitar-buying public. With their renowned concert body shape, Breedlove has pitched things just right. It’s optimised for a variety of playing styles; It balances beautifully on either leg; It’s substantial enough to produce a potent low end without feeling bulky or cumbersome; it looks striking and distinctive, but not jarring or too unfamiliar.
With the Pursuit Exotic series, Breedlove have paired this wonderful design with a variety of unusual woods, each with their own signature tone: Warm-wounding koa; Bold and punchy ebony; Ziricote, with its powerful low end; rich-toned Australian blackwood, and of course the energetic and balanced-sounding Myrtlewood found on the guitar we’re looking at in this review.
Native to Breedlove’s home state of Oregon, Myrtlewood is a beautiful light-coloured wood with an appearance that’s not too dissimilar to Spalted Quilted maple, but with a very distinctive grain pattern of its own. It shares Maple’s powerful fundamental and bright projection, but with a more balanced delivery across the frequency spectrum.
On the first contact with this guitar, I was immediately struck by how well it lent itself to single note lines. Complex Flatpicking passages are presented with clarity and authority, and open string drones sustain very evenly. Of course, it did help that the setup was perfect straight out of the box, with an unusually low action without a trace of buzzing or rattling. Fingerstyle ideas are sweet-sounding and even, and digging in with aggressive strumming produces some serious projection without any of the spiky quality that can plague some bright-sounding instruments.
Designed and quality controlled in Bend, Oregon and manufactured in China, the Breedlove Pursuit Exotic Concert is a great-sounding offering from a highly esteemed company for a very reasonable price. With an unintrusive and natural-sounding LR Baggs EAS pickup system and Breedlove’s usual complement of elegant and well thought-out design elements, this guitar ticks all the boxes for me.
Concert Body Type
Mahogany Neck Wood
Sitka Spruce Solid Wood Top:
Myrtlewood Back and Sides
Natural Gloss Finish