By Adam Perlmutter | May 01, 2017
The first thing I noticed about the Breedlove Premier Concerto is how eminently playable it is. The neck is shallow, in a very good way, and it’s easy to play complex chord progressions and fast single-note runs, and to bend strings. And though the nut is a wide 1.75”—the specification preferred by most fingerstyle players—it feels almost like playing a nice electric guitar.
It sounds terrific, too: airy and resonant, with a cello-like richness on the low notes, not to mention a shimmering natural reverb. I’ve only played a few minutes—heck, I’m just two paragraphs into this review—and already I can tell that Breedlove, a company known for consistently refining its designs, has produced another winner.
The Premier is based on Breedlove’s Concerto body, which is 5” deep at the end block and 16” wide at the lower bout. The dimensions are engineered to deliver the booming sound of a dreadnought without sacrificing comfort. And, indeed, the Concerto feels great in both seated and standing positions.
The guitar is built around the classic combination of a solid Sitka spruce top, solid East Indian rosewood back and sides, and a Honduran mahogany neck. Breedlove also employs a practice called sound profiling when they select wood for a given guitar. It’s a combination of tapping and computer analysis that determines ideal tonewood thicknesses. It’s impossible to quantify the effects of this process as a player, but the projection and complexity of tone suggests it’s had a positive effect on the end product.
The luthiers at Breedlove’s Bend, Oregon, shop crafted the Premier Concerto with care. It’s spic-and-span, inside and out. The bracing and kerfing are smoothly shaped and sanded and precisely glued. The nut and saddle are both perfectly shaped and slotted, and the fretwork is smooth and tidy. The body’s thin finish is rubbed to a faultless gloss.
It’s a great-looking guitar. too. The top sports what Breedlove calls a copper sunburst finish, which is a warm brownish-orange at the edges and a lighter orange in the center. It contrasts nicely with the deep brown coloring of the rosewood back and sides, and the dark ebony fretboard and bridge. The appointments are few and very tasteful. Tortoise binding adds a subtle shimmer to the top and back of the body, while a simple shell rosette and dart-shaped fretboard inlays lend a dash of elegance.
With its beautiful design and execution, fine, versatile voice, and excellent playability, Breedlove’s Premier Concerto is a standout flattop by any standard. And at just over two grand with a deluxe hardshell case, the guitar is a good buy for an American-made, all-solid-wood guitar of such exceptional quality and design.