Custom in the Build: A25/BC.ABW Guitar

After an exhaustive search for a builder that possessed the right mix of excellent craftsmanship, access to top-quality exotic tone woods and the ability to provide high value at a reasonable cost, Breedlove was selected to execute this customer’s dream guitar. Breedlove dealer Apple Music in tktk coordinated the details and then the customer hand-selected all wood sets and appointments based on his specific aesthetic and tonal preferences.

The folks at Apple Music are custom instrument enthusiasts and have designed several very unique instruments at the Breedlove Custom Design Center. Check out their latest creation, currently in the build: a beautiful and unique Auditorium custom guitar featuring a dramatically figured bearclaw Sitka spruce top and equally impressive African blackwood back and sides.

The back and sides of this instrument are African blackwood, dalbergia melanoxylon. Blackwood is denser and harder than either ebony or Brazilian rosewood. It is perhaps the ultimate wood for power, clarity, punch, and harmonic complexity. It has a tight, but robust sound; powerful and crisp; a dark bell-like overtone with a slow response. Tonally, it is not as deep as Brazilian rosewood, and not as tight as mahogany. It has a straight grain, and very fine texture with an oily surface. It’s black coloration makes it strikingly different from other rosewoods, and it often features sapwood in the guitar pattern.

The top wood is Bearclaw Sitka spruce. Bearclaw has a shallow, cross-grain curl that seems to increase cross-grain stiffness. Many luthiers feel that it enhances the tone and sustain of spruce. The figure in bearclaw looks as if a bear slashed its claws across the grain of the wood, thus the name. This tonewood is particularly appreciated for its unique patterns.

Body: The Breedlove Auditorium is the sonic mid-point between our Concert and Jumbo body shapes. Its depth and lower bout combined with its upper body cutaway produce the articulation of the Concert, with tonal depth reminiscent of the larger-bodied Jumbo. An extremely versatile instrument, the Auditorium casts a nod into dreadnought territory while also accommodating alternate tunings, fingerstyle and bold strumming. These characteristics make the Auditorium an outstanding platform for Breedlove 12-string guitars as well.