Each year, the Breedlove craftsmen and designers get together in the Bend, Oregon custom shop to design and craft remarkable ultra high-end custom instruments destined to be unveiled at the NAMM show in Anaheim, California. These rare customs are lovingly deemed “show stoppers” by the crew for obvious reasons: they represent the finest in tonewood combinations, build, finish and design. They are true works of acoustic guitar art. This year’s three “show stoppers” are no exception.
Ancient Sitka Spruce – Myrtlewood Custom Concert Acoustic Guitar
Similar to a high-valued piece of art, what makes this custom acoustic guitar truly captivating is the history and story behind the instrument. We'll set the stage. Imagine an ancient Sitka spruce forest growing around 1100BC. A seedling emerged from the cold and quiet forest floor on a steep mountain hillside, then spent the next 150 years slowly reaching for the forest canopy. After arriving at the canopy, it enjoyed another 150 years of continued growth and peace in the ancient forest. Then, an unforeseen natural event triggered a mountain landslide, and the tree was buried under 20 feet of mud, rock, and debris. The tree was eventually saturated with the mineral water from the mountains' numerous seeps from snowmelt and rain. For the next 3000 years, the wood eventually oxidized to a blue-grey hue because of the permeation.
Eventually, the tree was discovered and unearthed during an excavation project. Carbon dating testing put the ancient Sitka spruce at 2850 +/- 30BP. Once milled, the stunning natural coloration of the tree was revealed. Sound Optimization testing from the Breedlove team determined the soundboards should continue to live on in history in the form of a work-of-art custom acoustic guitar. The ancient top boards were paired with a highly figured and rare set of exotic Myrtlewood, which received a custom burst from the finish department to match the figure and color of the Ancient Sitka Spruce. The binding is ziricote to provide clean lines and accentuate the transition from spruce to Myrtlewood. The logo and rosette incorporate black pearl to compliment the ziricote binding. This is a historical work of art!
Adirondack -“The Tree” Mahogany Concerto Show Stopper
If you are new to the world of ultra-high-end exotic tonewoods, it may sound a bit strange to learn that some remarkable trees bare such outstandingly impressive tonewoods, that they go down in history – in guitar building history. One such Honduran Mahogany log has yielded tonewoods so remarkable, it is known only as “The Tree” in guitar building and collecting circles. For a detailed history of this amazing tree, we encourage you to read this article by Adam Perlmutter from Guitar Player Magazine. Suffice it to say, Breedlove has a limited assortment of tonewood boards from “The Tree,” and we utilized a set for the back and sides of this magnificent custom show stopper guitar. Let's just take a moment and let the image of this figured beauty sink in. Ahh….
To complement such a fantastic piece of mahogany, our craftsmen found a limited edition set of Adirondack spruce from the custom stack and Sound Optimized and Hand Voiced it to match perfectly with the mahogany. The sound and tone is nothing short of heavenly. While the custom aspects of instrument do not immediately jump out at the viewer, the custom elements are understated and subtle to allow the tonewoods to captivate the viewer – and slowly emerge upon closer inspection. With a western theme, the custom acoustic guitar features “rope” top purfling and rosette, with star mosaic fret markers. A “stallion” has been relief carved into the headstock, and its horseshoe appears on the heel cap. Just when you think you've noticed all of the custom elements, a quick glance at the sound hole reveals the inlay of a resting cowboy under the stars on the interior back wall of the guitar. Understated western elegance. A true show stopper.
Concertina Redwood-Rose Myrtle Show Stopper Custom Guitar
Last but not least, this little beauty is a real treasure. The Breedlove craftsmen and designers started with a master grade tonewood set of “Rose Myrtle” from Northern Tasmania. This specific tonewood set was salvaged from an old trunk that was forgotten and left for ten years. Using the hue and coloration of this tonewood as inspiration, they set out pairing the tonewood with straight grain set of salvaged redwood. Two forgotten and discarded treasures, resurrected to create outstanding tone and sound! Figured walnut was used for the binding, and Spalted maple for the top purfling, logo, rosette. The “Rose” theme is continued with flower relief carvings on either side of the bridge. This little beauty is a sweet and beautifully balanced, with soft harmonic midrange tones.