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Gretchen Menn’s Custom Myrtlewood Breedlove Guitar

Gretchen Menn’s Endless Guitar Journey
How a life in music led her to a Custom Breedlove Concert Acoustic – From the Breedlove Custom Shop

Gretchen Menn was born to play the guitar. Her father, Don Menn, had moved on from his position at Guitar Player Magazine years before she started playing but quickly pointed her in the right direction when she developed an interest in guitar-oriented music. She even began her guitar studies under Phillip de Fremery, a student of classical guitar master Andrés Segovia. Since then, the classical and electric guitars have been extensions of her and guided her path.

Today, Menn has carved a career that is as impressive as it is varied. Well-known as a queen of electric guitar shred and holding Jimmy Page’s role in her all-female Led Zeppelin tribute band, Zepparella, she also continues to pursue classical guitar and is a life-long student of classical composition. This is especially evident in her last solo outing, Abandon All Hope. Inspired by Dante’s Inferno, Menn calls the record “an almost double album-length work of intensely compositional, instrumental music which evokes the epic journey through Dante’s circles of the underworld.”

If that weren’t enough, Menn is also working on a Master’s Degree in Media Composition. And she’s collaborating with one of her compositional heroes, Steven Mackey, performing a guitar concerto he is composing in April of 2024 with the Utah Symphony.

With so much going on, even Menn wonders how she got so busy. “Sometimes I wonder if I should have just focused on one thing,” she admits. “But I love what I’m doing, and I’m inspired by so many different things. Plus, I wouldn’t be where I am today if I was afraid to try new things.”

Though a master of most of her musical pursuits, one surprising thing Menn hadn’t spent much time on was steel string acoustic guitar. “Classical guitar was my first musical discipline, and trying to balance that and electric guitar was already a lot to manage. But various projects and interesting opportunities have made steel string part of my musical fate. So I juggle and practice and accept the endlessness of the journey.”

That endless journey led Menn to own and play some gorgeous streel-string acoustic guitars by some of the finest luthiers. That’s why it was such an honor when she connected with us and started playing Breedlove guitars.

“I just love the guitars and the company,” she said. “The guitars are incredible, and I really appreciate Breedlove’s values and passion for the environment.”

Today, Menn has played guitars throughout our range. From Made In Bend masterpieces to our extremely popular Pursuit Exotic S Series. She loves them all, saying, “I love how Breedlove makes quality guitars that aren’t prohibitively expensive. While they do make high-end professional models, they also offer budget-friendly options.”

But “budget-friendly” doesn’t mean low quality. Check out Menn’s YouTube channel. You’ll see videos of her demonstrating and enjoying a beautiful Pursuit S Concert nylon string, a Discover S Series Concertina, and putting a Tascam Portacapture X8 through its paces with her brand-new Custom Shop model.

That guitar is a one-of-a-kind creation, carefully crafted just for her. After working with her on various projects, we knew she deserved a special piece to call her own. And designing the guitar with her was a fantastic experience.

Menn collaborated with our master craftspeople to help create the guitar of her dreams. She based it on our Made In Bend Oregon Series. Falling in love with the tonewood’s warm and articulate nature, she chose our all-Myrtlewood Concert variation, and it’s already impressed her in the studio.

“I’ve recorded a lot with it for my videos and YouTube,” she said. “Listen to the video I did for Tascam. I recorded that guitar in the room I’m in. It’s just a small carpeted room. It’s not a fancy studio, and it still sounds great!”

The guitar is similar to our production Oregon Series Concert CEs in most ways. But Menn definitely put her personality into its appearance. Blanketed in a stunning Blue Tint Burst, it makes a show-stopping statement as soon as she pulls it from the case.

In addition to the finish, Menn’s Concert boasts a custom 12th-fret inlay that holds a special place in her heart.

“A longtime fan and supporter, Patrick S. Clarke, is a graphic designer, and he surprised me with it a few years ago. I’ve used it on my website, on my most recent album, and now on my Breedlove Custom.”

Menn loves the finished product. From its easy-to-record voice to how the Myrtlewood appears under the blue, it’s found its way into heavy rotation. But, most of all, Menn says she loves how effortlessly it plays.

“Prior to getting into steel string playing, I was under the misconception that a steel string had to be torturous to play in order to sound good. [Laughs] Turns out, that’s absolutely not the case. Now I am fortunate to have an instrument that sounds lovely, produces great volume, and has a wonderful dynamic response, but is also comfortable to play.” Menn may be fairly new to the steel-string acoustic guitar scene, but listen to her rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Never Going Back Again” below. You’ll realize she’s ‘fairly new’ at being amazing at it.

Gretchen Menn is a Jack of all trades and a master of many. We couldn’t be happier to work with such a terrific and accomplished player who shares many of Breedlove’s values. We’re glad she didn’t just stick to one thing and followed her journey to Breedlove.

About the Custom Shop: The Breedlove Custom Shop in Bend, Oregon transforms acoustic fantasies into resonant realities. Our team of world-class luthiers, builders, and designers invite you to imagine your desert island combination of body shape and exotic tonewoods,—all meticulously married with our exclusive Sound Optimization process to ensure that your guitar sounds as good as it looks. Design your own custom Breedlove guitar here.