Posted by Adam Perlmutter
In the coastal regions of southwestern Oregon, the myrtlewood tree, a broadleaf evergreen, grows prolifically. When harvested, it’s known to yield a beautiful range of coloring, from blonde to black, and figuring, from fiddleback to burl. Sonically speaking, it’s said to split the difference between rosewood and mahogany.
The Oregon-based Breedlove has long taken advantage of myrtlewood’s cosmetic and tonal beauty, to say nothing of its sustainability, for use on the backs and sides of some smart modern guitars. And now, in Breedlove’s Limited Edition series, myrtlewood makes an appearance on the soundboard of two models, a concert and a parlor. I checked out the former and was taken with this guitar’s liveliness and clarity.
Balanced in All Ways
It’s so satisfying to play the Oregon Concert, a beautifully responsive instrument. In terms of projection and power, the guitar has both in spades. With its 15-inch lower bout, it sounds like a larger guitar than it is.
The Oregon is crisp and articulate and, like the other Breedloves I’ve known, it has an impressive sonic balance. Its bass is powerful but not boomy and its treble is impressive but not at all strident. These aspects make the guitar a smart choice for recording. Likewise, the Oregon is great for gigging, thanks to its LR Baggs’s Element Active System VTC. Plugged into a Fender Acoustasonic amp, it sounds warm and natural.
The Oregon is up for anything when it comes to stylistic approaches. It works as well for fingerstyle blues as it does for modern-rock strumming. It handles open cowboy chords and closed cluster voicings with equal authority—no matter how complex the harmony, the note separation and clarity are excellent. Though the guitar generally takes well to alternate tunings, when tuned to an open Cmaj9 chord (low to high: C G D G B E), the sixth string loses a little of its presence.
The Oregon’s playability is every bit as good as its sound. Its satin-finished hard maple neck feels friendly to the fret hand—the action is agreeably low and buzz-free. It doesn’t feel at all a struggle to play the guitar, and it responds to the subtlest nuances of both left- and right-hand technique.
Read the full review.