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I began playing acoustic guitar...then switched to electric. Over the years, I've played either according to the situation, but I sat in and played lead for a blues group last summer, and they insisted I play only acoustic. I've only played acoustic since.

I have an old D 18 Martin, and since summer, I bought a used Sigma DR 41, a Martin DCX1E (which is great for gigs), a Martin D16RGT and a Martin 000X1. I've been pretty partial to Martins, but our local store just got some Blueridge guitars in and they blow me away. Two models are mahogany laminate back and sides with spruce tops and they sound amazing. The one I'm looking at is a BR 160 which is a lot like a higher end Martin that I can't afford. It's got solid spruce and rosewood, dovetail neck and plays beautifully and sounds sweet and louder than any guitar I have.

Anyone else have any experience with Blueridge guitars? Are the necks stable? What is the warranty like? How well do they age?

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Hi Ed:
I'm a Blueridge fan and can share my experience with you. My primary acoustic is a very fabulous Santa Cruz OM. When I started to spend a lot of time in Florida I wanted another acoustic to keep in Florida - not crazy about putting the SC on planes. I also didn't want to spend more thousands on second SC. After much auditioning I found that at it's price point the Blueridge BR160 was far and away the best value. Solid rosewood and spruce at that price is simply not available in a US made guitar. Yes, I know that the Chinese are paying some poor schmuck three bucks a day to do the labor but that's why the BRs are 700 bucks and not three grand.

I have had it for about four years and every time I play it I subconsciously compare it to the SC. I have had it set up twice and the action is almost but not quite as good as the SC. The tone has a terrific balance (not as bass heavy as the the Martin D-28 that it copies) and almost as good as the SC. The tuners are fine but not quite as good as the SC. The rosewood back and sides rival the SC however, the spruce top is a little different. The wood (and tone) are great but Blueridge uses a darkening toner to make it look more like a vintage D-28. I could have lived without the toner.

The SC is still a better guitar on every level - but it's maybe 15%-20% better all around on quality and sound but it's also priced 500% higher than the Blueridge. After four years I have not had any quality issues at all.The Blueridge is fabulous value and worth every dime. I would take it to a jam any day of the week and be happy to sit in with a bunch of high end guitars. There might be shortcomings in my playing but not in my instrument.

Dave
Toronto Ontario
Thanks for the information. I bought the Blueridge BR 160 yesterday and I'm enjoying it. I'm going to have a pickup installed (probably a Gold +). Frankly, it looks to have nicer construction than my Martin D16RGT which I really like.

It's very responsive. My best acoustic guitar is probably my old Martin D 18 but this Blueridge is really loud and has an outstanding sound. I'm playing at a blues competition in two weeks. I should probably stick with one of the Martins that I'm used to, but I may take this one along.

Of course, I will take a Martin to nazfest, but this guitar will be excellent for acoustic jams, because it's a cannon. It will be nice to be able to take a solo in a room full of guitarists and still be heard.
Hi there,

From your last post I'm a little late, but..

I have a Martin and a BR 160. The BR 160 is a cannon, love it for playing outdoors. The only thing I can say from experience is to keep it well humidified. The top on mine cracked from the bridge to the bottom during the first year. This winter, a parallel crack occurred. I keep the house fairly well humidified; have had no problems leaving the Martin uncased. Just a heads up.
Thanks for the heads up. I have been keeping it humidified. My house is very dry. Mostly, I keep it in a case in a humidified room, but hopefully warm weather will soon be here.

I'm amazed at how loud the guitar is. It feels very light and responsive. I'm curious how it will sound as it opens up more.

best,
Ed
http://www.edrhoades.com/photogallery/guitars.htm
It's scary. I didn't want to like Blueridge, but imo.,there's nothing close in bang for buck comparison. I play 2 high end Collings and find myself lusting for an Adirondack/solid rosewood Dred. with a bone set-up for under $900! Lifetime warranty. It's crazy. I'd much rather have the BR. over a comparable Martin.

Richard
"It's crazy. I'd much rather have the BR. over a comparable Martin."

Do you mean a Martin comparable in appointments or comparable in price? I don't think anyone comes close to the quality of Blueridge dollar for dollar. I do like the Recording King guitars in our local shop. They're also Chinese made and reflect quality. Although they have a very good sound, they just don't have that Martin feel and sound like Blueridge does. Blueridges have already increased a lot in price, and I expect them to go up more as they catch on.

My Blueridge is comparable in appointments to a D 28. As to whether is sounds as good or better, it would depend on the D 28. It's already opening up and sounding sweeter. My Martin D16RGT is definitely sweeter than my Blueridge, but I've had it since August and it's been played. I'm curious to know what a little more time will do to the Blueridge sound. The thing that really surprises me is how responsive the Blueridges are...the volume...they feel alive in my hands.

The first Blueridge I admired was a BR 40...I still like it. It doesn't have solid back and sides, but it sounds great. I may yet buy the one in the store...it sounds as good as my BR160...or I might hold out for the new Martin one seriesm depending on my reactions when I finally get to play one.

I played a bunch of Taylors at a roadshow two weeks ago...nice guitars with a wonderful amplification system, but I don't like them as much as Blueridge. I would like to try a Collings, but they cost more than I can spend on guitars. Blueridge can satisfy GAS for a lot less.

http://www.edrhoades.com/photogallery/guitars.htm
Try getting any Martin with a bone set-up out of the box. The BR-160A? I played at a local shop recently blew me away. Liked it at least as well as a new HD-28 I played in the same shop for $1450.00 less!

Richard




Ed Rhoades said:
"It's crazy. I'd much rather have the BR. over a comparable Martin."

Do you mean a Martin comparable in appointments or comparable in price? I don't think anyone comes close to the quality of Blueridge dollar for dollar. I do like the Recording King guitars in our local shop. They're also Chinese made and reflect quality. Although they have a very good sound, they just don't have that Martin feel and sound like Blueridge does. Blueridges have already increased a lot in price, and I expect them to go up more as they catch on.

My Blueridge is comparable in appointments to a D 28. As to whether is sounds as good or better, it would depend on the D 28. It's already opening up and sounding sweeter. My Martin D16RGT is definitely sweeter than my Blueridge, but I've had it since August and it's been played. I'm curious to know what a little more time will do to the Blueridge sound. The thing that really surprises me is how responsive the Blueridges are...the volume...they feel alive in my hands.

The first Blueridge I admired was a BR 40...I still like it. It doesn't have solid back and sides, but it sounds great. I may yet buy the one in the store...it sounds as good as my BR160...or I might hold out for the new Martin one seriesm depending on my reactions when I finally get to play one.

I played a bunch of Taylors at a roadshow two weeks ago...nice guitars with a wonderful amplification system, but I don't like them as much as Blueridge. I would like to try a Collings, but they cost more than I can spend on guitars. Blueridge can satisfy GAS for a lot less.

http://www.edrhoades.com/photogallery/guitars.htm
Hi there
Aquired a Blueridge BR-160 a few weeks ago and I have a couple of issues with it,bearing in mind this is my first acoustic(I'm primarily a Les Paul player) I find the intonation is pretty poor on the G string in particular,don't know if this is the norm with an acoustic,might get a compensated bone saddle,should sort it out,my other concern is notes played on the A string above about fret 6 sound rather woody with very little sustain,it does'nt seem to be poor fretwork and I've changed the strings twice(phosphore bronze),I know its drifting from the original thread but if anyone had any advise I would be very grateful
Mark
Ed,

I owned a Blueridge BR-160 for a couple of years as my primary acoustic guitar. I've also a couple of acoustics including a Larrivee D03M (wonderful guitar... just not a bluegrass machine) and an Epiphone DR-500P. All fine guitars. I sold my Blueridge for my current guitar a Martin D-41 Special.

Here's what I can tell you from my personal experiences:

* For the money.... the Blueridges can't be beat (period).

* In comparison with my Martin, the Blueridge had more thumping / percussive low-end. What the Blueridge didn't have which the Martin did have was a nice balanced tonal qualities when strummed... the low end seemed to dominate. I really did a lot of A/B comparisons to ensure that I really wanted to keep the higher end guitar.

* When doing my research, I found that people who had bought higher end Martins as their primary guitar had bought the Blueridge as their secondary guitar.

* I primarily focus in the bluegrass / bluegrass gospel genre... and this can be snobbish bunch... which tends to favor Martins. However, I had one guy who was really an excellent guitar player (who by the way owned several upper end Taylors not Martins) eyeing my Blueridge. He was making a comment about "I heard those things had issues in the necks...." My simple reply was "I haven't had any issues whatsoever.... want to try it out?" After hesitantly picking it up,..... he broke out in some furious fingerstyle bluegrass and totally tore up the place... When he was done... he had a big ****-eating grin on his face... and he said "Wow... this is really a machine"... No more comments from him :-)

* My Blueridge cost me $450 with a case used. My Martin cost me $2500 with a case used (but like new). Go figure!

* I added an LR Baggs I-Beam Active pickup.... happy with it except too boomy... very sensitive to placement under the bridge. In comparison, my Martin with it's Fishman peizo doesn't have too much sensitivity to boomy feedback (well matched with the guitar).

* The fretboard abalone snowflake appointments on the Blueridge seem to be a copy of the D-41 Special... I wish the headstock of the BR-160 didn't have all the bling... but that's minor.

* I sold it to a good friend of mine... he said he and and his family absolutely love it.... and prefer it over their Ovation Ultra and Guild D25M. The only reason I sold it was to demonstrate to my wife that I was willing to sell something to buy something (that's a story in of itself).

So... in closing... in my experience... you're onto a great guitar!

Regards,

Mark Butikofer
Gridley, IL
Hi Ed-
I own a Blueridge BR 180. Nice rendition of a Martin D-45...visually. Stays in tune and plays well - but, compared to my HD-28, there is a noticeable difference in depth, warmth and sustain. The Blueridge is both pretty and adequate - but, with it's over glossed finish, it simply "ain't no Martin." I keep it for gigging with casually when I don't want to chance bringing the Martin into a room!
David
My Blueridge is opening up. It's louder than all my Martins and is very responsive. It's definitely not as sweet as my Martin D16RGT, but it's getting sweeter. (So is my D16RGt) The Blueridge is lighter in weight than my other guitars and has as much or more sustain than my Martins. I'm not sure if all the Blueridge guitars are like that...or if I just got a cannon. I played a higher end Blueridge that belongs to a friend. It resembles a 00045. The workmanship is gorgeous and it sounds very nice, but for my ear, it's not as nice as my Blueridge dreadnaught.

Has anyone played the new Martin one series? The one that interests me is the dread with solid woods and onboard electronics including an onboard tuner.

I haven't used the Blueridge for gigs or recording yet, but it's great for acoustic jams.

www.edrhoades.com
I've only had my Blueridge for a few months, so I guess I'm not much help for you. But it's already my favourite guitar. I got the mahogany parlour, The neck is great so far, plays true all the way up and really nice action. For a small guitar it's really loud and very nice tone. It seems like a much more expensive instrument that it was!

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