BY GAYLA DRAKE PAUL
Like a lot of successful guitar compa- nies, Breedlove maintains a guitar line
with a little something for everyone. Last
year, I reviewed an under-$1000 American
Series C20 with solid Sitka and solid
mahogany that blew me away with its value
and playability (July 2010 web exclusive).
But Breedlove still makes beautiful high-end guitars of the sort that put the company on the map in the first place, and the
company’s Passport series are a fine example
of how to mix quality, style, and sound in
an affordable instrument.
The walnut-and-redwood Focus SE
reviewed here tends toward the pricier
end of Breedlove’s product spectrum, but
it demonstrates why Breedlove remains
a major player in the high-end acoustic
market and a favorite of players from Jeff
Tweedy to Ed Gerhard and ex-Byrd and
Burrito Brother Chris Hillman. This is an
exceptional and unique guitar.
Walnut and Redwood
With its walnut back and sides and redwood top, the 25 1/2"-scale Focus SE
has a recipe that’s hard to beat for this
reviewer—and the tonewoods are just
the start. Subtle ornamentation, a bound
ebony fretboard, and ebony tuner buttons all exude a soft-spoken luxuriousness.
The delicate abalone rosette and redwood
top complement each other perfectly, and
the asymmetrical winged, pinless bridge
almost seems to wink at you when you
look at the guitar. With its compact, cutaway body and signature headstock, the
Focus SE is unmistakably a Breedlove.
It’s tough for any guitar manufacturers to