REVIEW > BREEDLOVE
dramatic Breedlove design, but wonderfully
complements the more traditional, retro
look of the guitar, and the nickel open-gear
Grover tuners set it off just right. The bone
nut is 1 3/4" wide, making both fingerstyle
and strumming easy and comfortable. And as
a bonus, yes, it’s made right here in the USA.
The deluxe hardshell case is very plush
and comfortable to carry, and the owner’s
manual and warranty card come in a very
nice folder with what looks like sealing wax
with a Breedlove “B” stamped in. The OM/
SMe also has a strap button installed at the
factory, making it instantly stage-ready. As
always, Breedlove has paid close attention
to ergonomics—this is a very, very comfortable guitar to hold whether on a lap or
hanging over a shoulder.
Greater Than Acoustic guitarists know how hard it is to capture the true sound of a guitar with a pickup, good lord, we know. In an ideal world, we’d all be playing in concert halls and opera houses tuned specifically for acoustic music, to adoring and pin-drop quiet huge audiences, where amplification is merely enhancing what’s already there so nobody misses any of the details. Grab a nice stage condenser mic, find the sweet spot on your guitar, and you’re in business. Unfortunately, the real world is mostly the opposite of that, and we wind up play- ing in coffee houses, restaurants, or bars where machinery and conversation do their best to drown out even the broad strokes of the music. Anybody trying to do those gigs with a mic knows nothing but frustration.
Turn it up loud enough to hear and you get
feedback. To kill the feedback you have to
suck the tone out of the guitar, and much
of the time you can’t get loud enough to
compete with the room noise anyway. In
that environment, pickups are no longer an
boosted the warm
factor a bit, which
may actually be
something the top
does because of
Revival seems to
almost glow in
option–they’re completely necessary. And
most of them don’t sound all that great, so
we rely on EQs and preamps and modeling
technologies to put the “acoustic” sound
back in the mix, but even that rarely captures what our guitars really sound like.
The goal with the Voice series was to cre-
ate guitars that sound the same plugged in
as unplugged. Of course, there are going to
be subtle variations from room to room and
from amp to amp—some acoustic guitar
amps are transparent and some are midrang-
ey—but the thinking is, if you start with a
true representation of your guitar’s voice,
you will be much closer to the tone you
want than ever before. By voicing the top
and tuning the Anthem mic, Breedlove and
Baggs designed a system that gives you the
same acoustic-sounding goodness through
an amp that you get on your couch.
Sounds Like ...
Acoustically, the Revival is a sweetly voiced,
yet no-nonsense flattop. It’s a charmer with
a tight, punchy low end and brilliant highs,
which is a great start for a stage guitar. The
sound is round enough to satisfy, yet it
maintains a wonderful clarity. When you
dig in, there’s a satisfying schwing that never
ceases to surprise.
Dropping to DADGAD boosted the
warm factor a bit, which may actually be
something the top does because of the
design—the Revival seems to almost glow
in DADGAD. I literally got out of bed one
night a little after 11:00 and played until
well after 1:00, just because I wanted to hear
it again. It sounds great in my living room.
Onstage through a PA system, the
Revival sounds pretty much exactly as
I described above. Because of the room
I was in, I needed to dial out some of
the highs because the tone was slightly
brittle, but everything else stayed flat.
Strumming and fingerstyle both sounded
great. There were more body sounds with
the Anthem—sometimes that’s desirable
and sometimes not—and you’ll have to
get used to it if you haven’t played a guitar
with an internal mic. They are a lot more
sensitive to your movement, clothing, and
yes, string squeak. I did change the strings
right away, which reduced the string
Breedlove, Voice Revival OM/SMe, Street: $2,999, breedlovemusic.com
Pros: Sounds equally great plugged in or unplugged.
Cons: Internal mic is sensitive to body movement. A tad on
the expensive side.
With the Revival OM/SMe, Breedlove has
gorgeously married tradition to technology,
and the partnership with L.R. Baggs has
produced an exceptional instrument that
sounds as good plugged in as not. It is as
comfortable to play as it is wonderful to
hear, and craftsmanship and quality are top
notch in both the guitar and the electronics. A worry-free friend for life from stage
to studio and home again.
PREMIER GUITAR APRIL 2012 DR14