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by Alan Buchalter  |  Jan 3, 2011

Like many of you who have been searching for that perfect guitar...you know...the one that looks great, plays great and sounds great...I've found that these really high quality guitars are going to end up costing at least $2000, often considerably more. And, like many of you, I have tried out all of the low-priced production guitars, looking for something that plays well and sounds pretty good for dragging around town to jam sessions and for road trips. Until recently, the kind of low-cost guitars I've been finding in the $300-$800 range have been constructed with inferior materials, exhibit mediocre craftsmanship and quality control, and play and sound like toys. That all changed when I recently discovered Blueridge Guitars, specifically the BR-140 (Sitka/Mahogany) and BR-160 (Sitka/Rosewood) dreadnaughts, which are manufactured by hand in China by very skilled craftsman using high quality solid tonewoods and distributed in the US by Saga Music located in San Francisco.

The Problem With Low-Priced Guitars
Based on my experience, it seems that most guitars in the $300-800 price range are uninspiring mass-produced production "units" made in Japan, Mexico, Korea or Taiwan. They are typically constructed with laminated plywood sides and backs, most with lower-quality solid wood tops. The latest trend is to make these low-priced models look more attractive to "mass-market" customers by offering a variety of fancy finishes, such as bright paint colors or "figured" woods of uncertain species. The best of these mass-produced cheapies may sound decent, but quality control and playability is often a problem which even a good professional setup may not cure. Well, I've tried most of the guitars in this price range, but have never been able to bring myself to buy one because its just not rewarding enough to play or own them. This includes all of the new sub-$1000 models introduced by Martin, Taylor and other big name guitar manufacturers.

Great Designs, All Solid Tonewoods and Exscellent Craftsmanship
After hearing and reading rave reviews of the Blueridge Guitars for the five years, (specifically the BR-140 and BR-160 models) I tried a few out myself to see what all the fuss is about...and I was not at all disappointed! In fact, I wholeheartedly agree that these exceptionally well made guitars are an excellent value and fill a gap in the lower-priced guitar market. This surprising combination of excellent overall quality and low-price have made Blueridge Guitars a runaway bestseller and stiff competition for the big name makers in the under $2000 market. Blueridge offers a fairly large number of guitar models in various sizes, woods and levels of finish and detailing. I have not yet tried any of their lowest-priced models which, like most other guitars in the low-end market, are built with laminated back and sides with solid tops...but I hear they are as least as good sounding, or better sounding, than those mass-produced in other countries.

The real find here, in my view, is Blueridge's medium-priced all solid wood guitars, the designs of which are based on vintage Martin D-18s, D-28s, 000-18s, 000-28s, and more recently, vintage Gibson sloped-shouldered dreadnaughts such as the J-45. Blueridge also offers some higher-end models with upgraded tonewoods and ornamentation in the style of the Martin D-41, D-42 and D-45 models, and even a few flagship models constructed with solid Brazilian Rosewood. Besides their surprisingly fine tone and playability, two of the most impressive features of the Blueridge Guitars are the consistent quality control and high level of craftsmanship that goes into every one of their guitars, making them a highly recommended "best buy".

Exceptional Guitars Is A Blueridge Dealer
It is with great pride and pleasure that I can now say that I am a Blueridge Dealer! Initially, I will be stocking primarily their two most popular models, the BR-140 and BR-160, both selling in the sub $800 pricerange. We can also order any of the other Blueridge models for you as long as they are in stock through Saga. The entire focus of my guitar business is exceptional instruments. I would not be bothering at all with Blueridge Guitars if I did not feel that they offer exceptional quality, playability, tone and craftsmanship. And for less than $800...they offer exceptional value as well...in fact I feel they are as good, or better, in most respects, than many of the $1500-2000+ guitars on the market today.

Regardless of whether you are a long time collector with a closetful of expensive, high-end guitars who is looking for a really great sounding travel or campfire guitar...or a serious guitar student... or an intermediate player looking for your first really high quality instrument... you owe it to yourself to look into these amazing Blueridge Guitars. For more information about the new Blueridge Guitars we now carry in stock, see our Blueridge Inventory page.

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Alan Buchalter is the manager of Exceptional Guitars. He has been buying, selling and trading guitars for over 30 years.
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