Breedlove Atlas Solo J350/CM Acoustic Electric Guitar Review

Posted by Sherrie Kearney on Saturday, May 7, 2011

Breedlove Atlas Solo J350/CM Acoustic Electric Guitar
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Some up front disclaimers:

1) I am a hobbyist with guitars and quite the amateur and am no expert by any means.

2) This is the first acoustic (and only the second guitar, the first being a Variax) that I've ordered online.

I recently purchased this guitar from Amazon. I've wanted a Breedlove for some time. The Atlas series is the higher end of the Korean made Breedloves and is designed and has the final setup and QC done in Breedlove's Bend, Oregon facility.

First to address the online ordering experience:

1) Ordering from Amazon was quick and easy, this was the last one in stock and was serviced by Amazon.

2) The guitar came in a Breedlove box packed in a plastic wrapped Deluxe gig bag. There was no apparent
shipping damage, much to my surprise :)

3) After the guitar acclimated for a while I unpacked it. In the gig bag (it's a pretty nice bag) was the
guitar and a small package with an allen wrench for the truss rods (notice the s on the end of rod, more
later), a spare saddle and a couple of shims for the saddle (which I definitely did NOT need).

4) When first unpacked I found the action to be extremely high (unplayable past the 3rd fret high). I adjusted the neck truss rod quite a bit (a full turn clockwise) and that helped some but I didn't want to go any further so I backed it off half a turn and decided to take it to a local dealer and get a setup done. The setup rendered things much better (saddle was shaved down). In hindsight most guitars ordered online will probably require a setup so I won't whine too bad. Just remember that's out of pocket when ordering online.

5) The end pin jack was extremely loose (I could pull it out 1/4 inch). I easily fixed the end pin issue.

That said, once the setup was done and I was happier:

Thoughts on sound:

Much of this is very subjective and about the player and their style. I play mostly with a pick and a
combination of picking and light to medium strumming. I have a light to medium touch and don't dig in much or
play with a heavy or fast style. If you are into heavy strumming though the guitar can lose it when really digging in.

Unplugged this guitar sound pretty good. It is definitely loud and projects well and has plenty of nuance. It
doesn't sound too boomy and is pretty even sounding across the board. The treble is there but not too much so.
The sustain is definitely "there". The harmonics are clear but a bit hard to pin down. The sound of this guitar
is almost bell like, it kinda' sings. All in all the sound is quite nice.

Plugged up through my setup the guitar definitely acquires some bass (a bit much in some situations) but the
L.R. Baggs sounds pretty good overall and is very adjustable.

On the side sound hole: This feature REALLY opens this guitar up to the player. I can hear nuances in the sound
of the guitar that just aren't there with any other guitar I play. While this feature may be subjective I can't
say enough about how it really wraps the player up in the sound of the guitar. The sound is something that
can't be recorded effectively and just has to be heard first hand, if you get a chance you should definitely
try one of the Solo series to see what I mean.

Thoughts on playability:

Though the guitar is relatively unforgiving of sloppy fretting the neck is very playable. The satin finish on
the neck is fast and not sticky in the slightest. The neck is relatively thin and a bit wider than I'm used to
but is really comfortable and easy to play. The guitar is a Jumbo and the body is deep and large so I will need
to adjust a bit but overall balance and playability is nice.

Thoughts on build quality:

The guitar uses the "JLD Bridge Truss" for bracing. This I believe was a system originally designed to repair guitars that had top bowing issues and was designed to transfer some of the string tension from the bridgeto the sides. It is basically a truss rod that connects the bridge to the tail block. It seems to work well and helps sustain a lot.

In summary:

All in all for a $750 Breedlove I like this guitar a lot. I wish I could have afforded one of the Pro series
but it was twice as much. The guitar sounds distinctive in a good way, is well balanced and plays well. The
monitor sound hole adds to the richness of the sound. I would encourage anyone looking for a new acoustic in the
$700 and up (and you definitely can go UP with Breedlove!) to give these guitars a close look. I'll be looking at the new American Series Solo for sure!

Click Here to see more reviews about: Breedlove Atlas Solo J350/CM Acoustic Electric Guitar

Product Description:
The Breedlove Atlas Series Solo J350/CM is a solid top acoustic guitar that takes advantage of the bold Breedlove aesthetic. With the Breedlove Engineered Bracing and JLD Bridge Truss System this resonant and versatile jumbo body is very comfortable, sounds great acoustically and records cleanly and dynamically. The specially tuned top is also ideal for alternate tunings and powerfully projects for big group jams.

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