Breedlove Discovery S Concert CE

Cedar sonics mean super value in a smooth-playing contemporary concert flattop.

Rich, balanced output. Smooth, easy playability. Excellent bass resonance for a concert-sized body. Great build quality. Excellent value.

In spite of great overall balance, midrange might be too strong for some. Modern styling might estrange some traditionalists.

$499

Breedlove Discovery S Concert CE
breedlovemusic.com

4
4.5
4.5
4.5

Good affordable acoustics are wonderfully plentiful these days. But that doesn't mean there isn't room for a guitar like the $499 Breedlove Discovery S Concert CE to make an impression. It's surprisingly punchy and robust in the low-end, for a flattop of its size, and uses a solid Western red cedar top and layered African mahogany back and sides to achieve a balanced, colorful, and complex voice. It's also a pleasure to play—feeling fast under the fingers and as accommodating to haymaker blues leads as to a soft fingerstyle approach or rowdy strum-around.


Purebred Ply and Singing Cedar

One of the nicest things about Breedlove's affordable, China-built Discovery series is the option for a solid cedar top, which we selected for our review version. (Sitka spruce and African mahogany tops are also available.) Fondness for particular top-wood tonalities are as individual and subjective as favorite ice cream flavors. But I love Western red cedar's balance of warmth, reactivity, and focus on the bass side of the frequency spectrum—qualities that make it equally well-suited for a classical guitar top wood or a baritone acoustic. All three of these attributes can be heard and felt when you play the Discovery S Concert CE.

The back and sides are crafted from a 3-layer African mahogany laminate that Breedlove calls Eco Tonewood. Structurally, Breedlove's mahogany laminate differs from many other laminates in that the middle ply is African mahogany rather than a softer wood like poplar or a sheet of wood composite. It can be difficult to gauge the effects of such construction methods on overall tone and playing dynamics. But it's clear that the all-mahogany ply laminate is not a liability. It's easy to discern many classic qualities of a mahogany back—especially the pronounced midrange and focused overtones— working with the snappy and resonant top to create a very detailed composite tone and a dynamic playing experience.

The strength and complexity of the bass fundamentals and overtones are a nice surprise in a cedar-and-mahogany guitar of this modest size.

Bass With Backbone

Most of the bold midrange and pronounced-but soft-around-the-edges treble sounds you hear from the Discovery S Concert CE are representative of what a carefully designed and well-built cedar and mahogany concert-sized body can deliver. But the strength and complexity of the bass fundamentals and overtones are a nice surprise in a cedar-and-mahogany guitar of this modest size—not to mention its price category. In de-tuned settings in particular, the guitar exhibits low-end resonance that inhabits a near-ideal balance between the lowest and highest strings. It's a great guitar for fingerpicking, in this respect, but that balance also makes it shine as a strumming guitar. And unlike a lot of concert-sized instruments with similar tonewood make-ups, the Breedlove's output doesn't turn brash or into a messy, muddy overtone soup when you put a little muscle behind it.

The Verdict

Breedlove bills the Discovery S Concert CE as a beginner-friendly instrument. And while that's certainly true, the label might do a disservice to how complete and pro-friendly the guitar really is. It's very well put together. It's a smooth, easy player and feels fast, and if you're not dogmatic about traditional acoustic styling, you'll dig how much the cutaway extends its already impressive playability. If a jack-of-all trades flattop is what you're after, this Breedlove gets mighty close at a very appealing price.


Who wouldn't love to add a Supro Flanger to their rig? Now's your chance! Enter here for today's Stompboxtober giveaway!

Read MoreShow less

The Trigger Fly Capo builds on the original Trigger Capo—Dunlop’s most popular capo design—designed for better handling and tuning stability.

Read MoreShow less

Gretsch honors the late AC/DC co-founder, guitarist, and songwriter with an all-new signature guitar, Limited Edition Malcolm Young “Red Beast” Signature Jet.

Read MoreShow less

Introducing the new Boogie Cabinet Series, comprised of new guitar cabinet offerings and long-time Mesa player favorites.

Read MoreShow less