The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > General Acoustic Guitar Discussion

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 09-21-2011, 05:45 PM
samcatluth samcatluth is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 451
Default Blueridge guitars

Has anyone come across details of how Blueridge guitars are made? I know they are made in China but I'm curious how they manage to put together some nice mass produced guitars. It doesn't appear to be the typical mass production factory because the workmanship is a level above what one would expect.
Jeff B.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 09-21-2011, 07:37 PM
Guitar Hack Guitar Hack is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 567
Default

They are based on pre-war Martins for the most part. The BR-140 is based on the D-18, BR-160 is based on the D-28.
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 09-21-2011, 08:08 PM
L20A L20A is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Roy Utah
Posts: 5,829
Default

The Blueridge line of guitars are made in a guitar factory, not a typical sweat shop. The people are craftsmen and they make very respectable guitars.
__________________
Happiness Is A New Set Of Strings
L-20A
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 09-22-2011, 03:56 AM
Ilovetaylors Ilovetaylors is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NYC
Posts: 2,191
Default

They are pretty alright.
__________________
selling it all...
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 09-22-2011, 04:33 AM
steveyam steveyam is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 2,302
Default

In the past few weeks I've become very interested in Blueridge guitars. In fact, I'm just going out to a store to check one out. They are clearly copies - and very nice ones too - of Martins. What I like is their cheek in going back to prewar Martin specs and not asking a lot more money for it. Meanwhile, Martin only have to utter the words 'original bracing', 'pre-war', and so on, and the price goes up thousands. I also have to laugh at the Blueridge ad; "Authentic vintage style Bluegrass guitars designed in the USA". Yeah, by Martin!

Anyway, I'll report back later on the one that I audition.
__________________
Experienced guitar tech and singer/guitarist based in the midlands, England.
McIlroy AJ50
Yamaha CPX-1200
Yamaha CPX-700/12
Yamaha LS16
Yamaha FG-300
Yamaha FG-580
Vox V2000-DR

+ electric guitars..
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 09-22-2011, 11:44 AM
steveyam steveyam is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 2,302
Default

Right. I've just got back from my trip to that store to see their Blueridge guitars. I have to say right away, I am disappointed. They had around eight guitars, so it was not as if I was just looking at one or two. My first impression was how 'Chinese' they looked. Overthick lacquer, gloopy and uneven in places (that's lacquer 'runs', probably due to trying to get a finish in a minimum of coats). On a BR-240 the neck profile was inconsistent; kinda Ibanez Wizard and flat at the head end with noticeable and uncomfortable 'shoulders', changing to a normal C profile lower down. This was definitely an error as it was not on other models and certainly not on a Martin I tried later in a different store. The lacquer itself I think was poly. I realise we're looking at price points, but nitro would be better.

And on the subject of price, far from them being a bargain, I reckon they are high priced for what you are getting. Let's talk figures. The BR-180's SRP is 1200 in the UK. Taking into account the above issues, just by way of a comparison, my Yamaha CPX-1200's SRP is 1200. Both guitars are made in China, both are solid spruce and solid rosewood, but the finish on the Yamaha is literally perfect; just as good as any high end guitar, with abalone and paduak inlays and mahogany binding etc etc. Also, the Yamaha includes a state of the art SRT preamp within that price. When I got to the second shop, with images fresh in my mind of the Blueridges, there was a display of Yamaha L series guitars in the 400 to 650 price range. No kidding, the finishing standard on all of them would knock spots off those glossy gloopy Blueridges.

I didn't - and certainly don't - intend this post to be seen as a comparison between Yamaha and Blueridge; it's purely circumstantial. The point is, I was REALLY looking forward to liking these Blueridges. I had a very positive, excited vibe going to see them. What I found was a bunch of overlacquered, inconsistently manufactured guitars, that just shouted 'Chinese build'. Sorry, that's my view. I wanted to like them, I was even planning to buy one. Unless I happen to find one that does not suffer from the above problems, I won't be buying one. And finally, the sound. Don't think that it isn't important to me, I just wanted to make the above points first. Yes, they had a good sound. And frankly, if they have slavishly copied Martins like everyone says they have, then that is to be expected. I later tried a real D-28 in the second store and I have to say, to my experienced ears, it was quite a bit better. Ok, that's not much of a comparison; one Martin against a couple of Blueridge that I tried.

I would be very interested to hear other peoples' views re the points I raise. And finally, I have been buying guitars from budget to four figure models, and from vintage to 'hot off the jigs' for 40 years.
__________________
Experienced guitar tech and singer/guitarist based in the midlands, England.
McIlroy AJ50
Yamaha CPX-1200
Yamaha CPX-700/12
Yamaha LS16
Yamaha FG-300
Yamaha FG-580
Vox V2000-DR

+ electric guitars..
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 09-22-2011, 12:08 PM
L20A L20A is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Roy Utah
Posts: 5,829
Default

For one thing, the finish is Poly and not lacquer on most Blueridge guitars.
The prices on them where I live are good for what the guitar is.
If you want to step up in quality, look at the Eastman line.
They are a little more money but they are better made guitars.
__________________
Happiness Is A New Set Of Strings
L-20A

Last edited by L20A; 11-21-2018 at 07:06 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 09-22-2011, 12:36 PM
BrookTrout BrookTrout is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Hershey, PA
Posts: 208
Default

steveyam,
It sounds like you saw a bunch of real dogs. I do know that when shopping for a Blueridge (or any mass produced guitar) you should try as many of the same model as you can. There will be inconsistencies in the production and you want the "Tuesday" guitar, not the "Friday" one.

What you are describing sounds much worse. Other than the gaudy headstock and heavy poly (which is evenly and professionally applied) my 1060 is perfect. I have seen quite a few really nasty Recording Kings pop up on ebay. I imagine that these Chinese guitars are sorted and picked quite a bit. When I shopped them locally the quality was quite a bit higher.

Maybe you were looking at the bottom of the barrel? Stranger things have happened.

All that said. I love my BR-1060 but I hate the bling and the thick poly even if it is nice and even. Mine does sound very good but it isn't an HD-28.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 09-22-2011, 01:03 PM
steveyam steveyam is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 2,302
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrookTrout View Post
steveyam,
It sounds like you saw a bunch of real dogs. I do know that when shopping for a Blueridge (or any mass produced guitar) you should try as many of the same model as you can. There will be inconsistencies in the production and you want the "Tuesday" guitar, not the "Friday" one.

What you are describing sounds much worse. Other than the gaudy headstock and heavy poly (which is evenly and professionally applied) my 1060 is perfect. I have seen quite a few really nasty Recording Kings pop up on ebay. I imagine that these Chinese guitars are sorted and picked quite a bit. When I shopped them locally the quality was quite a bit higher.

Maybe you were looking at the bottom of the barrel? Stranger things have happened.

All that said. I love my BR-1060 but I hate the bling and the thick poly even if it is nice and even. Mine does sound very good but it isn't an HD-28.
Well, yeah, but I would much prefer that they sort their QC problems out at source rather than these dogs appear on the market for us to do. They shouldn't be appearing in stores, those dogs. Or go back a stage further (pre shipping QC) and sort out the problem in the manufacturing shops, get them built correctly in the first place, adding efficiency to help keep prices down - duff guitars ultimately cost the company money. You don't have to sift through loads of guitars with a Yamaha, QC is excellent and consistent; they're Chinese too (not all models I know). Yes, I would still buy a good one (Blueridge) maybe, but in England we just don't have the opportunity to get 'hands on' with dozens of guitars. Hell, I've seen eight already. I think I need to just wait. I can see that there's maybe a learning curve going on here, and that the QC will gradually improve to the point where most of the guitars being shipped are of good quality, no need to sift so much.
__________________
Experienced guitar tech and singer/guitarist based in the midlands, England.
McIlroy AJ50
Yamaha CPX-1200
Yamaha CPX-700/12
Yamaha LS16
Yamaha FG-300
Yamaha FG-580
Vox V2000-DR

+ electric guitars..
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 09-22-2011, 01:18 PM
PowerTube PowerTube is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Knoxville, TN.
Posts: 491
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by steveyam View Post
Right. I've just got back from my trip to that store to see their Blueridge guitars. I have to say right away, I am disappointed.
Same here, as of a couple of years ago. I had played one and really liked it, BUT.... I wanted to make sure it wasn't just that "music store vibe" talking, so I brought in my cheap Kona 00-sized to compare. I brought my Brother-in-law along to watch the kids and also for a second opinion. When all was said and done, the Kona actually sounded and felt better than the Blueridge. The better feel can be explained away by the fact that I had done a setup on the Kona, but the sound? That's a different animal.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 09-22-2011, 01:59 PM
ruger9 ruger9 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: NW New Jersey
Posts: 1,397
Default

Well, I haven't played many Blueridges (my local showroom has been under renovation for months now), but I have been reading about them for years, and have played a couple. I also own a Yamaha. A couple of points:

Yamahas are probably a more consistent product. But they sound like Yamahas. They don't, and aren't trying to, sound like Martins.

Blueridges ARE trying to sound like Martins. I haven't personally A/B'ed them, but again- reading the dozens of reviews of people who have, it seems BR has done a pretty good job of it. You will always have the "nothing sounds like a Martin, if you want a Martin, by a Martin" crowd, of course. But there are people who have SOLD their Martins after buying the BR that "copied" it.

So, like BR's QC, reviews are also inconsistent... seems you played a bunch of dogs, and ALOT of people apparently haven't. Very similar to the Silver Creek reviews I read around here & elsewhere.

Frankly, I've played Martins that were dogs. And ALOT of Gibsons that were. On a recent trip, the only Martin I found worthy of purchase was a D-18A... but I didn't have $4000. I didn't play one Gibson worthy of purchase. Maybe a Songwriter series, I forget.

Hopefully, Maury's will be done renovating soon (every month the re-opening date gets pushed back another month), and I'll get to try out a gaggle of BR's on my own, all at once.

I was just thinking... while BR's QC may certainly be questionable, I wonder if any of the "blame" could be put on the shop owner? I've talked to a couple who have returned BR's due to poor QC. And I haven't seen even one instance of Maury selling one to an unhappy customer... maybe that shop needs to start sending the dogs back?
__________________
2018 Farida OT-22 (00)
2008 Walden CG570CE (GA)
1991 Ovation 1769 Custom Legend Deep Bowl Cutaway
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 09-22-2011, 02:02 PM
Idaho John Idaho John is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: In rural Idaho
Posts: 1,142
Default Jeff...

Quote:
Originally Posted by samcatluth View Post
Has anyone come across details of how Blueridge guitars are made? I know they are made in China but I'm curious how they manage to put together some nice mass produced guitars. It doesn't appear to be the typical mass production factory because the workmanship is a level above what one would expect. Jeff B.
I would encourage you to pursue getting a blueridge if that is what you want. I have had the privilege of owning one in the very recent past and found it to be a quality guitar. The finish was superbly done, no "gobs of finish" anywhere, the headstock was toned down and very tasteful and minimal.

I didn't like the tone, but that was more a function of the fact that I have not bonded with adirondack spruce rather than any comment on Blueridge.

Some things to keep in mind about Blueridge/SAGA is that they do sell seconds to certain outlets - with issues that do not meet quality control standards and come with no warranty. And Blueridge dealers can advocate for you by insisting that their inventory meet standards as well (a reputable online dealer will help here). Finally - one of the very few negatives about SAGA that I can say is that they have poor stateside customer service. I hope they work to amend this because the product historically has been of good quality.

Don't forget to check out both Eastman and Recording King. There are affordable quality acoustic guitars out there, you just need the support of a good dealer.

john
__________________
Idaho John

Martin OM-15m custom

Opinions subject to change due to experience...
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 09-22-2011, 02:22 PM
fishstick_kitty's Avatar
fishstick_kitty fishstick_kitty is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Portland, ME
Posts: 2,856
Default

I guess I stumbled across a good batch at my local store. They got 4 OMs in (BR-43, BR-143, BR-63, BR-163) and they all played and sounded great. It does look like they basically dip the whole guitar into a vat of poly, but hey, that would be my only complaint for a $350 guitar. I love mine
__________________
'17 Waterloo Scissortail
'17 David Newton 00 Rosewood
'11 Homemade Strat
Ibanez AS73 w/ Lollar P90s
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 09-22-2011, 03:58 PM
FranK_S FranK_S is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 906
Default

I own 2 Blueridge models, see my sig. line. I bought the BR-40L (Laminated mahogany back & sides) 3 years ago with the intention of keeping it at work. I liked it so much that when I decided to purchase a rosewood dread, I looked into the BR-160L, solid rosewood back & sides.
I called Saga to inquire about a lefty BR-160 and they shipped one over to Gryphon so I could check it out. Gryphon happened to have a lefty D-28 at the time so I was able to go back and forth to see which one I preferred.
I won't say I disliked the Martin but the Blueridge held its own, and for one third the price, the decision was pretty simple. I've lived with the BR-160L for about 2 years now and it just keeps sounding better over time. The lammy BR-40 sounds really good too.

I don't like the over the top bling but I can live with that because they sound very nice, and whenever I play alongside other players, the Blueridge usually gets a lot of attention because they both project so well in the mix.

Gryphon is a highly respected dealer and chose to be a Blueridge dealer. I'm sure if they received negative feedback on the brand, they would stop selling them.
__________________
I'm a lefty.
-----------------
Sunday's on the phone to Monday, Tuesday's on the phone to me........
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 09-22-2011, 05:46 PM
Paulrb Paulrb is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Salem, MA
Posts: 6
Default

I have a Blueridge BR-341 (a 0 size parlour guitar) and also have a Martin 00-19vs. The Martin overall is a better guitar, but it also cost about 4X as much (used). All in all, the Blueridge stands up very well to the Martin -- for its price, I haven't seen or heard better.

Just my 2 cents worth...

Paul
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > General Acoustic Guitar Discussion

Thread Tools





All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:28 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=