Breedlove is one of the newest makers of guitars on the mainstream market having only been in business since 1990. However, being such a new (relatively speaking) brand, they have grown during a time of increased social conscience and environmental awareness, which has led to innovations like their EcoTonewood, and guitars like the Breedlove Eco Discovery S Concert.
While as a brand, they don’t enjoy the same kind of household name status as other manufacturers, they have become immensely popular of late. As their popularity has increased, as has their range of affordable guitars.
In this KillerGuitarRigs Review, we go into more depth on the Breedlove Eco Discovery S Concert, a guitar that took our “Top Pick” award in our roundup of the 7 best acoustic guitars under $500. We put it through its paces to check out whether it really offers the type of bang for your buck that Breedlove claims.
Who Is This For?
The Breedlove Eco Discovery S Concert is a great choice for any guitarist. For beginners, it offers a great platform for learning, with an exceptionally comfortable body shape, and a very forgiving neck, all at a very reasonable price.
Intermediate and advanced players will love the well balanced, yet nuanced tones and fantastic warmth, as well as the superb reliability and build quality.
Appearance / Features / Controls
The Breedlove Eco Discovery S has a full size concert body, but it would still be considered a small guitar by comparison with something like a dreadnought. It’s quite a plain, earthy looking model, but doesn’t make it any less attractive. It’s light on embellishments, but those that are present are extremely well executed, for example, the subtle black body binding, and the unique tortoiseshell style rosette inlay.
We loved the transparency with regard to the build materials. Right on the label inside the sound hole, Breedlove announces exactly what it’s made from – on the top, solid mahogany, for the back and sides is EcoTonewood mahogany. The solid top was a great touch, and the EcoTonewood, which unlike most layered woods, actually uses mahogany as the center layer, makes it sound much more like an all solid wood guitar than anything else we’ve tested like it.
The neck was made with mahogany, and had a super comfy slim C profile. We found it to be fast playing and very forgiving. It had an Ovangkol fretboard, which looked and felt good – pretty much all we can ask for in a guitar at this price point. Fretwork was all on point, too, with nice smooth crowns, and well finished edges.
We were also impressed with the quality of the hardware, too, particularly the tuners, which performed very well, holding tune across a range of conditions, and even after we’d been playing for quite some time.
Performance / Sound
This was one of the warmest, richest acoustics we’ve ever come across in this price range, and we found that it sounded a lot like the fantastic Martin 000-15M, a guitar that costs more than 3 times as much!
It delivered sweet, articulate tones, with just the right amount of punch for a concert style body.
We loved the factory setup, too. It came with a comfortable low action right out of the box, and the neck was arrow straight. It was extremely forgiving, with only very light pressure required to fret the strings, all without fret buzz.
This Breedlove really shone when played fingerstyle. It didn’t have quite the volume it would need to sit in with a mix as a rhythm guitar, but with lead lines and fingerpicked/arpeggiated passages it really cut through. Regardless, it was still quite responsive, and gave us some interesting and complex tones.
The frequencies were strongest in the upper mids and trebles, as is typical for guitars of this type, but the mahogany still provided some really nice balance through the mids, adding characteristic warmth.
Thanks to the solid top it was beautifully resonant, and offered excellent sustain. This was no doubt also assisted by the EcoTonewood.
We loved the feel of the body. It was comfortable to hold whether seated or standing, and thanks to the relatively compact dimensions, smaller and younger players should have no issues using this guitar, too.
Other Guitars to Consider
The Breedlove Eco Discovery S Concert delivers a lot of guitar for the money. Not only does it come with a solid top, but the hardware is great, as is the playability, and the sustainable construction process is the icing on the cake. Despite all of its merits, there’s still a chance you want to check out some other options before committing, though. Here are some of our favorite alternatives!
The Yamaha FG830 is another amazing acoustic for under $500. Like the Breedlove, it has a solid top, but because it’s spruce rather than mahogany, it’s a might brighter sounding guitar – which is definitely something some players prefer. Additionally, it has a dreadnought style body, which delivers a much beefier sound.
The Taylor BBT Big Baby Taylor is a touch more expensive, but offers unparalleled build quality in the sub $500 price range. It serves up incredible tones, with tons of character and a huge dreadnought style voice. It’s slightly smaller than a full size dreadnought, which makes it a super comfortable choice, but it doesn’t sacrifice tone in the process.
Final Thoughts on the Breedlove Eco Discovery S Concert
The Breedlove Eco Discovery S Concert was a real joy to play. It sat well within the $500 budget, and felt like a guitar that cost well over it! The beauty lay mainly in its simplicity. It didn’t need flashy appointments or high tech features – just quality materials and great workmanship. The results spoke for themselves.
It gave us great tones, and fingerstyle players and flatpickers will particularly appreciate what it has to offer. It’s comfortable for beginners and younger players, and yet, it offers enough complexity, and of course reliability, for more experienced players to really get the most out of it.
We are also big fans of Breedlove’s commitment to the use of sustainable materials and construction practices. Conservation of trees is hugely important to guitar building and lutherie as we move to the future, so it was great to see what could be accomplished with this in mind.
Ultimately, the Eco Discovery S is a great choice for any player trying to stick to a sub $500 budget, and we’d gladly put our endorsement on it.