Breedlove AC 200/SM

This is how I look playing my new Breedlove guitar.

This is how I will look onstage playing my new Breedlove guitar.

I bought my first acoustic steel string guitar and it arrived on Thursday night! It's Christmas in March for me. I did so much research, people. I know everything there is to know about vintage Yamaha FG acoustics (who they were modeled after, what type of wood was used, which years the "red" label was produced, which have the easiest action, etc., etc., etc.). I could go into detail, but thinking about it tires me so I'll just tell you about the one I now own.

It's a Breedlove AC 200/SM. That means it's from the Atlas series and it is a concert size (has a smaller body than a dreadnought; although this one is slightly larger than most concert-sized guitars). 200 is Breedlove's method of labeling it as having a satin finish, non-cutaway, laminate back. Lastly, SM stands for Sitka Spruce top (solid) and Mahogany (laminate) back and sides.

In terms of appearance, I think this guitar has the prettiest body with a simple abalone rosette around the sound hole, black binding, and a non-cutaway top - I'm not the hugest fan of cut-aways (I know, I know, but you can reach the upper frets easier). I like how clean it looks without a pick guard, however, I probably need one on it. It has a pinless bridge and chrome Grover tuners (which I prefer to that of gold).

I found the sound quality to be the best in considering other new guitars in my price range (I also liked the sound of a Fender CD140S).

I've heard the action is good with no setup necessary; however, it all feels difficult for me right now because I'm just learning. The neck isn't as wide as I thought it would be. Supposedly the nut width is 1 11/16th of an inch, which is on the narrower side for a guitar. It is difficult for me to not press other strings while playing cetain chords, but that could be one of two reasons: I'm just a beginner so am learning how to position my fingers or I have fat fingers. I tend to think it's the latter. Maybe a 1 3/4ths or 1 7/8ths inch nut would be better after all. Regardless, the tips of my fingers hurt and my nails have never been shorter.

Acquiring a guitar has been a very long process for me including many late nights on Ebay, Craigslist, Harmony Central, Guitar Center, Musician's Friend, Youtube and dozens of other sites and stores reviewing guitars and talking to anyone who knows anything about the guitar (thank you brother/Brooks, brother-in-law/Clay, Adam, Kim, Dave, Ronnie, and everyone I emailed on ebay).

To tell you the truth, now that the guitar is here, I'm a little nervous. I think it's going to be even more difficult than I initially thought it would be. I constantly start things and never finish them. I either get bored, distracted, or frustrated when things become challenging and I don't want that to happen this time. I'm going to really put some effort in to learning - even if that means playing 10 minutes every day - which I have been doing.

You know, I've wanted to play since I was 13, but my brothers learned first so I just let them do it - it became their thing and they were/are really great at playing the guitar. Well, over the years I've put my efforts into learning and doing other things - namely excelling at school - and forgot about how much I wanted to learn the guitar. Well, I have a terminal degree so school is dead for me at this point. I have time to do other things like figure out a career path, play the guitar, maybe date. I guess I could have done all of those things while in school, but for some reason when it comes to managing my life, I can't really multi-task. I'm trying to pursue the things I've always wanted to do and not use the lack of money as an excuse to not achieve something. I'm a believer in the phrase, "where there's a will, there's a way." I only hope that my will is finally strong enough to pave the way.

So I've been learning chords at the moment. I have a list of 45 songs I want to learn and have been looking at the tabs for each online (beginning with the songs that sound the easiest play). I'll slowly have to build my way up to Iron & Wine, Wilco, Elliott Smith, and Led Zeppelin. Basically I'm learning how to play on my own with the help of the internet and friends - like Adam, who showed me the Bm chord (Adam I know I said I could learn a barre chord if I wanted to, but maybe I was wrong). I've mostly been practicing the G, D, A, E, Em, and Bm chords. Shifting from one chord to another es muy dificil. Hopefully the more I practice, the more instinctual it will become. I've been learning parts of songs from Harvest Moon by Neil Young, Those to Come and Gone For Good by the Shins, Fade Into You by Mazzy Star, The Boy Done Wrong Again by Belle & Sebastian. As soon as I can play a song, I'll record it for you and upload it to Youtube. Until then, I'm just figuring things out, toughening up my fingers, going to purchase a capo and tuner and rockin' as much as a beginner can. Forget Bread's The Guitar Man, this is The Guitar Woman!

So begins my life as a rock star. Wish me luck!

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Blogger Jacki said...

LUCK!! Brooks is a great guitar play, but you are right... it isn't just 'their' thing. I am whipping my guitar out tonight! You have inspired me!

March 18, 2008 2:18 PM  
Blogger Scrumpestuous D said...

So, I want to play your new guitar, but it looks like you're going lefty... bummer.

March 18, 2008 2:32 PM  
Blogger Lexia said...

No, the photo was taken with my computer and apparently it takes photos backwards (or mirrored...whatever) - notice the lettering on my shirt is off too. Maybe I can change that in the preferences somewhere.

March 18, 2008 2:51 PM  
Blogger Lauren said...

I have to be honest. I skimmed this post because half of it is in a foreign language.

I would just like to say, you definitely are a Snow. You can't half-arse anything. Did I teach you nothing?

March 18, 2008 3:31 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

This is my favorite line of your post: I'm not the hugest fan of cut-aways (I know, I know, but you can reach the upper frets easier).

You're funny, Lex. I think it's good to learn new things. Actually, I think it's the best way to live -- to learn new things. (You should watch "The Count of Monte Cristo" again.) Good luck with your playing; I hope it keeps life interesting. I've been wanting to learn the piano, myself -- hey, does anybody out there have several hundred dollars to lend me? :)

It's a good thing basic guitars are (relatively) cheap. :)

March 18, 2008 7:44 PM  
Blogger The Piano Wizard Queen said...

Great guitar you have there! =) For someone who's just learning how to play guitar, you should try Guitar Wizard (which is coming out this fall). I'm one of the people who's waiting for it to come out the market (I also want to learn to play guitar).It's great for people like us who want to learn guitar on their own. Guitar Wizard is a music software which will teach you how to play guitar and read notes as well. Guitar Wizard comes with a real guitar or you can use your own acoustic guitar with it. You can learn how to play virtually ANY song with Guitar Wizard. To know more, please read this article about Guitar Wizard.

March 19, 2008 4:03 AM  
Blogger Kimberly said...

Lexia! Love the guitar. We'll have to have some jam sessions together and such. And don't get too frustrated, as it will take some time as I still feel like I should know a lot more than I do (but I also could be putting a lot more effort into it). Play on!

March 19, 2008 5:11 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

hey! i have the same guitar. question though. how much did you spend on it? and does it have a pickup with it?

i bought mine 4 years ago online for around 269.99. but i think they actually appreciated in value! i actually just sent mine in to put a fishman natural matix I pick up inside of it so i can plug in.

May 31, 2008 6:10 PM  
Blogger Lexia said...

Hi Jonathan,

I got it on Ebay and ended up spending around $300 with shipping. It's important to note that it didn't come with the nice Breedlove case and some other things that tend to come with a new Breedlove (although technically mine was advertised as new but sat in storage for a couple of years).

Prices for a new Atlas Concert have definitely gone up in the last four years. The cheapest I can find in a store now is around $500.

Mine doesn't have a pickup with it. I don't think the AC's are made with a pickup installed. Maybe I'm wrong about that, but if you check the Breedlove site, it lays out the specs for each model.

It's a great sounding guitar and I'm glad I purchased the AC. Maybe next time I'll buy the AD. No, next time I'm buying a vintage Yamaha 180.

June 01, 2008 2:32 AM  

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