New for 2018, Breedlove’s concertina body shape is designed to produce maximum tone and comfort from a parlor-sized instrument. It comes on the heels of last year’s bigger-bodied Concerto style, and both new additions fall on either side of Breedlove’s original body shape, the mid-sized Concert. The Legacy Series represents the top of Breedlove’s standard production instruments featuring all-solid tonewoods and nifty appointments, and the Legacy Concertina E on review features a Sitka spruce top coupled with cocobolo back and sides.
I received the Legacy Concertina on a sunny day, and I was taken aback by how the sunshine illuminated the cocobolo’s reddish-brown hues and luxurious, swirling grains. Other eye-catchers include a brilliant Legacy Knot soundhole rosette and a similar inlay at the 12th fret. A slotted headstock with open-geared, nickel-plated Gotoh tuners adds an old-world touch to the Legacy Concertina’s classically inspired aesthetic.
The body is as comfortable as it is attractive. I’m a small-bodied dude, and the Concertina felt tailor-made for me. The guitar is actually on the heavy side for its size, but its balance felt right no matter how I changed my stance. When seated, I was easily able to wrap my arms around its whole body, which seemed slightly narrower at the hips and shoulders and shallower than other 12-fretters I’ve tried.
Whopping tone from a petite body is truly the story of the Legacy Concertina. This pequeño senorita delivers big bottom end that’s articulate, not boomy. The mids are strong without being woofy, and the top end is smooth and never brittle. According to Breedlove, cocobolo is the densest tonewood they use, and due to their “sound optimization” process, they are able to cut it thin enough to use for the back and sides. Whatever they’re doing, it clearly works.
With 12 thinnish frets to the body, medium-high action over them, and ample string spacing, the Legacy Concertina excels to the utmost when fingerpicked in styles ranging from classical to folk to Delta blues, but it’s so resonant that you’ll want to strum plenty as well. You can really wail away at the Concertina with a plectrum, and the guitar thrives sonically.
The little Legacy Concertina E delivers big-time on Breedlove’s promise of exceptional depth and power from a parlor-sized instrument, and its amplified sound is equally surprising. Discretely tucked away in the soundhole, the L.R. Baggs Anthem Tru-Mic pickup and preamp system sounded huge and articulate through a Baggs Synapse Personal P.A.
Acoustic or electrified, the Breedlove Legacy Concertina is a bold little beauty, worthy of discerning players, yet financially reasonable considering its innovative design and clean, quality craftsmanship.
Legacy Concertina Natural Shadow E Sitka Spruce–Cocobolo
PRICE $3,099 street
NUT WIDTH 1.75" Bone
NECK Honduran mahogany
FRETBOARD Ebony, 25" Scale
TUNERS Gotoh 700, nickel-plated
BODY Cocobolo back and sides, Sitka spruce top
BRIDGE African ebony
ELECTRONICS L.R. Baggs Anthem Tru-Mic System
CONTROLS Volume, Tone
FACTORY STRINGS D’Addario EXP16 Coated Phosphor Bronze Light
KUDOS Deep sound from small, cozy body. Gorgeous classically inspired appearance. Fab for fingerpicking. Strong, clear amplified sound not prone to feedback or problem frequencies.