We have sold several Breedlove 12 string guitars before with great success. All of Breedlove’s 12 strings are considered but most critics to be the finest of their kind anywhere, but Breedlove’s Master Class version the Classic XII is by far a perfect example of what a 12 string is supposed to sound like. When a customer asked us to play it and describe it to them, the following is what we reported.
First off the Stripped Ebony is gorgeous as you will see from the photos. It beautiful chocolate and Mocha streaks all around the sides down the middle and down the back, just beautiful.
It has a very clear and even grained top with classic bindings, but the star of this guitar is the book matched Striped Ebony.
It was de-tuned for shipping so my first attempt at playing it was uneventful. I got out my tuner and began tuning her up, and with a 12 string this takes a few tries to get it just right. I used the old fashion tuning method, a tuning fork and my ear. I am sure it would have gone faster with an electronics tuner but I wanted to try it this way first. The intonation was perfect.
When I got her in tune I played it for a while and fell in love with the tone, deep and rich and harmonic as you would expect. I played a few songs that I knew would sound good on a 12 string and was even more impressed. I then tried a stiffer pick and this thing erupted with tons of volume and bass. I was falling in love by this time but then I tried the familiar 12 string arpeggio from the opening of Hotel California by the Eagles and was astounded. It really does sound like you are playing a grand piano and a good grand piano too. You can play clear and soft or when pushed you can produce enough volume to produce envious looks from your fellow players.
This guitar is not dripping with Abalone and Mother of Pearl like some of the other Master Class guitars from Breedlove, but it has classic simple beauty with some really beautiful select Striped Ebony mated to a wonderful sounding top, but who cares what it looks like when it sounds like this. So this is what a really good 12 string is supposed to sound like.
I then pulled out a few other 12 strings I have here for comparison. I have a nice and basic Takemine that sounded tinny and shallow compared to this. I also have two Breedlove Focus 12 strings, one a Rosewood model and another one in Maple. As you would expect for Breedlove’s they sound really good. The Rosewood model sounded rich and harmonic and the Maple one was really crystal clear with way too much high end for me but it sounded really good in its own way.
The Classic XII had better string action and much more depth and volume. It has very even tone all across the board with lots of mid range and even highs. When pushed the whole guitar erupts with volume and harmonics. While the other two Breedlove Focus 12 strings sounded as good as any 12 string around the Classic XII is another instrument altogether.