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The mandolin reviews database is here to help educate people before they purchase an instrument. Of course, this is not meant to be a substitute for playing the instrument yourself!

89 reviews in the archive.

Breedlove: Breedlove Premier Series FF

Submitted by Josey DC on 1/5/2015

Where Purchased: Sam Ash

Year Purchased: 2015
Price Paid: 1489.16 ($US)


Awesome sound...many have stated something along the lines that Breedloves, like Collings, have a more "modern" sound, i.e. not the typical "woof & woody & depth" of the instruments in the Gibson camp. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the owner's manual, Breedlove mandolins are built with a deeper body and higher contour of the top, *very* condusive to a rich, woody tone. The volume of my particular instrument is incredible...a real "banjo killer"...the strings will break before the instrument reaches it's full volume apex...

Sound Rating: 10


The action was fine when I purchased it, I just tweaked the bass side of the saddle up a wee little bit...other than that, I have not done a thing to it... My action on the G-D strings is right at 2 1/2 32's of an inch, the A-E strings are about the same as well. A pleasure to play, because the stings are not jacked up so high as to kill your fingertips...

Setup Rating: 10


Mine is slightly fancier in appearance (the figuring in the wood, i.e. the maple back and sides and the tight grian lines in the spruce top) Also, I've noticed for whatever reasons, mine is finished a bit darker than most, a bit more darker than amber colored

Appearance Rating: 10


The hardware seems to be very good quality. I did gun-oil the tuners to make them tune smooth as silk. The fit of the bridge to the top is nearly perfect, the saddle stands straight up without bending over, as I have seen happen in instruments at 3-4 times the price, The finish is very thin, but very durable...I would definitely gig/record with this instrument without a thought of a back-up instrument, save only if I broke a string and had to make a quick switch...

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

The warranty is a lifetime warranty to the original owner... they even give a 2-year warranty on the tuners and a one year warranty on the hardshell case. I have dealt with them over the phone (gave my instruments serial number to find out exactly when it was made/completed) and the woman I talked to was extremely helpful...

Customer Service: 10


I like the large frets, and the choice of wood used in the construction of my particular FF... I've owned 4 of these FF models now and each one has been very consistant in terms of flawless construction. I've only re-sold if I found one that sounded better to my ears and the one I have now is the best one I have can hear the wood and steel (strings) workig together very well on this instrument and that tone is just great over the entire tonal palate...if you want bottom end, it'll give you that, velvety, bell-like highs, it'll give you that (without sounding "tinny") and more volume than you can possibly want. There are no cheap parts on this instrument...but if I could change anything, it'd be a simple one...install real pearl tuner knobs on the tuners. That's it.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

I can sum this up in one sentence...this Breedlove Premier Series FF sounds BETTER than an instrument costing 4 or 5 times what I paid for it...and sound is what is the most important thing to me, other than top-tier craftsmanship... ... ...

Overall Rating: 10

Mandolin Picks: Blue Chip Flat Picks

Submitted by Josey DC on 1/5/2015

Where Purchased: Bought from the maker

Overall Comments

I started making and using real t-shell picks back in 1993 and used the exclusively until I tried out the first Blue Chip pick someone handed to me. I have to give credit where credit is due... the Blue Chip is a better pick than a real shell pick because it *never* wears out and STILL gives great tone, like real T-shell. The pick I'm using now (Blue Chip TAD-60) is going on 5 years of use, without *any* signs of wear. Real T-shell picks WILL eventually wear enough to have to be replaced. But hey...I enjoyed making my own picks and I knew it was only a matter of time until someone came up with a superior material. My style of playing is very aggressive...and the Blue Chip pick can take it, without ever wearing out. Just a super product... ... ... 

Overall Rating: 10

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