Breedlove Unveil New Travel Companion Guitar

Breedlove Unveil New Travel Companion Guitar

Historically, serious guitar players on-the-move have faced a rather tough dilemma; contend with the challenges of traveling with a full-size guitar or settle for a more convenient, smaller instrument with traditionally reduced sound quality… the travel guitar.

Travel guitars. They’ve become ubiquitous. Beaters, some call them. An instrument that’s perfect for a campfire, a guitar to keep in the office or a gift for a niece with a musical bent. Some love them for the novelty, and others even use them for their intended purpose, as an instrument to take on the plane or up the side of a mountain when duty calls.

The team at Breedlove thinks travel guitars are the bee’s knees, too. They just hadn’t found one that they’d actually call a guitar. Or, at least sounded the way a guitar should.

Until now.

Travel guitars, meet your match. Guitar players, meet the Companion.

“The problem in the past,” says Breedlove owner Tom Bedell, “was that the early models were built with different scales. You had to play in different keys, and all that kind of stuff.”

Other builders soon resolved those issues, but often the instruments still seemed lacking.

With the recent refinement of Breedlove’s proprietary body shapes, however, Bedell felt it was finally time for Breedlove to tackle the issue of a travel guitar worthy of beginners and professionals alike.

“What we did with the Companion,” he says, “is exactly what we did with the other body shape designs. We took the Concert and we reduced the size to get the Concertina. Then we took the Concertina and we reduced the size to get the Companion.”

The Companion has 14 frets to the body, and it’s tuned up to E, so you can play it like an absolutely regular guitar. It’s small but we used all the same Sound Optimization work to design the shape, the air chamber, the sound hole size, everything.”

“I know this is not the right word,” Bedell says, but it’s just cute. It’s a really cute guitar.”

“This is Breedlove’s version of the travel guitar, after all,” says designer Angela Christensen. “It gives you the comfort, the feel, the playability that we’re known for, the quality that we’re known for, all of what makes Breedlove unique.”

The Companion, which will be introduced at this year’s Summer NAMM show, is a cutaway instrument with onboard electronics, making it useful for virtually any application, including stage work.

“We looked at this as a new opportunity for us to go about making a travel instrument with our Sound Optimization process, to really develop something that is going to be Breedlove. We honed in on the scale length that we wanted, the kind of overall size that we were shooting for, and then from there we really started the design process, again, off of our Concert body shape.”

“We played with a couple versions, experimenting with the taper on the body, the sound hole diameter, the size of the lower bout. We did a couple renditions and we’ve finally gotten it to where we are very happy. We’re pretty excited to launch the Companion body shape later this year.”

The Companion, which comes with a carry bag, features, Christensen notes, a 23.5 inch scale length; 18 frets total; and a 3.54 inch sound hole diameter.

The body depth is 3.25 inches at the neck; four inches at the tail. The lower bout width is 13.5 inches; the upper just under 10 inches; with an eight inch waist. Body length is 17.5 inches.

The Companion will be available in a variety of wood pairings, including Sitka/mahogany, red cedar/mahogany, myrtle/myrtle, mahogany/mahogany, and torrefied European spruce/African mahogany.

“It’s pretty informative when you see an overlay of all four of our body shapes,” says Christensen. “It is substantially different. If you see the Concerto and a Concert and a Concertina overlaid together, they are proportionately the same. The Companion is pretty dramatically smaller.”

“Personally, I love it because, despite its diminutive size, it still looks like a Concert. It even has the asymmetrical headstock just like the Concert body shape. At a distance it almost looks like it’s a Concert hanging on the wall, and then you go and pick it up and you’re just surprised that it’s not. As soon as you play it, it’s just pleasing because it’s a revelation that it has as much sound as it does. It just fits right in. I’m so happy with where we got with it. It’s the perfect addition to the line. It just works.”

This short music video (below) was shot at a mountain lake above Bend, Oregon – endorsed artist Paul Izak performs “Everlasting Light” on the new Breedlove Companion Travel-Ready Body shape.

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