Traditionally a domestic instrument maker, Breedlove makes some excellent mandolins although most are no longer done so in the USA as of 2016. Despite moving their manufacturing overseas recently, Breedlove still continues to produce great mandolins at a price that is now more affordable than ever. However, there are still a lot of their USA made mandolins on the market for now, so customers can choose from the two based on their personal preferences.
Breedlove was started in 1992 by Larry Breedlove and Steve Henderson in Bend, Oregon. Larry’s brother Kim now runs the company there. The company is focused on producing quality instruments, so you won’t find $100 models here – they are more of a mid to high end brand. As such, they’re most popular among more experienced musicians, although a beginner with more money to spend would certainly love to own one as their first mandolin. The most important thing to remember about this brand is that all of their products are made with real, solid wood that is carved by hand.
Something else unique about this company compared with basically all of the other brands is the way they design their mandolins. They do not copy the traditional A and F-Style models found elsewhere. The Breedlove brothers came up with their own innovative ways to produce a unique sound and balanced tone. The result is a line of mandolin designs that look strikingly different from others.
Breedlove Crossover FF
The FF features an F body with F holes. This design is somewhat close to a traditional F-Style. It is built with Sitka spruce for the top and solid maple for the sides, back and neck.
To make these easier to play, they have radiused the fretboard edges and have a wider nut – this is something you’ll find common on all of the new Crossover models.
Breedlove Crossover FO
The FO design has an F shape body with an O shape hole. The F body is designed to maximize volume and produce a crisp, dynamic sounding tone.
Made with top Sitka spruce and back / side / neck maple woods that are all solid and hand-carved. Excellent for larger hands because of the wide nut width.
The KO model features a K shape body style and an O shape hole. It uses Sitka spruce for the top and maple for the sides, back and neck.
Comes with quality D’Addario 74 strings stock from the factory. Other features like a radius fret board and wide nut make it easier to play. The “K” body is designed to offer the best of the “F” and “O” bodies together in a single instrument – full volume, dynamic tone and a smaller body size.
The OO model has an O body and O hole, which is fairly similar to the traditional A-Style with an oval hole. This is one of their most affordable mandolins, making it an excellent choice for a beginner or simply someone that wants an instrument from this brand but can’t afford the more expensive models.
Ultimately, the A-Style doesn’t suffer from any sound issues compared with other models, so you won’t be losing out on that by opting for the OO. Also made with Sitka spruce and maple like the other models featured on this page.