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Bigred1951

Canada
Joined 9/26/2010
7 Posts

04/10/2011 20:43:40  View Bigred1951's Blog  Reply with Quote

Hi all,

 

I have a chance to buy a used Blueridge Br-160, with case for under $600. Any thought/opinions on the make & model, related to using it for bluegrass? Any yay or nay comments welcomed. I have yet to see/play it but will hopefully next weekend. I am just a beginner bluegrass player so will appreciate all feedback!

UsuallyPickin

United States
Joined 8/26/2008
268 Posts

04/10/2011 21:31:40  View UsuallyPickin's Blog  Reply with Quote

Yes Blueridge BR 160's can be nice. New ones are going for 700 + tax w/ case....offer him 500$ cash .... The 160's are all solid wood  and that makes these guitars good sounding and a better value....... But buy one you've played and like ...... factories occasionally do come up with a lemon... IMO..Play Long and Hard... R/

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Bluegrass Boy

United States
Joined 2/25/2011
87 Posts

04/11/2011 03:29:48  Reply with Quote

Yes Blueridges are very nice I. It would put up a Fight with a martin if the blueridge sounds as good as some I've played. I would defently get it if I was you

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Bluegrass Boy

United States
Joined 2/25/2011
87 Posts

04/11/2011 03:30:17  Reply with Quote

Yes Blueridges are very nice I. It would put up a Fight with a martin if the blueridge sounds as good as some I've played. I would defently get it if I was you

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ccravens

United States
Joined 4/11/2009
658 Posts

04/11/2011 08:09:50  View ccravens's MP3 Archive  View ccravens's Photo Albums  Reply with Quote

I agree with the previous postet. Yes they (BR's) are generally good, but you need to play it first, 'cause occasionally they can produce a dud.

 

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3fingers

Joined 4/11/2011
1 Posts

04/11/2011 10:17:26  Reply with Quote

 IMHO Blueridge guitars are some of the best guitars for the money that you can get right now.  I'v been playing a Martin for quite a while but if I was in the market for a new guitar I would diffently look at the BR 160. Lke some of the others said I would play the one you were looking at before you buy it but that goes without saying for any instrument, Martin, Collings, Gibson included.wink

 

Craig

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DaddyJ

United States
Joined 3/3/2010
783 Posts

04/11/2011 11:39:44  Reply with Quote

We've been looking for something in this price range for a while now and always come back the the BR-160.  A local shop has 3 or 4 in stock and we're probably going to get one.  Recording Kings are nice for the money too but Blueridge seems to nail the Martin vibe a little better, if that's what you're looking for.

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Steven B

United States
Joined 1/1/2009
137 Posts

04/11/2011 16:53:29  View Steven B's MP3 Archive  View Steven B's Photo Albums  Reply with Quote

I bought a BR-160 several years ago. I would strongly suggest that you give one a try. In the 5 or 6 years I've been playing mine, I have had absolutely no problems with it and the volume/tone seems to have "bettered" with age. (if you visit my homepage, you can see the BR-160 sitting beside my 1976 Yiari DY-77........the Blueridge kills it....dagnabit)

There's only a couple of things that you may not like about the BR-160. 

#1 - The neck is a little small for my taste. I would prefer a wider fret board.

#2 - Some folks might give you a hard time because the label inside the instrument says "Made In China". I really don't care what people might think of my guitars. Naw, it ain't a Martin and, Naw, I didn't pay $7500 for it. But I have found that any instrument in the right hands can be made to sound fantastic. Yep, give Tony Rice my Blueridge and he will sound like Tony Rice. Give me his D-28 and I will sound like......umm...hmmp....ahhh....I'll not sound as good as him. (how was that for cleaning up bad language? lol)

Do test drive the BR-160 before committing to anything. If you play 10 guitars of the same type and manufacturer, you'll be lucky to find just a couple of them that really "mash your button". I don't know why that is but it is true (IMO). I bet I've played 5 or 6 other BR-160s, but none had the presence, tone, and volume as mine.

 

Good luck with it and let us know what you thought of the guitar.

Later

Steve

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Jim Yates

Canada
Joined 8/26/2008
600 Posts

04/11/2011 17:22:32  View Jim Yates's Photo Albums  View Jim Yates's Blog    Reply with Quote

I had a BR140 (the mahogany backed dreadnought) for a few years and was very happy with it.  My brother bought it from me, so I still get to play it when I visit him.  I notice now that he brings it as often as his 1958 Gibson J-50.  You should be very happy with the BR-160, 

My only complaints with the BR were the orangey toner on the front, the peg head inlay (Some folks love this.) and the fact that the D and G strings rubbed against the A and B tuners.  All very small complaints and very easy to live with.

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jwing

United States
Joined 2/27/2009
113 Posts

04/11/2011 17:54:07  View jwing's Photo Albums  Reply with Quote

Give Tony Rice a Blueridge and he will sound like Tony Rice playing a Blueridge. Give Tony Rice a Martin and he will sound like Tony Rice.

Yeah, Blueridge is good for the money, but why do you never hear "Blueridge is a great guitar?" Or even "Blueridge is fantastic for the money?"  I've heard many and never heard one that was as good as a typical Martin. I can tell the difference in tone without seeing the guitar or who is playing it. I think a better deal is just go ahead and get  Martin or better. That way you'll have a great guitar without having $600 invested on second-tier instrument.

I don't know what Canadians think about buying Chinese goods, but Yanks should seriously consider the effect on their own self-interest before doing so.

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ccravens

United States
Joined 4/11/2009
658 Posts

04/11/2011 21:04:41  View ccravens's MP3 Archive  View ccravens's Photo Albums  Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by jwing

Give Tony Rice a Blueridge and he will sound like Tony Rice playing a Blueridge. Give Tony Rice a Martin and he will sound like Tony Rice.

Yeah, Blueridge is good for the money, but why do you never hear "Blueridge is a great guitar?" Or even "Blueridge is fantastic for the money?"  I've heard many and never heard one that was as good as a typical Martin. I can tell the difference in tone without seeing the guitar or who is playing it. I think a better deal is just go ahead and get  Martin or better. That way you'll have a great guitar without having $600 invested on second-tier instrument.

I don't know what Canadians think about buying Chinese goods, but Yanks should seriously consider the effect on their own self-interest before doing so.


Sorry, I'm going to very politely take issue with much of what you've said. And I definitely don't mean to give offense in the process. I doubt seriously whether you could tell whether Tony were playing a Martin or a Blueridge if you were blindfolded. Tony Rice will sound like Tony Rice no matter WHAT he plays. That includes the Ovation that he used to play before he started playing his Santa Cruz signature model. It's the artist, not the paintbrush.

I've heard MANY people say that Blueridge is "fantastic for the money." As a matter, of fact, that's kinda what they're known for. I've played a lot of Blueridges and Martins and have found that there were just as many Martins that were "dogs" as Blueridges. I've played BR's that sounded better than many Martins that are twice the price. Which is why Martin has lost market share over the last few years to BR and others. And I've owned 2 BR's and 3 Martins in the process. I wouldn't reccommend anyone spend their money on a guitar just because of the name on the headstock.

As for buying Chinese goods and American self-interest, that economic concept has been de-bunked long ago, i.e., the idea that "Buy American" regardless of the quality of product will help our economy. Matter of fact, one of the big 3 networks (ABC, I think) did a special on that very issue just last month, in which they also debunked the myth. Going into the economics behind it all may be too much for most people to stomache without getting bored, but nevertheless, it deserves checking out to see if what I'm saying is true or a just bunch of malarky. In economics, its called the Law of Comparative Advantage.

Now as to your claim that "I can tell the difference in tone without seeing the guitar or who is playing it," why not lets have some fun and see if this is true? I propose to put up some identical sound clips of a Martin and a BR here on the site. You can cast your vote to see which soundclip is which guitar. I'm taking the postiion that this is not possible, but you could very well prove me wrong. We could let other members take the poll also and reveal the answers and the poll results at the end. Sounds like fun!

Are you game? All in good fun, of course! smiley

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jwing

United States
Joined 2/27/2009
113 Posts

04/12/2011 09:51:44  View jwing's Photo Albums  Reply with Quote

No offense at all, ccravens!

I realize that I forgot to mention my qualifier on the tone difference: In person and unamplified. Given those conditions, I'm game.  MP3 clips through a crappy sound card? That would be just guessing. Through a signal chain onto a recording and played back through  a consumer grade CD player, amplifier, and loudspeakers? Just guessing. Me blindfolded, while Tony Rice or ccravens plays a BR-160 and a HD28V  three feet away from me? I'm confident.

It's just a matter of preference. My first guitar was a $200 Alvarez. I thought it sounded just as good or even better than any Martin or Taylor in the shop. I don't think that anymore. I once heard a Huss & Dalton that I thought was better than my Martin. Worth the price difference? Not to me, for now. Maybe someday. If that day comes, I will regret having my money tied up in a Martin.

Economics: I know just enough to opine that economics is an uncertain pseudo-science, and the complexity is so immense that no matter how fancy the title of a theory, nothing about economics can be debunked, rebuked, or confirmed. Especially by news reporters that work for Disney, a company that makes gobs of profit on cheap, Chinese products.  Just going by what I see: since free trade has been instituted, there is a wealth transfer of $78 billion/year from the US to China (http://www.uschina.org/statistics/tradetable.html). Most US individuals are financially worse off than individuals were 20 years ago, with many people unemployed or under-employed. I'm doing my part to support my friends and neighbors by buying goods that are manufactured or grown as close to home as I can.

Just to make sure, everything I've written is just the opinion of some anonynous internet character, given in the spirit of good conversation, not argument. I expect everyone to carefully consider the evidence that is available and make up their own minds. I don't want to be part of any shouting match. If anything I've written hurts your feelings or offends you, consider me an ignorant a-hole and ignore what I've said. It will feel better than getting angry.smiley

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DaddyJ

United States
Joined 3/3/2010
783 Posts

04/12/2011 10:08:21  Reply with Quote

Just to be fair, I think you'd also need to compare the Blueridge to whatever Martin is roughly the same cost.  So, the BR-160 vs., say, the Martin DCX1E (or whatever; I'm not really familiar with Martin's complete product line in that price range).

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Steven B

United States
Joined 1/1/2009
137 Posts

04/12/2011 10:28:59  View Steven B's MP3 Archive  View Steven B's Photo Albums  Reply with Quote

Bigred, 

You are getting some good input on your possible guitar acquisition. There have been some good points brought up for you to consider. I will bring up one other thing and I've "shot my wad" at this subject. 

You mentioned that you are a "beginner bluegrass player". To me, that means you are just getting started in this field. Perhaps your history is folk music, acoustic finger picking, or maybe coming out of electric rock & roll. Who knows.....6 months from now, you may decide that the 3 chord progressions of typical bluegrass are somewhat boring and lose your interest in it....(heaven's forbid). My point is-----find a guitar that you like, fits your needs, and is not going to put you in the "poor house" for a long period. If after a year or so you continue to progress and improve, perhaps then would be the time to drop a lot of money on a better instrument.

In my opinion, a guitar is nothing but a tool (after 54 years of trying to play one of the rascals, I can't believe I'm saying this). Yep, it is just a tool. Don't get me wrong, you need to find the right tool to make your work enjoyable and easy to perform. You wouldn't try to drive fence post with a tack-hammer....neither would you nail up finished cabinetry with a 20lb sledge-hammer. Get a guitar that performs your task reasonably well and don't worry about what your peers may say or think about it. Remember, you are the one that is working with the guitar - not them. You can always step up and get a better tool sometime in the future if needed.

Good luck, partner.

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DerekShultz

United States
Joined 10/19/2010
61 Posts

04/12/2011 10:45:47  Reply with Quote

This article is a few years old, but at the point of its writing Martin was making over 52,000 guitars a year in Nazereth:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124683752846098045.html

That's a ton of guitars. I know they're the originals, but at some point you have to wonder how much difference there is between those numbers and something an Asian company would produce annually. And then if the perception is about quality and sound or history and a good name.

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SLKmartin

United States
Joined 8/26/2008
419 Posts

04/12/2011 16:32:05  View SLKmartin's MP3 Archive  View SLKmartin's Photo Albums  View SLKmartin's Blog  Reply with Quote

I personally prefer A Harley over a V twin victory.   A blue ridge flatop will serve you well to begin with. the model you mentioned shows up at get togethers all the time. they are well made and sound just fine. the one factor missing was huge volume.   It should do well , and please!


Edited by - SLKmartin on 04/12/2011 16:58:10

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ccravens

United States
Joined 4/11/2009
658 Posts

04/12/2011 16:42:34  View ccravens's MP3 Archive  View ccravens's Photo Albums  Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by jwing

Just to make sure, everything I've written is just the opinion of some anonynous internet character, given in the spirit of good conversation, not argument. I expect everyone to carefully consider the evidence that is available and make up their own minds. I don't want to be part of any shouting match. If anything I've written hurts your feelings or offends you, consider me an ignorant a-hole and ignore what I've said. It will feel better than getting angry.smiley


 Your post was definitely taken in the spirit of good conversation, as I hope mine was.

You make a good point about being able to tell the guitar sound difference live or over the internet. But I'll still believe that you'd have a hard time, even live. But there's no way we'll be able to prove that over the internet.

Concerning the benefits of free trade, I'd have to say that you'd be hard-pressed to find any working economist who would not be in full support of free trade and how it helps all economies involved. Our trade deficit with China comes because we love Chinese goods so much, and they can make those goods better and cheaper than we can, that we purchase so many of them, thus enriching our lives. Blueridge guitars are a perfect examples. I can get the same/as good/better sound from a Chinese made BR that I'd have to fork over major bucks for in a US made guitar. That's why they've stolen market share from Martin. As has Recording King, Guild, and others made overseas. Our job is to make the best products we can (comparitive advantage) that other countries will want to buy; not to stop buying foreign goods (i.e. "Buy American"). As for the fear of our deficit with China, we've heard this all before. Remember when we were worried about the Japanese owning/buying up all of the U.S. in the 80s and 90s? Neil Young even wrote a song about it.

I'd also have to disagree that economics is "an uncertain pseudo-science, and the complexity is so immense." I believe it is highly scientific, and one reason that I love it so much is that most of it is just plain common-sense. Not much higher intelligence required. My high-school seniors could tell you about the negative effects of the increase (3X) in the minimum wage over the last 4 years, and it's possible contribution to our current recession. Those seniors could also describe the utter folly of massive government spending as a way to "create jobs" and stimulate the economy ("Stimulus Package," anyone?). And they're certainly not rocket scientists. But can our politicians?

You wrote "I'm doing my part to support my friends and neighbors by buying goods that are manufactured or grown as close to home as I can.' That certainly is admirable, and I'd not argue with you about that. But remember  the saying "Hell is paved with good intentions." I think the evidence is clear that when we buy the best product at the cheapest price, regardless of place/country of origin, that it helps our economy and the economies of other countries. A LOT of research has been done on this subject, here's some summaries:

http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/archive/2009/March/Pages/BuyAmericanRestrictionsBadforJobs,BadforBusiness.aspx

http://www.voxeu.org/index.php?q=node/3000

http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2009/11/11/buy-american-bad-america

http://moneywatch.bnet.com/economic-news/article/a-case-study-why-buy-american-will-make-you-poorer/289064/

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/01/opinion/01irwin.html?_r=2&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink


Edited by - ccravens on 04/12/2011 16:54:20

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SLKmartin

United States
Joined 8/26/2008
419 Posts

04/12/2011 17:09:51  View SLKmartin's MP3 Archive  View SLKmartin's Photo Albums  View SLKmartin's Blog  Reply with Quote

I think Someone Just Hyjacked my Thread



Oklahoma Flatpicker

   
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mrNatchl

Russia
Joined 6/15/2009
57 Posts

04/13/2011 00:51:08  View mrNatchl's MP3 Archive  View mrNatchl's Photo Albums    Reply with Quote

Some interesting conversation going on here. The Blueridges I have heard sound a lot better than the price difference with Martin would suggest. A used one at a reasonable price would be fine for a beginner I should think. A bit of setup by a luthier or good guitar tech who knows something about acoustics might be needed to get the best out of it.  

Well, ya pays yer money and ya takes yer choice. If you really don't like the idea of a Chinese manufactured instrument, even used, the Martin D1 might be worth a look. The one's I've heard sound clips of sounded pretty good. I don't know where the D1s are actually manufactured, but you would in any case be buying product of an American company if that's important to you. 

I still dream of owning a nice Martin for the same reason a lot of banjo players want a nice Gibson. Just because it's a legend. (Odd, but I don't feel that way about banjos at all... only guitars!) However,  if I were going to drop that kind of $$ I would also have to at least consider one of Chris Bozung's guitars (http://www.cbguitars.com). I also know of 2 luthiers here in St. Petersburg who have built some fabulous sounding, beautifully made classical and flemenco guitars and a price that's very very good for a custom hand-made instrument. It's tempting to see whet one would do with a steel-string dred. 

The problem with a guitar like a nice Martin or a luthier guitar, at least for me, is ever taking it anywhere. I would never feel good about live gigging with it. But something like a well set-up Blueridge or Recording King or Martin D1 could sound good enough for that, and I for one would worry a lot less about it. If I were going to be a road-running Bluegrass flatpicker I'd certainly look into something like a Blueridge to travel with. And the record with my vintage Martin D28. tongue

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SLKmartin

United States
Joined 8/26/2008
419 Posts

04/13/2011 07:53:22  View SLKmartin's MP3 Archive  View SLKmartin's Photo Albums  View SLKmartin's Blog  Reply with Quote

Hello, Robert, I really enjoyed your take on Greg Connors Original song "Shooting Stars"... Very nice.   Ypu make sense here on the Blueridge vs Martin discussion. its good that ultimately, We have so many choises. Blueridge are sturdy as you mentioned and would be good" play out "guitars . With that in mind one of each might be a good combination.  the Martin at home or studio and a travel flatop....I would start with the Blue and work upward.Mapprove

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Flatpicker

Joined 8/15/2008
1363 Posts

04/13/2011 08:25:47  View Flatpicker's MP3 Archive  View Flatpicker's Blog    Reply with Quote

Hey y'all, just thought I'd mention that Taylor guitars are better than Blueridge or Martin....tonguewink

.

.

.

Really, I've heard that Blueridges are good sounding instruments.  Yeah, they aren't a Martin (or Taylor haha), but they don't cost as much as a Martin.  So they are deffinately a good value anyway.

-austin

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SLKmartin

United States
Joined 8/26/2008
419 Posts

04/13/2011 11:26:57  View SLKmartin's MP3 Archive  View SLKmartin's Photo Albums  View SLKmartin's Blog  Reply with Quote

Good Reply,  I hope some day to bag a 914 for the best is yet to come .    Loved your answer, nice to be back on thread....Steve

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oogaboogachief

Joined 12/9/2010
97 Posts

04/15/2011 09:10:06  Reply with Quote

My two cents say's if you want Martin sound save your money and buy Martin. Seems like everybody judges sound against a Martin so this should tell you something.

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bsorr

United States
Joined 8/26/2008
49 Posts

04/15/2011 10:29:57  Reply with Quote

Ok, this comes up all the time. First off I'd advise - purchase what  fits your budget. If you can afford a Martin get it, if you can't the Blueridge BR versions are copies of the Martin dread naughts. Now I happed to own both, (not braggin') I just happen to have both.

D-18V with an Adirondack top and a BR-140A Adirondack top also they are both great guitars and have there own voice, and I believe the BR-140A for the most part is louder than my D-18V but thats just how it is. My Blueridge was my only guitar for several years, I have played the crap out of it and it has gotten better sound wise as time goes. I purchased my Martin because I've always wanted a nice Martin dread and found the one to my liking.

Now, the Blueridge dreads "are not martins" but there pretty darn close and they are great Bluegrass guitars. The BR-160 is a D-28 / HD-28 copy and are great guitars.

Play em all side by side if you can. And don't let what's on the head stock persuade your decision ,cause there isn't an ounce of tone in that head stock!   Sound and playability are what your after!

Enjoy your quest and good luck smiley

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Jim Yates

Canada
Joined 8/26/2008
600 Posts

04/16/2011 16:03:37  View Jim Yates's Photo Albums  View Jim Yates's Blog    Reply with Quote

Have you listened to the David Grisman/Tony Rice Tone Poems record?  Tony plays a variety of guitars, Martins and Boutique guitars as well as a really cheap painted top catalogue guitar.  When I put this record on, I don't think,"Oh crap, there's that cheapo guitar again," when Vintage Gintage Blues comes on.  It sounds like Tony and David playing a great song.

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Stringnut

United States
Joined 11/23/2008
87 Posts

04/16/2011 21:23:36  View Stringnut's Photo Albums  Reply with Quote

I've never played a Blueridge but I did own a Martin D28 back in the middle 70's. I loved it and don't know what possessed me to part with it but I did. In the early 80's I discovered my current drednaught. It is a Morse made in Japan. It's not a Martin and maybe lacks the midrange of a Martin but it is a pretty close copy (there was a lawsuit of some kind back in the late 70's I believe) with rosewood and spruce construction and a mahogany neck. It is loud and has great tone and sustain and plays great! I paid $450 for it almost 30 years ago. I've taken some heat for playing this off brand instrument. Lot's of strange looks and turned up noses but I don't really care what others think. My philosophy has always been to not be influenced by the name on the headstock but to listen to the instrument, feel how it plays and buy accordingly. I made an instant connection with this guitar and I fall in love with it every time I pick it up. It was a perfect fit for me and I have no intention of ever replacing it. My point is: how does it feel in YOUR hands and how does it sound to YOU? Buy accordingly and have no regrets. That's also how I got my wife big. Two great choices in one lifetime. Hard to beat. Best of luck in making your choice.

Dan


Edited by - Stringnut on 04/16/2011 21:28:04

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