Guitar Reviews: Bedell THCE-28-G and Bedell TB-28-12Posted: January 6, 2016
In two previous guitar reviews I have stated that the guitar buyer does not, I repeat does NOT, need to spend thousands of dollars to get a well made, great sounding, and highly playable guitar. Hint: I am not reviewing a Martin, Gibson, Collings, or a Taylor guitar to name just a few. These brands are all fantastic guitars, but for the guitarist who is on a budget and is willing to look to other names, and even imports, there are dozens upon dozens of other options. In this posting you’ll read my own humble reviews of two discontinued Bedell Performance Series guitar models — both imported from China — and can still be purchased at prices well below their original retail (street) prices on both www.reverb.com and www.ebay.com.
The Bedell THCE-28-GThe Bedell THCE-28-G is a dreadnought. The top is solid spruce [photo 1] while back and sides are solid rosewood [photo 2]. The finish is gloss on body and neck. It has a cutaway, and the interesting feature of a second sound hole on the side positioned at the upper bout [photo 3]. Its purpose is to allow the player to actually hear the projected sound of the guitar more directly. This second sound hole is bound in rosewood. It does lend the player a new listening perspective, but perhaps is nothing more than a gimmick.
The wood work also includes maple binding around the entire body. It boasts an ebony fretboard and bridge. The headstock bears Bedell’s famous “peace sign”, done with wood inlays [photo 4]. The rosette is tastefully made of wood in a somewhat geometrical pattern. The second sound hole allows a thorough view inside the body of the guitar: All is tidy and clean inside. The nut width is 1 11/16 inches, and the lower bout measures 15 1/2 inches in width.Coming from Music City Guitars and Gear, Nashville, TN, the set-up was fine. The dread plays nicely and feels sound. It’s volume is as expected from a dreadnought, and has a nice even tone from bass to treble. Subjectively, there is a bit more of a “traditional” dreadnought tone offered than by my Cordoba Acero D11-CE (see my review), and Breedlove Pro Series dreadnoughts. This Bedell comes with Fishman electronics: volume and tone controls located at the lip of the sound hole.
This Bedell THCE-28-G is a discontinued model, but a NEW guitar. Bedell Guitars (www.bedellguitars.com), now located in Bend, Oregon, have completely redesigned their line, making high-end models, all priced well above the $1200+ original asking price for this Bedell. It went through the “refurbishing” process to be labeled officially as a used guitar so that Bedell was not — apparently — saddled with a warrantee obligation. As refurbished it does not come with the original hard case, only a gigbag appropriate for an entry-level guitar.
Truly, I am pleased with my purchase, and the deal from Music City Guitars and Gear was more than fair. It is an attractive, and good guitar! The Bedell THCE-28-G is a more rare dreadnought than its all solid wood, non-second-sound-hole cousin, the Bedell TB-28, and TB-28-CE. But all can be found on-line at very good prices. Note all these Bedell dreads have been well reviewed by such publications as Acoustic Guitar
The Bedell TB-28-12The Bedell TB-28-12 is, essentially, the 12-string, non-cutaway version of the above reviewed Bedell THCE-28-G, or more accurately the 6-string TB-28, and TB-28-CE models. As with the above six-string it possesses a solid sitka spruce top, and solid rosewood back and sides [photo A and B]. The finish is gloss all around. It boasts both ebony fretboard and bridge, maple binding, wooden rosette, and wooden headstock inlay of the “peace sign.” [photos C and D]. It lacks the Fishman electronics, though an install could be done easily. It has the same quality build as the Bedell THCE-28-G. The lower bout is 15 1/2 inches in width, and the depth is a standard 4 5/8 at the lower bout. Playability can be a concern for a 12-string. No worries here — it plays with great ease. The nut width is a typical 1 7/8 inch (maybe a nudge less), but the neck is a touch thinner, or “flatter”, than most 12’ers, and a blessing if you have smaller hands like me. Tuning can also be an issue for a 12-string, but again, no worries here with the TB-28-12.
So, what about the tone? When compared to my wonderful Eastman AC530 jumbo 12-string (see my review), it holds its own in volume, clarity, and chorusing “shimmer.” Compared to my Eastman’s tone, subjectively, the tone is a bit “stouter”, or maybe “muscular,” likely due to the dreadnought body shape, and perhaps the rosewood back and sides, but is very pleasing.
It too, is a new, but “refurbished” guitar. Thus, it is technically used, and lacks the Bedell warrantee, and comes with a gigbag. The plus side, and a big one, is that these well made, all solid wood guitars can be purchased for a fraction of the original asking price (over $1000) online at both Reverb and EBay.
Keep on playing!