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Brand/Model: Blueridge BR-163A
Number of Strings: 6
Hand Orientation: Right
Body Material: Rosewood/Spruce top
Neck Material: Mahogany
Fretboard Material: Rosewood
Price Range: Under $2000
Our Rating: 9.2/10
Blueridge BR-163A Historic Craftsman Series 000 Acoustic Guitar Review
With the BR-163A, it’s easy to see why Blueridge is a highly-praised brand from noted critics within the music industry. Blueridge is known for high-quality reproductions of historic, vintage, and pre-war stringed instruments that always produces nothing but the best intonation and authentic acoustics.
You can’t beat Blueridge value when you’re searching the market for something as comparable as a Martin – that’s right, we said it. Blueridge is right up there in quality as the big boy kahunas of the guitar industry!
The 163A is part of the Historic Craftsman Series that is known for its premium solid tonewoods to deliver the best tone and sound. In this case, the top is made with Adirondack spruce – an expensive, and exclusive wood that’s known to sing loud, is powerful, dynamic, and is legendary among bluegrass pickers.
The back and sides are said to be Santos rosewood that’s tonally similar to Indian rosewood. It has beautiful color and tight grains, and although it can ring out with bright highs, it also has a fat low-end that provides true balance and exceptional clarity with clean and fast response.
The three-piece neck is made from mahogany with fast and easy action with integral stability to last a lifetime. Hardware and cosmetic touches remain true to its vintage ancestors that will appeal to guitar aficionados with its herringbone inlay, Dalmatian-style tortoiseshell pickguard, and Gotoh vintage style open back gear heads.
This is a 000-size guitar that’s comparable to Martin’s auditorium size guitar. However, auditoriums follow suit with a 24.9 inch scale, and this guitar has a long 25.5 inch scale that technically makes it an OM (Orchestra Model) guitar. However, despite the long scale of the 163A guitar, it maintains the 000-size neck with its slim with its narrow design and string spacing.
This is a guitar that despite its size, it won’t bottom out on sound no matter the circumstance. The deeper you dig, the louder it gets, and tone doesn’t diminish with it. With the complexity of its tonal range, it more than does its vintage counterparts justice.
- 000 size
- Solid tonewoods
- Vintage/traditional elements
- Scalloped bracing
- Laminate neck
Buyer’s Feedback on the BR-163A
Of course with quality and value this good, you can only imagine the ecstatic joy of its buyers. Tone is on point, and players are blown away. Even critics and brand snobs can’t complain about the tone and sound.
Among other things buyers praised is the string spacing is perfect for finger pickers, and it plays articulately, clear, and strong. It’s also versatile enough to get your strum on, but buyers should remember that individual models will have a variation in appearance for the top when it comes to Adirondack tonewood.
However, it may just need a setup to suit your preferences. While most buyers didn’t change a thing as it’s playable out of the box, you may not like the butterbean knobs or the action may need adjusting to suit your needs.
Alternatives to Consider
These days, the demand for a quality small-body guitar is on the rise. If fingerpicking is your primary playing style, you might want to swing by the Blueridge BR-361 parlor guitar that’s perfect for your personal tastes. It’s a solid tonewood guitar that maintains all of Blueridge’s vintage touches to recreate a traditional guitar built for the modern-day player.
If you want to go up in size and follow suit with the current trend of dreadnought, full-size power, the Martin D-16RGT will satisfy your craving. It’s a premium guitar with a solid spruce top and solid East Indian rosewood back and sides. It’s plays like butter, sounds like a Martin, and it costs less than $2000. It’s hard to beat that for a Martin!
Blueridge BR-163A Q&A
Santos rosewood is also called Morado, Pau Ferro, and Bolivian Rosewood. It’s a close substitute for Indian rosewood in tonal properties and appearance. It’s known to be well-balanced, and it has a closed-pore surface allowing for no finish at all or finishes can easily be applied.
For a long time, spruce has dominated the guitar market for soundboards, but Adirondack is making a comeback since these trees have come to maturity. Pre-war era, Adirondack was the primary wood used to define a guitar. It has wide grains that can vary in color and grain pattern, but as this may seem like a flaw to you, it only adds custom character and personality to your guitar.
It’s known to sing out loud without losing clarity and note definition. It’s often found on custom-made guitars, and it plays well with both aggressive strumming and fingerpicking delivering sweetness and high velocity for volume.
This is laminate neck constructed with three pieces of plywood for strength. Blueridge specifies “Select Mahogany” for the neck, and so we assume it has a mahogany veneer.
This guitar has Mother of Pearl inlays with both diamond and snowflake designs. It provides a traditional and classic aesthetic appeal.
Blueridge keeps it vague with “tonewood” as the description. But, upon inspection, it looks like it’s a rosewood. We assume it may follow suit with the Santos rosewood, but the vauge description allows Blueridge to use the most premium tonewoods available to expedite production and shipment while staying in compliance with CITES.
We do know for sure that the bridge plate is made with maple.
True to the Historic Craftsman Series, it has a pre-war forward-shifted X bracing with scalloped tone bars to provide ultimate responsiveness for best tone and volume while also keeping a lightweight design.
Blueridge guitars are manufactured in China.
Hardware/Electronics You’ll Need:
If you buy right here, you’ll get an included CD-1514 deluxe hardshell case in the purchase. It’s a steal of a buy since a quality hardshell case can put you back a few hundred dollars. With the low price of this guitar, you can take your chances and purchase your own case, but the CD-1514 case is made for the 000-size BR-163A acoustic guitar. You’ll only need a few more essentials covered in our complete guide to guitar accessories and then we can get you sussed out with these few tidbits!
- Solid and premium tonewoods
- Traditional and vintage design
- Excellent value
Our Verdict on the BR-163A
To strum it up, the Blueridge BR-163A guitar is the epitome of an historic guitar crafted to withstand the vigorous and ever-changing styles of music today. You may be an aficionado or average player, but the 163A will set you apart from the crowd. It’s not just its looks that define the guitar, it’s the incredible and acoustically-authentic sound!
- Solid Adirondack spruce top with scalloped braces provides you with superior note clarity and volume to spare
- Solid Indian rosewood back and sides guarantees deep bass and strong cutting power
- Slim mahogany neck offers fast, easy action and inherently long-lasting stability
- Distinctive herringbone marquetry, tortoise style pickguard and snowflake position markers evoke vintage 30's beauty
- Nickel-plated 14:1 tuners are smooth and precise to always keep you in tune