Product Type: Brunswick guitars and bass guitars
Newest Review: ... no loss of playability and tone. A solid topped guitar can be more expensive to buy than a laminated top version, although in this case th... more
Built like a tank with a sound that is as sweet as a nut!
Brunswick BDS400 Solid top Dreadnought Acoustic
Member Name: SoadFan
Brunswick BDS400 Solid top Dreadnought Acoustic
Date: 03/02/11, updated on 03/02/11 (240 review reads)
Advantages: A durable large bodied acoustic
Disadvantages: Bulky and fairly weighty
My Brunswick Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar has been a well used instrument that has provided many years trusty service, making it a very good purchase as £ for £, verses the number of years it has been in use and the number of times it has been played this great big behemoth of a guitar has been as reliable as any more expensive rival big bodied acoustic guitar could be. When wanting to review the guitar here on Dooyoo it wasn't listed so a product suggestion was made in order to allow me to share my thoughts about it. Whilst my own Dreadnought Acoustic was made some years ago, the design and make up of the model remains the same so it is certainly worth writing about in case anyone is thinking of making a purchase.
If wanting to buy a reasonably priced good all rounder of an acoustic guitar the Brunswick Dreadnought Acoustic I am reviewing here would be a fair candidate and it will certainly be a good guitar for a beginner to learn to play. I feel that if you don't mind this type of large bodied wide acoustic guitar and can get used to its bulky body shape this might suit, as it is as strong as an ox and should last for many a year with very little chance of any serious problems occurring if the guitar is well maintained. My own Dreadnought has most certainly been built to last as it has sustained regular use, which has some times been heavy handed and has been a great guitar to use for practice purposes even when playing pieces that would normally be reserved for an electric guitar (ie palm muting which is very often used in heavier music styles etc).
Even after having been moved and knocked around when in and out of use, being displayed on a wall mounted guitar hook in the past and now sitting comfortably on a Stagg A frame guitar stand, my Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar is still in pretty much tip top shape with very few issues that would cause me to think about replacing it. To be fair about this guitar it does lack a certain amount of refinement and finesse and did have one or two issues that needed sorting out when it was new as it is a cheaper end guitar, although other than that it really has remained in good working order which I find very pleasing considering the price that was paid for this model. If wanting to buy one of these it would be best to try before you buy if possible as it is rather a bulky guitar with a wide and deep body that may not suit all guitarists.
~Super sounds or trashy tones?~
The sounds that come from this beastly behemoth that is my Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar are in the main sweet and mellow, with plenty of strength and loudness when wanted from the thicker base strings and a not overly sparkly and bright selection of fresher tones coming from the rest of the strings. Of course the over all tones and sounds that come from the guitar are some what effected by the quality of the strings I have on it and at the moment it is probably due for a change of livery in the string department, although even with the old strings I have on the guitar at the moment the quality of what I hear when playing this guitar is fairly good. I have noticed that I tend to have to retune my Dreadnought more often when the strings are on their way out, although I feel this is something that happens with most strings as they become over used and need to be replaced so it isn't an issue with this guitar especially.
As my Dreadnought is a solid top guitar its tone has improved over time rather than diminished and I feel it has a deeper more velvety sound when playing more mellow pieces than it did when it was brassy and new. A solid top such as the one on this guitar will of course settle down and come to produce warmer deeper tones over time as it ages, as long as you have not subjected your guitar to extremes of heat, sun damage or very cold and damp conditions. By trying to keep extreme changes in temperature to a minimum you will ensure that there is no stress damage to the body or make up of your guitar which will give you many more happy years of use with no loss of playability and tone. A solid topped guitar can be more expensive to buy than a laminated top version, although in this case the Brunswick Dreadnought is very well priced so you are not going to pay through the nose for its solid top.
~A little less conversation a little more action!~
The action of my Dreadnought Acoustic when I bought it was something that I had to become accustomed to and try as I might I found that even with the thickest of finger calluses the strings on this cut into my fingers far to much at first, which put me off using it until I had managed to sort out a way to make holding down the strings more comfortable. Adjusting the action on your guitar can be done in a number of ways one of which is messing about with the truss rod which I wouldn't much recommend unless you have plenty of experience of doing so. In the case of my Dreadnought I sought a different solution to the problem which has in the main sorted out the problem and made the guitar far more playable over all with no loss of sound quality and minimal buzz noticed only when the strings tell me they need replacing.
The way I dealt with the finger numbing action that the Dreadnought had when it was new was to adjust the string height at the nut which was easy enough to do, although I must admit that I resorted to a little crafty sanding of the saddle area in the end too (as it is only a creamy plasticy piece of material and could be replaced easily should it have all gone wrong). This is probably not something I would recommend yet in this case as it worked out ok I feel I was justified in doing so and when combined the two adjustments made worked really well and gave a me a much easier to play guitar than the one I started out with. I should perhaps have had a more professional set up done on the guitar at the time of buying it although at the time the guitar was a reasonable buy and a full set up would have cost more than half the cost of the actual instrument so I didn't bother and over the years I don't feel that I made a bad judgement in my treatment of the guitar.
~Main features of the Brunswick behemoth~
The Dreadnought I have has a solid spruce top rather than a laminated top, although it does have a laminated back and sides to it. The main body of the guitar has cream toned bindings that run around the front and back of the guitar body with a 3 way slim black stripe detail to both the front and back which lies on top of the cream parts. The same cream toned bindings run all the way up both sides of the neck of the guitar to give a neat and well structured finish and the only real difference to the finish on my older style Dreadnought that I can see is the fact that the new models have the same cream bindings on the headstock which my guitar hasn't got. The front or top of the guitar has a simple fairly flush mounted scratch plate or pick guard to it, that is made from a durable black synthetic material and this does help to keep scratches from over zealous or heavy use of a guitar plectrum to a minimum.
The machine heads on my guitar are die cast and fully enclosed and are made from durable metal that has not rusted or become misshapen in any way and I have found them easy to set and use when needed. The neck on my Dreadnought Acoustic is still sitting in a good position giving the guitar a good over all action and plenty of playability and have not had to do anything in order to adjust that at all. There are 21 frets on my Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar which are well spaced with the fingerboard having a slightly textured yet still smooth feeling rosewood surface to it which has remained in good condition and is easy to clean and treat should I need to do so.
The Brunswick logo is placed in clear view on the headstock of my guitar with it still having its original makers label on the inside of the body of the guitar. As my guitar is an older model the colour way which I have may no longer be available, as I have only seen this model most recently in a clear lacquer finish sometimes with a fancy zebra back and sides or a simple black toned or sunburst lacquer finish. My guitar has a very nice softly polished burgundy wine semi see though lacquer finish to it, which brings out the details of the wood used to make up the guitar body and this lovely lacquered finish has remained in really nice chip free shape after all this time even though the guitar has had its fair share of knocks and bumps. I feel this is fantastic for such a budget buy acoustic guitar as this guitar as had some very heavy handling at times over the years.
~Rating and price~
My over all feelings about this Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar are that it offers a very good buy for a budget priced guitar that can be used to play a wide variety of music styles. Prices for the guitar do vary a little but a decent version can be found for between £95 to £139 depending on whether you want a 6 or 12 string option. As mentioned colour choices at the moment seem to be in a clear finish on natural wood with darker or zebra sides and back, a sunburst variety or a simple black version. The warm tones that come from this guitar when in use are very pleasing and I have found that the guitar has mellowed over time which was something I had expected and hoped for when I bought it.
The body, neck, headstock and all working parts of the guitar are in very good order with the only real marking of any note being on the area around the saddle of the guitar due to a little careless use when changing strings etc. Other than that my Dreadnought Acoustic is in pretty good shape and should provide many more years of use with very little maintenance required other than a general clean and spruce up every now and then, some new strings from time to time and a careful eye on the temperature of the room I keep it in so as to minimize the risk of the wood warping or cracking. With everything in mind and taking into consideration the minor issues I have had with my guitar I want to give the Brunswick Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar an unshakeable 4 star rating.
Summary: Should last well with reasonable care and attention