• Breedlove to Outsource Mandolin Production



    Manufacturing of Breedlove Mandolins, a part of the Two Old Hippes brand, will be moving overseas the Mandolin Cafe has learned. In a recent announcement Breedlove's mandolin team learned the entire line would be outsourced in the near future.

    Breedlove's Cross-Over Series mandolin line has been manufactured overseas for some time. Labelled "Designed in USA, made in China," it is not known at this time but assumed all Breedlove Mandolins will be manufactured at the same facility.

    The Mandolin Cafe reached out to Breedlove via email this morning for confirmation on what was an internal announcement but has not yet received a reply.

    Two Old Hippies of Bend, Oregon is made up of Bedell Guitars, Breedlove Guitars and Mandolins (purchased 2010) and Weber Instruments (purchased 2012). The company also operates a flagship lifestyle store that opened in Nashville, Tenn. in 2011.

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    Comments 30 Comments
    1. colorado_al's Avatar
      colorado_al -
      That's a bummer. Not entirely unexpected though. Looks like my 2001 Breedlove Quartz KF just went up in value again. The pre-Hippies Breedloves are a cut above. Looks like we're soon to have 3 grades of Breedlove mandolins (I suppose 4 counting the Cross-Over series).
      1995-2010 - Original Kim Breedlove - Bend, OR, USA
      2010-2015 - Two Old Hippies - Bend, OR, USA
      2015- - Two Old Hippies - China

      I wonder if Weber is soon to follow?
    1. Andy Marshall's Avatar
      Andy Marshall -
      <inflammatory. violates forum posting guidelines>
    1. StevenS's Avatar
      StevenS -
      Quote Originally Posted by colorado_al View Post
      I wonder if Weber is soon to follow?
      First thought to cross my mind too. Sad.

      Steve
    1. Scott Tichenor's Avatar
      Scott Tichenor -
      Not surprised but disappointed to see this head in the predictable direction it already has. Automatically saying company X will because Y is and they're owned by the same company at this point is speculation based on convenient pessimism. And so we're clear, we're not going to allow this into an inflammatory flag-waving country bashing session which is a violation of forum posting guidelines. I've now been told Breedlove had an announcement intended for publishing tomorrow so that will be their official word if and when we see it.
    1. PJ Doland's Avatar
      PJ Doland -
      Attachment 140374

      (Couldn't resist, although I understand if this gets taken down.)
    1. multidon's Avatar
      multidon -
      Well, I remember speculation about this when the Crossover series was first introduced. Maybe they were testing the waters? But there is a big difference between Weber and Breedlove. Even before Two Old Hippies, Breedlove had outsourced instrument manufacture to Korea and China for a number of their lines of guitars. So there is ample precedent for them. In Weber's case, they have never had an import line. Never. And I would not expect it in the future. It is possible Breedlove may have made this decision without TWH input. After all they certainly made their own decisions on their imported guitars. They made those long before the merger.
    1. DataNick's Avatar
      DataNick -
      Seems like if indeed this is the direction, that Breedlove will now be the budget line to compete head to head with Eastman, Kentucky, etc. Makes sense to me as that was where most of the competition for Breedlove's price points were anyway; at least the playing field will be level for them now (ie, same manufacturing base, labor costs, etc.) Weber becomes the premium "made in USA" line...seems logical to me. If you have an emotional connection to Breedlove, I get it, but in today's marketplace it does seem to make sense.
    1. Scott Tichenor's Avatar
      Scott Tichenor -
      I now have the copy of tomorrow's Breedlove press release but am going to hold onto it as there really isn't a lot of new information and it is their official statement which they're entitled to make.
    1. f5joe's Avatar
      f5joe -
      Edit: My original comment was too harsh. Therefore, I have deleted it.
    1. Glassweb's Avatar
      Glassweb -
      every new mandolin has its price point and point of origin... same as all other stringed instruments. the fact that players these days have the choices that they do is a staggering and welcome change from when i first started playing (circa 1971). it's a brave new world for mandolinists and yes, Chinese craftsman are playing their part in it...
    1. Paul Busman's Avatar
      Paul Busman -
      Outsourced to China does not necessarily equate with lesser quality. We took a trip to China about 7 years ago and visited many crafts sites. At their best, the Chinese craftsmen are right up there with anyone in the world. Their workmanship can be impeccable. I have no doubt that they can create anything to the most exacting specs that are asked of them.
      It all depends on what Breedlove is trying to make. They can make lower end mandos like the Crossover (I have one which I love and for the price the craftsmanship is beautiful), or they could have Chinese craftsmen make fully carved all wood mandolins to rival just about anything out there if they so choose. .
    1. Glassweb's Avatar
      Glassweb -
      Quote Originally Posted by Paul Busman View Post
      Outsourced to China does not necessarily equate with lesser quality. We took a trip to China about 7 years ago and visited many crafts sites. At their best, the Chinese craftsmen are right up there with anyone in the world. Their workmanship can be impeccable. I have no doubt that they can create anything to the most exacting specs that are asked of them.
      It all depends on what Breedlove is trying to make. They can make lower end mandos like the Crossover (I have one which I love and for the price the craftsmanship is beautiful), or they could have Chinese craftsmen make fully carved all wood mandolins to rival just about anything out there if they so choose. .
      i agree with Paul (above post). i went to Cotten Music here in Nashville last week and played Northfield's lower-end, basic F5 model and, to me, it was an incredible mandolin for the price (around $2,700 or so). The fit, finish, volume and tone were superb... unreal for the price. Much like Eastman, I feel Northfield has come a LONG was from their first offerings... no doubt their new "Artist Series" will be exceptional.
      i spent 10 days in Taiwan several years ago and was amazed by the carved goods I saw there... things carved of wood, things carved of stone. If the Asian carvers can do stuff like THAT how much trouble do you think they're gonna have carving F5 scrolls? Remember... even Lloyd Loar F5s were made in a factory and carved by men... so it should be no surprise that Chinese craftsmen are able to create such high-quality products...
    1. mandobassman's Avatar
      mandobassman -
      I also agree with Paul. This is no longer the time where made in Asia automatically means lower quality. We have Northfield, upper end Kentucky, J Bovier, that all make exceptionally good mandolins. It should certainly allow Breedlove to be more competitive. I wonder how/if this will change pricing. I don't think that many buyers would spend the same amount of money on a Breedlove FF made in China that they paid for the same instrument made in the US.
    1. Justin Burrows's Avatar
      Justin Burrows -
      I don't think this is a good move. Breedlove has been, for many years, the least expensive "good American-made carved top mandolin".

      After this, what will they be? Another good for the money import.

      I was about to list my 2009 Quartz OF for sale, but I changed my mind.
    1. Ron McMillan's Avatar
      Ron McMillan -
      I wish Breedlove well. Like others above, I am happy to accept that fine instruments are being made in Asia - and have been for upwards of forty years already. I played a couple of Cross-Over models last year and was very impressed. Fine instruments at very reasonable prices that simply cannot be matched by companies making mandolins in the west. And surely that's the point. Getting good instruments to people starting out for prices that, a few years ago, we could only dream of. Northfield and Eastman have proven that it is possible to source higher-priced instruments in the same way, instruments that have gained fans and secured market shares in a very discerning market. Breedlove will surely do the same.
    1. choctaw61's Avatar
      choctaw61 -
      +1 For what Paul said. I have chinese friends who are master craftsmen with hand tools. They come from mtn.regions of china.Everything they do is hand tooled.amazing beautiful work.They are very very proud of their work as well as their history!Hard working people. As long as the quality is there,it doesnt matter who made it. Though of course it's always sad to see another company of any kind have to fold shop and move to another country.We will all know the decision tomorrow. It is what it is!
    1. Petrus's Avatar
      Petrus -
      I'm sure knowing that there are now Chinese master craftsmen who can make these fine instruments as well as the Americans and at a much lower cost will be great comfort to Breedlove's newly unemployed American workers.
    1. Ron McMillan's Avatar
      Ron McMillan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Petrus View Post
      I'm sure knowing that there are now Chinese master craftsmen who can make these fine instruments as well as the Americans and at a much lower cost will be great comfort to Breedlove's newly unemployed American workers.
      That presumes, ahead of the official announcement, that the (probably small) number of people on the mandolin line aren't to be re-assigned to guitar production.
    1. colorado_al's Avatar
      colorado_al -
      I'm not knocking Chinese instruments. I am a proud owner of an Eastman MD 505 and it is a fantastic Mandolin for the money! I have a feeling that Breedlove/TOH is going to be selling the Chinese made instruments at the same price as the previous USA made ones. If they move production to China and are charging the same as previously, the quality better be as good. Frankly, if they don't reduce price after moving to China, Eastman and Kentucky are going to eat their lunch!
      Regarding Weber, however, I was pleasantly surprised that the quality did not change considerably after the sale to TOH and subsequent move to Bend, OR. Would make sense for the Breedlove USA mandolin builders to move over to Weber production as they increase sales volume.
    1. Clement Barrera-Ng's Avatar
      Clement Barrera-Ng -
      Not too surprised by this latest development. Now if they announce tomorrow that Northfield is taking over production for Breedlove mandolins then put me down for one.