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Thread: Breedlove OF goes to "sleep"

  1. #1

    Default Breedlove OF goes to "sleep"

    Has anyone come across this problem? My Breedlove Quartz OF is a 2006 model, I bought secondhand, unmarked, in 2011. An odd purchase for me because I'd played the same Fylde for 29 years but I like the sound of the Breedlove. The odd thing is that , if I don't play it for a few days it goes asleep. It sounds unresponsive and takes a good hour to open up. Has anyone else come across this odd trait? I know the solution is to play it everyday but I have other instruments in need of attention too.

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    Default Re: Breedlove OF goes to "sleep"

    It maybe has set a while, the more you wake it up the longer it will stay awake and the quicker it will wake up. At least that's what mine did. Play it hard every time you play it if even just for a few minutes using full open chords to get it vibrating.
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    fishing with my mando darrylicshon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breedlove OF goes to "sleep"

    If you really want it ready anytime you could try a toneRite

    http://www.tonerite.com/
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    Celtic Strummer Matt DeBlass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breedlove OF goes to "sleep"

    My Breedlove (a KF Quartz from around the same time) is always pretty ready to go, in fact when I come back to it after spending time on other instruments I'm sometimes amazed at how much I love the sound of it. Maybe it's a quirk of your particular instrument or maybe it's in part at least getting used to the archtop sound again after spending time with your Fylde?
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    Default Re: Breedlove OF goes to "sleep"

    I notice all instruments opening up after a few minutes of playtime. Scientific or not, I have a pretty good ear and there is no way I can be convinced that this is not a real phenomenon.
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    Registered User mandolinstew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breedlove OF goes to "sleep"

    my 2006 KO does the same thing.playing it hard with chords wakes it up.

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    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breedlove OF goes to "sleep"

    The first thing i'd take notice of is your room temp. If it's on the cold side,i'd expect exactly what you're getting. My 3 mandolins respond in the same way when cold,which,in colder the months is pretty much normal in my home. Upstairs,where i do 90% of my playing,it's un-heated & any of my mandolins sound 'tight & thin' until i've played it for an hour or so. It's nothing to worry about unless they stay that way all the time,
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    Default Re: Breedlove OF goes to "sleep"

    Thanks for your thoughts on this. I suspect that more playing is the answer. Interesting thoughts on temperature though Ivan. The reason I got the Breedlove was that one very cold night in 2010 (by UK standards) the Fylde caught a cold. It was downstairs in its case. The 1979 Balladeer in the Hiscox case was fine but the Fylde in the standard case had moisture spots. it suffered from string rattles, in spite of replacing them often, and I suspected the neck was gone.It took about 18 months to come back to its former self during which time a replacement was necessary. So now I have two. The Fylde is still the home go to but the Breedlove goes out, which maybe echoes Matt's point too.

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    Default Re: Breedlove OF goes to "sleep"

    Humidity also plays a huge part in mandolins "opening up"...Moisture does strange things to soft wood like what is used for most mandolin tops. sometimes they sound better in a humid place sometimes they sound worse...Just play it hard and it will respond, thats what causes MAS for most people, trying to get a better sounding mandolin when things like this happen...

  12. #10

    Default Re: Breedlove OF goes to "sleep"

    It's an OF model. Maybe they should have called it an OFF model. You just gotta keep hitting the ON switch.

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

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    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breedlove OF goes to "sleep"

    I completely believe in the whole going to sleep thing. My old Eastman used to do this. In fact, when it hadn't been played in a while, it sounded flat out bad, but after a half hour or so it was a whole other instrument. There were seasons when I didn't play much and it sounded consistently bad during those times. There were other seasons when I played it regularly and it sounded a lot better. My Collings MT doesn't really do this though, and it lives in the same house under the same conditions. Instruments seem to have their own personality.
    ...

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    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breedlove OF goes to "sleep"

    Hi Richard - ''Moisture spots..." That would worry me a bit !. That would indicate that your room was fairly humid. My upstairs rooms,whilst they do get cold,are also very dry & the 'coldness' is pretty stable. On ocassion,a mandolin will get cold & go 'sharp' & need re-tuning,but usually they say in tune but sound thin & hard toned.
    A large packet of Silica Gel crystals might help in keeping any moisture off your mandolin - it's worth a try,
    Ivan
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    Default Re: Breedlove OF goes to "sleep"

    Quote Originally Posted by Caleb View Post
    There were seasons when I didn't play much and it sounded consistently bad during those times. There were other seasons when I played it regularly and it sounded a lot better. My Collings MT doesn't really do this though, and it lives in the same house under the same conditions. Instruments seem to have their own personality.
    I think this goes back to what Willie was saying. Regardless of rather it is in a case or not, humidity changes rather we are running the heat or not. Even if the mandolin lives in a controlled case, the relative humidity of the space you are playing it in can alter the sound. The density of the wood of your top changes as humidity changes. Some instruments are more sensitive than others depending on factors in the wood selection, drying, and building processes. All of this also effects the resultant sound, which is the core of an instrument's personality.

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    Default Re: Breedlove OF goes to "sleep"

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Kelsall View Post
    Hi Richard - ''Moisture spots..." That would worry me a bit !. That would indicate that your room was fairly humid. My upstairs rooms,whilst they do get cold,are also very dry & the 'coldness' is pretty stable. On ocassion,a mandolin will get cold & go 'sharp' & need re-tuning,but usually they say in tune but sound thin & hard toned.
    A large packet of Silica Gel crystals might help in keeping any moisture off your mandolin - it's worth a try,
    Ivan
    Yes I agree. That's what I've used in that case since then. I suspect it might have been the result of running the heating every two hours to save freeze up that year.

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    Default Re: Breedlove OF goes to "sleep"

    I'll throw in an idea here, maybe it applies, maybe it doesn't...

    As a 45+ year banjo player, I'm severely aware that metal constricts when it is cold and relaxes when it is hot... And wood expands with moisture and constricts with dryness. With a banjo unless the more technical setup is done with these changes in mind, there are specific tone problems that can be expected during cold, wet weather.

    A mandolin doesn't have anywhere near the amount of metal on it as a banjo does, but there are some key tone producing metal parts that may affect tone this way. In particular, if it has a truss rod, this may be a source of the pinched tone that has been described here. Also, some tailpieces and even some bridges with thumbscrew adjustments may have some affect on tone in cold wet weather.

    Additionally, the softer, more pliable and possibly more open-pored woods will absorb moisture and expand more with humidity than the harder woods. So dissimilar woods that are pressured against each other -- such as a bridge or the hardwood back and sides against a softwood top may also have different expansion rates, which again can cause pinched tone.

    The easiest way to double check this would be to bring the instrument into a comfortable, relatively warm and dry environment for a couple of hours before playing it. In other words, open the case, let the warm and dry environment that you like do it's work and see if the mandolin sounds "open" instead of pinched at first playing.

    Anyway, just a thought.

    -- Don

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    Default Re: Breedlove OF goes to "sleep"

    I usually my Breedlove Legacy FF for gigs. On one occasion, I used the Quartz. Rather, I started out with the Quartz. I quickly switch back because the Quartz was "napping." Now, I periodically put the Tone Rite on it to keep it awake. Both sound great when they're wide awake.
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    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breedlove OF goes to "sleep"

    Hi Don - To 'warm' a banjo 'pot' up to where there's any noticeable change,would take quite a bit of heat. The only time my own banjo ever got too hot,the neck was affected,not the pot. The banjo head was affected too. It got warm,expanded & the pitch dropped a half tone. That was after playing in really hot sunshine for an hour or so. I moved to a shaded area along with the guys i was playing with,let the banjo settle for a half hour & it was ok again after tune-up.
    That the neck with it's Ebony fingerboard & dark stained wood was affected,should have been expected & avoided,but i was jamming with a few friends & enjoying myself too much to think of what might (would !) happen.

    The very first time i noticed the effect of heat on a mandolin,was shortly after buying my first Lebeda mandolin. I took it into my very sunny & hot back yard,placed it on our bench & took a few photos. It was only in the sun for around 10 minutes (if that),but the tuning went all to hell !.

    I did read of one ocassion where Dave Grisman was playing a concert somewhere 'high up & chilly'. He simply couldn't keep his mandolin in tune. So,extremes of hot or cold are to be avoided as much as you can = common sense !,
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    Default Re: Breedlove OF goes to "sleep"

    Thank you Ivan,

    Relating to heating up, I guess it also depends on the finish.

    I've got a close friend, a guitar player, who played a gig with us during a hot Southern California summer a few years ago. We were in the sun. He had a limited edition black Martin D45. Hot day, at least in the high 90s(F), with very little shade and he was in the sun (with a hat on)...

    The center seam on the top let loose in the lower bout area. Fortunately he saw the seam expanding and took the instrument out of the sun, removed the strings almost immediately. He saved the guitar functionally, but that seam has always been very visible since then.

    Normally glues tend to start letting loose at around 130(F), so that black top was getting very hot. There were a few other clear finished Martin guitar tops in the same gig situation which were not affected.

    Relating to cold/humidity and banjos getting pinched sounding, in my experience they cool off faster than they warm up. I have a '25 Ballbearing Mastertone which is particularly affected -- I try to avoid playing it outside during the cold winter months. Lots of little metal pieces in that thing. My cast tone ring Mastertones tend to be noticeably more stable in cold/humid weather.

    It's not a signed Loar, but my F9 is too important to me to play outside in extreme hot or cold weather. That's why I was looking for a travel/backup/beater, and why I just recently got my MK.

    -- Don

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breedlove OF goes to "sleep"

    I do believe that the materials that musical instruments are made of do get affected by the environment and can appear to be asleep. But I also find that my ears also need to wake up a bit as I warm up playing and tune into the subtleties of each instrument I pick up. I usually take about 30 minutes to wake up musically, playing tunes up to speed and varying my pick grip and angle as I go until I get the tone, volume and clarity that I want.
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    Default Re: Breedlove OF goes to "sleep"

    I can usually tell when to turn the dehumidifier down by how the room feels and how a couple of my mandos sound without having to check the barometer. I agree with the "wake up" theory, but also ascribe to the "warm up" theory. Meaning we as players tend to warm up and figure out how to best pull tone from the instruments we're playing. I always sound better after playing for 15-30 minutes...cleaner, more precise, more note control, etc. Yes, the mandos also warm up from our body temperature, which contributes, too. I'll say, too, that my instruments prefer 40% humidity to 50-55%, from a tone and responsiveness perspective.
    Chuck

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