Blueridge BG-40 Contemporary Series Slope Shoulder Dreadnought 6-String Acoustic Guitar
Many people suggest the Blueridge BG-40 design is based on the iconic Gibson J-35, and although I thought so too at first, I was a bit confused about that. After all it's not included in Blueridge's Historic Series.
So I reached out to Saga Music which is the company behind the brand, and here is what they told me...
"The BG-40 is actually a guitar we designed that pays respect to a specific model made by Gibson, but for National back in the 1950’s. If you look very carefully you will see some differences in the body shape (upper bout curves)…as compared the J-45; which the BG-40 IS often compared to. The National Guitar is a bit obscure, but frankly speaking…and to us, the vintage example we have sounded better and was more unique than a J-45."
"The BG-40 is part of our Contemporary Series because of its collection of features, most notably it has laminate back and sides, and a typical 1 11/16” nut. (As opposed to Historic Craftsman and Prewar Series Dreadnoughts that have the “not-so-contemporary” nut width of 1 3/4”.)"
Obviously, another major difference with the guitar that inspired the BG-40 is the price.
But don't let the price tag fool you into thinking this is just a cheap copy because many owners compare the tone quite favorably to pre-war Gibsons and other high end brands like Martin.
The materials and workmanship are of high quality despite being manufactured in China to reduce costs. Additionally, the back and sides are made from laminate which further reduces cost.
Tone wise it has a strong bass sound but a little less treble than you might expect, although this is influenced by the type and gauge of strings you use. However, it does have the voluminous projection expected from a dreadnought styled guitar and is loud enough to play lead in an acoustic ensemble.
There is an example of playing lead, albeit with a backing track, in the video below.
- Body Shape: Round Shoulder Dreadnaught
- Top: Solid Spruce
- Back and Sides: Select Mahogany
- Finish: Sunburst High Gloss
- Bridge: Santos Rosewood
- Neck: Mahogany
- Neck Profile: Slim
- Fingerboard: Santos Rosewood
- Fingerboard Radius: Not Specified
- Number of Frets: 19
- Frets to Body: 14
- Scale Length: 24.7"
- Nut Width: 1 11/16"
Many owners of this guitar say it's as good or better than more expensive Gibsons and Martins. Several guitarists who own higher-end guitars bought this one for situations where they don't have to worry too much about damaging it such as sitting around a campfire, but grew to enjoy it so much they now play it regularly. It has been praised for its tone when fingerpicking as well as strumming.
You can't please everyone as evidenced by one guitarist who lamented that it didn't sound as good as his Gibson J-50 - last time I looked you could buy 2 new Blueridge BG-40s for the price of 1 second hand 2007 J-50. Some people might find the price a bit high for a guitar with laminate back and sides - if that's you then take a look at the only slightly more expensive Blueridge BR-140.
Whether you're someone who would usually spend much more on a dreadnought and are looking for a camping guitar, or this is near the higher end of your budget, this guitar won't disappoint.
Although this was previously on our recommended list, there are now more highly rated options available which you can see in our guide to The Best Acoustic Guitars Under $1000.