The next great revelation—a modern Brazilian dreadnought!

Try the powerhouse Bedell Spotlight Limited Edition Dreadnought Cutaway

Bluegrass is bound by tradition, but it was born of innovation.

Bill Monroe supercharged old time country music—especially the Scots Irish ballads and fiddle tunes he’d heard as a child—by blending in the blues feeling he’d learned from fiddler/guitarist Arnold Shultz, the ever present harmonies of southern gospel and the jazz freedom that was flowing from cities like New York, St. Louis and New Orleans. In the process, he fathered a new form that broke down barriers.

Monroe wanted to sing higher and play faster than anyone else, so he did.

But, as noted, as bluegrass crystalized, it became codified, too, with many fans imposing their own guidelines on what constituted—or, today, constitutes—the real thing. Swing a cat at a festival and you’ll hit an argument about what bluegrass means.

Newgrass certainly shook things up again in the 70s, with pickers like Sam Bush stretching boundaries just as Big Mon had done. More recently, Berklee kids and their spiritual kin have completely reimagined the music. Many acts today—from Nickel Creek and Chatham County Line to Darlingside and Mipso—employ bluegrass instrumentation, but fuse it with classical chops, singer/songwriter intent and a fearlessness that recalls Monroe’s own. What rules there were have been blurred or simply shot down, all to the benefit of open ears that are feasting on the wide array of acoustic sounds available.

It’s to this new world that the hand made, hand tuned Bedell Spotlight Limited Edition Dreadnought Cutaway Adirondack-Unique Brazilian belongs, looking, like the Roman god Janus, backwards and forward at the same time.

With stunning, visually arresting Brazilian rosewood back and sides and a high gloss Adirondack spruce top, it’s as traditional as it gets, bearing the key attributes and most singular elements of the classic bluegrass box, a D-28.

But the Bedell Spotlight Series of four special edition instruments is supercharged for modern performance, not least because of its contemporary cutaways that let today’s players reach for the stratosphere.

At Bedell, we’re listening to what musicians want now, and requirements for playability and versatility have finally caught up with the need for pure, amazing sound, which the Spotlight has in spades.

The semi-gloss 25.5” scale Honduran mahogany neck on the Spotlight is fast and clean, from the requested 1 & ¾” nut right up to that final 20th fret. Each note sings, balanced, dynamic and powerful. The Brazilian offers all the bass you’ll ever need, along with a trademark blossom of rich overtones, and nothing cuts quite like Adirondack. Drive it as hard as you want. It’s got plenty of headroom.

The Spotlight takes to a mic like a pre-war treasure, but, again, because you asked for it, it also sports an award-winning L.R. Baggs Anthem system, which combines bridge plate-mounted TRU-MIC technology with the company’s acclaimed Element pickup. You’ll have a hard time hearing the difference between plugged in and acoustic.

In 1972, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band—all long hair, hipster slang and hippie togs—showed up in Nashville ready to make their statement about country music. The result was the groundbreaking Will the Circle Be Unbroken, which gathered pioneers like Doc Watson, Maybelle Carter, Roy Acuff, Earl Scruggs, Jimmy Martin and Merle Travis together in the studio for a landmark recording that went platinum and established a bond between old and new ways, satisfying, despite earlier efforts by The Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers, both rock and country audiences for the first time.

Similarly, in 2000, T Bone Burnett produced the soundtrack for the Coen Brothers’ eccentric Depression-era recasting of Homer’s Odyssey, O Brother, Where Art Thou? The disc virtually launched Americana as it is defined today, introducing a new generation to stalwarts like Ralph Stanley, Norman Blake, John Hartford and The Fairfield Four and relative newcomers like Alison Krauss, Chris Thomas King and Gillian Welch.

The tortoise-bound Spotlight (housed in a custom Ameritage case) is here to fuel the next great revelation, the next great revolution, the next opportunity for the past to meet the future on equal ground.

Bedell sales director Jerry Lambert, no slouch on the six string himself, says this guitar is uncommonly good, representing a chance for modern guitarists to get their first taste of legal, documented, ready-to-travel Brazilian rosewood (of which Bedell has the world’s biggest cache).

“This thing’s a powerhouse!” he beams. “Being a dreadnought, my first inclination was to play big full chords and run a couple flatpicking tunes. This instrument held up whether I was digging in with a hard driving bluegrass rhythm or picking single lines. Never did it bag out on me, and the tones in the upper register can only be described as bell like.”

“What blew me away even more, especially from a dreadnought, was how responsive it was to fingerstyle play—beautifully subtle and expressive at the same time.”

“I’m a believer in these guitars.”

The Bedell Spotlight Limited Edition Dreadnought Cutaway Adirondack-Unique Brazilian—let it be your fingerprint!