Holiday Gear Guide 2012: Godin Natural Elements Seagull

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Godin Natural Elements Seagull

Some people believe that an instrument, especially a handmade acoustic one, can possess something resembling a soul. In the day of mass production, however, that soul is generally lacking. One acoustic guitar that comes close, though, is the Seagull acoustic/electric from Godin.

It was immediately obvious that there was something different about the Seagull we tested, a part of Godin’s Natural Elements collection, within about the first 30 seconds of playing it. Wonderful feel and wonderful tone with great frequency response and balance at an affordable price make this a real player’s guitar, as well as an inspirational instrument for writing. It was hard to put it down after playing it for a while, pretty unusual for an inexpensive guitar that most people haven’t heard of. The dreadnought model we tested had a back and sides of heart of wild cherry with a spruce top, though the company uses other woods too, such as amber-trail maple. It has a flame maple veneer headstock, maple binding and B-band AC1.5T electronics with a tuner. And in keeping with what seems to be an environmentally friendly theme, there’s no stain here, but a satin finish.

These guitars are made with wood native to northern Quebec, where the guitar is manufactured; in fact, about half of the population of La Patrie, Quebec, with fewer than 500 residents, reportedly has something to do with building guitars. We tested the dreadnought which has a list price of $750 and can probably be had for a couple hundred bucks less; the cutaway models list for a little more. Our Seagull review model shipped in a highly unique case (optional), called the TRIC, which stands for “Thermally Regulated Instrument Case.” It’s made of expanded polypropylene, the same shock absorbent, high-tech material used in automobile bumper cores and bicycle helmets, and has a cover and straps that essentially turn it into a primo, lightweight gig bag. The neck is silverleaf maple, often a choice for cellos and violins.

Even if you’re not a particularly “green” person, it’s hard to deny after playing this guitar that the folks at Godin may be onto something here, using woods that they say are a sound alternative to exotic woods and reclaimed logs. Even if you aren’t looking for a new guitar you should check out one of the Seagull models. Playing this one was as exciting and comfortable as seeing an old friend. – RICK MOORE

 

 

 

 

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