I said it right before I left to hit Frankfurt Musikmesse… I wouldn’t miss the Canadian Godin guitars. I am a fan, and I almost shed a tear every single time I remember my 2 former Godin LG and ST guitars that I had to sell for “survival”. Godin instruments are great because they’ve achieved the perfect combination of high quality standards with attractive prices. As a matter of fact I’ve never understood how this brand is not more popular than it is. Especially considering that some famous guitarists such as John McLaughlin play them. Godin recently announced some new guitars, and basses models presented at NAMM first. I had great expectations about these, and now I can say that they are just awesome. I am still drooling from my test drives.
First time I saw this model I thought “hey… a strat-like that has everything I need in a stratocaster”. Now I can also say that it avoids most of the things I don’t like about stratocasters. So here are my impressions about the Godin Session guitar.
As soon as I had it in my hands, I felt comfortable with it. The ergonomics is very close to its stratocaster inspiration. But it has a thiner neck profile which is a first feature that I like a lot. I plugged it through a Laney amplifier (picture). Its tone is very bright, and I barely can imagine how it would be with an all maple neck (the one I would choose if I was to buy one… which will happen sooner or later). Whatever the selected pickups are, the tone is very close to that of a stratocaster but with some fat and biting component in it. The bridge humbucker is splittable so that you can have a single coil type of sound at the bridge (which is the stratocaster feature I don’t like that much).
The wiring is simplified as you will just have one volume, and one tone controls. As a matter of fact I’ve never understood the reason for the existence of a third control. So, two controls are fine by me. The volume knob fall just right under the pinky finger for some violoning effect (I use that a lot). And last but not the least, I really dig the raw satin finish… It is just raw as I like!
- Canadian basswood body
- Maple neck
- Maple or rosewood fretboard
- Godin pickups – SSH configuration
- 2 points attached trem
Franco with Godin guitars told me that it should be available around 500 to 600€ which is just an awesome price for a guitar totally made between Canada and USA.
While I was there I couldn’t help myself but looking at the Richmond guitars (property of Godin guitars). This brand is focused on producing guitars inspired by vintage guitars which is a side of the guitar world that Godin didn’t explored that much so far. So, I tried the Richmond Dorchester that looks like a hybrid between a Rickenbaker and a Mosrite.
Despite its massive look, this guitar is very easy to handle. The Dorchester is light and comfortable. Once plugged in the Laney amp I played a basic E chord that sounded like a slap in my face! I even had to look around to spot where that sound was coming from! Dammit! That rumbling tone is coming from my amp! The Lace Alumitone humbuckers are just awesome! On the three positions of the selector it sounds bright, and precise which make it highly recommended for rhythmic rock’n’roll licks.
But you will also find a fourth position! It aims to put the bridge and neck humbuckers in-series. The result is a fat and higher output tone… As a matter of fact, it is massive with a lot more bass in it.
Though the Richmond Dorchester is inspired by vintage guitars, I think it is a lot more versatile than you would expect. I think I could have spend the whole day at Godin to try the Bigsby version of the Dorchester, or all the 5th Avenue models.
Well actually that’s what I should have done but there were so many stuff to check out at the Messe. To conclude, I think that these new Godin guitars are full of surprises, and they should be highlighted as they deserve to be! Well, as a fan of the brand this is my contribution to the highlight…
Here are some pictures of the models presented by Godin guitars (Godin Progression, Godin 5th Avenue, Godin 5th Avenue Cutaway, Richmond Belmont). Click on the thumbnails to see the full size pictures: