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While shopping for my first guitar recently, I came across an Art & Lutherie Cedar Black and a Cedar Antique Burst with the puffy sticker rosette at a local Austin shop. I had a friend play them and we both loved the sound of the cedar. And he said the action is very nice. But I just couldn't get over the applique. Later and at another shop that carried new and used Seagulls, I recognized the Godin manufacturing label on an Entourage Dread Q1T. It has that same sweet sound and action without the crappy rosette. It is also my impression that the Seagull is the better made guitar overall compared to the A&L. I then noticed they had a used Entourage with the puffy sticker rosette and we figured that A&L and Seagull must be paternal twins from a design standpoint.

Bottom line for me -
I have set my sights on a Seagull Q1T (no puffy rosette), but could use some input before buying. I have an amateur music background, but no experience with guitars other than appreciating what loveliness can be poured out of them.

Decision points:?

  • New or used?
    I'm leaning new since I just don't know what ills I might miss. I do like a bargain, though.
  • Cedar or Spruce?
    They both sound very good to me. Is one more durable or forgiving than the other?
  • 1.8 or 1.7" nut width?
    I have average hands, so not a particularly long reach. Does it make a big diff for a beginner getting on the strings cleanly? Or does the narrower spacing help with the reach?
  • SG or GT?
    A guitarist who says he has played for 20+ years said that the GT would be less resonant than the SG, but I'm not yet convinced..I know I gotta get more input than that.
  • CW or not?
    I'm leaning away from the CW since I'm am just starting out, but welcome input. Just try and sway me!
  • I have the $$ to stretch up in to the middle of the product line, but should I?
    I like the burst for aesthetics, but want the best bang for the buck.
    What are the benefits of the Coastline over the Original over the Entourage?

Questions, questions. And more questions...
(OK, I know I'm really piling on, but it never hurts to ask. Right?)

  • Once I choose (assuming a new purchase), do I need to change anything straight from the factory?
    (Different strings, altered set-up, etc.)
  • What is the best hard case under $150?
  • Are there any other questions I really need to be asking before dropping several bills on this?

Any input is welcome. Can you please help a newbie out?

Views: 2669

Replies to This Discussion

@ Bogey ...

  • New or used? I'm leaning new since I just don't know what ills I might miss. I do like a bargain, though.

You can find a lot of nice Seagulls on Craigslist ... especially the Entourage and S-6 models.  Find one you like and save $100-$150 ... still, there's a lot of comfort to be had by knowing your new guitar is backed by a dealer and/or the factory under warranty.

  • Cedar or Spruce? They both sound very good to me. Is one more durable or forgiving than the other?

Cedar is warmer and "opens up" faster but is rather fragile, while spruce will be brighter sounding and will be more durable.

  • 1.8 or 1.7" nut width? I have average hands, so not a particularly long reach. Does it make a big diff for a beginner getting on the strings cleanly? Or does the narrower spacing help with the reachou really should take ther time to play each before deciding.

Personaly, I think the 1.8 inch nut is just about the best thing about Seagull guitars.  But, I would strongly advise trying both the 1.8 inch and the 1.72 inch before buying.  As you probably know, almost all moderately priced acoustics are 1.68 inch at the nut, so any Gull is going to be wider.

  • SG or GT? A guitarist who says he has played for 20+ years said that the GT would be less resonant than the SG, but I'm not yet convinced..I know I gotta get more input than that.

Most agree that a heavy gloss is somewhat of a sonic liability, but I'm not sure how much.  And there is no dounbt in my mind that a gloss finish will hold up against wear and tear a lot better. Seagull gloss fihnishes are supposedly thinner and more resonant than some cheaper gloss finishes.  I suppose it's true.

  • CW or not? I'm leaning away from the CW since I'm am just starting out, but welcome input. Just try and sway me!

Unless you plan to actually play a lot up on the 12th fret and higher, then a cutaway to me is simply a matter of taste.  It's just cosmetic and something you either like or don't. I'm one who does not like cutaways.

  • I have the $$ to stretch up in to the middle of the product line, but should I? I like the burst for aesthetics, but want the best bang for the buck. What are the benefits of the Coastline over the Original over the Entourage?

Personally, I don't think the Coastline gives you any particular advantage if you like cedar tops ... with a Coastlne you can get a spruce top if you want it and they have the "mahogany-dyed" cherry sides and back instead of the light natural color of the S-6 models.  I personally prefer dark sides and back, but I'm not sure the difference is worth the additional cost.

Questions, questions. And more questions... (OK, I know I'm really piling on, but it never hurts to ask. Right?)

  • Once I choose (assuming a new purchase), do I need to change anything straight from the factory? (Different strings, altered set-up, etc.)

I thought my Seagull S-6 was great straight from the shop.  It's possible that the shop had done some set-up work when it arrived, but I doubt it.  Some people insist that Seagulls come from the factory with the action set too high.  It's a personal preference thing and depends a lot on your style of play.

  • What is the best hard case under $150?

I bought a nice TKL hardshell dreadnought case for about $85-$90 that fits my Gull like a glove.  Some will insist that the TRIC is the way to go.  I'm not a fan of the TRIC, but once again different strokes ..

Jud went over everything so well, I'd like to +1 almost all of it...
I won't insist on a TRIC, but my 5th Avenue lives in one, and I like it a lot...
IMHO, if you are a fingerstyle player, the SG will resonate better under the finger's touch - if you use a pick more often, this perceived difference will diminish.
Buy new - but you can find new guitars that have been around for awhile, with full warranty, at a good price. For example, I got my Performer dread - a 2009 - at Wolfe Guitars in Jupiter, FL last year. They also had 2 mini -jumbos. $599 - Musician's Friend price for a new one is $749. If you may have interest in this model, I believe Wolfe still has one of the mini-jumbos - a very comfortable guitar to play, IMHO. Check their website/current inventory - www.wolfeguitars.com. I'll post a link later, when I'm on a real computer... Performer models come with the well-padded Seagull gig bag.

Ok - here's the promised link:

http://www.gbase.com/gear/seagull-performer-mini-jumbo-2009

and some pics:

Nice guitar, IMHO...and a good price!

The dread they still have pictured on their website is mine, so I don't know whether they have the mini-jumbo in stock anymore or not - it was there before Christmas... :-)

One of the mini-jumbos had a different-looking side and back - still flame maple, but with a bit of what looked like "amber trail" in it - different from the above, but unique and beautiful...

Everything is personal preference.  

Pick a $ amount you're willing to spend and play everything you can up to that (and beyond just so you know what a great guitar can sound and feel like).  Body shape, woods, finishes don't really matter that much for your first guitar, you're looking for one that will inspire you to play and keep playing.  And, great guitars come in all shapes, sizes, and colors (prices, too)... Typically a fingerstyle guitar may have a cedar top and wide nut, but, that doesn't mean you can't strum it.  

Personally, I would look for a used model without electronics (pickup technology is constantly changing and you're probably not playing a gig tonight anyway).  Take a good guitarist friend along with you to check them out too, buy from a shop that will make setup adjustments.  Be patient, be willing to look at models other than what you have in mind, be willing to be surprised, don't settle too soon for 'good enough'...  (but, remember, your first probably won't be your last) And, be ready to jump on the one that really sings to you.  Enjoy!!

Get a case that fits well.

Tom,

Thanks for the info.I had already done some comparative shopping prior to my original post. But I did just as you suggested and auditioned quite some number of new and used guitars at and well above my price point since then. See my post for more details.

I chose a new Seagull Entourage with the Q1T electronics and tuner because I wanted to be able to make quality recordings to critically assess my playing. I don't expect I'll be playing gigs.

I'm now looking for a case that's a good fit for it.

P.S.

I know a guy professionally name Tom Belgen and I can't help but think of the pronunciation of his last name when I see yours. My mind is all twisted.

...but I already knew that before meeting up with you here.

@ Bogey....I just purchased my first Seagull...(Maritime SWS HG QI)...it just arrived this morning, and I just put it to bed.  The people in this group WILL NOT steer you wrong!  I LOVE my new guitar....read and research all you can...regardless of which model you get, I'm certain that you'll ve thrilled with your purchase!

Another recent convert to the Gull family here.

My Seagull .. (A Maritime SWS HG) arrived just over a week ago, I specifically did not want electronics built into it.

Personal preference, I prefer mic's or a temporary pickup if I ever need one

.

I highly recommend reading the recent article Jud posted on the history of Godin, It shows the positioning of the various Godin brands, A&L being in  the bottom budget end, and the Seagulls at the upper end of the products they produce.

http://www.acousticguitarcommunity.com/group/SeagullAficionados/for...

Nothing wrong with an A&L, but the Seagulls are in league of their own

.

IMHO: for best bang  for buck it is hard to beat an original Seagull S6

.

I  agree with Tom, get a good hardshell case. I went for Godin's  own high tech TRIC case it was only about 20$ more than a standard hardshell the shop sold for dread's. Very useful for transport and a place to set it down at home if you don't have a good acoustic stand for it.

I got the same guitar you did....while the Godin electronics ARE good...(very nice sound)....NOTHING beats a good mic!...why didn't you want the electronics?

Not good  experience with my previous guitar (not a Godin, but another really big manufacturer) I could never get it to sound right. With the pickup&preamp active it did not sound like an acoustic any longer.

While out searching for the new guitar I found I did like the SRS Wizardry in the new Yamaha a3r, at least in the store it sounded great! Pizo under saddle, and mic + some "studio quality"  modelling wizardry in the preamp. Nice guitar, just did not like the feel of it, and was worried that what sounded great in the store might end up bugging me later on.

Figure for now I'll use my mic's and if really needed go out and find an after-market pick-up that is not permanently mounted.

OK I will wade into the fray.

I think that a HG finish on any guitar will brighten the sound.  This I think is more true with Seagull because they still finish the old way.  As I understand it, they use no poly any thing. So I think that that hard finish helps tighten up the vibrations on the top and hence the brighter sound.  I think CW detract from this.  Smaller top, smaller sound. This is where people see things differently.  Jud thinks HG might be a liability as I think it might be an asset. It depends on what YOU want. Warm, homey sound or a bright, clear sound.  Both have their place in music.

Case:

I love my TRIC case.  Drop it, it bounces. Humidity stays in it. Holds the guitar gently yet firmly in place. Has a nice large compartment for my picks and slide and capo and microfiber towel. I like the standard as opposed to the Deluxe. Deluxe has a nylon cover that holds everything shut with velcro.  The standard case has clasps. 

Cost:

I really think that for the $ Seagull makes a superior product.  You can spend 500 bucks on gull and get a guitar that will hold it's own against any Martin under 1000 bucks. I think even the gull is even better.

Pay attention to construction and bracing.  Different companies have different construction.

Lastly, I am not a big fan of buying without playing.  I think certain guitars play and sound better then others of the same make.  So I will always play before I buy.  To me some guitars "sing" and others don't. I played a $1500 Martin that sounded like a $100 Cort. The same make, hanging next to it sounded awesome.  The sales person even remarked about it.

Play, play, play till you find the guitar that "sings" to you.

Yep ...  warm vs bright is a subjective personal choice sort of thing.  Seagull uses nitrocellulose laquer and they claim (probably accurately) that their process for either satin or gloss has less impact on the tone than some other finishing processes. 

 

I also agree that playing several samples of the same guitar can be quite revealing.  I played a Martin 000-28EC "Eric Clapton" in a small local shop and thought that it was the most marvelous guitar I'd every picked up.  A few weeks later I played the same model in a GC and it was like a completely different experience.  If I'd have had the money to buy one, I'd have been ecstatic with owning the first sample, but severely disappointed with the second one.

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