Gear Review: Simon and Patrick Songsmith Concert Hall Songsmith.
Welcome friends, to my very first blog post and gear review.
Let me start out by saying that I am a very big fan of Godin (pronounced Go Dan) guitars. I don't think they get the level of respect that they deserve. I've always sot of suspected it's because of their unabashed "Canadianess". Not just regular Canadian either, they are perhaps the most reviled variation of Canadian to us here in the US, the much maligned French Canadian. But the fact of the matter is, just about all the spruce in the US comes from Canada and lots of premium guitar hardware also comes from Canada. If you've been reading the news, you may have read that Martin Guitars recently lost their "Made in the USA" label because they use parts and woods sourced from Canada, namely wood and the nuts and saddles, which basically means 90% of the guitar has been sourced from Canada.
If you can get past the Canadian origins of Godin Guitars there is an awful lot of options here for you to be excited about. Simon and Patrick guitars are their vintage inspired acoustic line. Most people are a bit more familiar with their line Seagull. The S&P's, like I said before are the more vintage inspired line, featuring rounder necks and a more conventionally shaped headstock. Like I say in my video, I find the Seagull headstocks a bit off-putting and even a bit phallic. The body styles also trend more toward the classic.
The Songsmith series sports a solid spruce top with cherry back and sides. The Fingerboard and bridge are made of some of the better looking pieces of rosewood I've seen on a guitar in awhile. All S&P's come equipped with TUSQ nuts and saddles which is a nice upgrade not normally found on guitars in this price point. Personally, I don't know how much of a sonic difference they make, but I do know much a good nut and saddle effect tuning stability. The tuners aren't fancy but the ratio seems low and they turn smoothly.
I'll readily admit that I'm not a huge fan of satin finishes. Some people love them but I'm a sucker for a high gloss. There are some advantages however, satin finishes do hide small scratches and imperfections better than high gloss and you get a more vintage vibe right out of the box.
Aside from the satin finish, this guitar checks all the right boxes for me. I love sunburst, if someone made a sunburst car, I would be the first person at the dealership to take one home. The rosette is classy yet understated, which makes a big impression on me when I'm looking for a guitar. The top piece isn't highly figured, but is matched incredibly well with no visible seem which is more than I can say for some high end American guitar makers that shall remain nameless (rhymes with Lisbon). Overall the fit and finish is prefect, which is the best thing you can realistically say about that.
As I said before S&Ps trend more toward the vintage and that extends to the necks as well. While the Seagulls have a flatter wider neck, this guitar has a rounder neck. It feels substantial under your hand without feeling big. It's setup really nicely, the action is low with no buzzing anywhere on the fingerboard.
I'm not a super tall guy, I never have been, and at this point in my life I've given up on my dreams of being 6' 3" and I often find dreadnoughts uncomfortable and hard to play. The concert hall body shape is very comfortable to sit down and play. It's also a tad thinner than some other body shapes.
The 14 fret neck is finished with the same satin feel as the rest of the guitar. The nice thing about satin finished necks is that they feel really nice under your hand while you play, they never feel "sticky". Some people go so far as to sand down the back of the neck to bring the luster down to correct that problem. No need here, the finish is smooth and even but won't ever get sticky under your hand.
Upon my first few strums, the first thing I was struck by, was the warmth. Many smaller bodied guitars, especially sub $600 guitars, tend to sound bright, have no mid clairty and lack bass. Not here, it sounded great for fingerpicked pieces where bass distinction is a must. For chord strumming, it sounds well balanced if only maybe a bit mid-heavy, which I actually love. Too many guitar makers these days aim for for "Hi Fi" sound of lots of bass, lots of treble but a lack of mid-clarity. I found its sound suited for pretty much everything I played on it from blues, to folk, to more modern stuff, this guitar could handle it.
Our friendly neighbors to the north have hit one out of the park on this one. I honestly can't recommend this guitar enough. At just $369 ($450 with B-Band system) you will be hard pressed to find better value for your hard earned bucks.
To hear it for yourself, check out my video review: