If any guitar manufacturer can attest to building a great guitar that retails for an affordable price, it’s Godin and its Seagull brand of acoustics. Seriously, try Seagull’s flagship model, the S6; you’ll hear a big, very audible instrument that projects while plenty of lows and crisp top-end pour forth effortlessly. Many guitars from other manufacturers in the S6’s price range can sound like a cigar box with strings, the result of using dull sounding, lesser-quality wood with poorly executed bracing and construction.
Among Seagull’s claims to fame is its manufacturing. Godin is a Canadian company based in Quebec. All of its products are hand-built there using, for the most part, locally sourced tonewoods with other components made in-house. For Seagull and Godin, these tonewoods are often Canadian-grown wild cherrywood for their instrument’s body and Canadian spruce or cedar for the tops. One anomaly to this formula is an S6 Koa edition that’s exclusive to The Music Zoo. This guitar is constructed with a laminated Hawaiian koa back and sides with a mahogany top. The net result is tone that is warm, with plenty of upper-midrange presence and a bright, crisp top-end. According to Seagull, some of the brightness will mellow as the guitar is played. We also noted excellent detail and clarity when playing chords and solo lines in the upper frets.
It should be noted that a guitar for less than a grand and using koa for its back and sides is quite a rare thing. Koa may grow on trees, yet it doesn’t just grow on trees; in other words, it’s rare, exclusive to the Hawaiian islands, and not readily available. At least, there aren’t a lot of koa trees that are large enough and straight enough to be used for guitar-making purposes due to dwindling supply. Moreover, it all comes from one particular tree farm on Hawaii’s big island. Think about that the next time you play a koa guitar. Have a look at the Koa S6 guitars currently available right here.