Seagull acoustic and acoustic-electric guitars are high quality Canadian-made instruments with incredible sound, features, and woods at affordable prices! They are part of the Godin family of guitars along with Art & Lutherie, La Patrie classical guitars, and Godin electric guitars. In our opinion they are comparable to the best American brands at about 1/3 the price!
We carry a wide selection of Seagull acoustic and acoustic-electric guitars in a range of prices, models and colors. As well as many Art & Lutherie acoustic and acoustic-electric guitars.
The big difference in buying a guitar from us is that we shop adjust and inspect every guitar to play well. Normally an $85.00 fee, we set up each and every guitar we sell for free, which you would not normally get through a private seller, internet seller, or "Big Box" store. Enjoy the experience of a smaller, more comfortable shop versus a "Big Box" store. Where we hand adjust every guitar at no extra fee so you can enjoy a great playing guitar!
All over the world guitar players are making exciting new music that explores new techniques and defies categorization. All of this new guitar music is complemented by the guitars' almost limitless capacity for variation in design. Unlike most other instruments, which have followed the same design parameters for decades, the modern guitar continues to evolve. We are constantly reviewing and refining the techniques employed to craft them, the materials used to build them, and the integration of the latest developments in related electronics. Exploring these possibilities is what Godin is all about. Our goals with each Godin guitar is to find the perfect balance between the finest traditions of guitar crafting and the new design concepts that we are developing. After twenty years of guitar building we still hand-finish the necks on every Godin guitar. In fact, from fretting to sanding, there is more handiwork in our guitar than you would find in most custom shops. From the selection of the wood to the final adjustments on the finished instrument, each Godin guitar is designed and built by people who love guitars.
Enjoy! - Robert Godin
We started building guitars over twenty years ago in a village in Quebec Canada called La Patrie. The man that started it all is Robert Godin. Robert still owns the company and he continues to design the vast majority of our guitars. We are a Canadian company with our head office located in Montreal and we build our guitars in several different locations, five in Quebec and one in New Hampshire. For those of you keeping score, that adds up to six factories spread over about 1000 kilometers. So why not just have one giant factory? Although there are some obvious inconveniences associated with spreading ourselves out this much, the up-side is that these smaller operations promote a more intimate working environment which gets everybody more involved and this is reflected in the instruments themselves. Godin guitar are assembled in our Richmond, Quebec and Berlin, New Hampshire factories. The necks and bodies are all made in our original located in La Patrie, Quebec. We are also known for our other guitar brands which include our new electric line known as Richmond Guitars, as well as our acoustic brands which include: Seagull, Simon & Patrick, Norman, LaPatrie and Art & Lutherie. From the beginning the company has been more or less divided between our acoustic and electric side. The electric side of our business was originally that of a parts supplier to other guitar companies. We built their necks and bodies. You might be amazed to find out how many different guitar brands are all being produced in the same handful of factories. We're not telling you this because we want to divulge somebody's secrets but simply to let you know where we're coming from. In any case, what started out as some generic replacement necks and bodies soon evolved into a major business producing finished necks and bodies for many established U.S. guitar companies. The great thing about this is the tremendous experience that we gained building all of these instruments to their various specifications. The down side is that the sub-contracting business is a pain in the neck, so to speak, but more importantly it does not include the best part of building new guitars and that is: coming up with new designs and coaxing them through the process that begins with a sketch and ends with music.
In 1972, he switched from selling to manufacturing guitars, and with the same unabashed enthusiasm, has built the Godin Guitar Company into one of North America's leading manufacturers. On the eve of its 40th anniversary, Godin Guitars is still viewed by some as "those new guys from Canada," and Robert consciously avoids the limelight with a relatively low-key marketing effort. Yet the company's scale and the scope of its product line make it impossible to overlook. With six plants (five in Quebec and one in New Hampshire), covering more that 400,000 square feet of space, Godin's 600 employees produce in excess of 175,000 guitars a year, and the company's seven brands deliver guitars at every price point and for every purpose. The flagship Godin brand offers a huge array of premium electric guitars, including a relatively new line of jazz arch tops and the cutting-edge electro-acoustic Multiac, and LGX has set the standard for synth access guitars. The Seagull brand is acclaimed for its distinctive premium acoustic guitars, while the Simon & Patrick, and Norman brands offer more traditional acoustic designs at popular price points. The Art & Lutherie line addresses the value segment of the market with acoustics starting at $300 retail. Under the Richmond brand, the company has found a ready market for retro-styled electrics, equipped with Bigsby tremolos. Within the family of Godin guitars, there are models including the Redline series, which appeal to heavy metal headbangers, 5th Avenue archtops designed for a new generation of jazz players, and the Seagull Artist series, which target the avante garde acoustic player. However, all the guitars share common traits that reflect Robert's guitar building priorities. All are built from fine solid woods that have been cured for as long as two years, all feature low and extremely playable actions, and all are designed for stability. "We want guitars that sound good, are easy to play, and require little maintenance," he says. Robert Godin's remarkable career arc, from a small guitar dealer to a leading guitar manufacturer, reflects a deep reservoir of ingenuity and determination. The company's current success belies the struggles of the early years, and Robert likes to say, "There are easier ways to make a quick buck than starting a guitar business." Yet for all the challenges of the past four decades, his enthusiasm for guitar building remains undiminished. On a daily basis, he continues to spend most of his waking hours playing, building, designing, or talking about guitars. "There's always more to learn," he says. This learning process was jump-started in the early '60s by The Ventures, the definitive instrumental guitar band. With their classic hit "Walk Don't Run" flooding the radio waves, guitarists began flocking to Robert's music store eager to find out how The Ventures got those exciting new note bending and vibrato effects. Robert began tearing guitars apart and experimenting with different strings and ultimately discovered that banjo strings on an electric guitar would produce the shimmering Venture tone. Unfortunately, the lighter-gauge strings also created annoying intonation problems. So he continued his experiments and eventually figured out how to tweak the bridge, neck angle, and saddle to eliminate the tuning problems earning him a devoted clientele.
He also developed a fascination with guitar design and construction that continues to this day. On a deer hunting trip to La Patrie, Quebec in 1972, a chance encounter at a struggling window factory set Robert on the path to becoming a guitar builder. Norman Windows, a wooden window builder, was struggling as aluminum windows became the top choice for homebuilders. Looking for another source of revenue, the company tried making a few guitars. The initial instruments were terrible, but when Robert happened into the factory and tried one, he immediately sensed potential. "I picked it up and said to myself, 'I'm going to become a guitar builder,'" he recalls. Upon returning to Montreal, he promptly sold the music store, used the proceeds to take over the Norman factory and commenced guitar production in earnest. He jokes today, "Everyone else on the hunting trip came home with a deer. I came home with a guitar factory." In the first years after taking over the La Patrie plant, Robert did virtually every production job, along with handling administration and serving as the company's only salesman. He bought a Ford Econoline Van, loaded it with guitars, and on a monthly basis began calling on dealers. Eastern Canadian dealers quickly came to appreciate his soft-shell approach and the inherent value of the Norman guitars. "I never tried to sell hard; I would just say 'Take two and see how they sell,"' he recalls. "When I'd come back the guitars would be gone, and dealers would immediately buy six or seven. A lot of the dealers I called on back in those days are still important customers." The U.S. market was harder to crack, because, as Robert recalls, "people associated the name 'Norman' with the dumb guy in the television show Cheers, not with a good guitar." The larger dealers also said they'd buy only if he offered copies of top-selling Martin and Yamaha models. Robert responded by creating a new brand name, Seagull, that was free of "dumb guy" connotations. But he ignored the product advice, and crafted a guitar that defied conventions. It had a narrow, tapered headstock that provided straight string pull for better tuning. Instead of adding fancy inlay and trim, he put the money into a premium solid spruce top. And he ditched the high-gloss polyester for a lightly buffed matte finish that sounded better. Big U.S. dealers initially refused to stock the Seagulls because, as Robert recalls, "they didn't sell themselves." However, he found a ready market among smaller retailers and "guitar gurus" who had the knowledge and inclination to explain the product to the customer. "A dealer who would say the customer, 'Do you want a shiny finish and some fake abalone, or do you want a guitar that sounds and plays better?' was successful selling Seagulls," he says.
The quiet success of the Seagull brand established the template for his other instrument brands. The success of the Seagull also strengthened Robert's resolve to build only original guitar designs. He declares, "We don't do reissues; we're interested in building guitars for the music of today." And he really means it. Over the past 20 years, Godin has probably introduced as many groundbreaking, convention defying guitars as any other maker. The LGX series solid body electric guitar was one of the first to combine conventional humbucking pickups with a piezo bridge pickup to produce both acoustic and electric tones. The multiac pushed the envelope even further, combining a chambered solid body with a piezo bridge pickup and a 13-pin connector for synth or computer access. The unusual creative possibilities afforded by the MIDI capability made jazz great John Mclaughlin an early and enthusiastic adopter. The Glissentar didn't so much push the envelope as create an entirely new product category. How else would you describe an 11-string fretless instrument that delivers a musical experience somewhere between a guitar and a sitar? Although the Glissentar defies easy description, Paul McCartney loves his. Godin's latest efforts at expanding the univers of fretted instruments is an Oud that incorporates the electronics of the Multiac with the tuning and neck design of the classic Middle Eastern variant on the lute, all in a slick electro-acoustic package. Ouds may be niche products in the West, but for the billion residents of the Middle East, they are the mainstream, and incoming orders suggest that Godin has found a sizable untapped market. Guitar players gravitate toward the tried-and-true, as evidenced by the astronomical sums paid for vintage instruments. So it takes a special combination of courage and confidence to invest and build instruments that break entirely new ground. Robert does it in part because he finds excitement in the process of creating something truly new.