When I was in college, I worked a summer job and saved up enough money to buy a nice, new guitar. I was in Joplin, MO, at the time, and I wandered into a local music store.
Little did I know that would be the day I fell in love.
There was a six-string acoustic guitar with a cutaway on display. I walked up and played it, and boy, did it feel good. It had a nice, rich tone as well. The more I played it, the more I didn’t want to put it down. I looked at the headstock and saw a bird on it. The brand was Seagull, a company I’d never heard of before. Nevertheless, I had to have that guitar.
Seagull was the brainchild of Canadian guitar-maker Robert Godin. Godin grew up (and still lives) in Quebec. He began making guitars in 1972 as a way to act on his passion for good music and craftsmanship. Over the next decade, he was able to parlay his small shop in rural Quebec into a solid guitar company, Godin Guitars, which is now one of the largest guitar manufacturers in North America — but one many musicians are still unfamiliar with, unfortunately.
In many ways, Robert Godin might be considered the Canadian Paul Reed Smith. In interviews, Robert’s dedication to and passion about making the absolute best guitars is immediately apparent. Like Paul Reed Smith, he obsesses over every aspect of his guitars and the processes by which they are made. And much like PRS, people who have played or owned a Godin rarely if ever have any complaints.
Godin family brands
In 1982, Godin branched out and started manufacturing acoustic guitars under the Seagull brand. Seagull was started to build affordable, high-quality solid wood acoustics. Mine was the Seagull brand’s flagship, the S6. (I lost that guitar a number of years ago but have since replaced it with an Artist Series, the higher-end counterpart to the S6.)
In the years that followed, Godin has branched out with other brands as well. Norman, Art & Lutherie, and Simon and Patrick are all additional acoustic guitar brands the company has started. (Fun fact: Simon and Patrick are the names of Robert’s sons.) They also make classical guitars under the La Patrie brand. These brands, like Seagull, offer a…