While Godin has manufactured acoustic guitars for years -- and still does -- under various brand names, the famous Godin name has now been applied to a line of premium acoustic guitars. Featuring all solid wood construction and top notch hardware and electronics, the Godin Fairmount Concert is a strong and attractive entry into the world of solid wood acoustics.
The made in Canada, the Godin Fairmount features
Premium pressure tested solid Sitka Spruce top
Solid Mahogany, back & sides
Thin gloss finish
Neck - Mahogany, 25.5" scale, 16" radius
Bound Richlite® fretboard w/ custom inlays
LR Baggs Anthem pick up with body mic and bridge sensor
Open gear tuners
Graphtec nut, saddle and pins
Includes deluxe TRIC hard case
Godin has always chosen to brand their acoustic guitars under alternate brand names such as Norman, and Simon and Patrick (named after dear friends and family). But the Godin name looks perfectly at home on the headstock of this nicely appointed folk guitar. The new Godin line of acoustics is aimed at a higher level of performance, with nearly all models featuring all solid wood construction. The Concert and Dreadnought series guitars feature what Godin calls their "Optimal X" bracing, kerfed neck construction, LR Baggs Anthem electronics, and Richlite fret boards. Richlite is a wood fiber composite material that has a look and feel similar to ebony, but none of the sourcing or sustainability issues of harvesting real ebony. It's hardly new to the Godin family of guitars, and has been used successfully for many years.
The attractive Fairmount features the popular Concert Hall body shape, which marries playing comfort with reasonable volume and enhanced high end response. The bound neck is a nice touch, and split block inlays carried over from their Montreal line makes the guitar stand out in a crowd. Godin stuck with the same headstock style that they use on their higher end electrics, and to us it fits right in stylistically on their acoustic line. And we've always liked the look of the tortoiseshell headstock veneer. The controls for the electronics are sound-hole mounted, and the LR Baggs Anthem systems utilizes their Element bridge pickup and TRU-MIC condenser microphone. The controls are volume, mic/bridge balance, and phase.
Mahogany-bodied guitars generally have a strong midrange focus, less dynamic range than rosewood, but more complexity than maple. The Fairmount is characterized by the punchy immediacy that is the hallmark of smaller bodied guitars. The midrange is nicely focused, the highs are crystal clear without sounding stiff, and while a guitar of this size will not have great low end extension, it produces quite a lot of volume. The responsiveness of the Concert shape is a good match for finger style playing, with lingering complex overtones, a pleasantly percussive attack, and excellent sustain. Using a medium (.73mm) pickup produced a similar tonal response, while going to a heavier (1.14) pick tended to yield a duller response and fewer overtones. We sense the Fairmount prefers a light-to-medium touch and heavier players may test the limits of its dynamic range.
Keeping it all Canadian, we plugged the Fairmount into a Traynor AM Studio, which is a compact acoustic amp with 8" woofer and 1" tweeter. The LR Baggs system uses their element bridge pickup and a condenser body mic, and overall the results are excellent. The bridge pickup provides a good dose of presence, but has none of the brittle metallic tone that many piezo systems have. According to LR Baggs, their ultra thin bridge sensor tracks the motion of the top, rather than direct string pressure, resulting in less "quack." The body mic adds warmth and resonance, and finding your sound is a matter of balancing the brighter attack of the bridge sensor with the woodier response of the body mic. Unlike its dreadnought peers, there isn't too much bloom in the lower frequencies, and the body shape helps keep everything balanced without having to mess around too much with the amp's EQ section.
With the advent of really good acoustic guitar electronics, concert and folk sized guitars have gained in popularity, and the dreadnought is not as dominant as it once was. The Godin Fairmount is a solid entry into the midrange acoustic market, and it impressed us with its sensitivity, high end response, and harmonic detail. Its comfortable size complex tonality makes it ideal for pickers, and the capable Anthem electronics means you can take it on the road with confidence. Flat pickers can have a good time with this guitar provided they are not ham-fisted, but most of all it's a guitar that rewards nuance and dynamics. For Godin fans looking for solid wood Concert acoustic that actually says Godin on the headstock, your day has arrived.
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