Godin-manufactured acoustics have been sold under many names -- Seagull, Simon & Patrick, Norman for example -- but until recently the Godin name has not graced the headstock of a traditional acoustic guitar. That's all changed, and the Godin name has now been applied to a new line of premium acoustic guitars. Featuring a solid Cedar top, Mahogany back and sides, and LR Baggs electronics, the Godin Metropolis Natural Cedar is traditional dreadnought acoustic that combines full-bodied warmth with exceptional detail and nuance.
The made-in-Canada Godin Metropolis features
Premium pressure tested solid Cedar top
Thin satin natural finish
Solid Mahogany, back & sides
Neck - Mahogany, 25.5" scale, 21 frets
1.72" nut width, 16" radius
Richlite® fretboard w/custom inlays
LR Baggs Anthem pick up with volume, blend and phase switch
Open gear tuners
Graphtec nut, saddle and pins
Includes deluxe TRIC hard case
First shown at the 2019 winter NAMM show, 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 for many years.
While the Metropolis Natural Cedar is the "least fancy" of their dreadnought lineup, we dig the traditional understated looks. Other than the split block inlays carried over from their Montreal line the Natural Cedar is decidedly low on bling. 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.
Developed in the early 1900's, the dreadnought design with its big volume and and strong midrange has been prized by folk bands, specifically bluegrass where it is the main engine of the band. As such, the Metropolis has a strong low-mid response, but it's not a "midrange cannon" as some dreadnought guitars can be. The Cedar top lends a nice warmth, yet there is plenty of top end response and note separation. It's rich and detailed, and like a lot of Cedar guitars tends to sound broken in from the get go. We really like it, and when strummed with vigor it does not heavily compress or greatly lose focus. Acoustic volume is decent -- we've played louder Dreadnoughts -- and it's more of a nuance and detail guitar than a thrasher. And if it's not loud enough, of course there are the Anthem electronics.
We tested the Metropolis with 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 for our taste we biased the balance control towards the bridge to pick up the highs, and dialed in enough body mic to add some depth and resonance. Overall, it's one of the better sounding systems we've played, and is simple to use.
With its classical styling and understated looks, the Godin Metropolis Natural Cedar can look good in almost any setting. And it's also an excellent value for a solid-wood North American made guitar. Its Cedar top unlocks a range of overtones, and while it may not pack the midrange grunt to drive a bluegrass band, it makes up for it in sophistication. From a standpoint point of performance and value, the Metropolis Natural Cedar is a winner.
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