GUITAR
ACQUISITION
SYNDROME

Simon & Patrick
Woodland Mini Jumbo

 

Okay I hear 'ya! Appreciate those, "what happened to the Monthly G.A.S. Attack", emails. My bad and the only excuse I can offer is GUITAR FUEL. It has taken on a life of its own and we are hitting on all cylinders. I also took our website from 10 to 90 pages and its still not finished. I have all intentions of upgrading the G.A.S. site in the near future too, making it more user friendly with more pages and quicker load times.

Of course busy doesn't mean an episode of G.A.S. (or two) didn't occur but I have (thus far) maintained my "less is more" philosophy avoiding the floundering vintage market. I not only dropped the ball for October but November as well so I feel it only right to play catch up. Of course the fall season makes for some nice photographs so here 'ya go!

    

For less than $200 each my latest "acquisitions" have become primary players. Now that is very unusual even though my "go to" guitars change every few months. I try to spread the play time around a bit but of course it is ultimately dependent on the musical mood/style happening at that point in time. Even so, just a few guitars get the most "old shoe" play time so for an untested bargain to come in the door and be placed into immediate rotation is impressive!

I've been a fan of Godin guitars for years going through many models within their line. I went through a sythn guitar phase several years back so it was either Godin or Brian Moore. Tried the Moore and wasn't impressed but the Multiac series was excellent. I turned my good buddy Bob onto the Multiac SA/Roland GR33 combo which he continues to use today as his main gigging rig.

Always impressed with the quality of their instruments I stumbled upon an early Art & Lutherie Cedar dreadaught at a local flea market. With a few top cracks and loose braces it was a project which became the G.A.S. Attack for June 2009. I enjoyed bringing her back to life so much the end result was the pursuit of a Simon & Patrick Woodland Series Mini Jumbo (MJ) another member of the Godin family. Manufactured in the LaPatrie area of Quebec they are truly a great option to the plethora of Asian manufactured models in the < $500 price range. The street price is just over $400 new but I ended up with this used one for $200 plus shipping on eBay. Even came with brand new albeit non-original hardshell case.

The Art & Patrick (taking from both names) guitars have become my favorites. Both use a Red Wild Cherry (laminate) for the back and sides with cedar tops. Obviously a far cry from the seminal Brazilian rosewood and spruce of Martin but it works for me. The grain and light color of the cherry is refreshing from the darker woods used on the majority of acoustic guitars. The contrast of the neck, which is Silver Leaf Maple, makes for a very pleasing overall appearance.

As for tone, it is all about personal preference. The MJ's tone is full and rich with great harmonics. After owning 100s of contemporary and vintage guitars I've concluded that the price really doesn't matter. A good guitarist sounds good on any guitar. What I perceive as great tone is exactly that. It is what I continue to search for. My personal tone which is as much based on my style of playing as it is the woods used for the instrument. So I still sound like Ty on that $10K vintage Martin, my $200 Simon & Patrick or $60 "flea market" Art & Lutherie. Sure the tone varies from guitar but bottomline, it's still me.
The MJ is one comfortable guitar. It just fits very well physically. The slimmer waist and wider bouts are a nice change from the standard dreadnaught body style. It suffered from a poorly repaired end pin jack hole which is a non-issue since I plan to install an ARTEC EDGE BT blender-chromatic tuner preamp/eq system (piezo/magnetic). The majority of the nicks, dings and scratches are from me as I've played the heck out of this thing the past 2 months. Extremely responsive, she sounds great (IMHO) especially tuned in open D.

As a tone wood, the cherry holds its own with a surprising warmth. And what about it being a laminate? I know solid wood...blah...blah...blah but lets not forget even Gibson used maple laminate for its high end archtops at one point. This is 3 layers of cherry hardwood not pressboard like many imports and it makes a difference. Along with a pressure tested SOLID cedar top it lends itself to my style of playing with some nice percussive overtones. Not overly loud but very even in response she can be played hard without the worry of "cosmetic perfection".

Nice touches like a Tusq nut and saddle by Graphtech, Indian rosewood fingerboard and bridge and a quality set of 14:1 tuners. Worthy of serious consideration, there is no need to go further than our good friends to the north in Canada for your next acoustic guitar. Whether a Godin or one of its other "house brand" names like Seagull, Norman, LaPatrie, etc. you'll find a high quality good sounding product at a reasonable price.

 

 

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