Seagull has celebrated a quarter-century in the pick’n'strum business by launching a brace of dreadnoughts with boosted specifications. Seagull, the best-known brand within Robert Godin’s Canadian acoustic-making empire, celebrated its 25th anniversary last year and marked the occasion with the launch of these two ‘Limited Edition’ dreadnoughts. Not confined to a predetermined number, they’re limited in as much as production only took place during 2008. That doesn’t yield any clue as to the final tally, although it’s unlikely they’ll still be in the shops beyond the next few months.
It might seem perverse that this cutaway electro model actually comes in cheaper than the non-cut acoustic Mahogany Spruce, but the Flame Maple has laminated back and sides. You’re not being visually short-changed, mind, because the outer veneers are richly figured, helping make this a handsome-looking instrument, especially when you factor in the peghead’s flame-maple overlay – it really sets off the tuners and various motifs a treat. In other respects, cosmetic embellishments are largely the same as the other Anniversary’s, though the back doesn’t carry a centre strip.
The neck’s construction, size and string spacing are virtually identical to the Mahogany Spruce’s, and it has the same type of open-pored satin finish. Dimensionally it is in fact a smidge deeper along the crown, so you’re immediately confronted with another hefty handful when playing at higher positions, though the cutaway does improve the sense of accessibility, and this sample’s lower action provides an easier, faster feel. One positive aspect both guitars share is very well fitted and polished fretting which allows smooth string bends in conjunction with the rosewood fingerboards’ gentle camber.
Powering is provided by Godin’s latest Quantum preamp, the Q1T, which is similar to the original Quantum but adds an auto-chromatic tuner. A compact brass plate carries rotaries for volume and two-band EQ, plus the tuner’s on/off button directly under the LCD read-out. It’s a very simple, straightforward layout. The tuner works efficiently, and handily can be used without the guitar being plugged in.
These two Anniversaries are somewhat curates egg good in parts. Though made harder work by its action height, the Mahogany Spruce is a trusty performer with a sound thats comfortably up to dreadnought par. The Flame Maple, meanwhile, doesnt win any prizes for acoustic clout, but as an electro-acoustic it has considerable strengths. The big question for both is: can you live with these beefy necks?