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Seagull Guitars: What Makes Them Better?

  • 5 min read

It was in 1982 Robert Godin created the first Seagull guitars in the Town of LaPatrie, Quebec. The mission for Seagull Guitars was to take the essential parts of the best hand-crafted guitars and construct those attributes into their instruments and price them within reach of the working musician. Every one of their guitars is pridefully Made In Canada using sustainably sourced Canadian wood. 

Guitars on Main has been partnered with Godin and Seagull guitars since 2016. We wanted to highlight this great brand that we have grown to love.

Read on about the essential features that make Seagull guitars stand out among the rest and earned the Godin family a stellar reputation of providing one of the best values in acoustic guitars:


Pressure Tested Solid Tops


A guitar generates sound as a result of the vibrations of its strings. What's not so evident is the role that the guitar top plays in magnifying these resonances. The vibration of the top is just one of the most vital factors in a guitar's tone. Solid top guitars provide richer sound and a broader vibrant range. All Seagull guitars are made with choice pressure-tested solid wood tops. In addition, each soundboard is pressure tested to ensure its highest rigidity level. This results in improved overall tone, projection, and guitar life expectancy.

The hand-selected straight grain wood creates a unique mix of strength and flexibility. The top is strong enough-- towards the grain-- to endure the tension of the strings, all while being flexible enough across the grain to vibrate freely.

Compund Curved Top

A guitar's top affects the sound the most. Slightly curving the top above the soundhole opening stands up to descending pressure produced by the fingerboard and increases the top's structural stability, and allows for the use of a thinner and less bracing in top construction. The compound curve top generates exceptional strength in the upper part of the guitar top, and the power & projection are made possible by leaving the soundboard flat below the soundhole. The location around the bridge is one of the most active parts of the top regarding resonance.

Sitka Spruce Bracing

The bracing for Seagull guitars is quarter-sawn Sitka spruce, scalloped and sculpted to adapt specifically to the curvature of the tops. The stamina and lightweight, high qualities of Sitka Spruce make for perfect supporting material. In addition, it offers the stability required to withstand string tension without bearing down the top, enabling it to be more receptive and vibrate freely.

Cedar or Spruce Top?

Both Cedar and Spruce share the same merits in terms of better tone and the capacity to age. Cedar tends to generate a warmer sound and ages faster than spruce. Spruce has a brighter tone and ages over a more extended time. Aesthetically, cedar is darker in shade with a fairly tight grain pattern. Spruce tends to be very blonde with a somewhat broader grain pattern.

Guitar Aging

A solid wood soundboard vibrates far better than a laminated top. The result is a much fuller sound, broader range, and more balanced tone. Not only does a solid top resonate much better initially, but over time the resonances from playing the guitar also cause the soundboard to vibrate better. This desired result is called 'aging,' which suggests that the more often the guitar is played, the better it will sound. It is essential to remember for a guitar to age, it must be played. A guitar stored in its case for five years will undoubtedly be older but not be 'aged.'

Bookmatched

A top begins as a singular piece of wood, cut open-- like a book-- then glued side by side. This procedure is called 'book matching,' which results in a visually pleasing matched grain pattern throughout the top of the guitar.

Custom Polished Finish

Seagull's Custom Polished finish is aesthetically the most attractive acoustic finish Godin has ever before developed. This durable finish withstands everyday wear from guitar usage without giving up the excellent sound of these instruments. Unlike "thick" polyester surfaces, which mute the natural sound of a guitar, the Custom Polished finish permits the top to breathe and resonate, drawing out the natural tone of the wood. The Custom Polished finish subsequently benefits the desired "aging" progression, in which the more the guitar is used, the better it will sound over time. Buffed and finely sanded between each coat, the unmatched allure of the Customized Sleek surface coating is reminiscent of the French polish of the 19th century. This finish provides the semi-gloss a beautiful satin sheen and the high-gloss a glistening shine and highlights the natural wood grain of the guitar.

Guitar Neck Pitch

A great deal of attention should be given when joining a neck to the guitar body. The angle of a guitar's neck attachment-- typically called 'neck pitch'-- plays a vital role in the guitar's tone. If the neck is tilted too far back, the guitar will lose its bass and sound tinny. If the neck angle is too forward, the guitar will lose its high-end frequency, sound dark, and lack clarity. The Seagull neck fastening system guarantees consistent neck pitch. It also yields the included benefit of a superior neck/body power transfer since the neck is attached to the body with a pure wood-to-wood connection. There is no glue to hinder the vibration between the neck's heel and the guitar's body.

Two-Way Truss Rod

Many guitars use a flexible steel rod inside the neck called a truss rod. The truss rod is adjusted to correct the neck's alignment when getting bowed from string stress and humidity changes. In cases of a neck becoming back-bowed, the standard solution is to loosen the truss rod and enable the string tension to pull the neck back to its optimal form. However, this doesn't always correct the alignment, so Godin installed a Double Function truss rod in Seagull necks. The rod flexes in both directions, which supplies unprecedented control over the neck, whether under-bowed or over-bowed.

The Seagull Integrated Set Neck

Comfort, tone, and dependability are the three essential components that Seagull wants in a guitar neck. The Integrated Set Neck system permits a more consistent and dependable action while substantially reducing warping and twisting of the neck, greatly attributed to humidity and temperature changes in the environment.

Compensated Saddle

Seagull guitars include Tusq nuts as well as saddles by Graphtech. The fully compensated saddle provides the correct intonation for Seagull guitars to play in tune all over the neck.

The Heel

Did you ever discover that a guitar that seems perfectly tune requires to be slightly re-tuned when passed from one player to another? This tuning variance relates to how individual players put differing amounts of weight and stress on the neck, affecting intonation. Years ago, Godin found that tuning stability would improve by inserting maple dowels into the neck's heel. This reinforcement makes the neck connection point several times stronger.

Reverse Headstock

Each Seagull neck begins as a single item of Mahogany or Silver Leaf Maple. The wood is cut at a 45-degree angle, and then the top piece (headstock) is glued back on with the grain turned around. This is a crucial step in the Seagull process for developing incredibly secure necks.

Tapered Headstock

The tapered Headstock on Seagull guitars supplies straight string pull, which decreases the neck twisting effect. This ensures that it will be much easier to get your guitar in tune and stay that way. This benefit of the design is helpful for the growing rankings of players that use open string tunings.

Conclusion

We hope that this article has been helpful to anyone researching Seagull Guitars. Seagull has been an essential part of our brand offerings at Guitars on Main since 2016. You can check out our Seagull Collection and be sure to let us know if we can be of any service.  

Seagull Features information reference: seagullguitars.com/features

Robert Putt

Robert Putt

Musician, guitar instructor, and owner of Guitars On Main.

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