Monday, July 12, 2010

Simon and Patrick Songsmith Acoustic Guitar


If you are looking for the best bargain in the acoustic guitar world, I have found it for you. The Simon & Patrick Songsmith guitars are an incredible value.

Oh. You have not heard of these, have you? Simon & Patrick guitars are an offshoot of the Godin family of guitars. They are handmade in a 3rd world country (Canada) in LaPatrie Quebec. My understanding is that they are subsidized by the government. Sort of a make-work program for luthiers, I guess.

I found out about them when I asked my repair guy about bargain acoustics, and his shop just happened to carry them. I was impressed by the sound and the build quality, and even more by the price, which is less than half of a comparable Martin or Taylor guitar.

Today we are looking at a Songsmith model, which is also available as a Folk model. The only difference is the smaller body on the Folk, which gives a little thinner tone.

It is a pleasant-looking guitar, with a solid spruce top, and red wild cherry back and sides. The neck is made of maple with an Indian rosewood fretboard. The finish is sort of a semi-matte burst, and the body has a simple binding around the top.

The sealed tuners seem to be of acceptable quality, although time will only tell if they hold up. It has first-rate Tusq (synthetic bone) compensated nut and bridge saddles that are made by Graphtech.

The neck is made of a single piece of maple, with added sections for the headstock and heel. It has the same satin finish as the body. There is a dual-action trussrod in the neck. The nut is 1.72-inches wide, so it is a little narrow if you do a lot of finger picking. There are 21 medium frets, and they are finished well. This one had a great set-up right out of the box, and the frets are finished well, with nice edges.

As I said, the top is solid spruce, which has some compound curves in it above the soundhole to make it a bit louder, and to make it more structurally sound. Supposedly, it reduces the amount of fingerboard pressure on the top. It is flat on the bridge end, to allow the necessary vibrations to take place.

So, overall it is a nicely-made guitar, with solid materials. But, it sounds good and plays well too! It has a sweet, balanced tone. It has impressive volume when picked hard, and has a nice low-end tone. It is pleasant to play, and would be great to gig with.

If you need to plug in, S & P can hook you up with a model that has a B-Band A3T preamp and piezo transducer. The control panel is unobtrusive and has controls for volume, treble, middle, bass and presence. There is a battery compartment near the endpin jack socket. The B-Band system does an impressive job of amplifying the acoustic sound. I have not been a fan of the tone of piezos, but it works as well as other ones I have seen on much higher-priced acoustics.

The only downsides I can see are if you play left-handed (you’re out of luck), or if you are looking for something with a flashier appearance.

I have saved the best part for last: the price. MSRP on these is a mere $429 (without electronics), with a street price of about $320. You will not find a better guitar for the money.

24 comments:

  1. The S & P series are really pretty decent guitars. I find them to be the best ones out of the whole Godin range.
    If you found the folk model thin-sounding, try one of the variants with a cedar top. It will not have as much headroom as a spruce-topped model, but will be very pleasingly balanced with good bass and low-mids for the given range.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Corey. I went with the dreadnaught (if I spelled that right)instead of the folk because it had a more full tone. I have been playing the crap out of it lately, and like it more now than when I first got it. I do not know how they can make them this cheaply.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Subsidized labor and subsidized lumber, really.
    Godin runs their shops in La Patrie as a job-training scheme; it's sort of a "workfare" for talented folks.

    Acoustic guitars with solid tops tend to dramatically improve tonally with time and playing; some faster than others. Usually you get a faster change out of cedar than spruce, but spruce is louder and has more headroom.

    The price you got on that particular model is rather good.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I just paid $299 Canadian for a Songsmith folk style guitar which I bought for my daughter. It is incredible value for money.

    ReplyDelete
  5. They are quite a deal, aren't they? Have a great Christmas!

    Rex

    ReplyDelete
  6. I just bought a S&P Songsmith at a Guitarworks in Calgary.

    I loved it, compared to a handful of Yamaha's in this price range, it just sounded better as far as tonal clarity went on the higher notes.

    That being said, I thinkt I got a great deal. I'm very happy. Bonus for being able to plug in, with a built-in tuner to boot.

    Suffice it to say, I'm going to be playing the bejeebus out of it in the months/years to come.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi there, Bryan! Mine is my number one player, and I have a lot of guitars. It has been bullet proof so far.

    Thanks for checking in!

    Rex

    ReplyDelete
  8. I bought a Songsmith a couple of years ago when I got serious about my guitar lessons. Mine is the dreadnaught, in a blue finish that was apparently done specially for a local music chain. It's a very forgiving guitar, stays in tune well and is fun to play. I was originally drawn to S & P's because I was born in Quebec, but I definitely like this guitar!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi there! I haven't seen the blue ones. Were they made for Lomg & McQuade?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Yes, the blue was apparently special for Long & McQuade. I haven't seen one in a while so it might have been a limited thing? I think A&L uses the same blue finish. It looks like this:
    http://coneycat.livejournal.com/1199829.html

    I think it's pretty, and it's kind of distinctive!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hey folks,

    Im a complete beginner and having played for a month with a rental Denver I decided to switch to my own instrument. I bought my S&P used (only minor scratches) from Long and McQuade for $199. However, have a question on the Spruce Top Vs. Cedar Top...how does one determine this?Being second hand, I did not get all the material one normally gets with new purchases so I was wondering if there was a way to find out the "history" of my guitar.

    Would appreciate your comments.

    Thanks,

    ReplyDelete
  12. I just bought a Songsmith about an hour ago; and I am absolutely goo-goo gaa-gaa over this thing. As a left handed player, I overpay for EVERY guitar I buy - except in this case. I paid $375 for my model, and I can honestly say I UNDERPAID! I'm a full time musician, and this will become my number one. The warmth, finish, and tone are remarkable. I'm a Canadian, and can honestly say I'm proud of my fellow countrymen for putting out such a wonderful piece of equipment at such a fair and affordable price. These guitars, once they catch on; can and WILL give takamine, Dean, and even Taylor a serious run for their money. Thanks for the great page, and thanks for turning me onto such a fantastic piece!

    ReplyDelete
  13. They are great, aren;t they? I leave mine out all the time, while my D-18V is hidden away...

    ReplyDelete
  14. I bought my Songsmith three years ago.Guitar and case $350.00 tax in.It is the best guitar out there for the money.They sound wonderful.I think it sounds better than my Epiphone EJ-200G that I paid $100.00 more for.This is not a beginner guitar it's simply a great guitar. So any of you out there on the fence on this guitar buy it.The Epiphone in my honest opinion, its not worth it and I would stay far away from it. The only thing it has going for it is its looks, but looks can be decieving.By the Songsmith.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Just bought a Songsmith last week.I have been playing electric with a Gibson Les Paul but always wanted a decent mid-price range acoustic.I have been looking fro probably 9 months to a year and came across this excellent sounding guitar.Compared to the Martins and many others (looked at Takamine TAN76)which was great sounding at more than double the price.For the price, sound and being a midsize guitar it really great is impressive.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Absolutely the best guitar under 1000 dollars. I am 45 have played for 30 years. My dream guitar was a hummingbird. I came into some cash rushed to the music store and was so disappointed I could have cried. The hummingbird felt like plastic. The employee who obviously wasn't working on commission said don't look at the name just try this. The second it was in my hands I was in love. When I saw the price a mere 299 canadian I was amazed. Its not just a good instrrument for the money its the best guitar I've played. Have since bought 3 more before they come to their senses. I'm lost for words its amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I bought a S&P Songsmith Parlor guitar about six months ago, having been a mainly Gibson Les Paul player for years and years. I wanted to learn finger style acoustic. Let's see: made in Canada, $450 including hard case, great sound (especially for such a small guitar!), solidly built. What's not to like? I play it every single day. It does have a simple look, but I prefer that in a guitar. The shop owner said he hasn't seen a better value, and I couldn't agree more. Love this guitar.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Scott Ruddlesden said...I was playing an Epiphone acoustic for the last 3 years until two weeks back when the owner of a local guitar shop more or less said I would be crazy not to give the Dreadnought a go. I played it in the shop and bought it immediately as well as the solid case that protects it against humidity (I live in Malaysia). It makes the Epiphone sound tinny and thin by comparison. Now I am seriously worried about neglecting my wife and children due to the amount of time I spend playing this warm toned, remarkably priced, better than the Epiphone, budget work of art. I freaking love it. I am pinching myself that I got it at such a low price. These guitars will kick off and I am sure the price will increase accordingly.

    ReplyDelete
  19. played the Songsmith (and some others) yesterday at the store. Haven't bought it YET (reading reviews now), but I think I'm in love! It makes even how I play sound nice.

    ReplyDelete
  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  21. been looking for a good quality 2nd guitar for a while, i currently own your basic $200 Yamaha (which i love), in the $400 range, tried a Fender, cool looking guitar, but not worth the money at all. Tried the Simon&Patrick smaller folk, liked it, but I didn't like the smaller size and it definitely sounded thin. Then i found my Songsmith about 6 hours ago.. what a guitar!! I have been playing for the last three hours!
    I have only been playing for 2 and a half years, and am getting better, and came across this beautiful rich, full sounding solid guitar, which looks very cool as well, the black matte finish is very unique. An amazing guitar for my dollar!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Bought my Dreadnought Songsmith in November 2015. Haven't played a guitar since selling my Fender 12 string about 15 years ago. Went into L&M looking for an Epiphone or another Fender and saw the black Songsmith, picked it up, strummed a few chords and picked a few notes. Bought it right there and then ordered the Tric guitar case that Godin makes. Now I play it at least an hour a day. I'm an amateur but I know what I like. I recommend this guitar for any guitarist. Sounds good, plays easy and looks smart. Thinking of buying another one just for an investment because these beauties will double in price in a few years.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Own a epiphone and a fender bought black sp dreadnauhgt . Best acoustic I own. So easy to play , awsome action. Highly recommend

    ReplyDelete
  24. Wow I couldn't have said it better!
    I'm a lefty too and God knows finding "That" perfect guitar can be quite the challenge.let alone costly...
    Once I found this gem at Long and McQuade,there was No turning back I absolutely needed this guitar
    I want to thank you Godin family for making these great guitars It's a pride and joy to support Canadian ��

    ReplyDelete