New Guitar Day: Godin Steel Duet Ambiance

New Guitar Day is a special day!

This is something I picked up last week and it is a very specific guitar for a very specific purpose: to sound great plugged in, and remain comfortable to play for several hours at a time. This is different from a normal acoustic, which usually sounds great to the player and the audience in a small room. But I’ve heard beautiful Martins and Taylors reduced to sounding like paper banjos through a PA system. So this guitar has some fancy electronics in it to accomplish the job.

It is a thin body guitar (just a little thicker than an LP) with a massively chambered mahogany body with a solid spruce top. The nut and bridge are TUSQ, and the fingerboard is Richlite. I am cool with this, as I like the stuff. It is very comfortable to play on, and reminds me of solid black ebony with no grain lines.

The Fishman (shhhh) electronics include a piezo in the bridge and a blendable imaging mic in the body. The guitar features 4 images of well-recorded acoustic guitars in a studio with very expensive microphones, and these can be blended with the piezo. The best sound to me is somewhere between a 40-60% blend of image-to-piezo for the best sound. It allows for a really loud volume-before-feedback volume, and includes a phase switch which sounds to me like a severe notch filter.

I bought this on Reverb for a good price, and it was the best sounding of the Multiac Steel models I’ve played and heard. This particular model isn’t a current one…and I am guessing the agreement between Godin and Fishman was only a few years. The current model of Multiac Steel adds an SD Lipstick pickup, and uses an LR Baggs system. But here’s the thing…the current model also uses electric strings, which really kills the sound to me.

The guitar needed a setup, and since it has a bolt-on neck, it makes it easy to shim- I am doing that this week with a full pocket koa wood shim. I also bought black buttons for the tuners, and black TUSQ bridge pins to install instead of the white plastic. It is super comfortable to play all night, and I bet I can get it to play like an electric.

It has some volume acoustically, enough for practice, but it isn’t a great sound. Which is fine, since that doesn’t matter to me.

I use this when I do solo instrumental shows, and duo shows. I tend to process acoustics with reverb and compression and this guitar seems the best with the mids almost totally notched out. But man, what a great sound. The low notes sound like a grand piano, and the neck is comfortable enough to play up high.

Posted in

Leave a Comment