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Joined: 24/07/07
Posts: 403
Loc: Dublin
Godin ACS SA
      #577824 - 07/02/08 09:30 PM
The Godin ACS SA is an electro-acoustic nylon strung guitar with six individual transducer saddles and a preamp system from the RMC Pickup Company. The ACS SA is Godin’s most affordable synth access guitar at a little over €1000 for the Natural Semi Gloss finish.
This is one of the Godin multiac series. Multiac is Godin speak for dual output. On the ACS SA the outputs include a standard ¼’’ jack socket and a 13-pin socket for synth access (SA). More correctly, the SA output provides the signals for midi conversion and I’m using the Axon AX 50 for this purpose.

It’s impossible to categorise this instrument. It is a Platypus of a guitar.
It has a fat, long neck. Not like anything I've played or seen before. It is like someone has stuck a stretched, fret extended classical neck onto a solid body electric. The body is in fact chambered and quite resonant. Made from silver leaf maple and stained to match the mahogany neck. Topped with an ebony fingerboard, this neck is heavenly. It slips into the hand and the feel is smooth and light. I must also mention the maple top as it is simply gorgeous.
Nothing rattles or buzzes. It is a very solid beautifully made guitar. Full marks to the Godin team.

Although this guitar was designed by Robert Godin with midi in mind, the midi aspects of the ACS SA and how well it performs greatly depend on the pitch to midi converter. The Axon AX 50 performs very well. The tracking of notes is almost instantaneous and setting up the guitar for midi is made easy with the excellent Axon software.
I mainly use the midi for slow attack sounds blended with the ¼” output. So I really don’t stress it out. But John McLoughlin does and it tracks for him and he plays fast.

The ACS SA also has its own voice and very classical it is too. But be warned, it is an unforgiving instrument. Fret noise can be very unpleasant indeed. It makes a loud nasty fizz if one is sloppy or too light on the frets. It would destroy a performance, it is that unpleasant. Clean, firm playing at all times is required. Sloppy players should avoid the ACS SA.
I put on extra hard strings to see if it would improve matters – but no. It is making me a better player though.
Also - lifting off a string too quickly can give a very audible note. More so than other guitars.
These negative elements, I suspect, are inherent of the super sensitive under saddle pickups. The inclusion of the L.R. Baggs I-Beam pickup on the Godin Duet models sorta backs up my notion.
Thanks to the thick maple top and bunkered transducers it has excellent feedback rejection - which is very liberating.
The eq on the Godin is not for show. It is essential for shaping the sound of this guitar. This is a cutters eq. It is harsh to my ears when used as a booster. A very effective cut eq none the less. I’m using mine with a Mindprint Trio. I find I cut back on the treble and bass on the Godin and put the treble sheen back on with the Mindprint eq.
Of course the ACS SA can be plugged straight into a desk and with a little reverb can sound very authentic. To get the best result – I recommend getting a good preamp with comp and eq.
While it does sound a bit like a maple topped banjo when unplugged, quiet playing in the early hours is still a bonus.
I like this instrument a lot. It grows on me. I feel strangely privileged to own one. It has a strong presence and for all its foibles is proving a worthwhile challenge and at times makes me sound bloody marvellous.

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Joined: 24/07/07
Posts: 403
Loc: Dublin
Re: Godin ACS SA new [Re: topten]
      #631324 - 28/06/08 10:56 AM
4 months on and i'm truly smitten.

I'm playing with low cut nails, off the tops of my fingers.
One of my many initial errors when first playing this guitar was playing it unplugged too often. I started pulling on the strings too hard - to get the volume while unplugged. It was a bad habit. I've stopped doing that now and the guitar has started to sing for me. I have developed a more gentle touch.
Surprisingly versatile, the ACS SA can be 'smooth jazz' or 'strident classical' and can also be plucky for folk styles. It has a ‘warm’ sophisticated sound. The best way I can describe it is ‘electric nylon’.
I'm playing mine through a Crate CA30DG acoustic amplifier at the moment. I wish i had done this sooner. I feel more in control of my tone since getting this Crate amp.

As for the MIDI side of things - I'm controlling a Korg Electribe MX which has 5 mono, virtual analog synths (i wish it was 6) onboard. Some of my more exciting results have come from this setup. I had been using the guitar with a Korg X3 trying out backing techniques with pad presets. But this got boring.
I find i end up playing the ACS SA without midi most of the time. It has such a lovely sound.
The ACS SA has greatly improved my playing and has given me a new musical direction. A magical guitar, it almost writes songs for me. Did I mention how wonderful it sounds? Thank you, Robert Godin for a great guitar.

Edited by topten (28/06/08 11:00 AM)

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