From the early age of seven Robert Godin had already acquired a passion for the guitar, as well as some notable skills as a young player. By the time he had reached the ripe old age of fifteen he was integral to the operation of his aunt's music store and utilized his skills to both teach the finer points of guitar as well as repair damaged instruments. By 1971, after setting out on his own Godin had discovered the tiny Canadian village knows as La Patrie and began the inception of his first line of guitars known as the Norman Line.
The company's ultimate goal was to produce guitars having some of the same qualities as more expensive guitars, but at prices that were more accessible to the working musician. In particular, Godin focuses on production of fine tops utilizing old growth wood and shimmering varnish finishes in order to produce the best sound and most beautiful acoustic guitars possible. Godin guitars now produce a number of separate lines including Norman, Art and Lutherie, Seagull, Simon and Patrick, La Patrie, Richmond and TRIC each of which is handcrafted in Canada.
The Art and Lutherie Spruce Burgundy GT six-string guitar features a gorgeous solid Spruce top with pick guard, and three-ply laminate Wild Cherry wood back and sides. The use of Wild Cherry gives the guitar a balanced sound which has been found to be somewhere in the range between Mahogany and Maple. The Spruce Burgundy has a Silver Maple neck which in addition to its beautiful countenance also has sound and density characteristics similar to that of Mahogany. The finger board and bridge are both composed of Indian Rosewood and the compensated saddle and nut are composed of Tusq. Tusq has been researched as being a superior replacement to bone especially in terms of durability as well as harmonic clarity and sustain. The tuning heads are all enclosed, in 14:1 ratio and are manufactured by Ping.
The Spruce Burgundy GT measures 20.05" by 1.21" (at its widest point) and is approximately 4.91" deep. The body style can be classified as dreadnought which typically is a little larger and a little deeper as compared to the slightly smaller folk-style guitar. Width at the nut is 1.72" and the fingerboard consists of 21 frets, 14 of which are readily accessible. The body is sealed in four coats with what Art and Lutherie consider a gloss finish which is comparable to a matte sheen, and has been deemed by some in the guitar industry as the "French Finish." All of Godin's guitars are sealed with infinite care which many have acknowledged as an integral step in the avoidance of "neck hump" and other problems which can mitigate the long-term sound quality and longevity of the instrument.
I have seen the price on this model of guitar ranging from $330 to $370, although the manufacturers suggested retail falls closer to the latter figure. The Spruce Burgundy GT is also available either through local retailers or on-line and some local vendors are even throwing in a hard-shell case as a bonus. As usual, the Godin name is symbolic of high quality guitars at reasonable prices, and this guitar is no exception. In lieu of the high standards that Godin maintains, superior materials employed, and painstaking practices of construction and finishing the price is more than reasonable.
There is no doubt in this player's mind that the Spruce Burgundy GT plays as good as it looks. Like other Art and Lutherie guitars that I've strummed, this guitar had a great balance between high treble tones, mid-range and lower bass registers. The Spruce Burgundy also has smooth and consistent action all the way up to the fourteenth but played effortlessly and smooth-as-silk in the open frets. The guitar is full-sounding and fills the room with warm and balanced tones. This is in part due to the larger sized body of the dreadnought which undoubtedly contributes to the increased volume of sound but may also be attributed to the use of high quality woods in construction. Regardless, the Spruce Burgundy GT is a remarkable buy even at the full suggested retail.