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 Ami Cedar Blue six string guitar features a beautiful solid cedar top and three-ply laminate red wild cherry wood back and sides. As usual, the good people at Godin have pressure tested their cedar tops to insure that the wood has maintained rigidity throughout the manufacturing process and the Ami Cedar is no exception to this rule. The neck is composed of silver leaf maple (common amongst Art and Lutherie's acoustic series) which is both pleasing to the eye as well as the ear. The fingerboard and bridge are both comprised of Indian Rosewood, and the nut and saddle are Graphtec's miracle substance known as Tusq (a superior replacement to bone).
The Ami Cedar Blue measures 18.3" long by 9.28" wide (at its widest point) and is approximately 4.2" deep. Some might classify this body style as a "parlor" guitar or a large 3/4. In fact, the Ami Cedar Blue is similar in look and size to guitars that were quite popular from the late 1800s into the 1950s and were often chosen by musicians in lieu of their ease of play and affordability. Today, this size and style of guitar might be more appropriate for an individual who is either smaller of stature, or simply desiring a guitar that is easier to get a handle on. The fingerboard is slightly smaller as well and contains only 19 frets, 12 of which are readily accessible. The width at the nut is 1.72 inches and the body of the guitar is sealed in a shimmering four-coat semi-gloss finish.
I have seen the price on this model of guitar ranging from $300 to $329, although the manufacturers suggested retail falls closer to the latter figure. The Ami Cedar Blue is available either through local retailers or on-line and some local merchandisers are even including a hard-shell case as a bonus. And despite the fact that the Ami Cedar is smaller in size, Godin has payed no less care and attention in the construction and finishing of the instrument. The use of high-quality materials in conjunction with stringent manufacturing standards make the Ami Cedar well worth the expenditure.
Like every other Art and Lutherie guitar that I've had the pleasure to play, the Ami Cedar Blue was great. It had a good balance between treble and mid-range tones but seemed to lack in the bass region. This is likely due to the fact that the Cedar Blue has a smaller body size and this loss in low end does seem consistent with other 3/4 sized guitars that I've played. Nevertheless, the guitar had fantastic clarity and balance especially for a smaller guitar. The Ami Cedar was also easy to handle and would be a great acquisition for either a younger player, or someone with small hands who has grown tired of fumbling with a guitar that is bigger than they are! All in all, Art and Lutherie has done it again but this time with a3/4 size guitar that looks beautiful and sounds great as well.