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This article was originally published in issue #32
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Canada's Godin can be relied on to come up with genuinely exciting and original alternatives to the same old, same old guitars you find in every shop. The company's LGXT for example may lack an exciting name, but with its ability to interface with guitar synthesisers and still play like a top-flight guitar in its own right, it's something very different indeed. Tom Quayle put one to the test.
Based in Quebec, Canada, Godin guitars are definitely a unique company when it comes to guitar design and aesthetics. Founded by Robert Godin, the company is one of the few out there that actually prides itself on producing something different in a market full of copycat designs. The LGXT model is just such a different guitar with its lovely contoured body shape, attractive headstock and myriad of outputs and, while the model has been out for a while now, it still represents a very versatile and forward thinking approach to guitar design.
The LGXT is a solid body guitar with a silver leaf maple body and flame maple top. It features a 25.5” scale mahogany neck and an ebony fingerboard carved with a very flat 16” radius. The list of hardware is both high end and extensive, including a pair of custom Seymour Duncan humbuckers matched with a custom RMC Bridge with both piezo and MIDI capability via a 13-pin synth output. The bridge is of the modern 2-point, floating variety with the piezo elements mounted on the saddles for super fast MIDI tracking. Combined with the ebony fretboard this allows for some of the fastest and most accurate 13-pin style MIDI conversion you’re likely to find and is way more accurate than any aftermarket installations with a GK-style pickup mounted to the body.
For tone control and balance Godin have included a pre-amp with Volume and three band EQ controls recessed into the upper bout of the guitar. The design is very subtle, detracting nothing from this good looking guitar. For MIDI control there are two switches, one to control patch changes on a synth and the other a three way switch for selecting between magnetic, acoustic and synth sounds or a mix of all three. Separate volume controls for the synth output and magnetic output are also included along with a traditional tone control for the humbuckers, matched with a five way pickup selector switch. At first this more involved setup can be a little daunting but a quick play reveals all the available combinations of sounds available. Outputs are also impressive with separate outs for the magnetic and 13-pin cables plus a mix output for the acoustic pickups which are otherwise routed through the 13-pin out. In anyone’s book this is an incredibly versatile range of tones and the synth access gives a virtually unlimited potential for sound creation that other guitars just don’t provide.
The build quality is as good as any boutique guitars you are likely to try. It’s amazing that Godin aren’t better known as a brand because the guitars they produce are of impeccable quality and play beautifully - the LGXT being no exception. There isn’t a single element of this guitar that stands out as being sub-par thanks to great fretwork, wood selection, construction and finishing. Matched with the high-end hardware, the LGXT is a fantastic guitar in every sense with an image that can fit almost any genre in these days of a hyper fashion conscious music industry. The guitar is available in three finishes, Trans Blue, Cognac Burst and Black Pearl, our review model being the Cognac Burst.
Playability is extremely user-friendly thanks to a modern, sleek neck profile with that flat fretboard radius allowing fast and technical playing with ease. This is good news for synth users as great technique is required for the best tracking and reducing erroneous note triggering. The myriad controls never get in the way thanks to clever design and the bridge feels very responsive for dives and pulls, with a nice tension that never feels stiff or creaky. Tuning stability is also very good indeed for a non-locking, floating bridge setup thanks to high quality locking tuners and a decent nut.
Starting with the acoustic tone you are presented with an extremely pleasant and playable sound that can be tailored easily with the three band EQ. Strumming feels and sounds realistic enough to retire your acoustic for all but the most ardent acoustic gigs and, whilst there is some of the usual piezo style breakup when digging in, picked lead lines have a lovely snap to them that makes you play in a very musical way. The Seymour Duncan humbuckers sound great too, with lots of clarity and decent single coil type tones in positions 2 and 4. They cope equally well with clean and dirty tones and whilst there might be better pickups for certain styles on the market they are very versatile sounding and will more than fulfill most players' requirements.
Of course, synth tones are dependent on what external hardware you own as there are no onboard synth tones to play with, but running into our ageing Roland GR20 unit we were able to summon up all manner of craziness that will see your keyboard player looking at your suspiciously. The 13-pin output also gives you access to all of the new pedals on the market that utilise this feature for more advanced modelling capabilities, allowing even greater tonal possibilities.
It really is a mystery to me why Godin aren’t far better known and more played in the guitar industry. This guitar ticks all of the right boxes, including on price and even ships with a high quality gig bag to sweeten the deal. It’s eminently playable, sounds great and is more versatile than a Swiss Army Knife, so if you get chance to try one we highly recommend that you do so. You won’t be disappointed!