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This article was originally published in issue #6
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Based in the LaPatrie, Quebec in Canada, Simon and Patrick has been producing some of the highest quality acoustic guitars, with the finest grade woods and highest spec materials, for a good few years now and has gained an enviable reputation for offering surprisingly affordable guitars. Surprising, that is, when you put them up against similarly specced models from other North American manufacturers.
All Simon and Patrick guitars feature pressure tested solid tops which, the company says, ensures maximum harmonic vibration. The guitars also make use of an integrated set neck system, said to add extra reinforcement where the neck meets the body. The guitars also include superior electronics and pickup systems, in this case using the B Band A6T system. As if all that wasn't enough from a guitar which scrapes the (admittedly somewhat arbitrary) upper limit of our 'mid price' band, as discussed in this issue's feature, you also get a very advanced TRIC hard case, for ultimate protection of your investment.
So far so very impressive, but what about the guitar? Our review model, a Showcase CW Rosewood, features a solid spruce top and laminated rosewood back and sides. It's worth pointing out here, by the way, that this is laminated solid rosewood - not pressed composite material, so shouldn't be seen as a weakness. The guitar also features an Indian rosewood fingerboard and bridge and a Tusq nut and saddles by Graphtech.
First impressions were good. The Simon & Patrick felt very comfortable and had a "played in" feel straight out of the case. The satin mahogany neck felt smooth and comfortable in the hand, with no rough fret edges. The guitar was well set-up and felt easy to play, with a very comfortable neck shape. The tone of the guitar was rich, with a full woody bottom end, a bright sparkling top end and a mid that would definitely sit well in a mix. The cutaway also made it easier to reach the higher frets and with the wonderful set-up and comfortable neck, soloing in the higher register on this instrument would be very achievable. The guitar was also loud and vibrant, with a beautiful tone that would mic up very well for recording, which you can hear in our full video demo.
Now let's look at the electronics. The B Band A6T system makes use of an undersaddle transducer, or UST, and acoustic soundboard transducer, or AST. This basically means that the guitar sound is picked up from these two sources and blended together with a cross fader control. This means you can blend the full warm tone of the body, with the brighter tone of the strings at the bridge, making this a very versatile system for live and recording. The preamp also includes a 3-band EQ, volume, phase reverse switch, feedback eliminator, and an on board tuner that mutes the output of the guitar when engaged for silent tuning on stage. Once again you can hear a full demo of the guitar's electronics on our video and compare between acoustic and pickup sounds. I found the pickup system to be one of the best I have tried - very authentic and natural sounding. I love the cross fade feature for blending the two sound sources, and the EQ was also very musical.
I really enjoyed playing this guitar, and was very surprised to learn its price. No,it isn't what you would call cheap. You can buy far cheaper acoustic guitars, some of which are very good. But this guitar is an investment and in a different class - a serious player's guitar. When you consider its construction quality, the materials used and its superior electronics, our feeling was that it will stand up against instruments twice the price, effectively putting it into the real high end bracket of acoustic guitars. If you are in the market for a top quality instrument then, based on this really lovely instrument, I would certainly say give Simon and Patrick guitars serious consideration.