Getting a little trem
I was blown away with the Floyd Rose trem, which was the best implementation of one I’ve ever experienced. The arm pops into place, rather than being threaded or screwed in, so it will never strip or need tightening. The feel is ultra-smooth with no binding whatsoever, and you can pull back far enough to break a string due to the recessed well cut into the body behind the assembly. Sure, this has been around for years as part of the design on other guitars, but for some reason it just seemed smoother, tighter and more precise on the RL3. And of course, the trem stayed in tune flawlessly no matter how hard it was abused.
Some other design choices include a 3-way Strat-style selector rather than a toggle, as well as a single Volume and Tone knob. Having only one volume and tone setting for the two pickups is limiting—for those who don’t want to be fiddling with the knobs— but it’s nothing radical and keeps the guitar simple. Having a toggle switch can be effective in creating machine gun-style rapid on/ off effects with the neck pickup off, so I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss that. It’s also nice to have that setup so you can shut the sound off altogether between songs without rolling the volume down, especially with the ability to create so much gain. It’s a nice feedback shutoff mechanism, too.
The neck heel area is designed to give the player ultimate access to all of the frets, and it achieves that very nicely. However, my hands continued to bump the top of the heel when playing around the 15th fret. It wasn’t until I checked against another one of my guitars with a traditional bolt-on design that I realized this was quite an improvement. The action on the guitar was set up higher than anticipated and would probably be a bit too high for some players, but no doubt a quick neck adjustment would fix that. Being made of wood and traveling from Canada to the killing desert heat of Arizona probably didn’t help much either!
The Final Mojo
Godin has made a nice entrance into a new market for them. The RL3 is a tight, fast and snappy guitar that has just enough attitude to get noticed but could easily hang next to collectible guitars with high-end tops. Godin also sent two Redline II guitars, which are 24-fret guitars with fixed bridges. These guitars showed that the action setup on the RL3 was a fluke, because both of the Redline IIs had killer low action. For the price of the RL3 you just can’t go wrong. So there you have it! A great guitar company adds another offering to round out their fine collection of instruments. Definitely one to check out!
modern and heavy tones are your business.
you don’t need a speedy guitar