Robert Godin has been building quality guitars since he founded the Godin company in 1972 in La Patrie, Quebec. He is an active owner of the company, which employs approximately six hundred workers in six different factories in North America, and continues to design most of the guitars that go to production. The Passion Series guitar sits at the pinnacle of the electric guitars that Godin has produced to date. Robert and his team do not shy away from exploring new design concepts with their guitars and the Passion Series RG-3 is no exception with features like its synchronized five tone chambers, High-Definition Revoicer (H.D.R.), GS3 pickups.
The Passion Series was designed with the serious musician and single-coil aficionado in mind. Taking at least eight weeks to manufacture from start to finish in the Godin Premier Atelier, where Godin says these guitars are touched by only a few select guitar makers through production, hand-picked from the best the company has to offer. These makers use the best technology and materials available to produce a truly remarkable instrument. We were able to get a hold of the Passion RG-3 with mahogany top and maple fingerboard to check it out.
One of the foundational design concepts for the Passion RG-3 was to incorporate ideas from sophisticated acoustic guitars into a Strat-style electric guitar format. As a result, the tonewoods used in this guitar—red cedar with mahogany or Sitka spruce with flame maple—are those more often found in acoustic guitars. The guitar we got our hands on has a solid red cedar back with a solid mahogany top, and it really does sound lively and full-bodied when you play it acoustically. You can feel the sound vibrating through the body and the neck—the harmonic resonance is strong and very present even without the amplification.
The body on its own weighs around 2.3 pounds, so the guitar is very light. The light weight can somewhat be attributed to the choice of wood, but is mostly due to the hollow chambers within the guitar body. The RG-3 has five tone chambers under the hood which are all joined and port into the single coil pickup cavities, and these chambers add to the acoustic quality of the guitar. All of the wood on this guitar is beautiful. If you’re a connoisseur of wood, you will enjoy the wood grains through the natural finish.
The top has a comfort contour for the right arm ergonomics and has a smoked wood binding rounding it off. The pickguard, outlined in simple wood purfling, is routed right into the body top so there isn’t really anything to protect your guitar from the pick, but is there really a need? It does add to the simplicity and elegance of design. The neck of this guitar feels smooth, and where the frets end, there is a small radius on the fingerboard edge to transition into the back of the neck. The frets are also polished and shaped to taper into the edge of the fingerboard so the feel up and down the frets is like that of a well-worn guitar.
On this model, the neck is two-piece maple. The fingerboard is a separate piece of maple, which allows the truss rod to be installed from the top of the neck and avoid the “skunk-stripe.” With a machine head ratio of 18:1, the Gotoh 510 tuners make it easy to dial in those last few cents while tuning. These tuners also have varied shaft heights to maximize the string tension against the Tusq nut as the string gauge gets lighter and farther up the headstock.
The overall craftsmanship of this instrument is elegant, solid, and of very high quality. The guitar comes with a hardshell, lockable, faux alligator tour case on plastic wheels with a gig bag that fits inside. You also get a certificate of authenticity for the guitar and a set of black bell knobs if you prefer that look over the stock chrome.