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That heritage of solid connections to MIDI technology has become a calling card for the brand, and a reason why many guitarists continue to pick up their instruments. Steve Stevens—guitarist for Billy Idol, Kings of Chaos, and others—has used Godin for more than a decade. Today, he counts 12 Godin instruments in his collection, but it was the MIDI capability that caused him to originally approach the company at a NAMM show. Initially he was skeptical that a nylon-string guitar could track MIDI but he’d heard of the company’s instruments and introduced himself.
“I had come off the road with Vince Neil and was getting ready to do a flamenco-based record,” says Stevens, “and I needed a nylon-string guitar. But I was also going to be encompassing some dance elements and drum loops and things like that. When I found out there was a nylon guitar that I could trigger synths with, I was all over that. Having that Godin guitar really helped me do Flamenco A Go Go [Stevens’ 2000 solo album] in a big way.”
Dennis Davis, director of guitar studies and coordinator of music technology studies at Eastern Kentucky University, shares Stevens’ opinion of the unusual compositions, tones, and textures that Godin’s MIDI instruments facilitate.
For the last several years, iconic fusion guitarist John McLaughlin has favored a Godin Passion RG-2 onstage. The 25 1/2"-scale double-cutaway features a bound spruce body with a figured-maple top, a hard-rock maple neck with a 12"-radius rosewood fretboard, the company’s Tru-Loc tremolo, custom Godin humbuckers, and synth-access circuitry.
Genesis guitarist Daryl Stuermer onstage with his Montreal Premiere and a Multiac Nylon SA waiting in the wings (bottom right).
“Godin makes classical and jazz guitars that let me use MIDI input,” Davis says. “It’s a lot of fun to perform classical works using a piano sound or using the marimba sound or to play a jazz solo on electric guitar using a flute sound. It really changes the way I think creatively and interpretively.”
Stevens adds, “Man, their guitars are just rock solid—they’re roadworthy, and I’ve not found a company that really puts that much love and attention into the nylon-string instrument as Godin does. There are other companies that build nylon-string guitars—and some might even do MIDI—but right from the get-go, Godin put a lot of attention into nylon instruments.”