The Belmont and Dorchester from Godin''s new Richmond Guitar line offer quality at an affordable price
For over twenty years under the watchful eye of Robert Godin, Godin Guitars has carved out its own niche, pushing the bounds of guitar design by creating innovative, well-made acoustic and electric guitars that have a voice of their own. Based in Montreal, Godin maintains six manufacturing facilities in Canada, intentionally kept small to create an intimate work environment that is evident in the “custom shop” quality of their instruments.
As a logical extension of their electric guitar operations, Godin has recently introduced the Richmond Guitar line, the designs of which strike a balance between sleek retro styling and true innovation with meticulous craftsmanship. The Richmond brand, named after the town in Quebec where these guitars are manufactured, currently features two offerings, the Dorchester and Belmont models. Both models feature unique, retro styling with fantastic playability, and come in a well-made Taupe tolex-covered hardshell case with “Alligator” accents—all at a very competitive price (both models can have street prices around $1,000).
The Belmont model solidly earns the Richmond moniker with its Gibson SG-meets-Danolectro styling, and offers a unique blend of design and electronics to make it a versatile, easy-to-play tone machine. The mahogany body features a beveled front edge along three quarters of the body, as well as a “tummy cut.” The generous, slabstyle rosewood fretboard is cantilevered to extend over the edge of the neck end at the 22nd fret. The neck has a matte finish with a smaller, C-size neck carve reminiscent of a sixties slim taper profile (a personal favorite) and a 12” fretboard radius. The finish and carve make for a very enjoyable playing experience, allowing the player to fly across the neck. The designers at Godin made a great call in combining a bolt-on design with what is considered to be a traditional set-neck wood configuration (i.e., a mahogany body/mahogany neck, 24-3/4” scale). The result is the best of both worlds, as there is a certain “snap” blended into a thick, midrange voiced unamplified tone that rock and blues aficionados will most certainly enjoy.
Like its sister Dorcehester model, the fretwork on the Belmont is executed flawlessly, and that combined with the “Ergocut” fretboard make the Belmont a joy to play. Full step bends are a breeze with the help of the expertly cut and honed Graph Tech nut and perfectly dressed medium jumbo frets. The neck plate is an interesting, four-screw shape with a rounded, offset design. The neck joint is stable and has a tight fit. Another interesting feature, which is shared with the Dorchester model, is that the headstock is “sliced” and fitted with opposing grain pattern to ensure neck stiffness. It is so meticulously executed, one has to look very carefully to pick up on this design specification.
The double-cutaway mahogany body has the devilish hint of a late-sixties SG and sits very comfortably in either a standing or sitting position. The Black Wash HG finish co-ordinates nicely with the guitar’s retro look, with a tastefully faded black finish that highlights the grain of the mahogany body and matching headstock. The finish is nicely contrasted with a single-ply, Nordic White pickguard, matching white truss rod cover and trio of chrome covered Seymour Duncan pickups that makes one want to break out the Lava Lamp and take in that sixties vibe. The chrome roller bridge and 14:1 Kluson vintage style tuning machines finish off the retro look. The guitar also features two black “top hat” style knobs (Volume and Tone) with silver tops and a black-tipped five-way switch.
The thick mid-range focused voice of the Belmont is matched with three stock Seymour Duncan pickups: two lipstick-style single coils (SLD-1) in the neck and middle position, and a ’59 model humbucker (SH-1) in the bridge. Overall, this seems to be a great design choice for the Belmont, as this electronics package provides a broad array of usable tones that bring a high degree of versatility. Fired up through a Carr Mercury, I could not find fault with the fabulous hard rock tones produced by the bridge setting. I have always been a fan of the SH-1 set in a mahogany body, and the added articulation offered by the bolt on design brought this classic combination to a new level. Position 4 (bridge/middle) was particularly memorable, as it added that greasy aftertaste to a classic rock tone, making it a natural choice for Texas blues/rock. Attention Billy Gibbons and all ZZ Top fans, grab your sombrero and try a Belmont.
The mahogany wood combination adds warmth to the chimey voice of the Alnico Lipstick pickups, which results in a girthy glassiness to their tone that really cuts through the mix—I experienced this when playing recently in live situation at a “weekend warrior” jam session. I was also able to pull off a convincing Dire Straits tone right into a Guns & Roses jam, just by flicking the selector switch and bringing up the volume knob. This guitar, like its sister Dorchester model sustains chords and notes very well on both clean and driven settings. Through a vintage blackface Fender Bandmaster driving a 2x10 Music Man cab, the Belmont was able to cop very usable and unique tones that would work very well in at rock, blues or country gig. The Belmont would be a logical choice for session players or working musicians who need a myriad of tones embodied in one guitar.
You’re seeking a well-made, versatile tone machine, or a great “one guitar/one gig” option.
You are firmly planted in the Nashville or California camp.
MSRP $1195 - Godin Guitars/Richmond - godinguitars.com
Hit Page 2 for our Dorchester review...
At first glance, the Dorchester model has a unique, futuristic look that gives a nod to the classic retro designs of the late fifties and early sixties, with hints of Mosrite, Rickenbacker and Danolectro elements baked into the styling. Even by strumming unplugged, though, the retro comparisons end and the innovative design decisions and build quality begin to take over. To maximize the tonal response across the entire bandwidth, the designers at Godin selected a unique blend of tone woods for this model, which features an offset, double-cutaway chambered body with a silver leaf maple body center with poplar wings. This, combined with a bolt-on maple neck and rosewood fretboard, and 25-1/2” scale, provides the platform for each tone wood to exhibit its best attributes.
Poplar tends to have a very even response across the tonal spectrum, which seems to fill in any gaps in frequency response that one can experience with a maple body, yet at the same time retains the strong bookends of the frequency range and sustain that maple offers. This strong response across the tonal spectrum is augmented by the neck wood combination: it produces an unamplified tone that is snappy, bold and leans slightly to the bright side of the spectrum. The unplugged tone swirls with delicious overtones with plenty of sustain. Like other chambered guitars, the chambered body gives the model a slightly softer attack that makes one really want to dig on with the picking hand and make this guitar sing.
Thoughtful design decisions are also apparent in the cosmetic aspects of the Dorchester, which includes features often found on guitars at higher price points. The test model features a flawlessly applied, high-gloss black finish with a comfortable bevel along the top edge of the entire guitar. The finish is nicely contrasted by a single-ply white binding along the back edge of the body (think LP Custom), which is complemented by a Nordic White, single-ply pickguard and matching white truss rod cover. Another quality appointment is the use of rubber washers (anchored with wooden dowels) to firmly install the chrome Schaller strap lock-ready buttons. The tuners are a non-locking, chrome-finished Kluson 14:1 ratio tuners that are seated firmly in the matching colored headstock, and have smooth action across the tuning range. The guitar also features two black “top hat” style knobs (Volume and Tone) with a silver top and a four-way switch with a black tip. The two Lace Alumintone pickups (more on these to follow) are silver/ black and fit nicely into the color palette of the guitar. The angled neck pickup combined with the scalloped angled fret board edge gives the model a sleek, Mosrite-flavored appearance.
The chrome roller bridge is a work of art. The strings are anchored in a 3-screw tailpiece that feeds a fully adjustable bridge assembly with rounded chrome saddles. The edges of the Graph Tech nut have been honed and rounded, a nice finish detail I appreciate. The neck is attached to the body at the 20th fret with four screws through a pair of neck plates, providing the benefit of excellent upper fret access—but I found it a little too easy to execute neck stock bends. The neck pocket was clean, but it did have a slight gap where I could partially insert a business card. The fretwork is executed flawlessly, a definite highlight of this guitar. Combined with the “Ergocut” fretboard (a Godin shaping technique bevels the edges of the fingerboard and frets back in towards the center of the fingerboard), it makes the Dorchester extremely easy to play. The satin finished, medium-large C-shaped, tapered neck, combined with a 12” fretboard radius and medium jumbo frets, makes for a very comfortable playing experience.
The Dorchester comes to life with the help of a pair of the state-of-the-art, classically voiced Lace Alumintone humbucking pickups. The folks at Lace Music have a winning pickup design in the Alumintone, as it meets its intended goal of providing a very broad frequency response. These pickups utilize an aluminum exoskeleton in conjunction with conventional ceramic 8 magnets that use 95% less wire than traditional pickups. This not only reduces the overall weight of the instrument (by about 1/2 pound), but this design is intended to enhance the nuances of your amplifier.
Amplified, this guitar cuts its own swath in the sonic landscape, delivering four unique tones in both clean and overdriven settings. Plugging into a vintage blackface Fender Bandmaster driving a 2x10 Music Man cab, the Dorchester responded with chime and authority across the entire tonal spectrum. The neck pickup is woody, but not too “boomy,” and both pickups in parallel (position 3) offer a wonderful, harmonically rich experience perfect for fingerpicking. The bridge pickup was somewhat strident, but backing off the Tone knob a couple of notches produced a tone reminiscent of blending a 335 with a Gretsch. Adding a dimed Barber Burn Unit to the mix kicked things up with the position one setting (both pickups in series), delivering a searing tone with the edge of harmonic feedback within easy reach.
The bridge pickup held up well, delivering a great, snarling seventies rock tone that would make Pete Townsend think twice before sending the guitar headstock-first through a 4x12 enclosure. I did experience a touch of microphonic feedback in the bridge setting— this is a typical issue with chambered body guitars. The neck pickup alone serves up its own tone that had me playing Neil Young one-note leads with reckless abandon. Similar drive tones were had testing the guitar through a Carr Mercury, as well as a modded Marshall JTM-30 (Both amps running EL34 output tubes). Even as someone who already owns too many guitars, I would give serious thought to adding this uniquely styled tone machine to my arsenal.
You enjoy being on the cutting edge of guitar styling and design—all at a great price.
You are more of a traditionalist seeking more established tones, or a high-gain shredder.
MSRP $1250 - Godin Guitars/Richmond - godinguitars.com
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
Designed for utmost comfort and performance, the Vertigo Ultra Bass is Mono’s answer to those who seek the ultimate gigging experience.
Complete with a range of game-changing design features, such as the patent-pending attachable FREERIDE Wheel System, premium water-resistant and reflective materials, shockproof shell structure and improved ergonomic features, the Vertigo Ultra Bass takes gear protection to the next level.
The Vertigo Ultra Bass features:
- Patent-pending FREERIDE Wheel System that allows for wheels to be attached on the case in no time, giving you the option to travel with it seamlessly
- Upgraded materials, including a water-resistant 1680D Ballistic Nylon outer shell, plush inner lining and new reflective trim for maximum backstage and night visibility
- Enhanced protection with a shockproof shell structure and heavy-duty water-resistant YKK zippers for protection from the elements
- Improved ergonomics and functionality including added back support and load-lifting detachable shoulder straps with side release buckles
- Flexible storage options with added space for touring essentials
The Generation Collection of acoustic guitars features the exclusive Gibson Player Port designed to offer a unique and immersive sonic experience.
The G-Bird, the newest addition to the Generation Collection--represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird colliding with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port to add a new dimension to the G-Bird sound. The Gibson Player Port allows players to hear more of themselves as the audience hears it. With a tone that is crisp and resonant, all of the Gibson Generation Collection acoustics are designed to be comfortable to hold and play for long periods of time. All Generation Collection guitars feature the Gibson Player Port, slim, lightweight bodies, a flatter fingerboard radius, Walnut back and sides, Sitka spruce tops, and a stunning Natural finish. Additionally, the new G-Bird, and the G-200 and G-Writer are equipped with LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup systems which amplify deep bass and crystal-clear highs.
The G-Bird represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port adding a new dimension to the G-Bird’s sound. The G-Bird features a stunning solid Sitka spruce top and solid walnut back and sides for the ultimate in crisp, resonant tone. This square-shoulder dreadnought delivers all the rich low end and well-balanced mids and highs the original Hummingbird is famous for. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with chrome Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning. The utile neck, with its easy-playing Advanced Response neck profile, is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Modeled after Gibson’s pioneering small-body parlor acoustic guitars from the 1930’s, the G-00 is a top choice for blues and fingerstyle guitar performances. Despite its more compact size, the G-00 achieves a full, balanced sound. The G-00 fills any room with rich tones-which players can hear like never before, with the exclusive Gibson Player Port. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-00 is handcrafted in Bozeman, Montana, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustic guitars. The G-00 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-00 parlor-sized body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-00 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
The G-45, a round-shouldered jumbo, adds the Gibson Player Port to its famous “Workhorse” J-45 style body, which is Gibson’s best-selling acoustic guitar of all time. On the G-45, players can now hear more clearly than ever how this beloved guitar responds to every style and technique of playing. Powerful one moment and soft the next, the G-45 delivers all sounds with incredible dynamic range in an elegant, medium body size. The G-45 is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-45 features a slightly thinner round shoulder body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-45 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Gibson’s impressive range of square-shouldered guitars have become an expressive standard for rock, pop, folk, and country artists. The G-Writer is known for its wide range of sounds, from gutsy and loud, to soft and sweet; they are superb for all styles and shine, whether strumming chords or fingering intricate solos. The G-Writer comes ready for the stage or studio with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system and the ear-opening Gibson Player Port. The G-Writer is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-Writer features a slightly thinner cutaway body, is more comfortable to play and provides effortless access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Writer is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
Gibson built its first “Super Jumbo” SJ-200 as a custom order for country and western singer and film star Ray Whitley, who desired a big, loud, and deep flat-top over which to croon. The SJ-200 quickly became a staple of cowboy singers and horseback troubadours, and then country music, 60’s folk stars, and onto every acoustic guitar genre that has followed. Ray would be proud to hear the booming sound from the Gibson Player Port on the new G-200, which comes ready for the stage or studio with a LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-200 is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. The G-200 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-200 cutaway jumbo body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and provides excellent access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-200 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
G-Bird | Generation Collection
For more information, please visit gibson.com.
Looking for a compact, “noiseless” way to plug in and play guitar? Check out the brand-new Gibson Digital Amp, available only in the Gibson App.
The new Gibson App simplifies the learning process and brings guitar playing to life for the current and next generation of guitarists in a modern, comprehensive, and intuitive way. The Gibson App is the place to take your guitar playing to the next level. New to the Gibson App is the Gibson Digital Amp, the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediate players and pros to get their sound anywhere. The Gibson Digital Amp is an accessible amplifier for both acoustic and electric guitars, and is currently available for Apple/iOS users--an Android version will debut next year.
Use the Gibson Digital Amp’s jamming guide to get started and transform your sound with built-in effects and pedals, jam to backing tracks, or use it in lessons and songs. The Gibson Digital Amp only requires your phone, and wired headphones for the best playing experience, no cables are needed. The amp features 3 acoustic mic presets, 4 electric amp presets, and 6 effects pedals.
The Gibson Digital Amp is the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediates and pros.
The Gibson App uses a unique two-way, interactive platform to teach guitar students how to do everything from playing their first note to shredding loads of songs. The Gibson App features interactive lessons with thousands of lessons and songs. Learn the songs step-by-step with video tutorials from superstar artists and pro guitarists in the “Gibson App Guide.” The Gibson App also includes the new Digital Amp, a built-in tuner, a metronome, Gibson TV, and new songs are added every week. New Gibson App Guides are added regularly and include Tommy “Spaceman” Thayer’s favorite iconic KISS guitar solos, Richie Faulkner’s (Judas Priest) “Guide to Metal,” Jared James Nichols’ “Guide to Blues,” CELISSE’s “Guide to Songwriting,” and more.
The Gibson App uses “audio augmented reality” to provide dynamic feedback to students as they learn and play. As you pluck a note or strum a chord, the Gibson App listens to your guitar and gives you real-time feedback on your playing. It also gives students a more contextual learning experience: Instead of learning chords and scales in a vacuum, you’re able to practice on a scrolling tablature that lets you hear how you sound with the backing of a virtual band. That means you can load up “Hurt” by Johnny Cash, “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison, “American Girl" by Tom Petty, “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica, “Where is My Mind" by Pixies, “Country Roads” by John Denver, “I Hate Myself For Loving You" by Joan Jett, “Heaven” by Kane Brown, “Shape Of You” by Ed Sheeran, “Killer Queen” by Queen,“ Sweet Child O’ Mine,” by Guns ‘N Roses, “Run to the Hills” by Iron Maiden, “Roxanne” by The Police, and “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “The Man Who Sold the World” by Nirvana, “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz, and “Don't Look Back In Anger” by Oasis and hundreds more songs in a wide range of genres, to see how your play matches up with such seminal tracks.
As you’re playing, the Gibson App gives you feedback on timing and tone, ensuring that students are getting active input on how their play is developing. The Gibson App appeals to players of all levels, it’s not just for beginners looking to learn a few chords; the app can assist seasoned guitarists who are working their way through difficult riffs, want to learn their favorite songs, or polish their advanced techniques.
Players can also challenge themselves by speeding up or slowing the tabs. Like having a full-time guitar teacher, the Gibson App keeps track of all your progress and adjusts lesson plans accordingly. The Gibson App released a “backing track mode” which supports both lesson and song playback without headphones, so users can self-select what works best for their current environment. And that’s not all: the Gibson App also packs in a fully-featured digital tuner for guitar first-timers, there’s even a detailed lesson on how to tune your instrument, a multi-function metronome, players can connect to free one-on-one consultations with Gibson’s Virtual Guitar Tech team, and to direct links to the Gibson, Epiphone, and Kramer online stores for easy shopping for guitars, gear, apparel, and accessories.
Learn Guitar With The Gibson App
The Gibson App is more than a pocket-sized guitar teacher, it’s loaded with an archive of exclusive content and original programming from its premium and accessible award-winning online network, Gibson TV, featuring music icons telling their best guitar stories, with more episodes and installments added regularly. Users can watch Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi share insights and tales from his decades-long career on the series “Icons,” dive into Joe Bonamassa’s assortment of legendary Les Paul guitars on “The Collection,” or see how Gibson’s iconic instruments are made in their Nashville factory from body to binding on “The Process.” There’s even a series called “The Scene” that focuses on backstage stories from hallowed music venues from coast to coast like The Troubadour and Grand Ole Opry.
The Gibson App free version features a few lessons a day; the premium version of the Gibson App offers full access and a 14-day free trial, then costs $19.99/£16.49 monthly or $119.99/£98.99 yearly.
For more information, please visit gibson.com.