Seagull S6 Original Review

Last year I decided to buy a good acoustic guitar. My first ever guitar was a used Art & Lutherie Wild Cherry, which is a small parlour sized guitar…funny thing is both Seagull and Art & Lutherie brands are made by Godan, which is a Canadian guitar company. The A&L guitar I have is made of laminate; it doesn’t have a solid top. Its pretty beat up and I wanted something nicer. It’s my first guitar so I’ll always keep it and still play it on occasion, if I’m in the basement and just want to pick something up and bang around on it.

 

As per my usual I researched the hell out of this purchase. I really like my dad’s Takamine, it has a cutout and built-in electronics…but that’s too expensive. I like having the cutout and could take or leave the pickup and preamp. I never play out and wanted a nice acoustic to just pick up. Most things I want tend to be simpler…non-complicated amp and my new telecaster are good examples.

 

So I played some guitars and narrowed it down a bit. I wasn’t big on the Fender acoustics in the price range I was looking at, $300-$500, same with the Epiphone’s. I really wanted to try a Recording King because the reviews are good, but they are not easy to find in Canada. I narrowed it down to a Yamaha FG720 and a Seagull S6 Slim with a darkhorse being the Seagull Entourage Rustic.

 

When I went to finally buy a guitar I thought the Yamaha was ok. They didn’t have an Entourage Rustic or an S6Original Slim, but they did have the regular Seagull S6 Original and I loved it. They also had a Taylor, not sure the model that was about $350 more expensive and I loved that guitar. Alas I did not love it $350 more than the Seagull, so there you go.

 

Some explanations of the differences between the Seagull S6 Original, S6 Original Slim and the Entourage Rustic. They are all the same guitar basically. Silver leaf maple neck, wild cherry laminate back and sides and a solid cedar top. The S6 Slim has a narrower neck at the nut than the S6 Original. I don’t know what the measurements are, but the S6 Original does have a wide neck but I don’t mind it. It’s like the difference between a Fender and a Gibson I guess; it’s wider but not uncomfortable. The Entourage Rustic is the same guitar in a sunburst. Apparently when they cut down cedar some of the trees leech minerals from the ground and the wood will be stained. Instead of throwing it away Seagull throws a painted sunburst on it and sells it for $50 less than the S6. I like that they do this, and the guitar looks nice. I totally would have gone for it.

 

The Seagull S6 sounds great and looks like kind of a nondescript acoustic dreadnought. The headstock is pointy and dorky looking but serves a purpose. The strings go basically straight from the bridge to the tuning key. This means you have to tune the guitar about every 6 to 8 years. The tuning stability is amazing. It has good tuners on it and a graphtek nut. All of the hardware is good; it stays in tune and sounds great. Not as bright as the Taylor, a nice balanced sound. I leave this guitar upstairs and grab it 3 or 4 times a day and play it for a few minutes. It really is a great guitar.

 

Oh, and another nice thing that sounds dumb and has absolutely nothing to do with the guitar’s sound or playability. The top is cedar so this guitar smells great. When you pick it up you get that cedar smell, which I like…it reminds me of my grandma because she had a cedar chest when I was a kid. Anyway, just a nice guitar and a great deal at $400CDN. I believe this guitar actually costs more in the States because it’s made in Canada but it would still be worth it. Everyone needs an acoustic, and if you want something made in North America that is a good price and made from types of wood you recognize than this is it. There’s even a video on YouTube that shows how they make this guitar. This is a keeper and will be my acoustic guitar until one of us wears out.

Squier Vintage Modified Telecaster Custom II

So the Stratocaster is gone. I don’t miss the guitar really since I didn’t enjoy playing it, but certain parts of its design I do miss. I liked the belly cut and forearm cut. It had a nice neck with a nice rosewood board. And I loved that vintage white colour with the 3 ply pickguard. But because of that one volume knob it’s gone. Well not really just because of that knob. I wasn’t a fan of a few things on that guitar; you can read my “Why I Don’t Like the Stratocaster” post for the reasons if you’re

 

interested in my ramblings.

 

I did some looking around and some researching and narrowed it down a bit. I Tooke one last look on Kijiji and saw a Squier Vintage Modified Tele Custom II for $250 with a hard case. I decided to go look at it and ended up picking it up. It’s black with the big black pickguard and a maple neck and maple fretboard. I’d never had a maple board guitar, so thought it would be something to try.

 

This is a good guitar. Like I said it has the maple neck and board, black probably basswood body with that big-ass pickguard. It is a string through body which some say isn’t technically a hardtail, but I like the bridge on this guitar. Nice and smooth to rest your palm on and muting is really easy. It has the same control layout as an LP, a pretty high quality switch on the upper bout and 2 tone and 2 volume knobs for the pickups. The neck on this guitar is good and straight, some wear on the back, a few dings and stuff. one scratch on the back of the body but otherwise looks great. The tuners seem good. The Strat had vintage tuners, where you put the string in the hole in the middle of the tuner and wrap it, this just has regular tuners. As with all of my guitars I’d like to change them out for locking tuners and it will always be something I will do in the future and never actually get around to.

 

The pickups in this guitar are really good. The reason I wanted the Custom II is it has Duncan Designed P90’s…and I love P90’s. These are quieter and sound clearer than the P90’s in my Epiphone Les Paul Special. The Epi sounds a big grittier but this one breaks up nicely and is way quieter when it comes to hum.

 

On a sidenote, I’ve always wondered what the hell Duncan Designed meant. Does someone from Seymour Duncan call the Squier plant in Indonesia and say “Hey, take a magnet and wrap some wire around it.” There you go, Duncan Designed. Anyway.

 

I had gone out and played a Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster, everyone raves about this guitar. The fit and finish were great on it, the sound was great and price was crazy. Why am I going to pay $600 for a Squier when I can pay $680 for a Fender Modern Player, or $500 or less for a used Fender MIM? One of those things I don’t understand and I have wandered off topic as usual.

 

Bottom line is I really like this guitar. I took off all the strings, contrary to many people’s advice and cleaned it up significantly. It was dusty and dirty and had obviously been played quite a bit. But the frets are in good shape and it looks great now. I thought the switch needed to be replaced, but I took it apart and cleaned it up and it works great. Good metal switch that feels solid. It’s a small thing but many cheaper guitars have a switch that feels like its spring loaded and always wants to return to middle. This switch has 3 distinct positions and is very solid. I might switch out the knobs, but that’s just an aesthetic thing. The ones on there are fine, the plastic kind of thin tall knobs that I think they say are Fender amp knobs. Like I said fine but I might switch ‘em out for chrome knobs. Also the input jack is really good, not cheap like most I’ve encountered. The nut hasn’t come loose, seems like all parts are metal. It just feels solid.

 

Most importantly the guitar sounds great. Even though it’s P90 pickups the bridge has that clear Tele sound. I’ve gone from hating bridge pickups to staying mostly on a tele bridge pickup, which is a very bright sounding pickup. It is an easy player with good action. Even though I’m not a big fan of 25.5” scale length this guitar feels comfortable to play. In my unscientific and questionable experience I think it’s because of the hardtail bridge, you can hold the guitar a little further back so the neck doesn’t feel as far away. I’d still like to pick up a 24” Mustang or Jag though…one day.

 

This guitar is definitely a keeper for the time being. My biggest complaint is the black colour, which of course is not a real issue. And I’ve decided I prefer a rosewood fretboard to maple. People say rosewood vs. maple produce different tone, or that maple is better because the wood is sealed so the upkeep is easier. All I know is I think rosewood looks better and it’s what I’m used to. If I played 2 guitars, 1 maple and 1 rosewood without looking I’m sure I couldn’t tell the difference which is why I’m counting this as an aesthetic preference. Please feel free to tell me why I’m wrong about this.

 

I do want to say here that I have played a lot of Squier’s and a lot of Epiphone’s. It seems to me like Epiphone’s are almost always pretty good to great and that Squier almost always knocks them out of the park. I went through a lot of phases during this process. I had a limited budget and went from saving up for a ‘real’ Fender to buying a new Squier or even a Yamaha I’ve considered to buying a used Squier so I could get a bass as well. Having played the Fenders and Squier’s a lot I just don’t see the quality difference. I know there are differences, but for a hobbyist like me the Squier’s are great playing guitars. And lots of people gig with Squier’s and Epi’s so they don’t have to risk their expensive guitars getting stolen or damaged. Like I mentioned above I think the problem Fender will run into is with the high-end Squier’s. When the cost of a high-end Squier is comparable to a low end Fender I know which way I’d go and there is no rational reason for it…it’s just having that Fender on the headstock.

Epiphone Les Paul Special I P90

I’m not sure why this guitar is not sold in Canada, if it’s only sold at guitar Center in the US or what. I ordered one last year because I have a thing for P90 pickups. This is a cheap guitar so the pickups aren’t that great, but it’s something I plan to mod….I keep planning and not modding but it’s the planning that’s fun.

 

This is a cool guitar, I really enjoy it. It has the shorter 24.75” scale which I really like. When I play it next to my Strat you can really notice the difference even though it’s only ¾” shorter. The strings have less tension and it’s a bit easier to reach frets. It is a very light guitar, and very thin. Because it’s so light, thin and short it maybe feels a bit toylike but I still enjoy it. The only weird thing is it feels to me like the bridge is too far forward on the guitar. Not a complaint really but your right hand can feel a bit like it’s in the wrong place. I’d rather have it this way than on the Strat though, which feels too far back.

 

The sound of this guitar is really nice. The P90’s have a lot of growl and break up nicely with mild gain. If I play the Strat and then the LP without changing the amp settings the Strat will sound very clean and thin, the LP will sound full with a bit of breakup. The blues sound that I love. If you increase the gain the pickups are quite noisy when you aren’t in the middle position, but that’s pretty normal with P90’s. If you don’t know P90’s are fatter single coils. They have a more full sound than the single coils Fender uses and in my opinion have more dynamic response than humbuckers. My favourite kind of pickup, though I don’t play really high gain stuff. For that you definitely need humbuckers.

 

Let’s talk about what will be modded on this when I find the time and money to do this. The bridge is not intonatable if that’s a word, and could stand to be upgraded. I’m a huge fan of hardtails and this guitar has a wraparound bridge which I really like. The tuners are pretty bad as well, and it’s almost a necessity to upgrade them. I’d love to put locking tuners on this guitar since I absolutely hate restringing but they seem to be hard to find. From what I’ve read the tuners on this guitar are vintage 8mm style and it seems most locking tuners are 10mm. I know what you’re saying, just get the drill out and put in 10mm tuners. It’s quick and easy and I don’t wanna. I’ll screw it up somehow and don’t want to deal with it. Besides why are you talking to a blog post? Remember kids, people think you are weird when you talk to your computer screen or TV. Unless you’re watching a hockey game and screaming at the stupid refs which is perfectly acceptable and just makes good sense…though it’s also the reason my wife said the kids couldn’t watch hockey with me. Whatever, go Leafs.

 

The pickups are something I’ve considered upgrading. Not sure about this one. Like I’ve mentioned I just hack around in my basement. I’m not sure that expensive pickups are going to make a big difference, or big enough for the expense. Something to think about. I looked at some GFS pickups because they’re cheap. But the stock pickups are cheap so who knows if it’s worth it.

 

This leads me to a real piss off. This is a common frustration of living in Canada when most online stuff comes from the US. I wasted a bunch of time on GFS’ website picking out upgrades for this guitar. Got a nice heavy wraparound replacement bridge. Some locking tuners I thought would actually fit. A new switch…oh I forgot that, the switch on this guitar absolutely sucks. I’d also picked out a soldering iron and some solder…I think that’s it. The total came to like $80 which was pretty good. The shipping was an extra $70. Seriously, shipping was almost as much as the purchase. So I cancelled the whole thing. No way they can justify that garbage. I bought the entire guitar from guitar center in the States and the shipping was like $10. Anyway, I’ll mod it some day.

 

The silver lining of this was I saved the money I was going to spend on modding this and put it towards a bass. I’ve never had a bass guitar, I’m getting it today and am looking forward to trying something new. I’m not even sure what the standard tuning is for a bass but I am going to be awesome, you’ll see. Flea better watch out. Or since I’m Canadian I guess Geddy Lee better watch out.

 

This has been a long and rambling post, but to summarize this is a good guitar for not a lot of money, and more importantly Go Leafs.

Why I Hate Buying and Selling Guitar Gear Online

OK, so this post might be a bit of a rant, so I’ll apologize in advance. I live in a city of more than 500 000 people in Canada…and the local market for used gear sucks. If you’re trying to buy a guitar you will find a hundred listings for Fender squier Stratocaster, or Gibson Epiphone Les Paul…people always think you will fall for the Fender or Gibson part for some reason. “Wow, a Fender strat for $100!!!” is what nobody has ever thought.

 

If you are trying to buy guitars online here is what you will find every single time you look:

 

  1. FENDER squier affinity strat for $280. At the time I’m writing this a new affinity strat is $279. the seller will either specify all of the ‘upgrades’ they have done to make it better, usually it’s ‘upgraded’ by adding EMG active pickups. Or they will mention how they bought it 2 weeks ago and they are selling for $280 because buying it new will be $280 PLUS TAX. Of course if they actually bought it 2 weeks ago they could just return it, but I guess people must fall for this…actually I know nobody falls for this because you will see the same affinity strat reposted every 2 or 3 days in decreasing increments of $10, but the price is always firm.
  2. Gibson Epiphone Les Paul Standard for $550-$600, new it sells for $650 at this time. Again, many times with active EMG’s or locking tuners as upgrades. Always, always, always in ‘mint’ condition and usually in a ‘rare’ colour like honeyburst or the coveted ebony.
  3. A bunch of Ibanez Geo series guitars being sold by kids who are asking for as much or more than you could buy the guitar new.
  4. An unusually disproportionate number of custom shop Fender and Gibson’s that are always ‘rare’, in ‘rare’ colours and selling for between $2000 and $6000. And yes, I have seen sellers that are selling custom shop or American strats or teles and coincidentally the same person is also selling a brand new MIM Fender neck.

 

Selling stuff is actually more frustrating. If you’re buying you can spot this stuff if you know a little bit or do a bit of research. In Canada we have one major music store chain, and they are pretty expensive. I have bought from Guitar Center and had stuff shipped from the States and even though there are lots of complaints about GC I think it is alright. The prices are better and they send coupons and have sales constantly. The chain here does not have sales, or coupons or anything like that. Their policy for trading stuff in is that they will give you 2/3 of what they can sell it for as credit. You can negotiate a bit, but it’s not great. Since the rule seems to be used guitars sell for 50%-60% of new you can basically trade in a $300 guitar for probably $100. Maybe you can do better if it’s towards a new guitar, but it’s still not great. So you try to sell it online, you’ll get 150 views and no bites. Or you’ll get somebody offering to trade you 2 ‘project’ guitars for your year old guitar you are asking 60% of the new price for.

 

All of this is frustrating, but my favourite thing of all and this has happened to me multiple times is this: I’ll post a guitar that is $400 new for $250. I’ll get someone offer me $180, they always specify cash and they’ll buy it today because apparently other people take cheques and put it on layaway, but only if I deliver it to Toronto. So I can sell it for 2/3 of my asking price and also have the honour of delivering it over an hour each way. Great deal. And this happens all the time.

 

I’ve also had the people that agree on a price and then disappear. Or agree on a price and then try to get a lower price at the door. I sold a guitar that was $650 new and asked $350. The guy contacted me and offered $300, I said no the price was firm at $350, if he wasn’t interested no problem. He showed up and liked the guitar and said “So you’ll take $300?” I said no, flat out. He asked for a gig bag…I said no. He asked for a guitar stand…I said no. He asked for a strap…I said no. He asked for my practice amp…I said it’s ok if you aren’t interested. He pulled out $300 from his pocket and a $50 bill from his other pocket.

 

Anyway, I’m sorry for the rant. I’m sure all of you have had the same experience. Maybe you can provide some insight into why people can’t just be honest and fair and not try to take advantage of each other. If I see a fair price for something I want that is in good condition I’ll pay the asking price, or offer what I think is fair during the first contact. I won’t offer significantly less than they are asking because if they are way overpriced I won’t contact them. And I don’t change the price when I meet them. If it’s not in the condition they said it was I’ll just not buy it. I have had people buy stuff who are like that and it’s a pleasure…actually most people that get to the point of coming to see what I am selling are like that. But the other people are frustrating. I think there are people that jump on a posting as soon as it goes up and try to get it crazy cheap, so it’s usually easy to weed them out. Still frustrating though.

 

Anyway, as always thanks for reading and let me know if you’ve had different and hopefully better experiences when buying and selling online.