Among the beautiful trees and lush landscapes of Quebec, Canada, Godin Guitars set its roots deep into the ground, as Robert Godin set his sights sky-high. What started off as a small lutherie in La Patrie, Quebec, has now grown to become what is considered one of the largest guitar manufacturers in all of North America. Today, Godin produces around 175,000 guitars per year, proudly pre-strung with Cleartone’s Phosphor Bronze Strings, under seven world-class brands including Seagull, Simon & Patrick, Art & Lutherie, Norman, La Patrie, Richmond, and of course, Godin Guitars. Since the company’s humble beginnings in 1972, Robert Godin has continually and successfully found ways to retain the quality and hand-crafted feel of his original lutherie, while always making sure that the business side of things remained scalable. As with the story of many successful entrepreneurs, it all started out in the most unlikely of places, as the young Robert Godin stumbled upon a window factory for Norman’s Windows in the East Townships of Quebec. This factory also happened to make guitars on a very small scale. As you may have guessed, Norman Guitars is named as such to honor this legacy as it was from this very factory, his vision became a reality.
Today, Robert Godin oversees five factories in Quebec and one in Berlin, New Hampshire. Each factory serves its own specific purpose. For example, in La Patrie, one plant assembles all of the headstocks and necks while a neighboring facility assembles and finishes the acoustic guitars. The Princeville plant located just 100 miles away handles the production of an assortment of wooden parts including bridges, braces, necks, and electric guitar bodies. The second floor of the Princeville plant assembles all of the Art & Lutherie guitars. The New Hampshire plant devotes all of its efforts to electric guitar assembly.
The brilliance in this innovative method of production is that it results in optimal efficiency, much fewer production errors and it promotes excellent communication between co-workers. This is because having a limited range of activities in many small facilities ensures everyone is directly involved in the guitar-making process. Additionally, it simplifies accounting, as the labor cost per guitar can much more easily be recorded and maintained this way. Lastly, but certainly important to mention, is the fact that Godin does not need to rely on cheaper, exploitative labor overseas to maintain its business because they make all of their own guitars.
Now that you have a brief overview of Godin Guitars and the brilliance behind their methods, experience the fruits of their labor for yourself with Godin’s 7 fine brands of guitars, all in detail below.
All of Robert Godin’s hard work and determination have come down to this. The amazing innovations he unleashed upon the guitar manufacturing world come together in a brand worthy of Godin’s name, as it is proudly displayedon each and every one of their headstocks. As you pick up a Godin Guitar, you immediately get the sense that the many years of fine-tuning and innovation have led up to this very moment. These fine, handcrafted guitars are presented in a variety of exclusive model series, including: Performance, Core, Icon, Signature, Richmond, Passion, Multiac, 5th Avenue and the A-Series.
Built in La Patrie, Seagull Guitars is the result Robert Godin’s vision to take the vital components of the best hand-crafted guitar, and fuse them into guitars that could be priced for the average working musician. Their first model, rightfully named the “S6 Original,” joins many other model series’ they carry, including: Merlin, Excursion, Entourage, Coastline, Natural Elements, Performer, Maritime SWS and Artist. Each model has its own unique features and offers enough variety to where it has never been easier to find one that suits your unique style and comfort level.
Art and Lutherie guitars take great pride in the fact they use 95% Canadian wood, harvested in an eco-friendly way, meaning no clear-cutting. Adhering to their strict standards of tone and beauty, they only use the wood from previously fallen trees found in the forests of Eastern Canada. These beautiful acoustic guitars are handcrafted in the small town of Princeville, Quebec, using two different types of wood: Wild Cherry and Silver Leaf Maple. Wild Cherry wood resonates between the bright sound of maple, and the mellow tone of mahogany. Silver Leaf Maple, despite it being maple, has similar sonic and physical characteristics as mahogany. In perfect synergy, they have created a variety of beautiful dreadnaught, cutaway, folk and parlor-sized guitars called “Amis” (French word meaning friend) for the acoustic musician in everyone.
Simon & Patrick builds their solid top guitars in La Patrie and they all possess a unique quality: Each guitar is graded and pressure-tested using customized equipment. This ensures their guitars are at the highest level of stiffness and rigidity while simultaneously retaining maximum harmonic vibration. These guitars look great, sound great, and have outstanding structural integrity that is maximized even further with compound curve tops and Adirondack spruce bracing. They can be found in a variety of different model series including: Trek, Songsmith, Natural Elements, Woodland/Woodland Pro, Cutaway GT and their upper echelon Showcase series.
Norman Acoustic Guitars are all handcrafted in La Patrie, Canada. They sport the original name from Norman’s window factory where Robert Godin started his own company. These guitars hold true to the legacy of the original factory, and blend seamlessly with modern features, including: Double Function truss rods, Tusq® nuts and saddles by Graphtech, and optional Fishman Presys pickups. Norman offers the following variety of model series, each with their own unique qualities. They include: Expedition, Protege, Encore, and Studio.
Nylon string players rejoice, Godin has the perfect guitar for you. Named La Patrie Guitars, they received the coveted Acoustic Guitar Players Choice Silver Award in 2008. La Patrie’s classical-style nylon acoustic guitars are beautiful, and play like a dream, gaining the respect of even the most demanding classical musicians around the world. They offer a wide variety of models that are sure to please all levels of nylon string players including: Motif, Etude, Concert, Concert CW, Presentation, Collection, Hybrid Light Burst, and the classy Hybrid Black.
Last but certainly not least, Richmond Guitars stand on a plateau of their own. Described on their website as “titans of tone,” these guitars are extremely versatile in that respect, replicating the famous sounds of the 50’s 60’s & 70’s with stunning accuracy. Handcrafted in Richmond, these guitars will give you that vintage vibe, with the comfort and familirity of modern playability. Offered in 3 classic model series and 2 additional Bigsby® Bridge models, vintage tone aficionados will surely find a model to bring out each and everyone’s own unique vintage vibe.
To this day, Robert oversees all operations from their Montreal, QC headquarters, and continues to design the vast majority of these beautiful guitars. No matter what style of music you play, or what type of guitar you prefer to enjoy, Robert Godin has taken great pride to ensure you’ll find one made just right for you. As the largest guitar manufacturer in North America, Godin continually innovates and fine-tunes his instruments to today’s standards, which is why we are proud to say he exclusively uses Cleartone Strings as OEM factory equipment on his prestigious brands of guitars. We could not be more thrilled to have been chosen by Robert Godin as his OEM string of choice as he continues along his journey to perfect the guitar as we know it to be today. Strum on one for yourself to get a true feel for the dream that became a reality for the music world, at the hands of Robert Godin.
Be sure to check out the dealer listing below to find a handcrafted guitar that best suits your style, comfort and budget.