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JGT Review: Godin ACS Nylon String/Synth Guitar

James Galloway

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The Godin ACS Denim Blue Flame (MAP $1,450) is a tried-and-true model. I’ve always had my eye on this nylon string/synth guitar so when I had the chance to do a review for Jazz Guitar Today, I jumped at the opportunity.

First, when I opened the case, I was greeted with a strikingly beautiful instrument. With its attractive blue burst flame, this guitar is much different in person (vs. online).  The craftsmanship is really incredible and I love the neck joint. The guitar was set-up perfectly right out of the gate and the playability was on point. Certainly NOT a disappointing first impression… 

I am actually borrowing another model in the natural color to compare with this ACS Denim Blue Flame, and I have to say this guitar is a fair degree lighter than the original natural model that I’m borrowing. I was surprised how light it was. I have a semi-hollow Telecaster and an archtop Gibson that feel of similar weight. I imagine that will come in handy if you’re playing a solo show for an hour and a half several nights a week.

Godin ACS Denim Blue Flame

I was also impressed by the heavy duty gig bag that housed the guitar. The gig bag is the equivalent of a hard case on the interior with a soft case – form-fitting and highly transportable. The bag also has a huge pocket on the exterior that could fit an iPad, and on the inside another space to take certain gig materials (I was able to place an HX Stomp from Line 6 in the neck compartment). I would feel completely confident flying with this case as a carry on. 

Nice gig bag…

I personally play fingerstyle guitar in many different open tunings and I also use partial capos. The guitar responded very well to a myriad of alternate tunings. I tend to use open C quite a bit and the response was great. Sometimes the lower strings can get flubby and lose definition –  but I did not find that to be the case with this nylon string model. All the notes rang true and there were zero dead spots. Nice warm round notes all around the fretboard greeted me with every piece I threw at it.

In this particular review, I decided to focus on the sound quality, playability, craftsmanship, etc. of the guitar; however, the Godin ACS has a very cool ‘Synth’ feature.

This feature provides the ability to mix in midi commands through a synthesizer module to create new sounds. I have been intrigued by this feature after seeing many players use it to an astonishing degree. This ‘Synth’ feature introduces so many creative possibilities that it deserves its own review – so looking forward to that!  (TBA)

This was my first time trying the RMC pickups. I am more of a transducer player of the under saddle (K&K variety) or magnetic pickups in traditional steel string guitars. However, I must say I was super impressed with the quality and sensitivity of the RMC pickups. I had to adjust my playing style slightly because the pickups have an incredible amount of output. I did not need to ‘dig in’ as hard as I normally as with my steel string guitars – but that was a minor adjustment that gave me incredible results. 

I was also extremely impressed with the onboard preamp and EQ section.

The mid-range has a switch and I found that useful to go from a rounder warm sound for comping and chord work. When I flipped the switch closer to the bridge, it was possible to cut some of the roundness out of the tone for a more direct cut. The adjustments are extremely sensitive and have an incredible range. The preamp has so much output you would have no problem plugging straight into a direct box at a gig and EQ-ing it yourself. The true definition of plug-and-play. I now understand why these are so popular among fingerstyle guitarists. They have an incredible array of tones.

Below are a couple video examples of different settings of the EQ. I’m plugging into a Line 6 Helix and not using any EQ except the on board system.  I’m running into two 10 inch full range speakers. I demonstrate the versatility of the preamp, pick up and action of the guitar. I’m going to be hard-pressed to send this guitar back as I do not have a guitar that covers this much ground in my stable of instruments. 

The Godin ACS is well-built with excellent craftsmanship.

The guitar provides a great number of creative options for a player, but yet, it has a very simple layout. As someone with many high-end instruments, the ACS is among the very best.  I would highly recommend this nylon string/synth guitar for anyone looking for an incredibly versatile instrument. 

Thank you to Godin Guitars and Jazz Guitar Todayfor the opportunity to review this amazing guitar!

For more info on the Godin ACS.

James Galloway demostrating the sounds and capabilities of the Godin ACS.

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