Seagull Guitars step up from the Original Seagull S6 is called the Seagull Entourage Series. The definition of the word "entourage" literally means a group of people who accompany and wait for or surround a person (as in a person of importance) and it can have connotations of the people who follow a popular person or rock star. It is derived from the French word entourer, which means “to surround,” and literally means "the people who surround someone." I am not quite sure if Seagull (Godin Guitars) play on this term meaning that people will want to surround you when you play this fine guitar, or the sound itself surrounds you, but playing this guitar right can certainly draw a crowd.
Seagull continues it's excellent value, craftsmanship and playability through their second tier of guitars in the Seagull Entourage Series. The Entourage Series is modeled after their award winning Original Seagull S6, except that finish is a vintage burst (except in the burgundy, black and spruce models) and these have a thinner, tapered neck for ease of playability, feeling more like a regular steel string guitar, and all but the Spruce model has a cedar top for warmer, richer, less punchy tone.
At the nut, the width is slimmer at 1.72 inches, giving this guitar a super-fine feel all along the fret-board. They are also priced in the same range as the Seagull S6 Original, from about $350 for the Entourage Rustic to $550 for the Seagull Burgundy Cutaway (CW) with Godin Q1 Preamp .
At the time of this review, there are 8 models of the Seagull Entourage
- Entourage Rustic
- Entourage Rustic CW QI (CW means cutaway and Q1 means Quantum 1 pickup)
- Entourage Spruce CW QI (Spruce top instead of Cedar and natural finish)
- Entourage Rustic CW QI GT (GT means gloss top with brighter, crisp sound)
- Entourage Black CW GT QI (same as the burgundy but black)
- Entourage Burgundy CW GT Q1 (same as the Rustic CW Q1 GT but with a burgundy stain)
- Entourage Rustic Mini Jumbo (a little more bassy sounding- also comes with pickup)
- Entourage Rustic Grand (smallest, parlor size Entourage, still a 6 string)
When we first played and reviewed the entourage series, they only had 6 versions (did not have the spruce top or the black finish). Now they have added the spruce top for those who want a little more punch in their sound, and the black obviously for people who prefer a sleek, black finished guitar.
What I find most interesting about any of the Seagull Guitars, including this Entourage Series is how amazing the craftsmanship and sound are at this price level. These quality, Canadian/French made guitars are comparable in sound and playability as many guitars that easily cost twice as much.
How the Entourage Differs from the Original S6:
The main differences between the Entourage Series and the Original S6 are the vintage finish on many of the models, an optional Mini Jumbo size, smaller grand size (parlor guitar), Black and Burgundy finished cutaway with a high-gloss top. They also feature the Godin QI on-board pre-amp transducer, while the S6 Original comes without a pickup or with a Fishman transducer (no real on-board pre-amp) in the acoustic electric option.
The Godin Q1 (or Quantum One) Transducer pickup and preamp is a great value for the additional price. Essentially, the Seagull Entourage Guitars without a pickup are priced around $350 - $400 whereas those with the high quality Godin Q1 are between $500 and $550 depending on the model.
The Godin EPM Quantum I acoustic guitar preamp system a great performing preamp with a simple design. The transducer and EQ preamp have been designed and the sound shaping capabilities contoured to give a very rich acoustic amplified sound usually found in higher-end preamp systems.
It also comes with a built-in LED chromatic tuner so you can be sure to stay in tune wherever you go.
The Godin Q1 Pickup system features a single source, under-the-saddle transducer, and the preamp gives great control over the volume, bass and treble.
They claim it has up to a 200 hour battery life, but of course that depends on the end user. You can read more reviews on the Seagull Entourage with Godin Q1 Pickup here.
I have also included a video here, where the initial playing you hear is not from the pickup, but miked (many guitar players can hear the difference between a miked sound versus a transducer pickup sound).
(Video: From Godin Guitars- Seagull Makers)
Seagull / Godin's stock pickup in the Entourage Series is the Godin Q1, which has a transducer, single pickup and pre-amp on the side. It does not feature a condenser (microphone) to blend the somewhat metallic sound of transducers to get the most natural acoustic sound that you can get in the higher priced Seagull Artist Series (starting at about $1,000).
However, the sound from the Godin Q1 is an excellent standard for playing small gigs to large performances and does have a great acoustic amplified sound in this price range. Those who have a very picky ear know the difference between a blending pre-amp with both a condenser (mic) and transducer, versus just a single transducer, but they are also aware of the higher price that is required to attain a blender.
With guitars this well built, sounding this great, one would easily expect to pay between $600 and $850, in my opinion.
However, you can expect to invest only between $350 and $550 for a Seagull Entourage Model, depending on which one you choose and whether you want an acoustic electric version featuring the Godin Q1.
If you get an Entourage Rustic without a pickup, you can expect to pay about $350 with a Gig Bag and Stand here.
If you want it with the Godin Q1 Pre-amp installed you can expect to pay about $515 here, which is the best online price I can find currently.