Seagull Acoustic Guitars - (complete Seagull Acoustic Guitar comparison guide)
"easily one of the best values on the market for all levels of players"
Seagull guitars combine quality Canadian craftsmanship with affordable pricing making Seagull Guitars one of the best values on the acoustic guitar market today. Although they offer higher end pricing for some of their Maritime and Artist Series guitars, they have some of the absolute best acoustic guitars on the market in the $300 to $500 range, hands down.
A little Canadian background: If you have been around long enough to read about quality acoustic guitar manufacturing practices, you will learn that some great instruments come out of Canada. Larrivee is a top, high end brand that creates magnificent instruments for several thousand dollars a piece (I own a Larrivee), but you don't have to pay thousands of dollars to get a fine, quality, hand-crafted Canadian guitar that literally sings.
Introducing the Seagull Guitar Company
In the province of Quebec, Canada, in a little town known as LaPatrie, and I mean very little (just under 500 people), about half of the town folk are guitar makers. For some reason, unknown to me, I have yet to come across a Canadian-made acoustic guitar that lacks in craftsmanship, and the Seagull is no exception. Seagull Guitar Company's parent company is Godin Guitars (another fine Canadian guitar making company that also owns and makes fine LaPatrie Classical Guitars). The hard-working people at the Seagull crafting station in LaPatrie take great pride in producing these guitars that are played around the world. Because these Seagulls are built from start to finish with painstaking detail and craftsmanship in LaPatrie, complete control on quality and consistency is delivered on every Seagull model. I have literally scoured the web for a single negative review on Seagull guitars and I cannot find anything less than 5 stars, so I had to get my hands on one of these to play, touch, listen and see for myself!
7 Series of Seagull Guitars Available
(numbered for ease of reviewing and organization only)
Seagull comes in 7 Series, with many styles and sizes within each series. You simple have to figure out what your budget is, and then determine which model, finish, and body style you want. You will not experience any diminishment in quality from any Seagull Acoustic Guitar.
(Video Overview direct from Seagull Guitar Company)
As with every guitar manufacturer, Seagull has their own unique codes for model specifications and differences. Here are a few codes you will see throughout their naming system as you read through the detailed reviews of the 7 Series they offer below:
- B-Band AC1.5T - Basic B-Band Transducer pickup offered in their Natural Elements Series
- CW - Cutaway version
- GT - Gloss Top
- HG - High Gloss Finish (most crisp projection qualities)
- Q1 - Godin Q1 On-board single, under the saddle pickup system with Eq and LED tuner
- Q2 - Godin Q2 On- on board double pickup system with transducer under the saddle and microphone for superior acoustic reproduction
- SG - Semi-Gloss Finish (moderate projection)
- S6 - Seagull's original award wining model
- Slim - Neck width at the nut is 1.72 inches as opposed to 1.8 inches for easier playability for some
- SWS - Solid Wood Series - although the Maritimes are marked with SWS- the Artist Series also has Solid Wood Construction for backs and sides
#1 Seagull (S6) Original Series: The Seagull originals are award-winning, middle to low budget range guitars with incredible high-end quality, sound and playability. The sides and backs are laminated with 3 layers of beautiful wild cherry, giving the overtones of this guitar sounding somewhere between the warmth of pure Mahogany and the crisp, brightness of a hard Maple guitar. In price (new), they range from about $350 for the original acoustic version to $530 for the Quantum-1 Acoustic Electric cutaway version. Holding and playing any Seagull original model, one would feel like he or she would have to pay 2 or 3 times the retail list price to come close to this kind of quality in craftsmanship, playability and sound quality.
Seagull Original Series S6 Quality Specifications:
- Made in LaPatrie, Quebec Canada
- Quality Cedar wood, Pressure Tested Top for high stiffness and low weight (great sound projection)
- Truss Rod with Double Action for neck preservation
- Tapered neck and compensated saddle which allows for accurate tuning everywhere on the fret board
- Neck width allows for Bell-like tones for harmonics and width of sound for open tuning playing
- Saddle and Nut made from Tusq for great vibration transfer and intonation anywhere on the fret board
- Original Right-handed, Left-handed and "Slim" model (thinner neck at the nut) for easier handling
- Fingerboard and bridge made from select Rosewood
- Neck made of Silverleaf Maple for superior stiffness and longevity
- Semi-gloss, hand-polished finish for a tone that is not too mellow and not overly tinny or bright
There are currently 3 models offered in the Seagull Original Line
- Seagull S6 Original (darker binding)
- Seagull S6 Original Left Handed (darker binding)
- Seagull Original Slim (Slimmer, traditional neck width 1.72 " tapered at the nut for easier playability and creamy white binding)
- Entourage Rustic
- Entourage Rustic CW QI (Cutaway with Quantum 1 pickup installed)
- Entourage Rustic CW Q1 GT (Gloss Top - shiny top- brighter sound - more projection)
- Entourage Burgundy CW GT Q1 (same as the previous model except with beautiful burgundy finish)
- Entourage Rustic Mini Jumbo
- Entourage Rustic Grand (smaller bodied, parlor size guitar)
beautiful sound with just a mic and then with transducer pickup)
Seagull / Godin use Roman numerals to represent the single pickup transducer (QI) and the double source pickup (Q2) for the Godin Quantum Pickups offered in Seagull Guitars. The Godin Q2 or QII is offered only in the higher end Artist Series reviewed below and has both a transducer and a microphone to pickup the true tones and overtones of the solid tonewoods giving the truest acoustic sound when hooked up to an amp.)
- Coastline S6 Creme Brulee SG (satin sides with high gloss top and warm sunburst top finish)
- Coastline S6 Spruce (Spruce Top)
- Coastline S6 Slim CW Spruce Q1 (Cutaway Dreadnought with tapered neck at the nut)
- Coastline S12 Cedar (Cedar Top 12 string)
- Coastline S12 Cedar Left (Cedar Top 12 String Left-handed)
- Coastline S6 Folk Cedar (smaller than dreadnought body- tapered shoulders - concert size)
- Coastline Grand (smallest, parlor size guitar)
direct from Seagull Guitars / Godin Guitar Company)
- Standard Dreadnought (same size as the Seagull S6 original)
- CW (cutaway) mini jumbo and (tapered shoulders and exaggerated waist design)
- the CW (cutaway) folk (mid-size tapered shoulders, concert size but smaller than Dreadnought)
- Natural Cherry sides and back with cedar top (less projection from cedar)
- Heart of Wild Cherry with spruce top or (spruce top gives more tonal projection)
- Figured Amber-Trail Maple with spruce top (maple gives brighter tones in the mid to high ranges and spruce has higher projection)
(Seagull Natural Elements being played by 3rd party)
# 5 Seagull Performer Series: For the performer, this series comes in 1 set of tonewoods and top tonewood. The sides and back are made completely out of Flaming Maple for a bright sounding, top-heavy, bright projecting sound. The tops are made from pressure tested Sitka Spruce which is the most widely used tonewood for acoustic guitar tops. This combination of acoustic tonewoods is great for cutting through in a group as well as projecting a strong woody sound that dominates in the mid and treble ranges (not in the bass end much). They also come complete with an embroidered gig bag for traveling and performing. This unique, bright series comes in high gloss finish for a beautifully, shiny stage presence with 3 body styles.
The 3 current body styles available for the Performance Series are:
- Cutaway Dreadnought (standard dreadnought with cutaway for ease of playing on higher end of fret board)
- CW Folk (cutaway folk size - rounded shoulders and slightly smaller than a dreadnought)
- CW Mini Jumbo (more narrow waist and jumbo body style, but smaller than Dreadnought and more "curvy")
Differences / Options: The Performer Series come in only 1 option for tonewoods: Flaming Maple sides and back with Spruce top. This gives the guitar a unique, punchy, projecting guitar which will dominate in the mid-range and upper range for an acoustic guitar. Alongside a guitar made with Rosewood for sides and back, there will be a noticeable compression of EQ (range) and it will be somewhat weaker in the bass projection, making this series of guitars fairly bright yet balanced. It also comes with a flaming maple headstock for aesthetic beauty, and a high gloss top finish which looks great under stage lights. The on-board electronics are the standard Godin Q1 Electronics for great, under the saddle pickup with on-board tuner and eq. (but no condenser mic blender as in the Godin Q2 for Artist Series). For someone wanting to be road-ready with a bright, performance quality guitar, this series is ready to go. Just pick the right size for your body style and playing preferences. The Dreadnought will be the largest and deepest sounding, with the Folk being smaller and easier to hold, with the Mini Jumbo being the most curvaceous having an exaggerated waist (which sits easily upon the knee). This combination is hardy for the road, and can punch through in live performance settings because of the combination of tonewoods (flaming maple sides and back with a spruce top)
You can expect to pay between $700 and $750 for a Seagull Performer model depending on which one you choose.
You can also read our full review of the Seagull Performer Series here.
#6 Seagull Maritime SWS (Solid Wood Series): The Maritime Series comes with 6 different styles and boasts a classic modified Dreadnought Style with the old maritime sloped shoulders for a classic look and feel. These are all made completely out of solid wood construction, as are all Seagulls marked with the SWS distinction meaning "Solid Wood Series". In other words, they do not use laminated woods for the sides and back so you can expect to pay a bit more for a guitar that will age more gracefully and have subtle overtones more particular to the kinds of tonewoods that are used. The key to these guitars is "Warmth" perhaps giving the full "woodsy" sound you would expect from a solid wood acoustic guitar. This guitar will easily out-project in the bass ranges, giving this a deeper, rich, warm acoustic sound while preserving the mid-range sounds for finger-picking and a bit of pure acoustic punchiness in the mid-range. If you are a fan of East Indian Rosewood, the Maritime series has a "Rosewood" model that boast of beautiful, dark, Rosewood for the deep, warm balance that only Rosewood can project in tones and overtones.
The 6 current body styles available for the Maritime (SWS) Solid Wood Series are:
- Maritime SWS SG (Semi gloss sloped shoulder Dreadnought with Mahogany Sides and Back)
- Maritime SWS HG (same as the Maritime SWS SG but with High Gloss instead of Semi-gloss- a bit brighter projection)
- Maritime SWS Crème Brulée CW GT QI (Same as Maritime SWS SG but with Creme Brulee burst finish, satin sides and gloss top and Q1 electronics)
- Maritime SWS Rosewood SG (Same as Maritime SWS SG except with Rosewood Back and Sides for a deeper bass projection and fuller eq)
- Maritime SWS Folk HG (Same as the Maritime SWS HG- high gloss except with a smaller than dreadnought concert style body)
- Maritime SWS Mini Jumbo HG (Same as the Maritime SWS HG but with mini jumbo body - deeper waist and more distinction between lower and high range)
Differences / Options: The Seagull Maritime Series, along with the Artist Series and the Performer Series offers solid wood construction for the back and sides which means these guitars are made from more expensive tonewoods that will typically age better (or open up with age) yet can be a bit less "hardy" to changes in humidity and environmental fluctuations than laminated models. Nonetheless, you will get a deeper, more true sense of the tones and overtones that come from solid wood construction and an "opening up" of the beauty of the tones and overtones as solid wood beautifies with age and proper care (keeping the guitar humidified and not exposed to extremes in temperatures and humidity). Additionally, the Maritime series offer the unique sloped shoulder Dreadnought as opposed to the more square shoulders of the original Dreadnought created and made popular by Martin guitars back in the 1940s. Also, the Maritime Series comes with the Godin Q1 transducer which is a solid, middle of the road pickup which will reproduce a nice acoustic sound, but will not capture the true overtones of a woody acoustic sound that you can achieve with a microphone or Godin Q2 (blender). Nonetheless, the Godin Q1 offers a great, stable pickup that has 3 band EQ adjustments.
(Seagull Maritime Series being played by 3rd party video)
You can expect to pay between $500 and $750 for a Seagull Maritime Acoustic Guitar depending on the style an options you choose.
You an also read our full review of the Seagull Maritime SWS series here.
#7 Seagull Artist Series: The Artist Series is the top of the line series of models for the Seagull brand, including 6 different styles (ranging between $950 and $1500) to fit the recording or performing artist, and coming in the market at thousands less than other top name brands with the same great sound and performance as many guitars in the $3000 to $5000 range. All of these models boast solid tonewoods (not laminated backs and sides) for better age-ability and true to life overtone production from the specific tonewoods of choice. Additionally, these are crafted in the Godin Acoustic Atelier, a special part of the factory by only a few select top Luthiers for superior, professional guitar models using only the finest in quality, professional line tonewoods. They all boast solid tonewoods for backs and sides and a pressure tested top. All of the top bracings are hand scalloped and made from Adirondack spruce which is incredibly light yet very strong, to give the best of both worlds in strength and sound vibration transference for the most projection and the best quality in sound reproduction from the top tonewood sound vibrations. The artist series guitars have incredible response and character when finger picked lightly and they boom with full, un-muffled projection when strummed heavily. . . these simply "come alive" in your hands! A professional or intermediate guitar player would easily pay $2000 or $3000 more for this quality of guitar in other top end guitar names like Taylor, Larrivee, Martin and Gibson, and would really only be paying for the "brand appeal". If you are looking for a professional quality guitar that can play well on the road, on stage, in the studio or at home, the Seagull Artist Series packs a professional line instrument in a mid-range, intermediate price.
The 6 current body styles available for the Seagull Artist Series are:
Seagull Artist Mosaic (no pickup - starts at $950)
Seagull Artist Mosaic Q2 (has top of the line Godin Q2 pickup with dual transducer and microphone pickup for only $200 more)
Artist Mosaic CW Folk QII (Cutaway Folk Size with Godin Q2 Pickup)
Artist Cameo CW QII (Cutaway Dreadnought with Spruce Top, Flaming Maple Sides and Back and Godin Q2 pickup)
Artist Studio Cutaway QII (Cutaway Dreadnought with Spruce Top, Rosewood Sides and Godin Q2 pickup_
Artist Peppino Signature Cutaway QII (Same as Artist Studio Cutaway with wider fret at the nut - 1.9 inches)
Differences / Options: The Artist Series is by far the best of the best in the Seagull Line, from using special, selected Luthiers (guitar makers) and installing the Godin Q2 pickup with both an under-the-saddle transducer and microphone. All of these 6 models boast solid tonewoods and have many choices in tonewoods based on what you would like to achieve. The top bracing is made of scalloped, Adirondack spruce, giving these tops the highest strength to weight ratio for an incredible, professional, consistent response at any dynamic playing level. This is a guitar that even a professional will not out-grow in terms of quality, playability, and performance.
(Seagull Artist Series being played by 3rd party)
You can expect to pay between $950 and $1500 for a Seagull Artist Guitar depending on the model you choose.
(*Full Specs / Summary Comparison chart above is property of SeagullGuitars.com)
Summary, pricing, and where to get these great guitars!
In summary, you really can't go wrong with any Seagull model. They offer incredible sound, craftsmanship and durability for a long lasting instrument that will age well as long as you own and take care of the instrument and at just about any budget level. Also, you will want to make sure to select the best size and finish that will appeal to the person who will be plalying one of these great guitars.
Based on your budget, you can get an incredible value in a Seagull as summarized from lowest to highest below:
(most models are available at Amazon.com with Amazon's excellent satisfaction guarantees)