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Godin A5 - balance, and B string?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by nathan321, Jul 15, 2002.


  1. nathan321

    nathan321

    Jul 2, 2002
    Hi from Australia.

    I'm planning to try out a Godin A4 this weekend, with a view to possibly ordering a fretted A5 if I like the A4 (the distributer says there are no fretted A5s in Australia at the moment, and indeed I'll probably only be able to try a fretless A4).

    I can (probably) order the A5 on a refund-if-I-don't-like-it basis, but I don't want to put the shop to the trouble unless I'm fairly confident that I will like it after trying the A4.

    So, I was hoping someone might have some comments about a couple of things I can't tell about a fretted A5 from playing a fretless A4:

    1. How is the B string?

    2. How is the balance of the bass? Some have said even the A4 is neck-heavy, but how much worse is the A5 (I'm assuming it is worse)?

    3. How is the intonation? (Given that it isn't adjustable like on a normal solid-body instrument.)

    Any more general comments also appreciated (keep in mind I want the fretted version).

    Final question (for now): can anyone explain why there is such a big price difference (AUS$350 difference) between the cognac burst and the natural colour options? Is there any tonal difference in the materials used? I quite like both colours (don't like the all black version), so if all else is equal I will definitely opt for the cheaper cognac burst finish.

    Thanks all,

    Nathan.
     
  2. nathan321

    nathan321

    Jul 2, 2002
    (bump to top)
     
  3. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    Canada
    I can't help you with all your questions but I have a fretless A4 and I love it. It is neck heavy but so what.

    You can play it at high volumes without it feeding back and the controls are effective but not to the point where you can get get thunderous bottom end or glassy highs. The controls are within a useable range.

    The intonation question is of more concern on a fretted bass because you can't compensate the same as with a fretless but I don't think it will pose a problem.

    I've never tried a 5 string version. Anyway, go get it because I think you'll enjoy it. Good luck.
     
  4. Bass Player Magazine has a review of a Godin 5-string in this month's issue if you have access to one. Sorry, I haven't read the review yet.:oops:
     
  5. nathan321

    nathan321

    Jul 2, 2002
    Thanks for those comments. I'll have a look for the Bass Player review (but normally we're a bit behind getting any bass or guitar magazines here in Australia).

    N.
     
  6. Dewees

    Dewees

    May 4, 2000
    I have Godin A5 fretless. The harmonics seem to be right where they should be where the 12th fret would be, althogh that's not necessarily a reliable way of checking the intonation on a fretless.

    The low B on my Godin is much better than I had anticipated.

    It is the most neck-heavy instrument I have ever owned. I try to keep it from spinning down on the left by pressing my right elbow into it whenever I have to take my left had off the neck. You'll get used to this. Keep your Fosters on your right and no worries! :)

    This bass does not sound like an upright. It just sounds more like an upright than an electric bass. It's definitely a lot of fun to play.

    Mike
     
  7. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    The BP review is of a Solidbody Godin. It would be like buying a chrysler based on a review of a chevy.

    I've also owner an A4 briefly and it was very lightweight and comfortable to play. Sorry I can't help you with the B string issue.
     
  8. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    Canada
    Say what??
     
  9. I just said it was a Godin, not the Godin. Thanks for clarifying that for nathan.
     
  10. nathan321

    nathan321

    Jul 2, 2002
    Thanks for the further feedback.

    With regard to the intonation, I was wondering more about the fretted neck.

    From all the feedback I've gotten, here and elsewhere, it sounds like the only issue I'm likely to have a problem with is the potential head-dive. Hopefully I'll be playing some A4s this Saturday.

    N.
     
  11. nathan321

    nathan321

    Jul 2, 2002
    Just to follow up, I finally managed (about two weeks ago) to play a Godin A4 fretless. Not quite the A5 fretted I wanted to try, but as close as I could find in Australia...

    Anyway, I really liked it. Very smooth and comfortable neck. I'm not really used to flat-wound strings, and I didn't like the unplugged tone all that much, but through an amp the tone was very nice - messing with the onboard EQ (leaving the amp flat) I was able to get two or three distinct sounds that I liked.

    Head-dive wasn't a problem (I only tried it with a strap for about five or ten minutes, so perhaps I'll change my mind on that if I buy one, but I played sitting for about forty-five minutes or so and it was very comfortable).

    The one thing I didn't like was that I normally play using fairly standard fingerstyle rest-strokes, i.e., my finger plucks the string and comes to rest on the next lowest (in pitch) string, and I found that a quite audible thump was coming through the amp from touching the next string like that. It was actually a pretty cool effect for certain bass lines, but I don't think I'd want it all of the time. This has never been a problem for me with normal magnetic pickups on other basses...

    Interestingly I also tried a solid-body fretted five Godin (don't know the model number) but it felt terrible.

    Thanks,

    N.
     
  12. Dewees

    Dewees

    May 4, 2000
    The one thing I didn't like was that I normally play using fairly standard fingerstyle rest-strokes, i.e., my finger plucks the string and comes to rest on the next lowest (in pitch) string, and I found that a quite audible thump was coming through the amp from touching the next string like that. It was actually a pretty cool effect for certain bass lines, but I don't think I'd want it all of the time. This has never been a problem for me with normal magnetic pickups on other basses...

    I have found that I have to back the bass control off a bit (the slider closest to the neck.) Otherwise my A5 is way too bottom heavy. I can see how you might get a thump out of your finger landing on the upper string. I boost the middle control all the way and also cut the treble back a little.

    Dewees
     
  13. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    I have both a fretted A4 and fretless A5. I use both as my main basses...esp for my solo shows.
    Personally, I have not had any probs with neck dive on either. I found quite a few other basses, such as the Epi Jack Casady and Turner Ren5 much more neck heavy (altho each a fine bass in their own right). And, I find the necks on both to be very comfy.
    My 5 is set up with a high C string, but I found the original set-up with a low B to very nice, indeed. I have noticed that with many 35-36" scale basses that while the B string does come off "stronger" and more defined, that extra inch or two makes the G and sometimes the D strings sound quite thin. I have opted for the 34" Godin and set it up with a high C and a Hipshot on the E string. Thus giving me, at the flip of a lever, a 6 string range.

    RE: the thumps and bumps. Piezos, esp. the L.R. Baggs system which Godin employs, are very dynamically sensitive. They have a MUCH wider frequency range and dynamic range than mag PUs. This means that yer technique Has to be up to snuff. All of those little pats, patters, squeaks and thumps are carried by the piezos in ways you never heard with traditional Magnetic PUs. Careful with the EQ. It is best to use the on-board eq to "tweak" the tone rather than to define it. It also best to use it flat or cut only..avoid boosting freqs (and with the limitless top end of those piezos, you won't want to be boosting the treble!), use cuts to scuplt the sound....and experiment with that mid slider (lotsa nice tones in there!) I tend to run my bass at about 25-40%, mids at 30-60% and treble between 20 and 75% depending on the sound I am desiring (mind you I play a very chordal intensive and loop augmented solo bass style, quite often incorporating techniques borrowed from flamenco guitar).
    AND...try to string it up with Thomastik-Infeld Acousticore strings. They are quite light, both in gauge and tension, and so require a sensitive and light touch, but the tonal difference is remarkable.
    They are bronze over a nylon core, and designed (by Rick Turner nonetheless) esp. for use with piezo systems. They really sing on the Godin basses. These strings really open the tonal p[ossibilities of the Godin A series basses, once you get over the very light gauge and tension.
    I am using TI Acousticore strings on my fretted 4 and, right now, TI flats on the fretless 5....

    I have some mp3s posted at MP3.com which might give you some idea of the tone(s) from my Godin

    http://www.mp3.com/max_valentino

    good luck with your Godin...they are great basses!
    Max