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New Godin - Back to the old sound

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by alembicbassist, Aug 19, 2002.

  1. Well, I sold my Alembic...Needed money for a telecaster, and was getting tired of a five string.

    Don't have pictures, no digital camera. I like the Godin SD-4 I got. Maple body, nice jazz neck, a little thicker than Fender, no dead spots, well made. I am liking the four string again, and like the p-j pickups. I like the sound and ease of the passives again. I get great tones. Tried a lot of fenders (P and J) but only found one jazz that I liked as well for twice as much.

    Probably more finicky about strings than the Alembic was. Didn't like the DiAddario XLs that came on it, too bright with the maple body, tried flatwounds, too dull, then took a two month old set of GHS Boomers off my son's bass, and GREAT. Now for a set of TI jazz rounds.

    Going through the Sansamp, I am really happy. Should have gone this route a couple of years ago. Cheap, well made, great sounding. Not as studio sounding as the Alembic, but never plan on going there.

    Now how does one edit your log-in name?
  2. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    I just picked up a mint used SD-4 for $220 including gig bag. I had been impressed by this bass since I tried two several months ago at a music store and found their tone superior to every Fender there, including the passive American and active American Deluxe basses! The new price was $440 but I needed to sell some stuff before getting another bass. When I went back a few weeks later both SD-4s were sold.

    I find it to be picky with strings, too. I preferred the stock D'Addarios to the Dean Markley Nickel Plated Steels I put on. The bass really came alive when I installed some TI Jazz Flats the other day-it's really a perfect match. Talk about thick, rich, and chocolatey-particularly with the P pickup soloed. This thing can honestly hang with my F Bass and Peavy Cirrus 5 strings tone-wise.

    It's not perfect. When I got mine the control knobs crackled and the tone control didn't work. A peek under the hood and a few jiggles of the wires cured these problems. As long as they were giving the bass an easy-access neck heel, they could have given it more than 20 frets. The tuners hold their tune well while playing but they detune easily if knocked even lightly. And the body styling (IMHO) takes the worst elements of the Les Paul, Telecaster and Danelectro and puts them all together into one instrument.

    I believe that Godin has discontinued the SD-4 in favor of a double cutaway model with two J pickups. Since it's the P pickup that attracts me to this bass I'm glad I picked up one of the oldies. I believe there's a 5 string SD-5 but I haven't been impressed by Godin B's so I'm glad I got the 4-it has a wonderfully sleek neck. I also have found that the solid color SDs (mine is metallic black) sound much better than the natural wood ones. In all, a great sounding, very playable little homely bass.
  3. Sounds like you have described the bass perfectly.

    It is great sounding, but it is homely. I've thought about doing some art work on mine. It is the ugly cream color which does not go well with the pearl pickguard. BUT...the longer I have it the more I like it.

    I did not like the strings it came with. I put an old set of GHS strings 45-105 and strung them BEAD. The sound of the bass is fantastic this way and I get my B string.

    I will try TI strings, although I am interested in seeing what the TI jazz rounds do. Maybe will go back to EADG.
  4. The SD has indeed been replaced with the Freeway, which is a more attractive double cutaway but still has the passive Godin P/J pickups.

    It is also newly available with a flame maple top which is very nice looking.

    They are great basses - I just got the new Freeway 5 string two months ago and I really love it. Great workmanship and tone. :)
  5. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    Ah...it seems the world is catching up with the word on Godin! As you probably know, I am quite an enthusiastic endorser of Godin quality, playability and sound. I have 3 (fretted A4, Fretless A5 and a BG4 with EMGs) all 3 are wonderful basses. I was always quite curious of the SDs...I have played the newer Freeway, and it is quite a bass for little $$.

    Godin is doing some outstanding work. Their necks are wonderful and comfy to play. The overall quality and sound is head and shoulders above most other "production" basses, and IMHO certainly higher than Fender.

    I use TI Jazz Rounds on my BG4 and they sound great....but last week I put an old set of TI Jazz Flats on it and Man! what a tone.
    I have also had very good success with TI Powerbass strings on the BG4. They are heavier in gauge and tension than Jazz rounds or flats..you might find some success there.

    Congrats on yer new bass...too bad you had sell the Alembic, tho.

  6. Well, yes the Alembic was nice. It had a great tone probably good for the studio. But, I was never "in love with it". I like the Godin better, which is really surprising when you come down to it. When I was a new player with no experiance, I thought that I had to spend a lot of money to get something I liked and had great tone. Who would have thought at that time, I could have spent much less, to get something that worked for me. Well, not all things expensive are the best.
  7. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    Had the chance to play a godin fretless once and was VERY impressed with the sound. When I went back to the store a couple of day's later it was gone. My loss.
  8. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Hey - I'm a member of the exlusive club Godin as well - playing a 2000 SD4--->SansAmp Bass Driver---Yorkville BM200.

    I too did not like the stock D'addarios and just recently went to the GHS Boomers (34" 105 E string) - it seems like the E string is too short as the red fibre on the string lands right on the nut - what gives? 34" strings on a 34" bass is supposed to work, right?

    Even so, the GHS strings were a vast improvement - I play mostly on the P pickup, full on, using the brighter end of the tone control, Sans Amp on "Bassman" settings, Yorkville volume and tone controls all at 12 o'clock and limiter engaged. Definite change in tone!

    Yup - not the prettiest bass, but a good bass for the money - really playable, but a bit unbalanced while stading due to the short Tele/LP like upper horn...

    I'm still groovin' on it, though....
  9. Erlendur Már

    Erlendur Már

    May 24, 2000
    I have Godin BG5 with EMG's, and the sound is wonderful.:)
    I have right now D'Addario Slowwounds 45 - 130
  10. Ívar Þórólfsson

    Ívar Þórólfsson Mmmmmm... Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    Kopavogur, Iceland
    Contact Paul (TB admin) via PM. He will change your login name for you.
  11. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    I've been having really good results running my SD-4 through the SansAmp to beef up the bridge pickup sound a bit. With the TI Jazz flats and the tone rolled down on the P pickup I don't need any help from the Bass Driver.

    If you're running the strings through the body that's going to take up maybe an extra 1-1/2 " of the string so they'll come up short at the nut end. That happens with my Jazz Flats-the silk end just barely clears the speaking length of the string. Maybe try getting an extra-long scale set next time.

    I experimented with both through-bridge and through-body stringing and here's what I found:

    Through-bridge: had a little more growl and upper midrange complexity but not as much depth. Big bummer-the strings aren't grounded if they're all strung through-bridge so you'll get continuous hum unless you touch the bridge or knobs. I'm sure this could be easily solved by rejiggering the groundwire.

    Through-body: a little less detail in the upper mids, but a deeper, more solid tone that makes the bass sound a lot more expensive than it is.

    I'm still really loving this bass but the tone knob keeps crackling or not working so I'm gonna have to fiddle around under the hood some more.
  12. I have the new Freeway5 and I find using super long scale strings does the trick (I have the same issue with my G&L L-2500 - with through the body stringing, I usually wind up needing super long scale). I just put on a new set of D'Addario half wounds and they sound really nice.

    Regarding the balance issue, that may be why the SD has been discontinued and replaced with the Freeway - they are esentially the same except for the body shape.
  13. Here's a nice pic of the new Freeways:

  14. I put on some Thomastik jazz flats (JF344) on my SD-4. The strings are great with this bass.


    You are right, the bass no longer needs the SansAmp to sound great, but I use it anyway to get to the house mix.

    I put the A through G through the body, but had to put the E string strung through the bridge, since it was too short. I was not aware that there would be a grounding problem if no string were feed through the body. Good to know.
  15. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Wow - I wasn't aware that you could string these through the bridge - although it doesn't sound like its really worth it....I'll take your advice on string lengths the next time I change 'em! Thanks!

  16. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North

    Well, I picked myself up a new axe yesterday - EB/MM Stringray 4 and I think my Godin is going to be history soon. How quickly things change.

    There's just no comparison between the two - mind you the Godin in 1/3 the price of the Stringray and as such, I still think the Godin is a good bass for the money (more in the playability department than the tone department).

  17. I think you're comparing two very different beasts. The Godin will not sound like a MM, or vice versa.

    The passive Godin Freeway (and formerly the SD) is more directly compared with a Fender Precision or similar Fender P/J wired bass. IMO the Godin's workmanship and materials are superb and are as good as any Fender brand bass (if not better) and at a much lower cost than the US versions (and the Godin is North American made).

    I also have 3 G&L's which, like I'm sure you find with the Music Man, are a very different vibe from the Godin. They can be a much more agressive and Hi Fi type of bass but sometimes folks just want good ol' simple passive bass. Why do you think so many people still play Fenders? I just think Godin makes a very well made and much cheaper version of that vibe.

    My Godin Freeway is my main 5 string now. Is it better than my G&L L-2500 (worth 3 times as much)? I'd just say they are different. I get a little bit warmer, more 'organic' sound out of the Godin I'd say. Of course, there are countless things my G&L will do that the Godin won't, but generally I just don't need it to most of the time. The Godin handles the classic warm passive tone really well.

    The only real downside to the Godins is that they don't come in very many colours (like the great G&L huge rainbow of options). I suspect that may be because they really don't sell that many basses yet. They do sell a great number of guitars which do come in many more finish options.
  18. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    I agree with you Rob W - two different guitars...

    I spent a good part of the the last day or two A/B'ing the two between my amp, my DI through the studio setup and through a POD and I've got say that each has thier own strengths. I get that "midrange honk with a smokey finish" with the MM and I get a more "round, clear, piano-like" tone with Godin. Obviously, the Stringray with the 3-band active EQ can do more things well than the SD4 with its passive tone control.

    I certainly think the Godins are very well built and are excellent value for the money.

    It's not main reason why I decided to "upgrade", but I feel more comfortable playing the Stringray while standing - the Godin seems to hang about 2-3" too far to the left given the placement of the straplocks.

    Hmmm, I think the Godin will be a keeper afterall....

  19. bill h

    bill h

    Aug 31, 2002
    small town MN
    I too play a Godin sd 4, I like it very much. It sounds great. Two weeks ago at band practice I set it on top of my stack that is four feet tall or so(I forgot my stand at home) it fell!!! :mad: I picked it up and it was in tune:) When I got home I gave it a good look over only to find I put a nice crack in her about one inch long and nocked off a pice of paint the same size:mad: It did not change the sound at all.

    I took the DiAddario XLs off right away and put on some GHS Boomers. They sounded great so thats all I have ever put on this one. I put them threw the body. And yes I need to get the longer set of strings.

  20. oomphy


    Oct 26, 2002
    Hey there, long time listener, first time caller.

    I just bought a new, natural Godin Freeway 5 a couple of days ago (selling a fretless Godin A4 on consignment, experiment with fretless over for now) and I am quite thrilled with it.

    Like Rob said, the workmanship is really excellent, especially considering the price of the bass ($600 Canadian +taxes). It's my first time owning a 5 string, and even though I have smallish hands, the neck is really playable and smooth. The B string seems slightly flabby, notably in the lower register, but the bottom of the ocean bowel shaking notes will only be used sparingly anyway. I was a bit nervous about getting a 5er, but it's not such a huge adjustment (especially after trying the unlined fretless) but I really like being able to play higher up on the neck.

    Like other people said with the SD bass, I find the stock strings on this one to be a little too bright, but they'll deaden with time. I think I may try out those TI jazz flats I keep hearing everyone rave about. I'm intrigued. Although owning that fretless for about a year made me miss slapping just a bit.

    All that said, the tone, or tones from this bass are really tasty. It's also the first maple-bodied bass I've owned and I'm pleasantly surprised with how resonant this bass is. The p-j pickup configuration along with some tone controlling and eqing from my amp allows for a good variety of useable tones -- from growly/nasally j-bass bite to warm/robust p-bass goodness, and a bunch of sounds in between.

    It's probably just psychological, but I like having a passive bass again. Back to the roots or something.
    Did I mention that it's a rather beautiful instrument? These things may only come in 2 colours, but I'm quite content with this one.

    I think I am going to own this one for a long time.

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