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Thinking About Going Fretless (And Maybe Semi-Acoustic) For First Time

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by HubbardsFate, Nov 4, 2018.

  1. HubbardsFate

    HubbardsFate Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2006
    Hey Guys,

    Just like the title says, I am looking to dive headlong into the world of "mwah", and maybe satisfy my long-time itch for a semi-acoustic too...so I'd like to consult with some of you more experienced people...

    The front-runner at the moment: Godin A4 or A5...the question is, should I be seeking out the Ultra SA version, or the "regular" version?

    On the one hand, the Ultra SA seems to be more "bang for the buck" in that, well, it has the synth access capabilities...on the other hand, I have no idea how much, if at all, I'd actually use those capabilities...

    The Ultra SA models seem way more prevalent than the older "regular" A4s/A5s...in fact, there is a minty-looking Ultra SA on Reverb right now with the lowest asking price ($649.99 CAD) I have ever seen for one, and I kind of feel like I should strike while the iron is hot. :greedy::nailbiting:

    There are a few reasons why, at the moment, I am focusing on these Godins:

    • Made by a Canadian company (I live in Canada) with a solid reputation for producing quality instruments
    • Partial fretlines, at least on the Ultra SA models
    • Aesthetics...they are frickin' nice-looking instruments...
    I'd like to hear thoughts/opinions RE: Godins, and I am open to alternate suggestions as well...thanks for reading...:cool::bassist:
  2. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    I've not played Godin before but almost pulled the trigger a few times. Ended up with a Turner Renaissance 4 string lined fretless. Very light bass, sounds great and easy to play. Higher priced than the Godins are. I ply in a jazz trio with a guitarist who uses a Godin with nylon strings, sounds great! He opted no to do the synth route.

    Used Godins come up in the TB classifieds from time to time...
  3. HubbardsFate

    HubbardsFate Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2006
    Yeah, Turners are likely more than what I am willing to spend at the moment...appreciate the thoughts though...:thumbsup:
  4. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    I have an older fretless A4 without the magnetic pickup and it's a great instrument. I've also worked on a half dozen or so other Godin instruments and they're all solidly built and sound really good. I like the balance they strike between technological innovation and traditional sounds.

    That's the good. Now the less good.

    Almost every Godin I've seen has had at least one cosmetic flaw from the factory, mostly small cracks or creases in the wood that don't create structural or tone issues. Easily fixed with a drop of glue or just ignored, but they're a bit disconcerting given the price level.

    One thing about the A4, mine at least, is that the neck has a pronounced V profile. It feels fine to me but I know some don't like it. I don't know if they've changed that since mine was created.

    The last thing to be aware of is that they're a bit notorious for changing preamp designs from year to year and not maintaining documentation on the older ones. A buddy of mine has a Godin nylon string that's about 10 years old and he can't for the life of him figure out or find a manual to explain what two of the controls do. It plays and sounds great, but the mystery buttons annoy him to no end. He even called them and they have no idea what the controls are for. The only documentation they have is for the current model.
  5. HubbardsFate

    HubbardsFate Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2006
    That is a solid piece of info, as I kind of need a D-profile neck...
  6. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Do check the current spec. Mine is about 10 years old. It could well be different now.

    One more thing about the A4...the Tele style body makes for a longer reach to the nut than most basses. Again, not something I have an issue with, but it is an ergonomic consideration.
    HubbardsFate likes this.

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