Godin A6 Ultra Review
we really like this one
In our neck of the woods, Godin’s don’t show up all that often. When they do, there must be a select few Godin seekers such as myself sniffing out a deal on a previously owned model or a trade that works out to be an upgrade. They don’t last long and then they’re gone for a while.
One day when sticking my nose in the hunt yet again, a pristine A6 Ultra shows up in one of the local Guitar Centers. We have 3 GC locations within acceptable reach. So off we go. It’s the closest one, so we have a shot at trying it out. On arrival, it’s being played, for a long time, by one guy, and he’s a very decent player, and the guitar looks great, my favorite blend of red brown sunburst, and of course it sounds sweet. He finally put it down, I move in and ask if he is purchasing it. He says no, he just wanted to play with the settings on the pick-up.
So, we’ll start the review on the pick-up. I’m interested now to see what’s going on with the one pick-up this guitar owns, and it has dip switches on one end that can toggle to one extra position, providing a total of 4 very different tonal settings. It's not stock on all models. This upgrade is called the P-Rail system. It also has onboard EQ and two additional tone knobs on the control panel, providing various degrees of depth and cleanliness. On this guitar, I like it clean. I found the settings that really work for me and I leave them alone, which is my typical approach on most guitars.
The addition of the A6 brought us to a new perspective on the line up of Godin’s we’ve been accumulating. We’ll try our best at the end to provide some comparison between them. What the A6 made clear is what I believe to be Godin’s vision. To build guitars that are balanced and tuned to provide a unique quality that is considered across the build of the instrument.
As an acoustic electric, the A6 has many pluses. The pickup is bright and ultra-high end. It suffices as the only pickup mounted in the first position under the neck. Aside from the volume and EQ sliders, the rest of the guitar is body – meaning lots of resonating wood adorned with a classically pegged bridge.
Lots of body aside, the guitar is light, making it a perfect gigging axe. You must be careful because it doesn’t feel like the kind of guitar you want to slug around too much, it’s a professional instrument.
This will start to sound repetitive if you’ve read my other Godin reviews. You can’t beat the neck on this guitar. It's a highly fine grade of mahogany. I love the fret markers, out of the way both subtle and obvious. And nicely marked below the twelfth fret. The cutaway runs deep so you can take it to the bottom – or top – depending on your viewpoint.
What sets this Godin apart is the tone. I’m not finding an overly deep bottom in the belly of the tone. I’m once again finding an acoustic clarity that that stands out in a very hypnotic way. The Rialto JR and the Kingpin II have this quality, yet elsewhere in the spectrum. And that’s what I mean about Godin’s vision of balance. They find an under served spot in the tonal spectrum and design an instrument to be its voice.
The A6 can be super jazzy, smooth jazzy, or jazzy bluesy. The fingerboard is fast and smooth. The action is at the butter level. It’s easy to play.
I would go to this guitar for both rhythm and lead when distortion is not needed. When you want to execute cleanly, playing fewer notes and making a more intentional statement … yet you can rip a fast run with ease as well. Verb and delay make it to die for.
I would not go for it if I needed pure acoustic guitar sound. The Rialto Jr is the guitar for that.
For jazz blues, standards and smooth jazz, the 5th Ave Kingpin II is our favorite. It has a middle you don’t often find. The 5th Ave Nightclub takes it all up a few notches with a wider fretboard and midrange pickup. That’s the one you pick up when you’re ready to put your best on it.
With 5 Godin’s now hanging on the wall, all contributors to the production on this site – we can take a bit of a position as an authority from a playing perspective. When you have a chance to try one, try one.
The A6 Ultra has become a must have in our arsenal. It’s diverse and easy to play. It produces amazing sound which you can tweak to preference. Dual audio outputs provide options as to whether you want it to sound more electric or acoustic. Combined with top end controls, it's capabilities are quite exceptional.