Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Godin Redline 1 Graphite

Bought this one two years ago. It's the first of Redline series, kind of experimental model that was discontinued. The difference between Graphite and other Redline 1 models is the number of frets. Graphite has 22 frets and the current Redline 1 models have 24.

Redline is Godin's vision of a heavy metal guitar. It has only a bridge pickup (EMG81), volume control and a fixed bridge with strings through the body. The neck is made of rock maple and it's one of the few 24,75" scale necks with stratocaster body shape among modern guitars. The body has silverleaf maple center with poplar wings, so it's made from three pieces which I guess reduces the price of the guitar, because it's cheaper to make a guitar from smaller pieces of wood.

The fixed bridge is very nice. It has rounded edges and the height adjustment screws don't stick out from the saddle pieces. The saddles are bit weird when you loosen them to adjust the intonation. They don't move smoothly, but can stick in one place and then jump in sudden motion. They however stay in place so it doesn't really matter.

The neck is firmly attached to a tight neck pocket with big screws. The guitar feels like it was made from one piece of wood.

The back of the guitar is contoured while the top is flat. Both horns are also contoured, so they are very narrow and small compared to standard stratocasters.

For some reason the strap button is loose. It's just turning around in the screw hole. Also the plug plate suffers from the same problem, but they both seem to stay on the guitar and haven't fell off. I think the screw holes were too big for the screws. I could probably stuff wood chips in the holes, but since the horn is very narrow I'm afraid that it could crack if I try to force a screw in a tighter hole.

Strap buttons are "straight" locking model, but there is no locking parts with them so you have to get Schaller strap locks or similar if you want to keep the strap in the button.

Tuning machines are Godin's own model and they are not that great. However the tusq nut is nice and requires no tweaking. The tuning stability is good.

The Godin logo is printed on in this model, so you can scrape it off easily! I tried it on G of Godin as you can see.

The neck is incredible. Rock maple is solid as.. rock. It has a satin finish which has changed to smooth, almost like lacquered surface after two years of playing. The fingerboard edges are rounded with Godin's ergocut technique. The rounding continues to fret ends which makes the whole thing extremely smooth. The frets don't stick out and they haven't started to do that, not even in the dry winter time. This kind of fretboard finish makes you think why it's not a standard in all guitars.

The acoustic sound of Redline is kind of neutral. It doesn't have any special character, but it's not blunt either. There is a nice amount of sustain and the sound could be described sophisticated.

The best thing about this guitar is that it feels like an instrument and not like a product which is just quickly manufactured. The quality control of Godin is superb. They have a number of people inspect each part of the guitar and even cheap models like this one are made in USA. I really like that kind of attitude, because Godin gives an impression that they take guitar manufacturing seriously.