Godin LGX-SA

This was an early xmas present from my girlfriend, Dani.  I don't know what year model it is, but the pickups alone indicate that was probably made before 2000.

I haven't modified this instrument (well, yet), but it is sufficiently innovative in the design of its electronics that I will detail it for anyone who is interested.


Magnetic pickups: Godin Tetrads
I love the look of these pickups!  Unfortunately, these are no longer available on Godin guitars.  Now that have more traditional looking Seymour Duncans on this particular model.  I haven't heard those, but I tried out a used one with the Tetrads and was hooked.  They produce the "throaty" sound I'm always looking for.  I can occasionally find cheap single coil pickups that give that, but those also produce 60 Hz noise that kills the enjoyment.  Ironically, it is the humbucking mode that actually gets the sound right, even though you can tap either pickup with the five-way.  Specifically, the combinations available with the selector are (A is the neck-most coil and D is closest to the bridge):
1 - A,B
2 - A
3 - A,B,C,D
4 - C
5 - C,D
There is also a mid-range boost that is switchable via a push-pull pot on the tone knob.  I honestly didn't know about this feature until a couple weeks after I had the guitar.  I wanted to try out a different set of knobs on it and... hey, what's this now?!

Piezo saddle transducers
I have tried the Parker Fly guitars, and I really wasn't impressed with the acoustic sound (I was even less impressed with the magnetic pickups, BTW).  That was unfortunate, since I think there is a lot to like in a guitar that innovative overall.  However, the Godin blows it away.  These are six individual L.R. Baggs transducers and a 3-band EQ with a volume control.  The resulting sounds are wonderful.  The EQ gives a really wide range of options.  I was able to shape the sounds very quickly and get exactly what I wanted.

Synth access
This is where the "SA" part of the name comes from: Synth Access.  (I have no idea what LGX stands for, incidentally.)  At present, I don't have a guitar synth, although I did briefly some years ago... back when Roland's GR-30 was on the market.  More about that some other time..

Check out the guts of the control cavity!  (I took this picture; the other two on this page were taken by the original owner.)

    The guitar has three outputs, believe it or not.  Of course, it is advertised as "three voice" guitar because of the above options, so naturally you would want the option to split things up.
    • Output #1 is a regular 1/4" electric guitar output.  No acoustic sounds, just the standard pickups.
    • Output #2 is a 13-pin output and is capable of carrying all three voices (electric, acoustic, synth) and connects to Roland guitar synths and/or midi interfaces.
    • Output #3 is a dual function jack (also 1/4"). It gives you the bridge transducers and the magnetic pickups.  Naturally you can have one voice or the other by turning the volume up or down on either.  However, if you have a cable in output #1, then the only output from here is from the bridge transducers.  This is good if you want to run these sounds in stereo or through separate amps and/or processors.

The controls explained...
The acoustic pre-amp is "selected" by turning up the volume control.  Similarly, the magnetic pickups are brought "on-line" with the volume control.  Personally, I would prefer a three-way switch (i.e., one, the other, or both) like that found on a Parker guitar or a blender.  L.R. Baggs actually makes the latter alternative in the form of their Control-X Mixer/Preamp, but I think I can live with the present configuration.

As for the mini toggle switches, those are dedicated to the synth.  Specifically, switch #1 is a three-way selector that alternates between the acoustic/electric sounds and synth voices: either just the synth, the other other two, or a mix of whatever.  Switch #2 is a momentary switch that "scrolls" through the programs on the synth.  Wow, you hardly even have to use your feet to play guitar anymore!

Finally, the synth volume is controlled by the "chicken head" knob (not original) in the middle.  The other two knobs are the volume and tone for the magnetic pickups.

Other features
Aesthetically, the guitar usually hits the mark.  The body design is obvious reference to a Les Paul, but with some modifications.  For example, the top is arched, but in an unusual manner: it is more beveled or something.  I can't quite describe it.  The flattened corner is a bit of a distraction, but I guess it serves to draw attention to the technological advances over more conventional instruments.  Still, this is somewhat offset by the amber finish on quilted maple.  The company offers other colors, although nothing too colorful as yet, and mostly on flamed maple.

The headstock leaves a bit to be desired though.  I mean, it's pretty vanilla, and the logo/model are weak designs to be advertised so loudly.  The neck is mahogany, but the fretboard is ebony, and it is   cool.  As I've alluded to elsewhere on this site, I really like a smooth, glossy neck.  This is pretty nice for unfinished material and the dark color is a very attractive contrast to the amber.  The effect is further accentuated by the minimalist fret markers (can you see them?) and the black heads on the Schaller tuners.

The Heel
A neat feature I have not seen previously in guitars with bolt-on necks is this interesting way of angling the block.  This allows you to get the plam of your hand as close as possible to the back of the neck when you're playing in the pocket.  Pretty cool!
Further reading.
For more info about guitar synthesizers in general and Roland's GR-33 in particular, check out this page.

A lot of people write me with technical questions about their LGX guitars, especially problems with the piezo pickup/preamp.  I'm not an expert on the electronics in these and really can't provide assistance at all.  Often these emails come as a last resort when L. R. Baggs and/or Godin fail to respond or, if they do respond, fail to actually help their customers at all.  If you've had a better experience with these companies than those who I've heard from have, please tell me.  If not, let me know that as well.  At the moment I do not recommend Godin on the basis of abandoning their customers when their products fail.


Copyright Alexplorer.