Numerous reviews start out from readers. One request for full-scale, smaller body guitars for use at home, for recording, practice or writing, but - an increasing caveat these days - affordable got us thinking.
Dreadnoughts proliferate at every price point, but smaller body guitars are a rarer breed, and even then the emphasis in the past couple of years has been on travel guitars with smaller scale lengths.
One perennial style, of course, is the parlour guitar, loosely based on Martin's 0-style. Slightly bigger is the 00, which then grows to include things like the folk and grand concert - still small, but with more air.
Here, we have a new additions that ticks these boxes. Godin's Seagull range has featured a parlour-sized Grand for many years. The new Entourage Rustic range features a Semi-Gloss Rustic Burst, which allows the use of less-than-perfect looking woods and, consequently, comes in at a lower price point.
"Under its fetching 'rustic' sunburst face the solid cedar top looks like wide-grained spruce"
This guitar is definitely in the parlour camp, the width of the inappropriately named Grand drops down to 330mm (13 inches), and the body length to 463mm (18.2 inches). However, it's the width across the upper bouts (233mm), not to mention a trim waist (187mm), that really condenses the body.
The 14-frets-to-the-body neck joint, gives the illusion of a similar or perhaps increased scale length. And with a 35.5mm string spread, and condensed bridge spacing of 52.5mm, it less fingerstyle friendly than some rival models.
Aside from its thin cream body-edge binding, cosmetics are basic. But hidden under its fetching and old-school 'rustic' sunburst face (the wild cherry back and sides are mahogany stained), the solid cedar top actually looks like wide-grained spruce. Overall, the finish appears very thin.
There's more shoulder to the neck profile here, edging it into a D shape. Fingerboard edges are nicely rounded and fretting is of a much smaller, vintage thin gauge, contrasted by the more compact, electric-like headstock.
Nut and saddle are Graph Tech Tusq. The saddle is compensated, and the action is 2.2mm on the low E, and 2mm on the high E at the 12th fret.
"The Grand's balanced, intimate voice is its trump card"
The Grand has its own voice, tight in the bass, pronounced in the mids, but nicely balanced in the high-end. It's not an overly bold projection, but its intimate sound (and feel) is rather endearing. Fingerstyle players may find The Grand feels slightly cramped in terms of neck width and string spacing, but its balanced, intimate voice is its trump card.
Seagull's Grand is best thought of as an at-home practising/recording/writing guitar, a perfect companion to your larger gigging electro. It's ideal for late-night, around-the- dinner-table sessions, not to mention open-tuning practice, and it's a nice slide guitar, too.