La Patrie - made by Godin in Canada - has taken the wraps off a new four-strong Arena mini-range priced £469-£799.
While our model doesn’t include a gigbag, it is well-spec’d. Augmenting a comprehensive range of ‘student’ nylon strings, the La Patrie Arena CW Q1T models are all stage-aimed thinline electro cutaways. La Patrie’s build is very sharp, satin finished with a wide-grained solid spruce top and laminate wild cherry back and sides stained a reddy-brown. Though lightly arched, the back is braced, while the top is fan braced.
The La Patrie has a classical width at the nut and the headstock adopts the longer Godin Multiac style with a rosewood facing over a whiter veneer and in true classical style there’s no brand logo. Along with its cutaway, we get the standard 19 frets.
Sounds and feel
The La Patrie is really comfortable, akin to a small electric semi or thinline. If you already play nylon string then you may feel more at home with the La Patrie’s neck with its slightly fuller shoulder and flatter back.
The neck follows the classical protocol of joining the body at the 12th fret. This does limit high fret access compared to a 14-fret.
Playing acoustically, the thin bodied La Patrie holds its own. The La Patrie, with a slight mid cut (by boosting the bass and treble and knocking back the volume) performs well in the main, but annoyingly the high E is underpowered and the G string a little hot.
Onstage you might rely on a floor tuner or outboard preamps, while the La Patrie’s dual band EQ would probably suit an open-mic night. It does not have a phase switch or notch filter to combat feedback and when it comes to a soundhole bung, the La Patrie’s soundhole is truncated by the base of the fingerboard and finding one to fit might be a problem.
There are very few negatives. The La Patrie is aimed at the performing musician although its thinline concept makes it a seriously comfortable couch noodler, a great recording/songwriting and practice tool. It’s a shame about the unbalanced electro output.