La Patrie Arena CW Q1T review

A nylon-stringed guitar from Canada

  • £469

MusicRadar Verdict

An impressive build and design.

Pros

  • +

    Sharp build.

  • +

    Modern thinline design.

  • +

    Overall good value.

Cons

  • -

    Slightly unbalanced string outputs.

  • -

    Set-up could be better for the style.

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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. 

Dave Burrluck

Dave Burrluck is one of the world’s most experienced guitar journalists, who started writing back in the '80s for International Musician and Recording World, co-founded The Guitar Magazine and has been the Gear Reviews Editor of Guitarist magazine for the past two decades. Along the way, Dave has been the sole author of The PRS Guitar Book and The Player's Guide to Guitar Maintenance as well as contributing to numerous other books on the electric guitar. Dave is an active gigging and recording musician and still finds time to make, repair and mod guitars, not least for Guitarist’s The Mod Squad.