BECAUSE I LEARNED HOW TO PLAY IN THE AGE OF VAN HALEN, I’VE ALWAYS BEEN A super-Strat guy. Over the years I’ve owned any number of Strat-shaped shred machines with a humbucker in the bridge and a Floyd Rose. That’s why I was psyched to try out the Godin Redline 3. With its dual EMGs, locking whammy, and sweet flame top under a racy trans amber finish, it just looks like it’s built for speed, as the name suggests. Picking it up, I could tell that was true, because the Redline 3 has a smooth, satin finished neck and low action that almost insists that you blaze on it. The frets are clean and feel great to bend on, although monster bends on the B string tended to fret out in the upper register. The Redline’s body is sculpted in an interesting way. It has a belly carve, which is not uncommon on double cutaway guitars, but the horns are also carved for a slimmer profile. This doesn’t affect playability, but it looks cool, although only if you flip the guitar over. I put the Floyd bar in to test the whammy system and discovered that it’s a very lively trem. By that I mean that if I accidentally hit it while I’m playing, which I did a few times, it sproings and gargles noticeably. It behaves just fine if I don’t hit it, but I had to point the bar at the floor to be safe. The action on the Floyd is smooth as silk, though, with a huge range above and below pitch. The up-trem capabilities are particularly impressive. I can yank the G string up a tritone (!) for Steve Vai-approved Flex-Able-era screams, shrieks, and harmonic abuse. In so doing, I managed to break the G string, and that was the only time the Redline 3 ever went out of tune. Bonus Floyd perk: I was able to change the string in about 15 seconds by unclamping at the nut, unwrapping a couple of the extra winds, and stuffing the same string back into the bridge. Don’t try that with a Strat trem!
The EMG humbuckers give the Redline a very defined voice, with clarity and precision on even the fastest passages. The electronics are straight ahead: just a 3-way toggle, volume, and tone. That seems like all this guitar needs to do its thing. My only tonal concern is a minor one, and that’s that the neck pickup seems hot in comparison to the bridge and could probably be lowered a touch. I didn’t do that, though, because I was too busy burning and dive bombing, which is almost too easy to do on the Redline.
Any rocker who ever loved a super-Strat-style guitar should check this thing out, because it will remind you of all those cool techniques of yesteryear. But that’s not to say that players in other styles shouldn’t try a Redline. Granted, the Floyd isn’t for everyone (and Godin does offer hardtail Redlines as well), but that doesn’t change the fact that this is a solid, well made instrument that won’t break the bank.
MODEL Redline 3
PRICE $985 retail/ $819 street
NECK Rock maple
FRETBOARD Rosewood with 16" radius
BODY Silver leaf maple center with poplar wings and flame maple top
PICKUPS EMG 85 (neck) & EMG 81 (bridge)
CONTROLS Master Volume and Tone, 3-way toggle
BRIDGE Floyd Rose tremolo bridge
FACTORY STRINGS Godin, .009-.046
WEIGHT 8.08 lbs
KUDOS Solid construction. Straight forward design. Great trem action.
CONCERNS Upperregister bends on B-string tended to fret out.