Godin Icon Type 2 Convertible and Session

April 22, 2011


ONCE AGAIN REMINDING US THAT “American guitars” also come from north of the border, Godin delivers two more new designs to the world, fulfilling a pair of perceived gaps at the front and the middle of the market. From the company’s first set-neck series, the Icon Type 2 Convertible shoots for optimum versatility for the power-rocker, while the Session aims at the affordable and long-running “super Strat” format. I tested both guitars through a Dr. Z Z-28 1x12 combo and a Matchless Spitfire 1x12 combo for a range of American and British voices.

Icon Type 2 Convertible

Featuring the offset single-cutaway body styling that is one of a handful of standards at Godin, the Icon Type 2 Convertible (and all of its Icon kin) is actually something rather special: a set-neck electric from a company that has hitherto specialized in bolt-neck guitars. As such, this model goes straight for the jugular in rocktastic tradition. Its chambered mahogany body with carved mahogany (or maple) top is glued to a one-piece mahogany neck with a 22-fret ebony board. A back-angled three-a-side headstock and a GraphTech ResoMax NV1 stopbar tailpiece and Tune-o-matic-style bridge bookend the traditional influences here. Taking it all into entirely new territory, however, are a pair of Seymour Duncan P-Rail pickups with independent mini-toggle switches to select either P-90, single-coil blade, or humbucking mode for each. Godin’s own High-Definition Revoicer circuit—the “Convertible” aspect of this model—is accessed by a pushbutton switch that selects between standard passive pickup mode and an active internal preamp (powered by a 9-volt battery housed beneath the sixscrew backplate).

Workmanship is very good all around, and this Icon presents a solidity that immediately instills confi dence. As wide and flat as the fretboard is given its 12" radius, the neck’s rounded C profile keeps it all comfortable in the hand. Heap on the smoothly rounded fret ends and a sweet setup with an action toward the lower side of medium, and the result is a supremely playable guitar.

The two Duncan P-Rails make for a whopping number of tonal options, and the Icon Type 2 Convertible is an extremely versatile instrument as a result. The P-90 settings of the neck and bridge pickups individually are among my favorite voices here, each offering the gritty edge and slightly microphonic bite needed for toothsome blues and stinging rock’n’roll tones. Some sweet surprises also lurk, however, in the both-pickups setting. By putting the bridge unit in single-blade mode and the neck in P-90, or vice-versa, each setting is either warmly or twangily funky, respectively, and perfect for spunky R&B excursions. In full-’bucker mode I find either pickup a little dark and nasal—which can be great for heavily distorted lead work— but there are so many soundscapes here that this doesn’t detract from the Icon’s performance. Also, the added clarity and fidelity introduced via the High-Definition Revoicing switch ups the fun quotient exponentially on any pickup selection.


The Session lands in more familiar territory with its modified-S shape, bolt-on neck, two-post vibrato bridge, and pickup confi guration that places a pair of Godin GS-1 single- coils in the neck and middle positions (each measuring around 5.75kΩ), and a high-gain Godin humbucker in the bridge that reads a hefty 14.55kΩ. A 5-way switch offers the usual selections, while a push-pull switch on the tone pot splits the ’bucker for further options.

Cosmetically speaking, the basswood body doesn’t offer a whole lot to look at beneath its “lightburst” finish (more a ruddy brown burst from many angles), but Godin has managed to illuminate some nice golden highlights in its fine grain nonetheless. Fret ends are just a hair rougher on this guitar, though not alarmingly so, and another smooth setup and a thin but comfortably rounded C-profile neck with slightly rolled-over shoulders make the Session an easy player. The vibrato returns to pitch reasonably well once you get the strings broken in, and even unplugged, this guitar yields a snappy, percussive tone that promises a range of authentic S-style voices when amplified.

The Session’s ability to go from snarly rawk crunch at the bridge pickup to throaty, single-coil blues tones at the neck position with the flip of a switch reminds us why this hum/sing/sing format is so enduring. With the Tone pot pulled up to split the humbucker, the single-coil sound from the bridge pickup is perhaps a little anemic compared to its partners in the middle and neck slots, but it works great for that Knopfler-esque in-between setting or even some classic jangle on its own. Overall though, this really is the only thin spot in a guitar that is otherwise well armed for practically any sound you might want to make, for just about any breed of music.


CONTACT Godin Guitars, info@godinguitars.com

Icon Type 2 Convertible

PRICE $1,395 street

NUT WIDTH 1 11/16"

NECK Mahogany, one piece, glued-in

FRETBOARD Ebony, 24.75" scale

FRETS 22 medium

TUNERS Kluson-style vintage tuners

BODY Chambered mahogany with carved mahogany top (or maple top on sunburst model)

BRIDGE Graphtech ResoMax Tune-o-matic style bridge and stopbar tailpiece

PICKUPS Two Seymour Duncan P-Rails

CONTROLS Single Volume and Tone, 3-way minitoggle for each pickup (selecting P-90/blade single-coil/humbucking), 3-way pickup selector, pushbutton High-Definition Revoicing switch

FACTORY STRINGS Godin High Definition, .010-.046

WEIGHT 8.6 lbs

BUILT Canada

KUDOS Solidly built. Extremely versatile range of voices.



PRICE $499 street

NUT WIDTH 1 21/32"

NECK Maple, one piece, bolt-on

FRETBOARD Rosewood, 25.5" scale

FRETS 22 medium

TUNERS Enclosed Godin tuners with 18:1 gear ratio

BODY Canadian Laurentian basswood

BRIDGE Godin two-post vibrato bridge

PICKUPS Two Godin GS-1 single-coils, one Godin high-gain humbucker in bridge

CONTROLS Single Volume and Tone, 5-way selector, push-pull coil splitter switch on Tone control

FACTORY STRINGS Godin High Definition, .010-.046

WEIGHT 7.9 lbs

BUILT Canada

KUDOS An affordable way to get great build quality, tone, and playability.

CONCERNS Some slightly rough fret ends.

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