Purists may scoff at the preamp's onboard tape-saturation but that's just foolish. When talking playability, value, and above all tone, the Grand Concert Deluxe is a superb addition to the Multiac line, and highly recommended.
Innovative design yields a fantastic array of acoustic-electric tones.
Neat and sturdy North American craftsmanship.
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The new flagship in Godin’s venerable Multiac line of hybrid instruments is a top-shelf nylon-string guitar that results from the company’s renewed collaboration with the acoustic-electrification experts at L.R. Baggs.
The two manufacturers have an extensive history of innovation dating back to 1988, and the Grand Concert Deluxe represents a significant step forward. Baggs created custom electronics around hexaphonic pickups and a Lyric microphone to capture percussive elements from the Grand Concert Deluxe’s solid cedar top.
In addition to volume, EQ, phase, and blend controls, the onboard preamp features an adjustable tape-saturation simulation slider to emulate the warmth and subtle drive that results from recording to analog tape. The modern/classic hallmarks of Godin’s Multiac line are on full display and in play on the Grand Concert Deluxe.
The overall aesthetic is contemporary, but a slotted headstock featuring open-gear tuners set along a pair of fancy-looking engraved metal strips adds an old-world aesthetic. Cream-colored binding between the red cedar top and the dark mahogany back and sides provides nice contrast and appears particularly striking in low light.
The wood and woodworking looks wonderful everywhere, and the golden saddles on the acoustic hex pickups and distinctly modern onboard preamp section hint at the cutting-edge electronics under the hood.
Hexaphonic pickups are individual piezo transducers located under each string saddle and have been used for MIDI functionality on other Multiac incarnations, but that’s not their purpose here.
On the Grand Concert Deluxe, the isolated signals from each string are summed into a clear, powerful global undersaddle sound, which can then be coupled with the Baggs Lyric acoustic guitar microphone, which is also positioned under the saddle just a few millimeters from the top.
The Lyric is designed to focus only the top vibrations, which sound open and light in comparison to the fundamental piezo tone. Playing in a percussive fingerstyle, I found an awesome balance of balls and nuance by setting the blend slider smack dab in the middle.
Amplified via a little Fender Acoustic Junior Go, the tone was surprisingly huge. I was able to get quite loud before encountering feedback, and when the low mids did start to wail, a simple press of the phase button ate it right up.
The amplified sound is certainly the star attraction, but the acoustic tone is better than one might expect. It’s not very loud, but a dual-chambered solid mahogany body and solid cedar top give the Grand Concert Deluxe an inherently nice warm quality.
Little holes in the preamp area act as escape hatches for pressurized sound waves in the body chamber. It serves the dual function of allowing for greater amplified volume before feedback as well as acting like a little speaker positioned perfectly for the player’s ears and adding a bit of natural compression.
The Grand Deluxe is far heavier than a typical acoustic guitar and about a pound lighter than a typical solidbody electric guitar.
This Grand Concert Deluxe played wonderfully right out of the box. I loved the snappy string quality, which is especially noticeable on the wound strings and attributable to the relatively long 25.66-inch scale length.
The neck feels distinctly classical, with a fretboard radius of 24 inches and width at the nut measuring a full two inches. Undoubtedly, that’s going to feel quite flat and wide for players accustomed to playing steel strings.
But the Grand Concert Deluxe is ideal for serious nylon-string performers requiring fine playability and a top-shelf amplified tone that’s flexible enough to suit any style on any stage. The powerfully articulate tone from the hex pickups alone is awesome, as is the spacious Lyric microphone tone, but the blend is truly the bee’s knees as it offers the best of both worlds.
Having a three-band EQ at your fingertips is handy, and I dug the tape saturation simulation slider. Purists may not want much of that, but I’m no purist and felt it was totally cool to dial up some drive, especially when playing lower stuff on the wound strings.
With so much flexibility built into the design, there are bound to be sounds found for all to appreciate, and the hybrid nature of the Multiac Grand Concert Deluxe offers a nylon-string option perhaps more attractive to players that might not otherwise consider a traditional classical acoustic path.
- PRICE: $1,795, gig bag included
- NUT WIDTH: 2”, Graph Tech
- NECK: Mahogany
- FRETBOARD: Richlite, 25.66” scale
- FRETS: 19
- TUNERS: Open gear, 16:1 ratio
- BODY: Mahogany back & sides, solid cedar top
- BRIDGE: Richlite
- ELECTRONICS: Custom voiced L.R. Baggs system with Lyric mic, individual gold hex acoustic saddles, tape saturation simulation
- CONTROLS: Sliders for volume, bass, middle, treble, blend (mic and pickups), and tape saturation plus phase button
- FACTORY STRINGS: Godin HTC Nylon gauges .0285, .0327, .0410, .030, .036, .044, .056
- WEIGHT: 7 lbs
- BUILT: Canada
- CONTACT: Godin