S6 Original review by Seagull

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  • Sound: 6
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.4 Good
  • Users' score: 8.7 (24 votes)
Seagull: S6 Original
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Price paid: C$ 250

Purchased from: Avenue Guitars

Sound — 6
I have had a chance to use this guitar for a very long time now, but this also means that mine has had a chance to age and open up a little bit tone-wise. Fortunately, I have a newer example (my brothers'- less than 6 months old) on hand so I can compare the two. For fingerpicked styles, the S6 is passable. It is reasonably loud and fairly even across all the strings, but the bottom end can be a little lacking and the treble can be very harsh. Hybrid pickers who use a pick and their fingers may find the punchiness of the top end coupled with the lesser bottom end to complement their style very well, but traditional fingerstyle players will find that the guitar just sounds a little unrefined. This isn't exactly unexpected at the price, but it is a little bit of a let-down. Strummed with a pick, the guitar is much improved. In standard dreadnought fashion, the guitar projects well and compresses somewhat the harder it gets strummed. This is actually quite a good thing, as the compression somewhat tames the high-end harshness noted earlier, balancing it better with the bottom end. That being said, the overall tone is on the bright side, but pleasant. Certainly, the guitar lacks the sophistication and nuance of a better guitar, but it isn't bad in any sense. In fact, the guitar is quite a bit more alive sounding than various other guitars costing much more. Essentially, this guitar is a little crude sounding but very alive. It isn't particularly sophisticated, nor is it the most pleasant sounding acoustic out there, but it is very successful in avoiding the flat, dead sound that plagues many cheaper acoustic guitars. Chords have good body, while single notes are bright and zippy. Compared to the newer guitar, my guitar has significantly more upper-mid and treble frequencies present. Additionally, the bottom end is a little bit looser than the new instrument. This is probably largely attributable to the gradual ageing of the top-wood in my guitar. The new guitar, though slightly muffled in comparison, is still a commendable sounding instrument considering the price tag. Overall, this guitar does not warrant a particularly high rating. It's not that its a bad guitar, the issue is that it isn't as good as other guitars. For the money, it is really quite good, depending on your needs. However, it simply cannot compete against other guitar that do not cost significantly more. That being said, this guitar hides its cost-conscious construction well, and it certainly outplays many of its direct rivals by a large margin.

Overall Impression — 7
Like I said before, I've played this guitar for over 6 years and it has suited me very well. It's bullet proof and it plays reasonably well; it's not a Taylor or a Martin, but it definitely outplays much of it's direct competition. While the sound is unrefined, brash and rather rude, it is quite commendable that Seagull have avoided making a flat, dull and dead sounding budget guitar. While I would not buy another Seagull S6 I would certainly recommend them to anybody looking to spend $500 on an acoustic. I think that this guitar is one of the better made, better playing and better sounding guitars available for the price, and they hold up very well. Of course, this is not going to compete against higher end instruments, but as a fun guitar to play around on and to learn with, it is really quite good.

Reliability & Durability — 9
Given that I've played this guitar for over 6 years, I have a very good idea of the durability of the instrument. My guitar has traveled across North America, been to Europe, New Zealand and Australia, so its pretty well been through hell. Structurally speaking, the guitar is still flawless. The bracing is still intact, the body shows no signs of cracking and the neck is still very easy to get proper relief out of. Additionally, the tuners are still working very well. I have absolutely no concerns as to the build quality of the guitar. I have, however, imparted some significant wear on the guitar. After just over 5 years, the frets were toast and had to be replaced. That really isn't half bad for a cheaper guitar. Additionally, I have worn through the finish on the neck and parts of the body, as well as wearing the wood around the soundhole to the point that the soundhole is now 1/2" wider than it was when the guitar was new. These are not unexpected consequences of abusing a guitar for 6+ years, and they really would not dissuade me from recommending the guitar to others.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Given that my guitar was used, I cannot comment on the factory set-up. However, the factory fret-work (since replaced on my guitar) was absolutely excellent on both examples that I have. There are no sharp edges, and the frets were nice and level. Otherwise, the build quality on my guitar was good, but not great. Everything was applied neatly, the finish was relatively consistent, there wasn't too much extra glue in the body, the rosette was nicely installed- you start to get the idea. Everything is done well, but nothing was done flawlessly. At this pricepoint, this is frankly commendable - most guitars in this price-bracket seem to have at least 1 major issue, depending on their manufacturer, so it is nice to see that Seagull managed to keep things consistent. On another note, this guitar is very easy to set-up and intonates quite well. The nut is cut properly and the compensated bridge works well to eliminate intonation issues. Additionally, the tuners, though cheap in-house units, are still working quite well. Kudos to Seagull on a well made guitar.

Features — 7
I bought my Seagull S6 almost 6.5 years ago, and it was used at the time that I bought it, so I'm really quite unsure of when it was made. It was made in Lapatrie Quebec, Canada. The town, though small knows guitars- almost half the population work in guitar manufacturing! This guitar really is a stunning deal for a North American made instrument, as I believe that they retail for under $500 new. The guitar is a dreadnought body shape, with no cutaway Anyways, the guitar features a solid Cedar top - a really nice touch for the price, - laminated Wild Cherry sides and back and a silverleaf maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard. The body is finished in a semi-gloss lacquer, and features dark brown binding and a generic rosette around the soundhole. The bridge is also made of rosewood. Otherwise, this guitar is unremarkable in virtually every single way. The nut and saddle are Graphtech Tusq pieces, and the tuners are Seagull branded, closed-back non-locking units. The included strap button (there is only one- something I hate on guitars) is a Schaller strap-lock compatible piece. Otherwise, the guitar has a dual adjustable truss-rod and pretty well nothing else. Like I said, unremarkable. While this guitar is not breaking any new ground anywhere, it does offer a decent selection of components, and very nice wood choices, for such a budget guitar. The fact that this guitar is hand-built in North American is just shocking for the price.

10 comments sorted by best / new / date

    UglierTree
    when I was shopping for an acoustic, I went to guitar center and played pretty much everything under $500. the only guitars I REALLY liked the sound of were the seagulls. I was even trying everything from martin to epi to Yamaha. the seagull does not have the playability of the martin, or the volume of a fender I looked at, but it has a nice balance of everything I am looking for.
    UglierTree
    i own an sg and I cannot complain. everything about it is just what I was looking for. I am mainly an electric player but since ive gotten it I think I play it more than the electric! the only thing I can see wrong with it, however, is it only has the strap button in the back so you need one of those straps that wraps around the headstock. I don't like those straps but I don't particularily need a strap for it as I do not gig.
    ohioglfr
    I'm quite happy with the S6 "slim" (narrow nut) version, which I've played five years. I share it with my son, and unfortunately, he passes it among his friends from time to time. The top, being cedar, was pretty thrashed, so a couple of years ago, I refinished the body only, in thin coats of gloss lacquer, which, outside of fixing the damage, improved the looks. Also had a celluloid pick guard made by Terrapin Guitars. Tone has opened up nicely. Some fret wear but nothing out of ordinary. Very comfortable neck contour. Nice tone woods at this price point and excellent guitar.
    Edwin-E
    I bought my Seagull S6 Original brand new at the music shop near my place a few months ago. The guitar is made by Godin in Canada. It is well made with awesome sound. It has solid cedar top so I am sure this will sound even better in the future. It has nice Seagull original machine heads that holds the tune quite well. The neck and nut width is wider compared to other steel stringed acoustic guitars, thus this one is perfect for finger picking. I would say that this guitar is value for money. The only issue for me with this guitar was the action on both 1st fret and 12th fret. Being a guitar hobbyist, I did my own guitar setup and lowered both the nut height and saddle height. Now it is very easy to play. I made a video demo and review of this guitar:
    kevinpaul
    I bought one used for playing in bars and clubs. I did not want my Martin to get in a bar fight. This Seagull S6 sounds as good as my 1976 Martin D28, may be better on some songs. This is the best acoustic I have ever played !
    hdpete
    Seagull guitars IMHO are all 10s for the price. Whther it's an S6 or an SWS Maritime, you just can't beat the quality, tone, finish and feel if compared to other guitars at the same price. You can certainly compare them to higher prices guitars and guess what, they truly hold their own. I have played Martins, Taylors and others... again, Seagulls in general are very comparable and wayyy less expensive. My first Seagull was actually a LYS guitar. I currently have a 30+ year old S6, and a Coastline S6 and a SWS Maritime. All good. 10s? I'd have no issue with 10s for the price. maybe 9.5 on some aspects.
    johnrn941
    I bought my S6 at a pawn shop in flawless condition for $225.00 with a brand new hardshell case(still had case keys in the plastic)The sound is blowing me away ! Beautiful intonation. I think I have a special one. I turned to my wife and said, I think this one was built by the best luthier in La Patrie ! I got VERY lucky !I have played many S6 guitars over the last 10 years....in guitar shops and pawn shops etc, and this one I found is a JEWEL ! These are the best for the money in any case as they are solidly crafted/hand made guitars. I'm soooo pleased to have one of my own ! All I have done is condition the fretboard and add some Martin light strings. PERFECT !!!! I played Chris Tomlin "Jesus" on this guitar and the chords are resonant and dead center.
    champamoore
    Nice use of the double negative to confuse your readers, @krehzeeki! ;] "However, it simply cannot compete against other guitar that do not cost significantly more." = However, it simply can compete against other guitar that do cost significantly more. Is that what you meant to say, or the opposite?