La Patrie Concert CW Q1T
The La Patrie Concert CW Q1T (Quantum) Classical Guitar includes some hybrid design features that give a true classical sound from a body and neck with semblances of a steel string acoustic guitar.
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The La Patrie Concert CW Q1T (Quantum EQ) Classical Guitar by Godin is still produced in La Patrie, Canada. Apparently all Godin guitar necks are produced there as well. While the Concert model is also available in the more traditional format without a cutaway, once you have played the cutaway version, you're hooked ;-)
The La Patrie Concert model is topmost of its group (Etude, Presentation, Concert) and not surprisingly carries the highest price tag at around AUD $1,800 (unless on sale, which can see the 'new' price down to around AUD $1,450). The catch here of course is availability.
One day while in McCanns Music in Hobart (yep - free plug, support your local music shop), I picked up and played a guitar from the second highest tier, a $1,400 Cordoba I think. Did not like it - at all.
Then pulled down the guitar from the top rack, a non-cutaway, sans electronics La Patrie Concert - after a quick tuning and little Pseudo Flamenco (it's what I call that particular piece) and I knew right then and there, that I had found love (that's the guitar, not the singer-songwriter sales-girl, just to be clear).
After playing the non-cutaway and piezo-less version of the La Patrie Concert, I had to get one of these Godin guitars. When it arrived, I was not disappointed and truly consider it money very well spent (sigh of relief ;-)
As a gentle reminder, that nothing is perfect, while looking for the battery compartment on the La Patrie Concert CW Q1T, I was astounded to discover that the battery was in fact attached to the inside of the guitar with velcro. Meaning, you need to un-string the guitar to change the battery. Whilst I can appreciate the desire to not mess up the beautiful solid mahogany side timbers - that solution just sucks!
Let's skip to the details.
The La Patrie Concert Classical Guitar can be seen listing online for around AUD $1,800 new ($1,450 on sale) and AUD $1,000 to $1,300 for a used one in good condition. Varies with options like cutaway and electronics which can bump up the price. The availability of various model options can be somewhat limited in Australia. Also, does not come standard with a case in Australia - and when you are spending very close to AUD $2K, you really do want a case!
Came across an old 2014 in-store review where the base model La Patrie Concert was still retailing for USD $500.
These guitars tend to be 'keepers', therefore somewhat rare as used instruments. While Godin guitars are still uncommon in Australia, I have a feeling this will inevitably change as we recover from our global addiction to 'Made in China'.
I now actively AVOID BUYING CHINESE - Dang! I'm getting political, what next? ;-))
Playing the La Patrie Concert CW Classical Guitar (10/10)
I used to joke that playing a classical guitar is like playing on rubber bands, however playing the La Patrie Concert CW classical guitar is a truly delightful experience (even for beginners). This is a guitar that impresses. Though the general design, size and shape adhere to traditional classical look, Godin have innovated on this model.
The neck design is a hybrid, being slightly slimmer, narrower and with a gentle radius, more like that of a steel string than a typical classical guitar. The slimmer neck is possible thanks in part to the dual action truss rod, which also allows fine tuning of the action (an adjustment best left to the experienced).
The action and fret setup is superb ex-factory, with absolutely no sharp fret edges. The Rosewood fretboard and mahogany neck feel silky smooth. You just want to play this guitar!
La Patrie Concert CW Sound (10/10)
All of the La Patrie Classical instruments feature solid cedar tops which immediately lends them a brightness and clarity of tone. Godin (parent company of La Patrie) invest a very considerable effort into selecting and testing timbers for their many and varied instruments.
The solid mahogany back and sides produce the well-balanced warmth and depth of tone, along with a surprising amount of projection (even with the slight loss of volume due to the cutaway). Godin's explanation for this is the minimalist soundboard bracing and thin polished down high-gloss surface finish.
The Concert CW guitar has a brighter tone than one might expect from a standard classical guitar. The cutaway will be partly to blame for this by reducing the overall volume and changing the internal acoustics/reflections. Some purists might call that a strike, but I happen to like that aspect ofthe La Patrie Concert's tone. As any strings age, the first things to go are elasticity andbrightness.
Just FYI: I noticed that even a set of Savarez strings could go dull within a few weeks (ifmaintained fully tuned), just from high ambient summer temperatures and with hardly any playing.
The Godin Quantum Q1T electronics (preamp / tuner / tone controls and Piezo pickup),perform admirably when amplified. The system is a visually appealing gold and black, very compact, simple to operate, quiet and just does exactly what it needs to.
Just to note that the Concert and Concert CW models are available without electronics.
Build Quality / Workmanship (9/10)
Reliability (New Guitar - Not Yet Rated)
The La Patrie Concert CW classical guitar is an exceptionally well made standard sized instrument. As you can see from the internal shots (whoops, coming soon ), even the bits you can't normally see show excellent workmanship and attention to detail. Quality control is exceptional.
Of course, there was a time when that was just 'how you made a classical guitar' - then mass production happened ;-)
La Patrie moved to using only solid timbers throughout their entire acoustic guitar range some years ago. So there is an immediate, high quality benchmark set for any of their acoustic and/or classical guitars, regardless of model. Their soundboards (tops) are all pressure tested solid spruce.
The tuning pegs are of excellent quality, operate smoothly and help the guitar keep tuned. The nut is Tusq® and saddle is Graphtech (both synthetics). The fretboard and bridge are Rosewood.
Because this is still arelatively new guitar, there is no way to meaningfully quantify durability at this time - other than by association - a similar (but less expensive) La Patrie Presentation model is still in excellent working order after years (10 of those years being professional use with some touring).
Strings for the La Patrie Concert CW
Still running original ex-factory Godin Classical strings at time of writing. They sound great and play well. Since these strings are not readily available in Australia, a move to Martin Classical strings is quite likely. More on this subject in due course ...
Also if you are new to nylon string / classical guitars - detune your guitar (a tone or two) over the warmer summer months when not playing it. Then tune up to full tension only when needed. The nylon strings will sound and play better for longer, if they don't lose their elasticity.
When trying new strings, first buy a single pack (or two for spares) to see if they work for you. Once you find some that you like, try to buy them in three pack bundles - it's usually a good 20% cheaper that way.
Currently using supplied Godin Classical Strings.
Will be replaced with:
Martin Silver Plated Classical Guitar Strings 28-43 High Tension Plain End - M120
Value for Money (9/10)
The La Patrie Concert CW is good value, but it is a high-end Godin classical instrument. This is the rarified air realm, where even the slightest improvements start to cost a lot. Is it worth it? I would say definitely yes, if you can afford that slight extra expense (about 15%).
Having had the next model down (La Patrie Presentation) for direct side-by-side comparison, I am well pleased that I purchased the new Concert model. It's pretty close to perfect, and it still puts a smile on my face every time I play it - I'd call that a winner.
Of course, these are still only very well made production instruments. For a truly hand-made classical guitar, one could expect to pay at least three times the price - just to get started. That said I have encountered a (supposedly) hand-made Spanish Esteve instrument that was a similar price (actually slightly more expensive) and nowhere near as good in quality
At present the La Patrie Concert and Concert CW are simply the nicest classical guitars I have played (with the La Patrie Presentation close behind). I have no doubt that there are better classical instruments out there, but boy they have they got quite a benchmark to exceed. This has really reached the level of splitting hairs, nuance and personal preferences vs biases. I'm guessing that, past this point, you'd need to ask a full-time professional classical guitar player to get a more meaningful assessment
Just FYI: Replacing any plastic components on guitars (e.g. nut and saddle), with bone parts can improve brightness and sustain. In this case however the specifically engineered Tusq® nut and Graphtech saddle will remain in place for evaluation, for the foreseeable future. So far, after almost a year, there are no complaints.
La Patrie Concert CW by Godin - Specifications
The La Patrie Concert CW will snugly fit into a standard classical guitar case.
|Year(s) Sold:||2000 - present|
|Original MSRP* (US$):||$1200 (AUD $1800+)|
|Body Depth:||at C 97mm (3 13/16")
at E 99mm (3 7/8")
|Neck Width:||Nut 50.8mm (2")
19th Fret 63mm (2 1/2")
|Neck Radius:||60.9cm (24")|
|Fingerboard:||Rosewood / 19 Frets|
|Soundboard:||Solid Cedar (Pressure Tested)|
|Back &Sides:||Solid Mahogany|
|Bridge & Tailpiece:||Rosewood|
|Saddle & Nut:||Tusq® nut & saddle by Graphtech|
|Finish:||High Gloss Clear|
|Machine Head Ratio:||14:1|
Gold Tone / Brass
- Playability - 10 / 10
- Sound - 10 / 10
- Build Quality - 9 / 10 Let down by the battery holder non-solution.
- Durability & Reliability - ? / 10 (New Guitar / Too Soon To Tell)
- Value for Money - 9 /10 A tad expensive.
- Overall Average Score ... 9 / 10
Your comments and contributions are greatly appreciated!
200428 - (rating) - Be the first to comment.
Editor's Note: :-)
Incept Date: Wizard - (P-200812) 201228
Last Update: Wizard - 211202