Godin Glissentar - First Impression

September 13, 2006 15:26 by keithkaragan
Day one with the Godin A11 Glissentar - Yeowww! This thing is really a blast to play. I had read a bit about this instrument before aquiring it, and internet consensus was that it would take a little time to get used to - and that's probably true, since this guitar is fretless, has 11 nylon strings (5 unison pairs, and a low E), and is based on the instrument the Oud - but with a different scale (longer), a wider neck, and tuned like a standard guitar.
Well, it didn't take long for me to get the hang of this fine instrument and retune it to a couple different tunings, and then - off to la-la land in a euphoric daze of jamming.At one point this evening I was contemplating how hard it would be to pull the frets out of all my guitars but then I came to my senses.
The act of playing a fretless guitar is new to me. I've played fretless basses now and again, and play slide often, and my Steinberger's frets are so low it's nearly fretless at this point (but I don't think that counts) - but the intonation of the fretless guitar really didn't cause too much pain in the end, and I really love being able to slide between notes and pitch bend vertically/parallel with the strings, as opposed to perpendicular to them. An interesting consequence of fretlessness (maybe just a newbie thing) is that the normal string bending is hard to do, so you end up using the neck sliding instead. This might actually be the nylon strings, or the doubled strings - but neither of these things are too alien to me, and I just couldn't bend the same old way - the funny thing is that I didn't really care.
The Glissentar is kind of hard to find in a retail store - I was never able to find one in stock. In fact after 2 ebay auctions that didn't pan out, and no others for sale there, and absolutely no online store having stock, I ended up ordering from Musician's Friend - fortunately the 2 week estimated arrival date for the backorder only ended up being a couple days (maybe they just order them when a customer wants one) - but that's cool because it did get here really quick.
One bummer was that every article I read indicated that 2 sets of strings come with the instrument - I got nada - It'll suck if I break a string since these are custom strings (Ball End Nylons ? ... I gotta order a few sets to have around just in case).
I really dig crazy odd instruments, this one ends up not so odd in the end, but does have a unique sound to it. The Godin build quality is pretty nice too - It would be nice to have an Acoustic Electric / Roland Ready version of this instrument since the Godin body style is not so hot, acoustically, when unplugged. Plugged it sounds great.
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