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Review: Godin Session Custom

The following content is related to the January 13 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now, or in our online store.

Everyone has that one go-to guitar that they sit up playing late into the night. It’s not too shiny or fancy, but it feels good and always delivers the rapturous tones that keep your passion burning hot. Godin’s Session Custom is designed to be one of these deeply personal instruments, built from the finest Canadian wood stocks, gently shaped for a time-worn feel, and loaded with sweet-voiced custom pickups and Godin’s own High-Definition Revoicer circuit.


As a Canadian company, Godin has local access to some of the world’s finest woods. This is immediately evident when you look at the basswood body’s void-free and pronounced grain, visible through the slightly opaque black finish. Both heavier and denser than the flyweight basswood found on heavy-metal instruments, this basswood, from Canada’s Laurentian Forest, produces the classic mellow lows with a brighter, fuller midrange. Its Tele-style shape is comfort-enhanced by soft bevels on the front and back of the guitar’s top edge, as well as a slippery-smooth satin finish. Godin paid equal attention to the bolt-on neck joint, nearly creating the seamless feel of neck-through construction by rounding the neck butt and heel to match the curvature of the lower cutaway. The thin and nicely tapered neck feels almost identical to those on mid-Sixties Strats that I’ve played. It’s made from Canadian rock maple, rounded over the shoulders and finished even slicker than the satin body.

Godin’s nontraditional pickup choices really add to the Session Custom’s personality and tonal flexibility. There’s a vintage-style covered humbucker in the neck slot and a Custom Cajun Godin single-coil in the bridge position, wired to a five-way blade switch, master volume and tone. The secret weapon is Godin’s High-Definition Revoicer (H.D.R.) circuit, activated by a tiny button near the tone pot. It essentially turns the pickups from passive to active, significantly augmenting the output, frequency response and harmonic content. Godin’s final dose of innovation is the floating Tru-Loc trem system, which makes it possible to lock the arm into various positions.


The Session Custom’s acoustic tone has the fatness that I expect from basswood, but with more attack and punch in the uppermost mids. Hybrid-picked country licks sounded rude and snappy using the bridge pickup, and adding the H.D.R. and a fuzz pedal put me in Electric Ladyland territory. The neck humbucker reveals other dimensions. Through a clean amp, it barks P-90-like high-mids, and takes on a rather liquid tone when overdriven. Combining the divergent pickups resulted in inspiring layers of character that are more distinct than you might achieve with the traditional combinations of identical pickups found on most guitars.


Cheat Sheet
Godin’s High-Definition Revoicer expands the highs, lows and volume, turning vintage-voiced pickups into a harmonically accelerated active set.

Canadian Laurentian basswood is heavier and harder than other basswoods, featuring louder highs and a greater dynamic range.

The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for a new world of passive/active sounds and the feel of a well-played vintage, Godin’s Session Custom will quench your thirst for tone.

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