Are you looking for a professional level gigging guitar for the road?
Do you want to spend around $1000 or less for such a guitar?
Getting a professional-sounding yet durable guitar for such a price is difficult but not unheard of. In fact, this is exactly why an up-and-coming guitar company in Canada made the Seagull Performer CW Flame Maple HG QI Guitar.
Many of my more professional-style music friends love this guitar, and I’ve enjoyed trying it out too. It seems to avoid a lot of the dire problems other guitars at this price point seem to have for advanced, expert, and professional players.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the details of the guitar in this Seagull Performer Review. Let’s jump in!
- Seagull Performer CW Flame Maple HG QI Guitar
- Acoustic/Electric Capabilities
- Homemade Quality From A Rising Company
- Cut-Away Design And Smooth Feel
- Easy And Stable Tuning
- The Distinguishing Feature: Rich Woods For A Crystal Clear, Professional Sound
- What The Customers Are Saying?
- Final Thoughts
Seagull Performer CW Flame Maple HG QI Guitar
Since 1982, Robert Godin of Godin guitars has been building these string instruments. His goal was to provide an alternative recipe to the standard high-level guitar.
Based in Quebec, Canada, the company has built a stellar reputation in the quality and sound of their instruments. From its flagship and award-winning S6 to the Artist Series, each guitar model has received rave reviews by experts.
The Performer Series guitar I’m looking at today was built with the gigging musician in mind. It’s designed to be versatile and able to play in small and large settings with acoustic and electric capabilities.
The guitar can handle the struggles and bumps of the road and hold pitch and tune like nobody’s business. For a guitar around $1000, it doesn’t get much better than this.
That being said, it’s not designed for hard core rock and roll electric stylings, and while the cutaway shape does help with solo work, the Seagull Performer won’t match up in sound with a dedicated acoustic masterpiece.
Still, for any musician who travels or plays a variety of gigs, you won’t be disappointed by the sound and flexibility of the guitar.
What We Liked:
- Excellent craftsmanship and durability
- Looks beautiful with its flamed maple
- Strong, clear sound to punch through any room
- Tunes quickly and holds pitch very well
- On-board electronics and tuner
What We Disliked:
- Bass sounds are a little thin
- Body cutaway, included electronics, and curved top reduce some dynamic range somewhat
For the gigging musician, they need the guitar to be able to play unplugged in a coffee shop and plugged into an amp system at an outdoor park.
Fortunately, Seagull uses a Quantum IT electronic pickup and tuning system to get this done. The system takes up more space than I would personally prefer, but the quality of the sound stays true to the natural acoustic sound.
Homemade Quality From A Rising Company
One of the big complaints with larger companies, even those with stronger reputations, is how most of their guitars less than their most expensive lines feel mass-produced.
Seagull is a smaller company which means each and every guitar has received individual and dedicated attention.
Still, even with a smaller company, Seagull is winning awards and solidified itself as a player in the guitar making business, so rest easy and trust the design.
Cut-Away Design And Smooth Feel
The cutaway design allows for fingering all the way up the fretboard good for solo work and advanced fingerstyle playing.
The neck shape feels rounded for the hand to wrap around perfectly. A silverleaf maple and glossy finish aid in the smooth transition from chord to chord.
The wider nut width may make it harder for new players to handle, but experienced players will love the extra width to get in between the strings for some really neat playing.
Easy And Stable Tuning
Tuning is key to any good sound, but even great guitars may lose their pitch when being carried around or played for a long time.
This is why many professionals have multiple guitars for their concerts. When one loses its pitch, they just switch out.
Seagull sees this in the gigging musician, especially those without a road crew.
The built-in tuner helps get the strings where they need to be quick. The tuners are meticulously geared to hold the pitch well.
But the best feature for tuning is the tapered headstock. On wide headstocks, the strings are bent out to the sides past the nut.
This “bending” puts stress on the strings and often causes them to lose their pitch.
The tapered headstock battles this by keeping the strings perfectly straight even past the nut. As the stress is less, so is the tuning loss.
The Distinguishing Feature: Rich Woods For A Crystal Clear, Professional Sound
For all these great features, it’s the wood choices that make the Seagull Performer stand out.
The top is made for solid, pressed Spruce. As a top, spruce is the gold standard for almost all acoustic guitars.
Spruce adds clarity and power to the sound. Pressed, solid spruce adds more density to the wood allowing for even more efficient vibration in the sound.
The back and sides are made from flamed maple. Maple is another hardwood like spruce.
Maple adds more power and clarity while deepening the middles and highs of the sound.
Often, maple is criticized for lacking power in the bass, and some of this weakness is present in the Seagull Performer as well.
But they combat this with the 3 laminate layer design and an arched top. By providing more wood to resonate and more space, the bass tones are drawn out a little.
Overall, this is a great gigging guitar that sounds good or great in any genre.
|Feature||Seagull Performer Specs|
|Top Wood||Solid, pressed spruce|
|Back and Sides Wood||Flamed Maple|
|Neck Material||Silver leaf Maple|
|Nut and Saddle Material||Tusq compensated|
|Body Shape||Cutaway design|
|Bracing Design||Curved top, standard bracing|
|Scale Length||25.5 inches|
|Nut Width||1.8 inches|
|Electronic System||Quantum IT electronics with built-in tuner|
What The Customers Are Saying?
What do other users have to say? I looked around and spoke to those who use the guitar regularly and noticed several trends Seagull guitar players were saying about the Performer.
Amazing Tuning – Other users have noticed how easy it is to tune the guitar. This is especially true for the Quantum IT (as opposed to the just I models).
With these, the tuner is built right in.
However, regardless of whether the tuner is built-in, everybody talks about how well the guitar stays in tune.
This is due to the tuner design, yes, but also the tapered headstock as we mentioned above.
Beautiful Design – Spruce is an attractive wood, but the flamed maple back and sides and silverleaf maple neck are just unusual yet grainy enough to catch the eye.
Combined with the glossy finish, the customers love the look of the guitar.
Sounds Good Plugged and Unplugged – Many customers love how consistent the sound is whether plugged in or unplugged.
There isn’t a huge loss in the natural depth of the sound when plugged in, and the guitar still has strength when all-natural.
Crisp Sound – Iconic with this guitar, according to guitar users, is the clarity of sound. Maple is a harder wood and results in a punchier sound.
The sound is clean and pure. Coupled with the good intonation, users love how you hear each note as clearly as if you were sitting right next to it even from the other side of the room.
Changing The Battery Is A Pain – The majority of users don’t complain about the lack of depth or bass in the overtones like others do, but they all have a very specific complaint:
The battery for the electronic system is inside the body of the guitar.
Not only will this absorb some vibrations, but more importantly, it makes changing the battery a right pain.
The soundhole is difficult to get into as it is, but this means every time you need to change the battery, you’ll need to take the strings off.
Fortunately, you won’t actually need to change the batteries often, and most gigging musicians will be swapping out string once or twice per month anyway.
I hope you enjoyed checking out this Seagull Performer review. Whether you get the Seagull Performer CW Flame Maple HG QI guitar specifically or another option from the series, any gigging performer will be happy with the versatility, durability, and look.
The strong and punchy sound will cut through a room, although some may wish for more low overtones and dynamic range, but it makes up for it with its value and ability to stay in tune in any venue and over a long playing session.
Beginners and intermediate players may find the neck too wide for them, but players above this level will love the guitar all the way on up to professionals.
If you play gigs in different situations and need a guitar to stick with you through all of those, check out the Seagull Performer series.