The author is a guitarist and bassist with over 35 years of experience as a musician.
Seagull Acoustic Guitars
Seagull is a Canadian guitar maker responsible for some very innovative and attractive acoustic instruments. The Artist Mosaic, SG Original, and Maritime SWS are a breath of fresh air for players who are tired of the same old, same old when it comes to acoustic guitars.
With distinctive designs and sounds, they stretch the boundaries just enough to make them unique, while still retaining a classic tone you can feel confident with while recording or performing live.
They are also among the best values you can find when it comes to acoustic guitars, and the Seagull lineup features instruments for every level of playing expertise.
There are some big names out there in the acoustic guitar world, and a few American companies that make some incredible instruments. These guitars are worth their asking prices, but sometimes it seems like we’re paying more for the name on the headstock.
Seagull guitars give you the same great North American craftsmanship and quality, without the inflated price tags.
Maybe you can tell I’m pretty excited about Seagull guitars. The more I hear them and research them, the better they look! In this article, I’ll explore three of the most popular Seagull designs.
- The S6 Original is an award-winning intermediate-level acoustic that can satisfy the needs of even veteran players. It's among the best acoustics guitars for under $500.
- The Artist Mosaic is at the top of the line for pros and series players.
- The Maritime SWS is a solid-wood guitar for a reasonable price for the working musician.
When it comes down to it, you don’t have to mortgage your house to get a great-sounding acoustic guitar, made with quality solid woods and fine craftsmanship. Seagull might be making exactly what you need, from up there in the Great White North!
On to the gear!
The Artist Mosaic
The Seagull Artist series is at the top of the Seagull acoustic guitar lineup. These are guitars for pros and aspiring pros, or just anyone who wants the finest acoustic guitar they can find. Seagull really puts their best foot forward with the Artist Series, and this is evident in one of the most popular models, the Artist Mosaic.
The Seagull Artist Mosaic features a select pressure-tested solid cedar top. Cedar adds a little bite and clarity while still retaining the warmth that may have been compromised with a more traditional spruce top.
The back and sides are solid mahogany. I love mahogany for acoustic guitars. Rosewood sings a little sweeter perhaps, but you can’t beat the warmth of mahogany, and with the cedar top this is a rich tonewood combination.
The neck too is solid mahogany, topped with a rosewood fingerboard. Of course, rosewood is the gold standard for fretboards, especially on acoustic guitars. Rosewood not only looks pretty but has the tonal characteristics to help notes ring clear and rich. A rosewood bridge completes the tonal package.
The Artist Mosaic is also available in an acoustic-electric model and a pretty single-cutaway acoustic-electric design. Other amazing guitars in the Artists Series worth checking out include:
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- Artist Mosaic CW Folk: A version of the Mosaic with a smaller folk-style body instead of a dreadnought shape. It won't have the same projection as the dreadnought version, but the smaller body means more mids and a gentler tone.
- Artist Cameo: A solid spruce top with solid flame maple back and sides and an ebony fingerboard adds up to a bright-sounding guitar with some serious projection. This is an acoustic-electric guitar and a great choice for players who intend to plug in most of the time.
- Artist Studio: In the guitar world, the word "studio" usually denotes a pared-down version of a particular guitar model. Not so in this case. Seagull calls the Studio the flagship of their Artists Series, and it features the classic tonewood combination of a spruce top with rosewood back and sides.
Hear the Seagull Artist Series
The S6 Original
The Seagull S6 may be the best value you’re going to find in an acoustic guitar. Its award-winning design results in a quality instrument that will satisfy intermediate and pro players alike. The Original Series cuts a few corners compared to higher-level Seagull guitars, but it’s still tough to beat the S6 when it comes to great sound and value.
A select, pressure-tested solid cedar top is combined with Canadian wild cherry back and sides for a tonewood combination that brings both warmth and punch.
Cherry is an interesting tonewood. It has some similarities to maple, but with a warmer, rounder sound. Some guitarists claim it lands somewhere between maple and mahogany but to me, it’s a little bright-sounding to compare with mahogany.
The neck is made from silver-leaf maple. We can see where they are going with this combination of tonewoods. The S6 is intended to have a midrangy, snappy sound, perfect for flatpicking but with enough clarity and punch for fingerpicking styles.
The fingerboard and bridge materials are rosewood. All of those bright tonewoods above the rosewood will help warm the tone up a bit.
The Seagull Original S6 is available in a few different flavors. Whichever you choose, it’s hard to imagine you’ll go wrong:
- S6 Original Left: An S6 for left-handed players.
- S6 Original Slim: A version of the S6 that is slightly more narrow at the nut.
- S6 Mahogany Deluxe: This guitar turns a traditional tonewood profile somewhat upside-down, and features a mahogany top, back, and sides with a silver leaf maple neck.
- S6 GT (Gloss Top) Finishes: Available in Trans Red, Trans Blue, and a very pretty Sunburst.
Check Out the S6!
The Maritime SWS SG/HG
The Maritime Series lands somewhere between the Artist and Original when it comes to quality and cost. It’s still a Seagull, so you know it is going to be a great guitar, but it’s nice to know you have options.
In fact, the Maritime lineup is among the more diverse in the Seagull arsenal. Here’s a look at the Maritime SWS SG/HG. These are actually two different guitars, with the only difference being SG for the semi-gloss model, and HG for high gloss.
The SWS SG/HG starts with a solid, pressure-tested spruce top. Spruce is a more traditional top for acoustic guitars than the cedar of the above models and, paired with the solid mahogany back and sides and a mahogany neck, things get even more traditional.
This is a classic tonewood combination found in many of the best dreadnought-style guitars throughout history and will allow wonderful warmth along with articulation and punch.
A rosewood neck and fingerboard complete the package, making the Martime SWS HG/SG one of the best acoustic guitars out there for players looking for that traditional acoustic guitar tone in a high-quality package.
A few of the other acoustic guitars in the Maritime lineup:
- Maritime SWS Mahogany HG: Features a mahogany top, back, and sides. All-mahogany guitars have a very warm, deep, rich sound that many players love, this writer included.
- Maritime SWS Rosewood HG: With a spruce top and rosewood back and sides. This version is similar to the basic Maritime model, with the rosewood replacing the mahogany.
- Maritime SWS Folk: A Maritime featuring the mahogany/spruce tonewood combination, with a smaller folk-style body.
More on the Maritime SWS
More Guitars by Seagull
This article has focused on the Original, Maritime, and Artist Series, but Seagull has even more great guitars in their lineup. Each Series has a unique focus, and will likely appeal to a certain type of guitarist.
- Excursion Series: These are Seagull’s most affordable guitars, and they make great starter instruments for serious beginners. Of course with the Seagull name on the headstock you know the quality will be there for intermediate and advanced players too. They’re still made in Canada, so you don’t have to worry about Seagull outsourcing the construction of their most affordable guitars to some third-world country.
- Entourage Series: A lineup of gorgeous guitars for a great value. They’re a step up from the Excursion Series, but still super affordable. Entourage guitars come in many models, from acoustic dreadnoughts to acoustic-electric cutaways to mini-jumbo body styles.
- Coastline Series: The Coastline lineup includes a great version of the S6 with Seagull’s Crème Brulee finish, which is intended to not only look cool but improve the sound of the guitar. You’ll also find a 12-string model, an S6 Folk, and a Grand body style model in the Coastline Series.
- Natural Elements: All acoustic guitar builders are faced with the conundrum of how to source the best woods to build their products while at the same time making choices that conserve those woods as well as the rest of the Earth’s natural resources. One of Seagull’s contributions to this effort is via their Natural Elements Series. These are guitars that combine the best of alternative tonewoods and construction techniques with some unique and attractive natural wood variations.
- Performer Series: The Seagull Performer lineup, as the name suggests, is a trio of acoustic-electric guitars that are made for the stage. All are single-cutaway designs, one with a dreadnought body, one a folk, and the third a mini jumbo, and all feature Seagull’s Quatum I electronics.
The Seagull Difference
Even though there are variances in the three guitars above, and they are each meant for a specific type of player, Seagull guitars all share some of the same characteristics. There’s that tapered headstock, which helps with tuning stability. When the strings are pulled more in a straight line rather than breaking at sharp angles at the nut, it cuts down on friction and hopefully, you don’t go out of tune as much.
The guitars above all feature double-function truss rods, allowing for accurate neck adjustments. Of course, they all feature solid woods, and pretty gloss or semi-gloss finishes.
Seagull acoustic guitars are worth taking a couple of steps off the beaten path. As a company, Seagull just seems different. These instruments are reasonably priced, but still built from quality components and beautiful woods.
It seems Seagull really has the player in mind through their design and production process. It’s tough to find a better quality acoustic for this price, especially in an instrument made in North America.
If you don’t feel like dropping the cash on the Artist Mosaic, check out the Seagull S6 or Maritime SWS. In my opinion, the S6 is one of the top acoustic guitars for intermediate players. Attention to quality and detail is par for the course with each Seagull model. This is a company that obviously takes a lot of pride in their work, and for good reason.
If you are considering a Seagull acoustic guitar, hopefully, this article helped illustrate this brand. The more I hear these guitars the more I like them, and I bet you’ll like them too.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 Guitar Gopher