the big-bottomed hollow sound you’d
expect from a jazz box equipped with a traditional floating rosewood bridge. Instead,
the Uptown maintains an authority and
sustain more akin to a Gibson ES-335
without totally sacrificing a traditional
archtop’s bass presence. And though the
Uptown may lack the exquisite complexity of, say, Joe Diorio’s ES- 175 sound, it
has more potential in stylistically diverse
settings. Further up the fretboard, chords
sounded liquid and airy through the neck
pickup, and with the right pick attack, individual notes were distinct and punchy.
The guitar’s simple controls (a 3-way
pickup selector, plus one volume and one
tone knob) make it easy to dial up the treble
you need to crawl out of the jazz basement.
The tone knob has a precise, steady taper
that makes it usable through almost its entire
range, and the Uptown’s clean bridge sound
is warmer and smoother than you’d expect.
Engaging both pickups gives the Godin a
twanging voice that’s totally usable for country picking, though it’s more Gibson than
Gretsch. It might not be the guitar’s best
Pros: Awesome build quality for the price. Smooth-sounding,
versatile pickups. Controlled feedback potential. Stylish vibe.
Godin Guitars, 5th Avenue Uptown GT, $1,329 (street), godinguitars.com
Cons: Could be more harmonically complex.
sound, but it’s a sweet tone—especially with
a little Bigsby shake added in.
The Uptown’s big surprise is its raunchy
distorted sounds. Even with mild amp
breakup, the guitar could sound huge and
effortlessly vicious. Notes rumbled and
bloomed from within the body, and coaxing musical, controlled feedback was a
breeze. This is a sweet axe for everything
from Brian Setzer and Reverend Horton
Heat’s high-octane rockabilly to Alvin Lee’s
megawatt heavy blues.
Capable of covering Joe Pass and George
Thorogood moods, this latest 5th Avenue
is a versatile player’s guitar that oozes
vintage class and dirty, bluesy attitude.
Thanks to its super playability and wide
range of tones, the Uptown makes an
excellent choice for taking your first arch-
top plunge—especially if you don’t want
to deal with excessive feedback or floating
bridges that can be hard to intonate. The
Uptown is also a blast to play unplugged,
and its pleasant unamplified voice and
smooth feel are great for practicing or
songwriting while you kick back on the
couch. And given the impressive crafts-
manship, this Godin represents a great
value and an investment you’re unlikely