There’s a beat-up Seagull S6 at AG’s office, which shows why that modest axe has a reputation not only as one of the best acoustic guitars you can buy for the price ($399 street), but also as a guitar that takes a lickin’ and keeps on pickin’. Since it was first reviewed in 2006, that particular S6 (solid cedar top and laminated wild cherry back and sides) has been used on numerous occasions around the office as a test guitar: it has had at least three different pickup systems installed (evidence of each still persists) and whenever the magazine publishes a lesson on alternate tunings, invariably the S6, for me, is the go-to guitar to try it out, despite the presence of other big-name guitars that cost ten times as much.
It has a sweet, mellow tone that works as well for drop-D blues as it does for C6 slack-key fingerpicking.
So I was intrigued to check out Seagull’s latest offering: a Coastline Momentum ($499 street). This slope-shouldered dreadnought shares several characteristics with the S6—it also has a pressure-tested, solid cedar top and laminated wild cherry back and sides. But it sports Adirondack spruce bracing, a compound-curve top that increases structural integrity, an Indian rosewood fingerboard, a compensated TUSQ saddle, a custom-polished finish, a double-function truss rod, and a set-neck system that resists warping and changes due to climate. The body has white binding on the top and back and an attractive herringbone rosette.
The construction overall is rock solid, inside and out.
The guitar comes equipped with a Fishman Sonitone preamp and pickup system, which for good reason is becoming ubiquitous in the guitar trade.
The silver leaf maple neck has a somewhat thick profile, but I didn’t find it uncomfortable. And the roomy 1.8-inch-wide TUSQ nut lends itself to fingerpicking.
Like the S6, the Coastline Momentum is handcrafted in the small village of La Patrie in eastern Quebec using Canadian tonewoods.
In my hands, it held up to hard strumming on a Who song or two, living up to its billing for projection (the momentum part of its name). But the Seagull really hit its stride plugged into a Henriksen “Bud” combo amp—the Bud, the solid cedar top, and the Fishman Sonitone conspiring to produce a warm, punchy tone as I noodled my way through the jazz standard “Cry Me a River.”
Sweet tone, indeed.
For the price, this is an affordable option for the beginner and the performing musician alike.
All in all, like the S6, the Coastline Momentum delivers a lot of bang for your buck.
At-a-Glance Seagull Coastline Momentum
BODY Slope-shouldered dreadnought, solid cedar top, laminated wild cherry back and sides, 25.5-inch scale, compensated TUSQ saddle
NECK One-piece, silver leaf maple, Indian rosewood fingerboard, 1.8-inch TUSQ nut
EXTRAS Fishman Sonitone electronics
PRICE $605 MSRP, $499 street
Made in Canada
This article originally appeared in the June 2017 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine.