Updated by Bobby
Updated on January 31st, 2022
Made minor changes to article formatting and checked product links for current listings of the Seagull S6.
Seagull S6 Original Acoustic Guitar Review
Verdict and Review Summary
The Seagull S6 boasts a solid cedar top that's mixed with layered Wild Cherry on the back and sides, creating one of the more unique tonewood combination available in its price range. It's one of our favorite value recommendations, good for beginners and intermediates.
A guitar that gets positive reviews like the Seagull S6 Original acoustic gets my attention fast, especially when combined with such a palatable price tag. For a budget-sensitive buyer, Robert Godin produced one of the best-selling acoustic guitars in Seagull's history, dating back to 1982 when the S6 was first released. Since then its value has been widely acknowledged, making it one of today’s most popular beginner acoustic guitars.
People like this guitar not only for the price tag, but also for the quality craftsmanship and tone, both of which exceed typical expectations for a guitar in this price range.
Point Value (%)
1. Overall Tone Grade
5. Features Overall
8. Tone Quality Bump
Compare to Similar Guitars
Seagull S6 Acoustic Guitar
Taylor Big Baby Acoustic
Martin LXK2 Little Martin
The S6 is distinctly more warm and even a bit more full than many cheaper acoustics, like the Yamaha FG800. It only comes in a dreadnought body shape, which produces a naturally deeper tone that you would associate more with rhythm and strumming. Though we gave the tone a 90 overall because it sounds like an expensive Martin with a lot of bass in the EQ, almost like there's a string dampener at the top of the neck.
Single notes don't bite the same way they would on brighter-voiced acoustics, yet we didn't mind the subtlety of those notes. There's plenty of sustain, even on the higher frets, and arpeggiated chords sound particularly full and resonant. The tone is perfect for rhythm players who do a lot of basic chord progressions and open chords, perhaps for church-related performing, solo acoustic acts, or singer songwriters.
Tone Highlights and Descriptors
- Low-end EQ emphasis
- Lengthy sustain
- Thick, full open chords
- Punchy rhythm
Cedar tonewood creates a very specific type of tone. It's soft, but also full which creates the warm harmonic response we get from the S6. It's not going to produce the same dynamic range as the Sitka Spruce (which is often used in a solid top) but it'll usually be better for the more narrow job description of warm, deep rhythm. Breedlove also uses a type of cedar grown in the western United States, producing a similarly warm tone profile in their acoustics.
Cedar VS Spruce Tonewood
Some people prefer the spruce top because of how it ages compared to the cedar. There are also some who would say Spruce projects sound in a more linear manner while cedar is a more radiant broadcast. For the purposes of our Seagull S6 review, we like the spruce tops for more melodic styles and the cedar for rhythm sounds.
Cherry Back and Sides
In the Seagull S6, the layered cherry back and sides creates a neutral tonal response, leaning neither to the treble or bass end of the spectrum. It's a good projector of the guitar's midrange and helps to add an element of volume to the cedar's natural softness. With the S6, it's a combination we really like.
Bracing and Construction
Godin (the company that builds the Seagull acoustics) doesn't seem to have much marketing material on the S6's bracing system. From what we could tell when looking inside, it uses a fairly traditional X-bracing layout similar to the Taylor scalloped design.
The headstock is a unique design which you might have already noticed, being much slimmer than the typical acoustic neck. This is meant to make tuning stability better, which we did notice seems to be quite good with the S6 model.
Neck and Fretboard
On the first fret the S6 neck measures 1.72 inches wide, which is on the thinner side and looks even smaller with the narrowed headstock. It's a Silver Leaf Maple neck which feels smooth in your hand and plays fast. Your thumb rests easy on the back of the neck and doesn't feel pressured as you change chords. Overall, it's one of the more comfortable acoustic necks we've played, without getting into smaller body sizes.
There are a couple of different preamps we've seen in the Seagull guitars, both of which are made by Godin. The QI is the most common version, which is a smaller preamp that gives you volume, bass, treble, and an onboard tuner. This is the system that comes with the S6 QIT version.
The second variation you might see is the B-Band M-450T which you'll see on the "Classic" version of the S6. This preamp and pickup system gives you a four-band EQ with slider controls, a volume control, and a chromatic tuner. In our opinion, it's a better system than the QIT.
Of the two, we'd much rather have the M-450T. Though both sound great and give you added versatility over the S6 Original which has no preamp. It's a little tricky to figure out what the pricing difference is, as the QI and M-450T versions of the guitar aren't much different (at least between the S6 Original and S6 Classic). If you have any plans or intentions of bringing this guitar into a performance context, get the S6 with one of the electronics systems built in. Since the guitar has staying power beyond the beginner stages, you'll be glad you invested in something you can plug in, especially for such a small price difference (or no difference at all).
Cost and Value
In our acoustic guitar reviews we like to include a comparison chart that plots our overall rating of each guitar with its approximate retail price tag. In the case of the S6, it's one of our best-value options because of its high rating and low cost. This is easy to visualize in the following graph:
The Seagull S6 Original has a wide range of appeal to a lot of different styles and skill levels. Seasoned pros and experienced players would probably want something a little more expensive and versatile, but for nearly everyone else, we'd recommend the S6 confidently without hesitation. Only those looking specifically for a melodic acoustic guitar or something more in the lead acoustic realm might want to look elsewhere, perhaps at the Taylor 114ce or something with a little more dynamic range.
Your Questions and Thoughts
If you're not sure whether or not the Seagull S6 is right for you or if you have questions about our review, feel free to drop a note in the comments section below and we'll do our best to help out.
Written by Bobby on Acoustics and Review
Much thanks for a quick, easy-to-read overview of the Seagull S6 acoustic guitar. I currently own & play a beloved Taylor, but I’m searching for a 2nd all-around solid & not too expensive acoustic guitar that I don’t have to worry about when transporting it to practices, gigs, etc. I’ll reply again after my purchase of & firsthand experience with the Seagull S6.
Thanks for sharing Jax. If you need a preamp make sure it’s the QI version. Let me know how it goes.
i have played and loved the seagull s6 original but i saw they had a different version of it that i could not resist. i have the Seagull S6 Mahogany Deluxe A/E and I absolutely love it. i have had it for a little more than a year and it has been fantastic to play and also stands out among most other guitars. when i was searching for a new guitar i really wanted a mahogany and this one was the cheapest i could find at the time. although not made in the USA, it is still made in Canada and that is something i appreciate a lot. my guitar came with electronics in the form of tone/volume control knobs hidden in the sound hole. i have no complaints with the guitar and i cant wait to see it as it ages. i plan on getting more expensive seagull guitars in the future since even the s6 is amazing.
Bobby Kittleberger says
Hey Joseph – thanks for sharing. That does seem like a really great deal, getting the solid Mahogany top at that price.
For reference: http://www.seagullguitars.com/en/products/47-s6-mahogany-deluxe-ae