What’s the ideal balance between price and quality? That’s a question aspiring guitarists always face. This Seagull S6 review will help you determine if this guitar hits that sweet spot.
The award-winning Seagull S6 is a classic among entry-level guitars since the early 1990s. Seagull’s original intention was to unite good quality and affordable prices. While most budget guitar manufacturers rely on cheap laminates and outsourced automation for their price, Seagull guitars incorporate solid tonewood, and they’re hand-made in Canada. Let’s see how well the Seagull S6 holds up in practice.
The latest Seagull S6 is a traditional dreadnought with a pressure-tested solid cedar top. Its back and sides are a wild cherry laminate. The neck is silver leaf maple. You won’t find such materials anywhere else in this price range. There’s also a deluxe version with mahogany.
All dimensions are standard, except the top nut which is 45mm wide. However, the Cedar Slim edition has a 43mm nut. The Seagull S6’s quality is all in the details. Things like the GraphTech Compensated Tusq saddle and nut bring the tone and playability closer to those of high-end guitars.
For a bit more cash, you can get a Seagull S6 with Quantum 1 electronics. This gives you a cable jack, a volume knob, controls for bass and treble, and a tuner.
The Seagull S6 Original comes in a natural semi-gloss finish with a red pickguard. However, you can also get it in burnt umber, or get the Mahogany Deluxe. These versions, and the left-handed one, have no pickguard. Once in a while, they offer a limited edition Seagull S6 with a different finish, like this red one.
How the Seagull S6 Plays
Guitars in this price range tend to play alright, but not great. The Seagull S6 stands out and plays more like an expensive intermediate guitar. There’s plenty of space between the strings and, while the neck is wider than average, you’ll find it comfortable and easy to play unless you have small hands.
The compensated saddle and nut improves playability and makes the sound more consistent by elevating certain strings. Together with the head shape and tuner placement, this also helps the guitar stay in tune.
Compared to most affordable guitars, the Seagull S6 has a very balanced string action. It’s neither too hard to press, nor too low for a clean tone. So it’s great for learning to play the guitar. And if you want to fine-tune it, the double-action truss rod makes it easy.
What matters most is how the guitar sounds, and the Seagull S6 doesn’t disappoint in this department either. It has a warm timbre with a rich shimmer and twang. Compared to the usual Spruce tops, a cedar-topped guitar like Seagull S6 takes less time to break in and get that full tone. It still keeps getting better with time though.
With strings resting on Tusq rather than cheap plastic, you get more harmonics. This gives you a bright, lively sound that cuts through with clarity. It’s bassy but not boomy, shiny but not harsh, with a long sustain. So, it’s begging for arpeggios and country-style picking. It’ll sound great when you strum out some classics at the campfire or on stage as well, although I wouldn’t hit it too hard since the brightness gets so sharp.
If you heard this full, mature tone in isolation, you’d probably think it came from a more expensive guitar. But you don’t need to be rich to get a rich tone.
What People Say
Guitarists say it’s easy to fret and sounds excellent for the price point. While some say it sounds too bright, that’s a matter of preference. This is why the Seagull S6 has 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
A plain Seagull S6 Original costs around $400 while a QIT electronic one costs about $500. You can get one with a case included for just above $400.
Seagull S6 VS Yamaha FG830
Yamaha’s bestseller is probably the most comparable rival the Seagull S6. Other than the spruce top, they have the same general build and look very similar. I’d say the Yamaha FG830 sounds punchier but thinner. It doesn’t have the warmth and shimmer of the Seagull S6. It’s a lower-quality Chinese-built guitar with cheaper components. The tuners, nut, and saddle, in particular.
The Seagull S6 is the better guitar in general. But if your budget’s tight, you may prefer the Yamaha FG830.
Pros & Cons
Was that a lot to take in? Let’s summarize this Seagull S6 review.
- Hand-made North-American quality
- Excellent value
- Rich, vibrant tone
- Very versatile
While it’s not dirt cheap, it’s certainly affordable. If you’re on a budget but don’t like a cheap sound, a Seagull S6 is an excellent choice.
- Some may like more bass
- Takes some getting used to
The difference in materials and neck width may sound and feel unusual if you’re used to a generic guitar. Besides that possibility, you won’t find any issues with a Seagull S6.
Is Seagull S6 Right for You?
It may not look very different from its primary competitors, but you’ll notice a positive difference in its sound and playability. It’s reassuring to know that human hands built and controlled your guitar before it hit the store. This thing will last you a long time as you progress from beginner to expert. At a price like this, that’s hard to beat. Check it out here.
Seagull S6 John Holloway Rating: 5 out of 5