The world of classical guitar offers a vast array of choices, from affordable entry-level instruments to high-end, handcrafted masterpieces. In this review, we delve into the La Patrie Etude, a classical guitar that has earned a reputation for its craftsmanship, sound quality, and playability. As we explore the finer details of this instrument, you’ll discover why the La Patrie Etude is a true gem for discerning players.
La Patrie, a subsidiary of Godin Guitars, has consistently demonstrated exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail in their instruments. The La Patrie Etude is no exception. It features a solid cedar top, a choice that is highly regarded for its ability to produce a warm and resonant sound. The top is beautifully bookmatched, and the overall build quality is top-notch.
One unique aspect of the La Patrie Etude is its back and sides, crafted from wild cherry. This choice sets it apart from many classical guitars that commonly use mahogany or rosewood. The wild cherry contributes to the guitar’s distinct tonal character and adds a touch of elegance to its design.
The semi-gloss custom-polished finish gives the Etude a refined appearance, while the subtle rosette design and the inlaid headstock logo add a touch of understated sophistication.
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The La Patrie Etude boasts exceptional playability, making it a standout choice for classical guitarists of all levels. The mahogany neck is incredibly comfortable, with a smooth finish and a well-rounded profile. The 650mm (25.6-inch) scale length provides ample spacing for fingerstyle playing, making it comfortable for both chord work and intricate solo pieces.
With a nut width of 51.4mm (2.02 inches), the Etude strikes a balance between playability and comfort. This width accommodates various playing styles, ensuring that even players with smaller hands can navigate the fretboard with ease.
Tone and Sound Quality
The La Patrie Etude shines in the realm of sound quality. The solid cedar top, coupled with the unique wild cherry back and sides, produces a tone that’s clear, warm, and balanced. The cedar lends its renowned warmth and responsiveness, while the wild cherry imparts a crisp and articulate character to the sound.
The Etude features a cross-lap bracing pattern that further enhances the guitar’s projection and resonance. This design choice contributes to the guitar’s expressive and full-bodied sound, making it suitable for both solo and ensemble performances. The notes produced by this instrument are rich, vibrant, and sustained, which is essential for capturing the nuances of classical compositions.
The Savarez Cristal Corum High Tension strings included with the Etude offer a clear and consistent tonal response, which is essential for classical guitarists who demand precision and clarity in their playing.
The La Patrie Etude is primarily designed for classical and fingerstyle playing and excels in these genres. Its rich, warm tonal character is ideal for classical compositions, allowing players to express the depth and emotion of their music. The guitar’s responsiveness and projection make it an excellent choice for solo performances in small to medium-sized venues.
While the Etude is primarily focused on classical styles, it is versatile enough to explore other genres, such as folk or light jazz. Its balanced tone and impressive sustain provide a foundation for experimenting with different musical styles.
The guitar’s volume and projection are adequate for smaller venues, but it may not offer the same level of projection as more expensive, high-end classical guitars. For larger stages and orchestral settings, players might need to amplify the guitar for optimal results.
Hardware and Tuning Stability
The La Patrie Etude comes equipped with La Patrie tuners with pearloid buttons. These tuners are functional and maintain tuning stability well, but some players may prefer higher-end tuning machines for finer tuning control.
The bone nut and saddle, along with the Savarez Cristal Corum strings, contribute to the guitar’s impressive tuning stability and overall sound quality. The nut and saddle materials promote resonance and enhance the transfer of vibrations from the strings to the soundboard.
- Body Style: Classical
- Top: Solid Cedar
- Back & Sides: Wild Cherry
- Neck: Mahogany
- Fingerboard: Rosewood
- Scale Length: 650mm (25.6 inches)
- Nut Width: 51.4mm (2.02 inches)
- Finish: Semi-Gloss Custom Polished Finish
- Bracing: Cross-lap Bracing Pattern
- Tuners: La Patrie with Pearloid Buttons
- Strings: Savarez Cristal Corum High Tension 500CJ
Price Range: Typically around $399 to $499
In conclusion, the La Patrie Etude is a hidden gem in the world of classical guitars, offering exceptional craftsmanship, playability, and sound quality at a moderate price point. La Patrie’s dedication to detail is evident in every aspect of the guitar’s construction, from the solid cedar top to the unique wild cherry back and sides.
The Etude’s playability is top-notch, making it accessible to both beginners and experienced players. Its comfortable neck, balanced scale length, and versatile nut width make it a joy to play for extended periods, whether you’re practicing, performing, or recording.
The highlight of the La Patrie Etude is its impressive sound quality. The combination of the solid cedar top and wild cherry back and sides creates a tone that is clear, warm, and well-balanced. The cross-lap bracing pattern enhances the guitar’s projection and resonance, making it suitable for a wide range of classical compositions.
While the Etude excels in classical and fingerstyle playing, its versatility allows players to explore various musical styles. It may not have the volume and projection of high-end classical guitars, but it is more than capable of delivering a remarkable musical experience.
Overall, the La Patrie Etude is a reliable choice for discerning classical guitarists seeking a high-quality instrument without the premium price tag. Whether you’re a beginner embarking on your musical journey or an experienced player looking for an instrument that truly inspires your creativity, the La Patrie Etude is a guitar that won’t disappoint. Transparency disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that I may earn a commission if you click on a link and make a purchase. This commission comes at no extra cost to you. We only recommend products and services that I believe are helpful and valuable, and we never let the potential for a commission influence our recommendations.