Godin Acousticaster

My blog has opened up new connections with Prince fans from all around. I’ve exchanged messages via email, Instagram, Twitter, and through comments submitted here too. People with varied interests and with plenty to contribute to my geeky fixation with Prince’s guitars. Very often I learn something new.

This week I was tagged on a Twitter post from Captain, one of the co-creators of the well known Peach and Black podcast. He was asking about an interesting green coloured guitar Prince was pictured on stage with sometime around 1993. It’s not a guitar I was familiar with at all – and I love a good mystery. But the answer wasn’t too tough to find – it’s a Godin Acousticaster. Godin Guitars themselves posted a tribute to Prince on 21st April 2016 with the very photo that Captain had shown interest in.

Godin Guitars were established in Quebec in 1972 by Robert Godin. Today Godin Guitars remain exclusively made in Canada and the US, using high quality Canadian wood. This is a rarity in modern times, almost all major guitar brands have factories in Asia or South America. While Godin was getting established they focussed on models that differentiated them from the classics. One of those models was the Acousticaster, which is an acoustic guitar masquerading as a Telecaster.

Acousticasters have hollow bodies, but no sound holes. Yet un-amplified they still produce a significant acoustic sound. The trickery is in how the guitar vibrates. Inside the cavity of the body are a set of tuned metal tines. These resonate in tune, enhancing the sound significantly. (photo from 440 Distribution’s Facebook page)

When amplified with the piezo pickup hidden in the bridge the guitar can produce either a classic amplified acoustic sound, or with some tweaking of the equaliser mounted on the body, a more jazzy electric sound.

I don’t have any details on how Prince came by his green Acousticaster, or what attracted him to it. He adorned it with one of the heart shaped mirrors that appear on the acoustics from the Lovesexy era, and what looks like a blanking plate to conceal the equalisers. I have only found two photographs with him playing this model on stage in the 90’s, and then it wasn’t seen again…until 2012.

Rock and Roll Love Affair

Prince (with Acousticaster) and Andy Allo (with Daisy Rock Heartbreaker) in the promotional video for Rock and Roll Love Affair – Nov

In November 2012 Prince released standalone single Rock and Roll Love Affair, and released an accompanying video through YouTube for the first time. The video was shot in the NPG Music Room at Paisley Park and features Prince playing a mysterious and distinctive new guitar, a Telecaster shape with a mirrored faceplate covering the body. Further inspection reveals the faceplate to have slots for equaliser sliders, just like the Godin Acousticaster.

Zooming in on the stills from the video, the green body of the ’90s Acousticaster can clearly be seen. It looks like the headstock has had a paint job, or perhaps it’s a new neck. Either way I think this is fundamentally the same guitar.

The Acousticaster is now an exhibit at Paisley Park. It really caught my eye under the lights in the soundstage during Celebration 2019 where it was on display along with the transparent drum kit and Prince’s outfit from the video. I have also seen it on display in the NPG Music Club room, where it really belongs.

Many thanks to Twitterers @captain_says and @ThePrinceArmy, and Prince.org user Kares.

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