MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Surprise gifts originating from the chilly North are waiting for students in Middle Tennessee State University's Audio Engineering Program after a couple of unexpected elves worked out a delivery in time for the holidays.
Waiting to accept — and try out — the tuneful gifts, which Godin makes from solely North American woods, was MTSU audio engineering instructor Eben Powell, who counts Godin guitars among his favorites and who's worked with Everett during their lengthy music-industry careers.
"It's about using my connections to help students stay current with the real world," said Powell, a 35-year audio professional and second-generation pro musician who earned both his undergrad and Master of Fine Arts in Recording Arts and Technologies degrees from MTSU before joining the department to teach in 2017.
"Giving students cutting-edge tools helps them to push their limits and perform at the highest levels."
The donation includes a Godin Multiac Nylon Deluxe hybrid, both a right- and left-handed A6 Ultra, a Session ST model, a 12-string A12 and an A4 Ultra fretless semi-acoustic bass.
The necks and bodies are made in Godin's La Patrie, Quebec, home facility, and the guitars are assembled in three Quebec sites and in Berlin, New Hampshire, from woods that include mahogany, Canadian Laurentian basswood, silver leaf maple, cedar and Sitka spruce.
The company, which owner Robert Godin founded in 1972 and is now run by his sons, Simon and Patrick, manufactures instruments under six brands: Seagull, Simon & Patrick, Norman, La Patrie, Art & Lutherie, and Godin.
The catalog ranges from acoustic and electric guitars and basses to an electro-acoustic oud, the stringed traditional instrument of the Middle East and northern Africa.
Artists using Godin instruments range from range from John McVie and Roger Waters to India Arie and Esperanza Spaulding.
One of the most distinctive features included on some Godin instruments is the onboard preamp with its MIDI-equipped polyphonic synthesizer pickups, allowing each string to be amplified separately. Others include piezo pickup-equipped bridges, which provide a different tone and avoid magnetic hums and feedback.
“I've been a Godin Artist for several years now as I love their instruments,” said Everett, whose career includes co-writing Josh Turner's triple-platinum-selling No. 1 single "Your Man" and writing and performing "Bad Things," the theme for the Emmy-winning HBO series "True Blood."
“Being able to connect with Eben and his incredible program is a privilege for both Godin and me. These instruments will be put to good use!"
MTSU students will be able to check out the guitars just as they do other equipment needed for their recordings in the College of Media and Entertainment's five studios. Those campus facilities include the newly opened "Main Street Studios" alongside the university's main entrance.
"I've played some nice guitars at Guitar Center once or twice, but not anything of this caliber," said Cole Arn of Plant City, Florida, a graduate student and grad assistant in the department's MFA degree program, who was in Studio B between semesters to work on a few projects.
He paused, then strummed the 12-string Godin again. Audio engineering instructor Clifton Hyde, a multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer who was intrigued by the possibility of playing one of Godin’s ouds, nodded at the tone.
"It feels really nice. Really good. I could’ve used this not long ago,” Arn recalled. “We just did some Melissa Etheridge the other day, ‘I’m the Only One,’ that needed it."
More donations are planned to expand equipment availability for students to enhance their studio time, Powell said.
“The best tools make creating easier,” he added.
Recording industry undergrad majors at MTSU can focus on audio production, the Commercial Songwriting Program or Music Business Program. The Master of Fine Arts in Recording Arts and Technologies degree prepares MTSU students for advanced work in audio production, recording and integrated electronic media.
For more information about the Department of Recording Industry in MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment, visit https://mtsu.edu/recording-industry.