Seagull Concert Hall
The Specs

Seagull Concert Hall

Nickname: Airneánach

Year: 2017
Builder: Seagull Guitars
Model: Coastline Momentum Concert Hall HG
Serial Number: 045372000002
Top: Solid Cedar
Body: Wild Cherry
Body Binding: Cream
Cutaway: none
Finish: High Gloss
Rosette: Herringbone
Bridge: Rosewood
Saddle: Tusq
Fretboard: Rosewood
Fretboard Binding: none
Fretboard Inlay: White Dots
Neck: Silverleaf Maple
Nut: Tusq
Headstock: Seagull Logo
Tuners: Chrome Gotoh
Pickup: Fishman Sonitone
Case: Seagull Gig Bag

Body Size/Shape: Concert Hall (OM)
Frets: 21
Frets to Body: 14
Scale Length: 25.5"
Nut Width: 1.8"
Body Length: 19.375"
Body Depth: 4"
Upper Bout: 11.192"
Waist: 8.921"
Lower Bout: 14.930"

Tuning: DADGAD or CGDGAD

The Story

When I resumed playing—after and extended hiatus—in April 2017, I wanted to find a budget-friendly guitar that met as many of my preferred criteria as possible. Ideally, I wanted a small-bodied guitar with a cedar top that featured a nut width of at least 1-3/4", and a scale length of 25-1/2" to handle the dropped tunings I use regularly.

The first guitar that came to mind in my price range was Seagull's Folk model. Back in the early-to-mid-2000's, I owned a Seagull Folk that served as my "couch" guitar so that I wouldn't have to pull out one of my expensive handbuilt guitars every time I wanted to play. Since I didn't need to worry as much about the Seagull, it was always at hand, and as a result, I probably used that guitar to write half of the songs I'd eventually record.

Looking at the specs I preferred, the only area where the Seagull Folk was less than ideal was the scale length; it features a shorter 24-3/4" scale, and while that had never caused any issues when playing in dropped tunings like DADGAD or CGCGCD, a longer scale length would have been ideal since it would mean that there would be more tension on the strings in those tunings.

However, when searching Seagull's website I discovered that they'd introduced a new body style since the last time I looked: the Concert Hall. Their Concert Hall model is very similar dimension-wise to the Folk (the body might be a bit shallower), but with square shoulders and perhaps a slightly tighter waist. So instead of looking like a classical guitar, it looks more like a Martin OM—which was a big plus for me. In addition, the Concert Hall also features the longer 25-1/2" scale length that I prefer.

Furthermore, I found that Seagull had released a new version of the Concert Hall at the NAMM trade show in January, and which was just now avaialble in stores. The "Coastline Momentum Concert Hall HG" further improved upon my old Coastline series Folk model by adding a high gloss finish, a redsigned pickguard (although as a fingerstyle player I've never paid much attention to pickguards anyway), and a Fishman Sonitone pickup, which gives me the option of plugging in should I ever need to amplify the guitar. And best of all, the guitar was still in my budget.

I honestly can't imagine finding a more perfect guitar—for me, of course—in this price range (just under $500). Not only does this Seagull Concert Hall check off most of the boxes on my preferred specs (higher ratio tuners would have been nice... but the stock ones are perfectly functional), but the quality and tone are amazing, too. These Coastline Momentum series guitars are a real winner for Seagull—easily one of the best bang-for-the-buck guitars on the market.

Since I now have two of these guitars—one to keep in DADGAD/CGDGAD tuning and one to keep in CGCGCD tuning—I wanted to have some way to mentally distinguish them from each other, apart from referring to them as "Concert Hall #1" and "Concert Hall #2." So, borrowing a tradition that I startedaround the time I recorded my Castlerea CD (when I owned four different cedar-topped Taylor guitars), I decided to give the Seagulls Irish nicknames.

So I've given the first Seagull—which will be used primarily for DADGAD and CGDGAD tunigs, and therefore get the lion's share of the playing time—the nickname Airneánach (pronounced something like "ar-NAWN-uck" with the ending consonant sound being very soft), which can be loosely translated as "Night Owl."

In Irish, airneánach refers to a person who enjoys "night wandering," specifically in reference to attending late-nate gatherings where people would congregate at someone's house for an evening of music and enertainment. I liked this musical connotation, and since I'm a bit of a night owl myself—the majority of my playing tends to be late at night—this seemd a rather fitting name for my primary guitar.