Bass of the Week: Godin Shifter

Godin Shifter BassAvailable in 4- and 5-string versions, the Godin Shifter bass is an interesting take on old school aesthetic. Its neck, headstock, and body will look familiar to many, but its pickup system is the real magic.

The Shifter has three soapbar, passive single coil alnico pickups with extra large magnets. Each pickup can be selected individually or used in combination to get a load of different tones. A five-way switch lets you select bridge, bridge and middle, middle, middle and neck, or neck and bridge pickups. A sixth option of isolating the neck pickup is had by pulling up on the tone knob itself.

Godin builds the Shifter with a Canadian Laurentian Basswood body and a rock maple neck with options for a maple or rosewood fingerboard. Hardware includes a large clover style machine heads and a double function bridge for back or front loading the strings. Finally, the bass comes in Trans Cream, Vintage Burst Flame, and Black high gloss finishes.

Godin Shifter Bass Photos:

Godin Shifter Bass Specs:

Strings:4 or 5
Body:Canadian Laurentian Basswood
Neck:Rock Maple
Fingerboard:Rosewood or Maple
Fingerboard Radius:16″
Nut Width:1.5″
Pickups:3x PAssive Single-Coil Alnico Pickups With Low-Pull X-Tra Large Magnets
Controls:5-way Pickup Selector, Volume, Tone (push/pull)
Tuners:Clover Style
Bridge:Double Function

For more, check out Godin’s website.

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Share your thoughts

  1. This may be one of the most under-rated basses out there. I love the neck, reminds me of an old Gibson SG. There is another version of this bass with standard Jazz P/U’s as well…

  2. I owned two of these… a 4 and a 5, with high hopes. Unfortunately, I found the build quality to be lacking (paint drips, fit and finish, etc). Tone, while versatile, was lacking too… sounded underwater to me. I had trouble reselling both in the sub $500 range even though they were mint. Not hatin, just sayin.

  3. Love mine! It has one problem though, the bridge isn’t grounded! (The back plate is if you choose through-body stringing. But I’m using flatwounds that want to be strung through-bridge.)

    No big deal, it was an easy matter to drill a little diagonal hole between the bridge pickup cavity and the corner bridge plate mounting screw hole and run a grounding wire through it. I also shielded the cavities with conductive adhesive copper tape as, while these pickups sound great, they’re giant hum antennas when not combined in one of the hum-cancelling combinations (Bridge-Mid and Neck-Mid). The shielding helped a bit, but if you need totally silent then only those two positions are going to work for you.

    If I could change one thing about it, it would be to put the reverse-wound/reverse-polarity pickup in the bridge position instead of the middle. Then my 2 favorite positions would hum-cancel (Bridge-Mid and Bridge-Neck). The pickups are each slightly different dimensions though, to match the pole pieces to the spacing of the strings, so swapping them wasn’t possible.

    But that’s just nitpicking. This is a LOT of bass for the price, and very well made. It’s at least as well made as any Fender American Standard bass. Better, I think. (The neck finish is FAST FAST FAST!) And from a distance it looks just like an early P-bass, with the same body shape and Tele-style headstock.

  4. I spent a good amount of time checking out a demo of one of these in Austin a few years back. I thought the build was great, the neck was excellent, and the tonal variations were damn near unlimited. You really couldn’t go wrong with one of these for $500 used.

  5. That bridge pup just looks pissed.