Friday, April 1, 2011

The ideal boat guitar

Tho guitars are not heavy, they are awkward, and on a boat, it is usually difficult to find a good home for one.

Steve, one of the guys in my guitar class (you knew I've been taking lessons for years, didn't you?) has been showing up at class with the perfect boat guitar - a Voyage-Air folding guitar.

This thing is amazing.  Folded and in its soft case, it occupies about the same space as one of those bags designed to just fit in an airplane overhead compartment - as a matter of fact it will fit in an airplane overhead compartment.  To ready it for play, you just fold the neck back and tighten the thumbscrew.  And amazingly, Steve usually has to do very little tuning - certainly no more than I do when getting ready for class, and the ubiquitous electronic tuner (when, oh when, are they going to become standard built-ins?) makes this a trivial task.

Model VAOM-02,
from their website
And aside from the storage advantage, it has another.  Because of the mechanical aspects of the instrument design, the strings slowly but surely distort the guitar, pulling the neck up, as the wood inevitably yields to the load imposed by the relentless pull of the strings.  But since the Voyage-Air is only under tension when it is actually being played, "neck dive" should be essentially non-existent.


Finally, a rarity in the musical instrument world, the Voyage-Air is not expensive.  And from personal experience I can tell you that it sounds good - certainly better than my old Hohner.
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