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Travel guitars?

Old 01-25-21, 12:03 PM
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Sluggo
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Travel guitars?

Does anyone travel with a guitar? I am seriously considering purchasing a KLOS CF guitar with detatchable neck. I think it can go on top of the rear rack.

There are a lot of other compact travel guitar options out there. Does anyone have any experience to share?
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Old 01-25-21, 01:24 PM
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I have no clue about guitars, but here's some old threads to read if interested
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Old 01-25-21, 01:51 PM
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I always have a guitar with me on tour. Originally I carried a full size classical guitar in a hard case, but nowadays have a 3/4 size in a gig-bag.

Travel guitars are "expendables" for me. Due to flying restrictions it is often cheaper to buy a $100 dollar guitar at destination and give it away at the end of the trip rather than pay for extra sport baggage. My "go-to" guitars are Yamaha C40 and C40S.

IF I was to buy a dedicated "travel guitar" I would have a long look at carbon fibre Journey Instruments: https://journeyinstruments.com/ but I'll probably carry on leaving guitars in different parts of the world - sometimes to find them still there when I go back

Sunlight and heat are the main enemies of wooden guitars. What kills them is the glue holding the bridge on which gradually melts, then the bridge becomes unattached in time.
Salty air by the sea corrodes steel strings really quickly, and capos can be hard to find in some parts of the world.



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Old 01-25-21, 01:57 PM
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I do sometimes carry my ukulele. I got something cheap years ago that if it does get destroyed I won't be too broken up. Then again I have had it for a long time at this point so maybe I would be a little.
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Old 01-25-21, 02:43 PM
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I was ALSO going to suggest a ukulele. I have a pocket sopranino that fits right in my pannier. It's NOT a chick magnet, if that's what you're looking for, but it will let you make music while you're out there.
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Old 01-25-21, 04:42 PM
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I have camped with a uke but never a full size guitar. Not bike touring, but canoe. Guitars, esp. acoustic, are quite bulky.

I was thinking about getting a 'backpacker' guitar like this: https://www.martinguitar.com/guitars/backpacker/
I recall seeing some cheaper Chinese knockoffs on the internet, too, although the Martin is not too dear.
Then an interesting older classical guitar came along and I blew all my guitar money on that.

Another option is finding an old solid body electric, and modifying the body to it's absolute minimum size so you basically only have a neck and the part of the body that holds the pickups to carry. You could probably cut off the part of the body that houses the dials and switches, and build those into a little box carried alongside, or just hard wire a single pickup to the jack, and use some type of miniature amp.

I have seen the collapsible guitars, and while they seem like a good idea I would expect keeping it in tune would be a PITA after reassembly. Either spend an hour reassembling and tuning, or spend that hour strumming a ukulele. Also, I would expect a lot of folks at campsites aren't going to be super stoked about the volume of a full size guitar, esp. at night.
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Old 01-25-21, 05:36 PM
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mtnbud, thanks for the search. There are some good perspectives in the relevant threads. I have not had good luck with the search function in the past -- I should have more faith.

I do not feel confident strapping a full-size guitar to my rig like you do, imi. I had eliminated the Journey guitar as a possibility because of the cost, but I took another look and their appeal is growing. Compared to the KLOS, the Journey packs a little bigger (I think), is about a pound heavier, and significantly more expensive ($1300 vs. $750). But the reviews says the neck removal process is easier and quicker, and it has a cutout. With the Journey, I would be paying for electronics that I would never use. Still pondering.

The Martin Backpacker is not really a solution because it is still awkwardly long. If you put it on your rear rack you need a red flag on it because it hangs so far off the back. Many people do not like the playing experience. And it has all the temperature and moisture limitations of a wood guitar.

There are several commercial options similar to ClydeClydeson's thoughts about cutting down an electric guitar so that it basically just neck. At least one of these tucks the head inside what would otherwise be body to reduce the overall length. Does anyone out there have any experience with these?

I have nothing against the ukelele, but I don't want to learn to play one at this point in my life, no matter how convenient. And please don't suggest a harmonica.
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Old 01-26-21, 12:07 AM
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I would definitely try a travel guitar before buying one, to be sure I was happy with the sound.

As to campsites, I donít play guitar in them, just wander off somewhere outside out of earshot.

A hard case standing on its side makes a great wind-break for cooking, and as a low table for an exclusive dining experience 😊
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Old 01-26-21, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by ClydeClydeson View Post

....... Also, I would expect a lot of folks at campsites aren't going to be super stoked about the volume of a full size guitar, esp. at night.
[/QUOTE]

Originally Posted by imi View Post
I would definitely try a travel guitar before buying one, to be sure I was happy with the sound.

As to campsites, I donít play guitar in them, just wander off somewhere outside out of earshot.

.....
On several recent camping trips, there has been loud recorded music or radio in nearby camping spaces until quiet time. I don't think I could be worse than that, especially since both the KLOS and the Journey are parlor-size and therefore not as loud as a full-sized guitar (although CF reportedly makes up some of the volume). And I am not a loud player, anyway. Most likely, I would follow imi's approach and wander off.

The last time I was out camping, the people in the adjacent spot were singing and playing quite late. I would have been extremey irritated except that they were quite good (not an advantage I have).

Playing a guitar before purchase is certainly ideal, but the KLOS dealer network is very limited and there are none anywhere close. There are Journey dealers about three hours away by car (or two long days by bike). I don't think this is a trip I will make until I get the second shot of vaccine.
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Old 01-26-21, 10:31 AM
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I know it can be annoying when someone is trying to convince you of something that you made clear you were not interested in, but...

Originally Posted by Sluggo View Post
I have nothing against the ukelele, but I don't want to learn to play one at this point in my life,
IT has it's own sound, quite different from a six string, but a ukulele is 100% compatible with guitar playing skills you already have. THe standard tuning on a uke (tenor? Whatever are the most common) is basically identical to the four highest strings on a guitar, so any chord you can make on the D-G-B-E strings will also make a chord on a uke (G-C-E-A) but five semitones higher - If you are making a D chord shape you get a G major, etc. Finger picking and strumming and whatever else techniques you know are all useful on a uke too.

All that plus they cost $50 and fit in your panniers.
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Old 01-26-21, 10:37 AM
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Something in between, a guitalele. They're tuned to A, so like having a capo on the 5th fret

https://usa.yamaha.com/products/musi.../gl/index.html

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Old 01-27-21, 07:48 AM
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It is a hard choice to carry a guitar or a ukulele. i now have a carbon fiber travel guitar and a carbon fiber ukulele and by all means, especially compared to a wooden instrument they appear indestructible but I still find it hard to believe that repeated vibration on the road, especially if not paved, will not damage the instrument. Alas, I always dream of bringing an instrument with me on a tour - and I NEVER do! :-(

On the other hand it is sometimes difficult to match biking athletes with musically inclined people who like to sing or play. We're out there but there is also a great wall of others who roll eyes when an instrument is procured and who have a talent to immediately start talking when music is played instead of joining in singing, playing etc ... i have many great friends who are like that and You can't blame them. Musical ear eludes some of us.

I do however have a group of friends (unfortunately mostly on another continent) who on trips immediately start participating and then you got a magic happening. Music. People singing and playing and just listening. Sigh. :-)

in the off season I purchased another carrying options for a guitar that I have not tested yet. I plan to test it hopefully this year.
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Old 01-27-21, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by ClydeClydeson View Post
I know it can be annoying when someone is trying to convince you of something that you made clear you were not interested in, but...



IT has it's own sound, quite different from a six string, but a ukulele is 100% compatible with guitar playing skills you already have. THe standard tuning on a uke (tenor? Whatever are the most common) is basically identical to the four highest strings on a guitar, so any chord you can make on the D-G-B-E strings will also make a chord on a uke (G-C-E-A) but five semitones higher - If you are making a D chord shape you get a G major, etc. Finger picking and strumming and whatever else techniques you know are all useful on a uke too.

All that plus they cost $50 and fit in your panniers.
A baritone ukulele is tuned the same as the top 4 strings on a guitar D-G-B-E. You can get a set of all-nylon strings to avoid string corrosion problems, too. Larger than a tenor ukulele, smaller than a guitar, and the sound is a little deeper and richer than the tenor uke, though not as full as a guitar.
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Old 01-27-21, 01:23 PM
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I wouldnít like the worry of damaging a wooden instrument to put anyone off taking one along. Iíve had guitars that have lasted for many years on the road.

Donít leave it in direct sunlight or in a closed case in a tent in hot weather and itíll be fine. ĒFast-fretsĒ lubricant or such like will help strings, but corrosion is mostly a problem when hanging out near the sea for months. Just bring some spare strings.
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Old 01-28-21, 11:14 AM
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With your indulgence, please allow me to provide some background as to why I am resisting the idea of a uke.

I retired last spring with the intention of doing a Transam trip but Covid intervened. I am old enough with enough medical history that the virus concerns me a great deal (though not old or sick enough to be prioritized for vaccine).

So what I have done instead of bike travel is play guitar. I have been playing on and off for 50 years, but every time I have reached a certain mediocre level of technical ability, life intervened; the next time I picked it up, I would need to start nearly from scratch. Retirement and isolation have provided an opportunity to make some real progress in technique and knowledge and I don’t want to compromise that momentum with different pitching, fewer strings, and/or different fret spacing. If I were 24 and interested in learning to play a variety of instruments, I would be happy with the compromise, but I would like to stay focused, at least for now. With any luck vaccine-wise, I will be able to do the Transam this year, or at least a major trip later in the summer, and I want to keep playing.

PedalingWalrus, can you be more specifice about your recently purchased guitar-carrying option?
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Old 01-28-21, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Sluggo View Post
With your indulgence, please allow me to provide some background as to why I am resisting the idea of a uke.

I retired last spring with the intention of doing a Transam trip but Covid intervened. I am old enough with enough medical history that the virus concerns me a great deal (though not old or sick enough to be prioritized for vaccine).

So what I have done instead of bike travel is play guitar. I have been playing on and off for 50 years, but every time I have reached a certain mediocre level of technical ability, life intervened; the next time I picked it up, I would need to start nearly from scratch. Retirement and isolation have provided an opportunity to make some real progress in technique and knowledge and I don’t want to compromise that momentum with different pitching, fewer strings, and/or different fret spacing. If I were 24 and interested in learning to play a variety of instruments, I would be happy with the compromise, but I would like to stay focused, at least for now. With any luck vaccine-wise, I will be able to do the Transam this year, or at least a major trip later in the summer, and I want to keep playing.

PedalingWalrus, can you be more specifice about your recently purchased guitar-carrying option?
A guitarlele comes pretty close to meeting all of those requirements in a smallish package and they can be found for pretty cheap. If you can't live with that, I'd just take a guitar that I could afford to replace if it got broken badly. Maybe something in the $200-300 range. Or if your budget is very tight and you aren't fussy there are some really inexpensive choices.
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Old 01-29-21, 09:56 AM
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The guitaralele is a viable option, but it is pitched differently (tuned up a fourth) and has a shorter scale length, therefore closer fret spacing, and it is still longer than I would like.

I guess the point is that I am fussy and maybe want more than is practical. But is seems like the removable-neck CF guitars give me everything I want and I was hoping to hear from someone with personal experience with them. If I pull the trigger on one, I will report back.
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Old 01-29-21, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Sluggo View Post
If I pull the trigger on one, I will report back.
Please do! I have still to play a cf travel guitar, but am curious. Pics of how you carry it on your bike would be appreciated as well

Just a sidenote about guitaleles. A friend bought one so his young children could start learning. Iíve played it a few times but would not consider it as a replacement for a 4/4 or 3/4 guitar. I adapt very quickly to the difference between those scales though (in the same way as switching between classical, acoustic and electric).

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Old 01-29-21, 10:55 AM
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Who needs a guitar

Who needs a guitar :
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Old 01-29-21, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Sluggo View Post
The Martin Backpacker is not really a solution because it is still awkwardly long. If you put it on your rear rack you need a red flag on it because it hangs so far off the back. Many people do not like the playing experience. And it has all the temperature and moisture limitations of a wood guitar.
I have a Martin Backpacker, and while your observations have merit it does have some big benefits. It is 36" long which does mean you need to stick it out the back (not so far as to need a red flag) or mount vertically on the side, but it is very slim so you do not have to deal with the bulky volume and wind resistance of a folding guitar. I think it would be easier to damage a larger guitar in a spill, should that happen. It fits very well inside readily available kayak tapered dry bags so it is easy to waterproof. I have taken it on many canoe trips. When flying it is easy to carry and fit in overhead bins without taking up hardly any space. I have had people ask if I am carrying squash racquets.
I live in a dry climate in Alberta and have taken it to Alaska, Costa Rica, and Hawaii and multiple river paddling trips and have not had any temperature or moisture issues, although I don't play it in the rain. I also find that for it size it has good projection and sound.
The playing experience is different and it took some getting used too at first. As I only play it when I am traveling I do need to play for a little to get used to it again if it has been awhile, but once I am comfortable again I forget about it. This to me is it's only real downfall and I much prefer playing a full size guitar, but if I had to bring a bulkier 3/4 sized or folding guitar on some of these trips I would find it to be a hassle and would likely not bring one at all to many places I have taken the backpacker.
I have not taken it on a bike trip yet but plan to this coming summer, so I will see if my opinion changes.
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Old 02-03-21, 11:21 PM
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Playing Journey on a guitar named Journey on your bike journey...

I wonder if thereís a more compact but full length option thatís quieter... like a smaller body?

I almost bought my wife an electric ukulele for Christmas. Fender Billie Eilish edition! I decided while it would be a hit on the giving it would be kind of silly to own. She has a ukulele to play on camping trips. But not that often and no other time.
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Old 02-04-21, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Sluggo View Post
With your indulgence, please allow me to provide some background as to why I am resisting the idea of a uke.
....and I don’t want to compromise that momentum with different pitching, fewer strings, and/or different fret spacing.
Fair enough. I know exactly what you mean because I played guitar as a kid before switching to drums. When I decided, in my forties, that I wanted to play a stringed instrument again, I picked up a uke and got pretty adept at it. Put a guitar in my hands now, though, and I can't even put three chords together in a convincing manner.

Good luck. I guess you're not planning on taking your guitar much farther than a local park? That should make transportation a little easier.
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Old 02-10-21, 02:21 AM
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The main issue with the backpacker type acoustic guitars is that they sound WORSE than the new el-cheapo Acoustics that are playable but not rugged and durable.
Even Martin's backpacker sounds poor though it is reasonably well made for what it is. You just cannot get something (acoustic) that sounds decent enough with such a limited size body...........well it isn't so much a limited size body because it really isn't a proper body but more like a cigar box....

As mentioned already by others, the road shock and bumps, not to mention excessive heat will assist in the destruction of an acoustic guitar almost as fast as Peter Townshend was able to destroy a Gibson SG during the end of My Generation finale of their shows during 1967-1969. Pete broke all kinds of electric guitars that would be extremely valuable today. It is reported that he was able to snap in two, the SG, the fastest because its set neck has less "meat" than say other set necks or bolt on like Fenders. Pete didn't discriminate as he broke nearly every model electric, as the Who Concert File book even reports on the exact color and model guitar broken if photos and newspaper reports documented it.

Typically, the only really good acoustic guitars in the sub $600 price range are made by YAMAHA. This is my professional opinion. There are no exceptions as nothing exceeds a YAMAHA at any price point under about $1000. You can obtain a good sounding new YAMAHA for less than $200. You're likely to find that most others in the under $200 price range will not be as predictable. The others might sound okay, and one outta fifteen might sound nearly as good as the Yamaha bare bones entry model. Having said that, the "TRASH" acoustic guitars that are currently coming out of Chinese factories today are better than the affordable American made acoustics of the 1950's and 1960's that intermediate players & beginners developed their skills on at that time. The necks and fretwork are better and the action outta of the box is playable, and machine heads, the intonation and overall sound is better. What is bad is that the fret ends will probably be razor sharp, needing slight sanding, and you'll likely need to remove the saddle and with a sanding block or flat file, will need to remove some material to Lower the action a little bit but pay close attention to the limitations of what is prudent because you want the guitar to be playable across all the frets and you do not want fret buzz. These "TRASH" acoustics don't sound horrible, as they do sound better than any travel guitar but their body construction is somewhat fragile and you'll have the inner braces become unglued or cracked and the bridge might lift or become totally unglued if really banged around in the intense heat of Summertime outdoors and prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. ......................STILL YOU CAN FIND new $60 "DISPOSABLE ACOUSTICS" that will be playable and sound okay...........indoors in even an un-airconditioned home where temps might range from say 59F to 85F, these "DISPOSABLE ACOUSTICS" should last for a minimum of five years, but strapped to a bicycle even with heavy padding could reduce that to as little as Day(s), or a Week if road bumping begins to destroy it.
-----------Go to the bay and search: guitar
You'll see the el-cheapo acoustic offerings from Musicians Friend there, the very junky ROGUE RA-090 for $56.99 and the junkpile Rogue RD-80 for $59.99. There is another similar Rogue model called the RD-100 which is junk too that might be about the same or perhaps more durable but around the same price. All will be playable and will be somewhat lacking in low end but with decent strings and sanding the sharp fret ends and perhaps lowering the saddle by sanding/filing, they aren't horrible if the new guitar arrives to yourdoorstep without a cracked or warped neck, or damaged body.
There are massive ebay sellers with bay names like mulchoice, city-green, millionshare, yallstore ..........that sell a huge number of playable junky acoustics which are sometimes better than the ROGUE cheapies, but don't expect anything better or worse. See 174602156110 , a Glarry branded acoustic for $49.99........there are other models from Glarry, all are junky like the Rogues but playable until they destruct or the bridge lifts off. This assumes you get one that has no issues upon arrival!
The machine heads (tuners) are adequate and are better than one would expect. There also exists a relatively new el-cheepo Ovation-IMITATION at the sub $70 price point see # 133493119848 and 174602159669 . There is also another salad bowl plastic back, see 174621585027.

IF YOU'RE LUCKY, PERHAPS you can locate an old FG-75 YAMAHA acoustic from the seventies.......why this model? the body is a very small parlor like guitar body, yet it sounds nice (not too much volume though..) and a 25" scale which all Yamaha FG series had until about 1994 or so. The FG-75 was made and sold in the early 1970's and I think it was discontinued after the mid seventies. The problem is locating one today. Nobody wants to get rid of these unless age has caused the action to rise such that its unplayable without a neck reset. The FG-75 has basic low quality open tuners but every thing else is on par with the quality of todays $400 instruments. Its very small size body might survive if packed and protected. Yamaha made a superb laminate top guitar and the woods used for the sides back and neck were first rate on this base model back in the seventies. TODAY, you can't find such a small bodied acoustic of the same quality for less than maybe a grand.
The smallest available bodied YAMAHA today is in the FS series, the FS-800 which is the same size approximately as the FG-150 (of 1969-1972), and the FG-170(of 1973-1974)and the FG-331(of late seventies).....in about 1981, this became the SJ-___ series until they later on revived this as FS-___ series. ALL have a 25 inch scale. Those are the smallest bodies of YAMAHA. Other FG series from seventies, eighties, until approximately 1994 have typically the standard yamaha size body and 25 inch scale and laminate tops with a few exceptions. In around 1994 the bodies of the were widened by about 5mm and a longer 25 1/2 scale length was adopted for the FG series. The F series came into being as the low end laminate top with the 25 inch scale length.........somewhat similar in body size to some of the most popular FG guitars of the seventies except that the seventies era and early eighties FG series featured top quality woods at the base models where the F series does not, now or then during the nineties. If you can find a used basic laminate FG or F series for less than $100 and don't mind subjecting it to getting beat up, that should provide your best sounding acoustic, given that should you subject any solid-top acoustic to road travels by bicycle and your solid-top quality guitar will be sounding as bad or worse than a $50 chinese cheapie........worse means it will get broken and become unplayable.......plywood top(laminate) can better survive the rigors of outdoors and road shock/bumps and temperature-humidity changes. ....No reason to expose a great expensive guitar to possible destruction!

There is yet another, possibly practical avenue of guitar travels. There are $56 stratocaster copies that are pretty decent. They are lightweight because the bodies are thinner and slightly smaller. They have pretty good necks which are baseball bat chunky in shape. The fretwork is pretty good and uniform, though you likely will encounter sharp fret ends that need sanding. The necks are completely without any finish.......bare wood like a baseball bat. Some are all maple with maple fretboard and some are maple necks with rosewood fretboard. The body paint/finish is really good, as is the fitment gaps on the bolt on neck joint. These would be phenomenal guitars at 3x the price. $55.98 rosewood fretboard strat copy #371894901022..................all maple neck strat copy #373196990664 also see #373271209025 for $69.99 tele copy and #313189523745 for a semi hollow tele with humbucker in neck position.................unbelievably good for 3x the price, and you can imagine the possibilities if you are a decent guitar player and you know something about set-up and modifications. I could tell you a whole lot more but that should get you started. Don't worry those are the typical selling price throughout the year, price only goes up sometimes during the summer and goes down and up slightly between Sept and early Nov before going on back down for Black Friday thanksgiving season.....you get the picture....
Oh, up until late 2018 the headstock shape mimmicked the fender cutout shape on the strat copies but since then the headstock cut is just as you see there. These are good playing instruments which have decent sounding pickups. Unbelievable, that they are available for $55. You can find LEFT handed versions of both the strat copy with rosewood fretboard for approx $85 -$90 from some of these sellers too......ditto on the LEFT handed tele copy for about $88 but be forewarned that neither the Right handed or Left Handed tele copies had been available until 2020 or late 2019, and there wasn't much supply of those.......it appears the chinese factories are producing more of the t-copies. I hope this helps. As for battery powered amps, VOX made a decent one about a dozen years ago, but it isn't small.....you could get a tiny HONEYTONE which retails for about $25.......It isn't too good but it is tiny and battery powered..............You can also build a punch amp or the smokey cigarette amp but they don't give a decent clean tone......there are plenty of other batttery amps from the 1970's pignose to who knows what....you'll figure it out if you look at all the possibilities...............heck you can practice on the strat copy without an amp.............but you can find or build something useful as a small battery amp.
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Old 02-10-21, 05:13 AM
  #24  
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I have the Blackbird carbon ukulele and also the guitar they call Rider - they do not make this model anymore I think. Great intonation and sound, especially for a travel guitar.

https://www.smule.com/recording/vlad...ZlIwLXh9Cqkj1I




Originally Posted by Sluggo View Post
With your indulgence, please allow me to provide some background as to why I am resisting the idea of a uke.

I retired last spring with the intention of doing a Transam trip but Covid intervened. I am old enough with enough medical history that the virus concerns me a great deal (though not old or sick enough to be prioritized for vaccine).

So what I have done instead of bike travel is play guitar. I have been playing on and off for 50 years, but every time I have reached a certain mediocre level of technical ability, life intervened; the next time I picked it up, I would need to start nearly from scratch. Retirement and isolation have provided an opportunity to make some real progress in technique and knowledge and I donít want to compromise that momentum with different pitching, fewer strings, and/or different fret spacing. If I were 24 and interested in learning to play a variety of instruments, I would be happy with the compromise, but I would like to stay focused, at least for now. With any luck vaccine-wise, I will be able to do the Transam this year, or at least a major trip later in the summer, and I want to keep playing.

PedalingWalrus, can you be more specifice about your recently purchased guitar-carrying option?
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Old 02-11-21, 10:26 AM
  #25  
imi
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@Vintage Schwinn: That was quite a post! 🍻

I definitely agree with Yamahas being great budget guitars and are my go to until somewhere around the $350 mark after which I buy spanish (classical) guitars, and Sigma on the acoustic side.

I wouldnít consider electric, funny shaped or expensive travel guitars, as I find my guitars often get passed around campfires and even lent to other people, so I donít worry about my $100 ones.

You donít have to treat them like Pete Townsend does though. Iíve never understood the smashing guitar thing. Seen Blackmore et al do it and it just reminds me of being 12-years old and dreaming of a white strat 😢
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