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New Travel Toy


 Ande
(@ande)
Honorable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 659
Topic starter  

It was going to be a uke, but all the ones I could find were toys, or just silly expensive. So my wife got me this cool new travel guitar.

It's a Segovia, which is very similar looking to the washburn Rover- I've heard they're from the same factory, but can't verify. Sure looks the same, though. Came with a very durable padded semi-soft case. (Not a hard case, but I wouldn't worry if I dropped it down the stairs.) Weighs approximately...nothing, I guess. Nothing you'd notice, anyway.

I really recommend this thing- I've had it with me for the last week and a half of backpacking around beaches and temples in South Korea. Light enough that you can carry it with you to the beach, the cafe, hiking around a Budhist templeground, and just pull it out to play whenever you see an appealing tree to sit under. Cheap enough (around $130, US) that I don't worry about it on the road. This is cool, cause next week, we're off to Myanmar.

A lot better tone than I expected for so small an instrument. Solid spruce top. And it's louder than I would have thought. Takes a different touch than I'm used to though- small size and short scale makes it a little buzzy (low string tension) and it takes a light touch or it buzzes. And of course, it makes your fingers feel slightly too big. But when you get used to it, it has a nice bright sound for humming and strumming, and is plenty good enough and loud enough for a campfire singalong.

Two notes for anyone getting one or something similar- check the nut. THe nut on this one was a mess: it was way too high (probably from the factory) and rather than fix it properly, the shop had just cut the grooves deeper- strings were at the bottom of deep grooves when I got it. The guy at the shop would give me a different one, but wouldn't fix this one- I took it home and filed it myself cause I liked the sound of this one best.

Two- made in a wet climate, I guess- it had TWO little silica gel (do not eat, dessicant, like are always in the box when you buy shoes) packages inside the guitar itself when I bought it. Obviously, those should have been removed, tone much improved when I shook them out. If you find one that sounds rattly, check for these before you write it off.

All in all, though, a great toy for a journey. I'd call it a 9 out of ten for design, a 7 out of ten for sound (but remember, it's a travel guitar), and a 5 for finish (the nut and general "take it home and tweak it yourself" didn't sell me). Great value for the price, though, and with the nut fixed, I'm delighted to have it.

Best,
Ande


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(@lue42)
Reputable Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 356
 

Great review.

I have a Washburn Rover and would recommend it in an instant to anyone. If your guitar is like the Rover... it would be a great guitar to buy.

The sound is not the greatest... but what can you expect from a guitar with a body that size.

BUT... as far as playability... it is the nicest of all of my guitars to play. The neck width is a little bigger than a standard acoustic and the action is amazing.

It fits perfect for those times when I want to sit back on the couch, or on the patio and play.. it is so small that it works in a any position.

My Fingerstyle Guitar Blog:
http://fsguitar.wordpress.com

My Guitars
Ibanez Artwood AWS1000ECE-NT
Schecter S-1 30th Anniversary Edition
Ovation CS257
LaPatrie Etude
Washburn Rover RO10


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 Nuno
(@nuno)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 3998
 

Enjoy! :D


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(@staffan)
Estimable Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 125
 

I went and bought something called a "guitalele" this summer, to take with me when I traveled to Italy. It´s basically a ukelele (body-wise) but with six strings (that´s where the "guita-" comes from :P ). Think it was a Yamaha and it was small allright, and light, but not that good sound-wise. It was tuned to "A" on the sixth string, but with the same intervals between strings as a normal guitar. In theory you could re-tune it to "E", but that would make the strings a bit too loose to play properly.

The thing cost about $80 so it wasn´t too expensive, and I guess it did the trick after all. But the one you reviewed above sounds much nicer!

/S

AAAFNRAA
- Electric Don Quixote -


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(@blue-jay)
Noble Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 1638
 

It looks like a very handy little guitar! Interesting story too with a personal touch & seems like a good deal in the end. 8)

Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.


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(@kroikey)
Estimable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 232
 

I'm so envious of you visiting all those beautiful temples, its a dream to view the Angkor Wat complex.
Do you like the Buddhist or Hindu belief system?

I grew up in the UK with a very loose Christian background, but it was just a placeholder really. After studying the different religious systems for a while, I find myself more inclined to Eastern belief systems. They're much less damning :)

Nice guitar though! I bought myself a Baby Taylor while I was in Las Vegas for a fortnight. I lost a fortune playing cash poker the first week, then bought that guitar and began winning in every tournament I played. I came back with the same £3000 I started with, and must have blown 10k lol. Shame I lost £1000 changing money both ways :(


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 Ande
(@ande)
Honorable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 659
Topic starter  

You know what they say- what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. (And whatever happens in Vegas, your money is gonna stay in Vegas, one way or another!)

I played a baby Taylor a couple of years ago at a music store in Chicago, and they're probably the best small guitars in the world. Still big enough to be a pain while flying, though. (And if something happens to a baby taylor, you're gonna feel bad.)

"Woody" (yeah, somehow the guitar got named- I blame my wife)is sort of a compromise- small enough to carry, cheap enough not to worry about too much.

Which is cool, cause in the...let's see...one month since I got Woody, we're in a our third country. (Thailand now; Spent a couple of weeks vacationing in Korea, hopped over to Japan for a brief visit...and then we had to go back to work. I'm in Thailand for 2 days- visa papers- then jumping to Myanmar tomorrow evening; six weeks in Myanmar.) It's exciting, it's fun...but if you've ever spent time in places where you don't speak the language or know much about anything...a good travel guitar is loads better than other entertainment options you're likely to find.

I've wanted a travel guitar for a while, but I finally felt like this year, I NEED one.

Funnily enough, Kroikey, I don't actually know very much about Korean Budhism- just learning. Brought up Methodist, but very involved with (and have enormous respect for) Catholic charitites while I was in Latin America. Spent a little time in North Africa- it all gets hard to remember. So far, what I love best about Budhist temples in Korea is they build them in beautiful forests, and they don't mind if you sit down under a tree and play geetar. I know there's more to it than that, but until I get better at the language, I'm not gonna know too much more. A funny thing for everybody-

At the entrance to all of Korea's major temples there are four "Guardians," (also called four heavenly kings) enormous statues left to protect the temple from the world- these are traditional figures, and are similar from temple to temple. And one of them is always playing something that looks like a guitar!

Without getting too deep here, I really liked the image of music being something to protect that which is holy.

All the best,
Justin


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(@kroikey)
Estimable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 232
 

Sounds like you're having a blast whichever way you look at it. Love the God guarding the Temple with the geetar. They do say Aum is the sound of creation ;) Good luck, watch out for ferocious monkeys and such!


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 Ande
(@ande)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 659
Topic starter  

Update- “Woody” is having a nice trip, and we've been in Myanmar for a couple of weeks now. Great country, and very friendly people. My favourite thing so far is that it's very much a “guitar culture.” Like Latin America, social gatherings usually result in guitars coming out and everybody singing along. I love that. What's great about it is that it's never about showing off, just a way to have, and to share, music. (Meaning, it's okay if you sort of suck. Everybody will still sing, if they know the words.)

Last Saturday night, I went out with some new acquaintances to a local barbecue place. (chargrilled things I don't recognize, curry with noodles, and beer.) I took Woody along, cause you never know when you'll need a guitar. While we were having dinner, a stranger with a guitar case came over to ask what was in my case- he was surprised and fascinated by a guitar that size, and wanted to hear it, so we took over an unoccupied table (this is an outdoor place) and discovered that we both know some of the same Dylan songs.

Also discovered some things about playing a travel guitar with others- it's got a nice tone, quite bright, but is still quite quiet compared to bigger guitars. The short scale means the strings aren't under much tension- if you hit it harder to get louder, it gets buzzy. Rather than play the same as the other guys (another joined in) we did it this way- one did the “regular” chords, while another, probably the best player, did some arpeggios and twiddly bits. I stuck to essentially the basic chords, but higher up the neck, and kept kind of a counter rhythm to the main rhythm. It gave a nice treble sound, and cut my quiet guitar right through. (nothing too extreme, just that in a song, for example, with Gmaj, Dmaj, Cmaj, and Amin7, instead of the “usual” G (32001) I would either play a slightly higher G like 355433 or quite a lot higher A-shaped bar at the 10th fret. (With a quick strum, cause I get no sustain on barre chords that high!) Or just focusing on the notes on the higher pitched strings. (Playing xxx010 as a Cmaj chord, for example.) This added a cool sound to the mix, and made the most out of a small sounding guitar. There are people who will tell you that a travel guitar isn't a “real” guitar at all- I say it is. You just have to adapt to it and play it in a way that makes the most of its particular sound. Like all musical instruments.

It was a good chance to think about guitars playing together in general- learning how to arrange so that two guitars sound better than one!
All the best,
Ande


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(@oktay)
Reputable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 346
 

Hey. Did you say where you bought the guitar? I am going to Korea soon and if you got it while there, I'd like to take a look too.


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 Ande
(@ande)
Honorable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 659
Topic starter  

Hi there- when are you coming over?

Woody (the travel guitar) and I are back in Korea after a semi-lengthy stint in Myanmar. (Nice place.)

If you're looking for a guitar like that one, or practically anything else guitar related in Seoul, go to Nakwon (or Nagwon) Arcade. ( 낙완 , I think) it's in the Insadong neighborhood, fairly famous. It's a big building filled with dozens upon dozens of music stores. Very cool place.

Be sure to walk around and shop around, though. Virtually everything you find in one shop, you'll find in another sooner or later. Prices vary, and are rarely marked, so check things out. (And negotiate, at least a little!) My guitar was 170,000 Korean Won. (About 150 US, give or take.)

Also, try things out, and be sure to trust yourself. There's lots of GREAT gear in Nakwon, much of which it's hard to get in other parts of the world, and some one of a kind used axes as well. BUT...there are counterfeits. And junk. And merchants who will figure a foreigner doesn't know the market, and see if they can take advantage. Be smart, but there´s GREAT stuff there.

BEst,
Ande


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(@oktay)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 346
 

Hey thanks for the info. Unfortunately I am just now able to check the forum, on the day of my flight back home :). I did go to Nogwon twice. The first day I found 3 guitars I liked but didn't buy on the spot because I wanted to do a little bit research. One was a countess brand acoustic with very nice Fishman electronics, second a full solid body Cort. These were 700,000 and 600,000 respectively. The last guitar I liked I ended up going back to buy, an unused 2007 G&L Tribute S-500, for 550USD. Since I am not in the states, this price is super good for me. Very happy about this purchase. Thanks.

Oktay


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