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Best travel electric guitar?

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Postby n2ojones » May 15th, 2012, 7:28 pm

Hi, I currently own a baby Martin acoustic, which is fine, but my musical tastes are more of the electric genre. I was online looking at the Escape EX 1 and 2. I like the fact it has a built in amp that also features a distortion mode, but ordering an ax online, withour touching it, concerns me. Has anyone played these quitars, what was you opinion and is there something else you'd advise. I'm selling off a couple full size guitars, so have a fairly healthy budget to spend (up to $800.00). I was also looking at this little pocket sized Korg thing that features a plethora of different settings and sounds, so an opinion on that would be appreciated as well...or again, if you can think of a superior travel, battery powered device, that may be similar, but better.

I thank you all in advance.
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Postby Ande » May 16th, 2012, 11:39 pm

I actually just bought a travel electric- a Lapstick. http://www.lapstick.com

Got to admit- I've have never paid the $700 or so they cost new, but I got it secondhand, in great shape, for around $225. (guy had overspent his budget, and needed to sell fast.)

And...it does FEEL like a higher-end guitar than I'm used to, to tell you the truth. Very compact, probably the smallest guitar I've ever seen. Good sound, clean or dirty. (Clean, think tele. Dirty, think...heavy.) Nice action, just feels like quality.

I thought that the short scale would bug me. (17". Yikes!) somehow, it doesn't. After I've played the lapstick exclusively for a few days, somehow my regular axe just feels EASY to play, though.

I really love this mini-geetar- it's a piece of art. BUt there are pros and cons. If you tune it standard, which the maker doesnt' really recommend, the strings are sort of ...loose. It feels absolutely great tuned up to A (Standard intervals, just 2 1/2 tones up.) If you're just practicing the fingers, you can use the same fingerings as always, and just play in a different key. I like to sing when i practice, though, so I'm always having to transpose and change fingerings...

Best,
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Postby s1120 » May 17th, 2012, 2:00 am

I like the fact it has a built in amp that also features a distortion mode


IMHO as a general rule the more built in the worse it is. I could be wrong I have never heard one of those guitars before, but I fear the same sound as those cheap $20 amps with the distortion that just sound TERRABLE!!

I guess a lot comes down to what your needs/uses are for it. Where you go, can you plug in and crank it? Is it something you need to play with headphones?? How small does it need to be? If you can deal with a shorter scale, the little Squire Mini strats pack prety small, and add a small higher quilty model amp, or eaven one of those small headphone amps pack up pretty small. I can almost pack my daughters 3/4 strat in a suitcase, and realy after a setup, it doesnt play bad at all!
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Postby imalone » May 17th, 2012, 3:45 am

s1120 wrote:IMHO as a general rule the more built in the worse it is. I could be wrong I have never heard one of those guitars before, but I fear the same sound as those cheap $20 amps with the distortion that just sound TERRABLE!!


I think that would be my worry too. I haven't played one either, and the guitar might be good (interesting the cut-off headstock, suppose it saves a bit of length), but the built-in amp might be kind of limiting, you could always get a Pandora or Pocket Pod. Or even smaller, an Amplug (I haven't tried mine in a while, must plug it in and see what I think of the sound these days). It does seem that this is common for travel electrics though, I've just discovered Pignose make travel electrics and they also have built in amps.

Of course an electric isn't as unwieldy to carry around as an acoustic. If flying then the cabin is an option if you're careful about your choice of airlines and if it wont be a tragedy should it be damaged. A hardcase is of course better protection, but begins to take you out of the 'convenient travel' zone. 3/4 size is an option, I wonder if a travel acoustic with sound-hole pickup is another. Or there's always these http://www.epiphone.com/News-Features/News/2010/The-NEW-Epiphone-Les-Paul-Pee-Wee-and-Vee-Wee-Zakk.aspx (though not if you want a decent guitar...).

Edit:
You say you were also considering a Korg, which must be the Pandora I mentioned, Nuno from this board has one of these http://www.guitarnoise.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=52827.
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Postby n2ojones » May 17th, 2012, 4:50 pm

Thanks so much for the replies, guys. That is a really cool lil guitar you got there, Ande. My fear with that one is it looks like it would be hard to hold without the strap. If I could get a deal like you got on it, I'd own one tomorrow, but the retail looks a bit spendy for my needs. I use to travel as many as 200 trips per year (I live on an island) and I sure wish I had that baby back then!

I agree with you other guys (thanks!) and fear that while the Escape looks like a great little guitar, the built-in amp could be it's achilles. What happens when the amp goes down? Even though it may still play well plugged into an external amp or not, I am the type (sick) that would just never enjoy it again. Living on a rock, I would more than likely have to send it away for repair and well, who wants any of that? The problem with living on an island is there is just one guitar store, it's new, and the owner seems a bit odd. He won't even look at you let alone talk guitars. Reminds me of the guy that ate the wrong mushrooms, lol. That said, I have no way of actually holding oen of these little guitars, like the mini-strat, so unless I wait until I'm on vacation, I have to buy sight unseen. Very uncomfortable.

Again I appreciate the advice and if anyone else can offer some feedback, it would be much appreciated.
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Postby dhodge » May 17th, 2012, 6:18 pm

Don't know if the idea would appeal to you, but one of my friends simply disassembles his electric guitar when he travels - unbolts the neck and both pieces fit nicely in whatever baggage he's taking. Just a thought. You could get a reasonable cheap electric for this and then have a reasonably good bit of money left over for all sorts of things.

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Postby n2ojones » May 17th, 2012, 7:10 pm

That's an interesting concept. I (think) I have an '81 Ibanez Artist (hollow-bodied with F-holes). It appears the neck runs all the way through the body. Really a cool guitar actually but it sat in my closet for close to 20 years. Only recently have I decided to get back into playing and with no real identifying markings inside, I am un-certain of the model, other than Ibanez Artist, made in Japan. Like an idiot, I traded a vintage Les Paul Custom for it and a Macintosh (stereo) amplfier. The benefactor was a great friend and awesome guitar player. Even though, it was a dumb move by me.

I was actually thinking about starting a topic with a picture of this Ibanez, hoping one of you guitar gurus could help me out in identifying it and/or it's value. I also have a Le Petre nylon string classic guitar( with an EQ and hidden pick-up) as well as a baby Martin travel guitar. I am thinking I want to sell all 3 and get something I really want, which may end up just being a top notch travel electric, as I do enjoy playing the Martin...which I actually may just keep. I have no designs on playing for anyone, so just may keep two travel guitars as they store (hide) easily. I'm rambling....sorry. Thanks again.
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Postby EzraplaysEzra » May 17th, 2012, 7:23 pm

My good friend Rick Kelly at Carmine Street Guitars NYC makes a cool little guitar body similar to the old steinberger guitar. The cool thing about it is you can mount whatever neck, bridge and pickups you like on it. Plus its full scale and cheap for the body only, less than $80 USD I think.

http://www.kellyguitars.com/shop_shots04.html

This is the only pic I could find from the website, its all the way to the right half-way down.
On a personal note, the montage also includes a black and white photo of my little sister smooching my Musicraft ash strat body. She emailed me that same pick to assure me it crossed the Hudson safely. Do you have any idea how dangerous it is that my sister finishes guitars at a custom shop?
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Postby Ande » May 19th, 2012, 5:49 am

Minor follow up on the lapstick:

Totally true- without the strap, it's odd to hold. I play mostly with the strap, though it goes okay without in a sort of classical position (nearly vertical, bridge end of the guitar resting on my right leg) without it, if I'm in the right chair.

The onboard amp is....alright. Sort of nice sounding, but hard to get much out of- its only settings are clean (cool sound, tele), overdrive (sort of general tube-ish sound) and distortion (Think hard rock or metal). But to use the overdrive or distortion much, you have to turn the volume up, which is deafening in my headphones. So I either play it clean or use my amplug.

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Postby n2ojones » May 20th, 2012, 4:37 pm

Thanks for the follow-up and frank crtique of your lapstick, Ande. Very helpful as I don't need anything that may discourage me from playing. I do, from time to time, enjoy a bit of distortion but having to turn the amp up to acheive this effect is a bit of a put off for me as I have a hard enough time listening to myself at low-volume! But I am commited this time to stick with it and believe this forum will help me get over a plateau or two.

I am seriously considering holding onto the Ibanez (It's sweet) and just traveling with the Baby Martin. I want to sell the Le Petrie classic and use that money to get into something like the GUITAR RIG software that I've been reading about in another sub-forum. It's probably way more than I'll ever need but I've learned that the more gadgets I have, the longer I stay interested. Adolescent to be sure, but a great, great man/musician once said: "You are what you is". Truer words were never spoken. ;)
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Postby imalone » May 21st, 2012, 12:24 pm

Ande wrote:Minor follow up on the lapstick:
[...]
So I either play it clean or use my amplug.


That suggests you can amp it separately, is that just plugging into the headphone output or is there a separate 'normal' out?
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Postby Crow » May 24th, 2012, 2:13 pm

dhodge wrote:Don't know if the idea would appeal to you, but one of my friends simply disassembles his electric guitar when he travels - unbolts the neck and both pieces fit nicely in whatever baggage he's taking.


Elsewhere on these forums, someone describes a minor retrofit to make dissasembly/assembly more practical -- it involves threaded inserts & machine screws. I'd search for it, but I've been searching for stuff all day... :lol:
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