Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

BB Forum Exclusive! Guitar review

I was gonna describe a new guitar I got for my wife, but I once heard it said that talking about sound is kind of like dancing about architecture. I figured I’d take some video and post it. For the time being, the video unlisted, so it’s a BB Forum Exclusive!!! Alright, that’s not exciting enough to warrant 3 exclamations, but I try.

If you get tired of listening to me jabber or play, move to about 8:30 for the recap. I had some more playing and positive remarks about the guitar, but I thought I had to whittle it down to 10 minutes. When I went to upload it, it said it could be up 15 minutes… go figure. At some point I might go put the other stuff back in, but I think there’s probably enough there as it is.

Here it is:

Pretty cool! I was beginning to think you were going to go the whole video without showing us how it broke down. How much trouble is it to set the guitar back up after it is broken down? Do the strings pop out of the slots in the nut? What stops the strings from unwinding from the tuning pegs?

It’s a pretty guitar and sounds nice, too. It doesn’t have the warmth of your Martin, but as you said, that’s not really a fair comparison.

When my wife and I originally played one, we were not familiar with it. We just picked it up (a solid wood one), we played it, and liked it. I thought the guitar seemed like a well made instrument and a good buy, and then we found out about the portability. Since it’s for travel, I wanted a laminate one. My impression of this guitar is pretty much the same as the first one I played… it’s a good guitar for the money even without the portability. I find it comparable in most every way to the laminate Taylors. Throw in the portability factor and it’s a steal. I figured there would be some who watch the video who are not familiar with it, so I wanted to give them the same kind of experience I had… just evaluate the guitar as an instrument first without the “special” feature. I think at 1/3 to 1/4 of the price of the OM, it holds up quite well without factoring in it’s special features.

I previously mentioned I cut the video down thinking it needed to be 10 minutes or under for uTube (which is incorrect, it can be 15). I have video that I edited out that shows it going back together. It takes about the same amount of time as breaking it down (not much). The strings stay in place because the nut has holes instead of slots. This can be done as the nut is there only to guide the string position, the zero fret sets the string height. On the headstock, the strings stay neatly ordered when untensioned. I also cut most of my positive comments about the sound… I didn’t really realize until I watched it after whittling it down. In a way, there is enough sound clips there for anyone to make up their own mind, but I’ll probably redo the end of the video and include that information and footage. I also need to relate how I got at least $50 worth of enjoyment from the reaction when my wife and I were leaving the jam and we “broke” her guitar. :smiley:

The big thing was, I am thrilled with the guitar. Compared to anything else with remotely the same portability, it’s a game changer. I wanted to do a vid to share it with the forum folks. I know the video is probably too long as well, but if someone is considering buying one, I wanted to give them a bunch of A/B clips so they could make up their own mind on how it sounds.

You are right. It does sound like a Taylor, but it’s way more portable than a mini-Taylor (and more guitar than a Martin Backpacker). Seems like they’ve found the sweet spot between portability and tone.

The “broken guitar” joke at your jam sounds like something I would have come up with. Must have got some good chuckles once everyone got over the horror of watching your guitar fall apart.

Cool review Mike! I had to watch a couple times, I was just listening to the tunes the first time. Nice AC/DC tribute. :slight_smile: Some nice pickin’ in there.

The guitar sounds good to me. I travel for work some and I may look into these. I was surprised when you bent the neck over. I have heard of guitars that do that, but I wasn’t expecting it on a guitar that sounds that good.

I understand how you are describing the nut, but does it clamp down on the strings? It seems like they would still unravel on the posts. Do you have to tune down, or do you just bend it back in standard pitch? Seems like a lot of pressure on the bridge releasing and pulling all strings to tension at once. I didn’t get a good look at the joint where it breaks down. Does the heel come away from the body, or is the joint further up the neck?

Glad you liked it. The nut does not clamp on the strings, the holes are oversized. You don’t need to detune and retune. It comes back pretty close to tuned!!! To anyone who knows anything about guitar design, it just seems WRONG, but it works just fine. The neck is jointed to the neck block “normally”, but then the neck is cut a little bit back from the body. In it they put a specialty hinge, a locating pin and a threaded piece (that locks it). I had that stuff in the original video as well.