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Thread: Spanking the Plank ?

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    Default Spanking the Plank ?

    Probably other fora more suitable for this post but there does seem to be a sizable musical interest here and I know you lot will give honest, unbiased opinions and not take the pith (too much)


    I used to play rythm guitar in my teens and still have a Washburn, pointy headstocked, plunge tremmed, metal-mutha but luckily for my neighbours, I got rid of the 4 x 12" cab a long time ago.


    A while ago I dug out the Washburn to have a fiddle but the strings were as dead as a rotting dog, the pots were all crackly and I couldn't remember anything much to play.


    I quite fancy an acoustic (used to have a lovely Yamaha 12-string but had to sell that to eat) and thought about maybe something "travel sized"


    What's the difference between a travel guitar and just a small guitar ?


    How well does an acoustic cope with basing about in a canoe/van ? (Mal ??)


    Is it possible to buy something little that has a reasonable volume and tone ?


    Is it worth the extra for built in pre-amp and tuner ?


    I'm too self-conscious to go into a guitar shop and play with anything ( would I still need to do Smoke on the Water or Stairway ?? )


    "What happens if I pull ?. What if I push ?. Where's my Potty ?"

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    Colin

    You caught me at the computer and I will always find time to talk guitars!

    Many acoustic guitars have the word 'travel' in their name. Some have tiny bodies for shoving in overhead plane lockers (I have one), but the huge compromise is quality of sound and balance, as they're usually very neck heavy. Mal's Taylor Baby falls into the other category of being smaller bodied, usually with a shorter scale length, so the frets are a bit shorter than full size, but still eminently playable.

    Some smaller bodied guitars have fully scaled down necks/fingerboards and are not really suitable for adult sized hands.

    Generally speaking, the cheaper the guitar, the more robust it is, as the woods will be laminate as opposed to solid (and thin). All manner of padded bags are available for most sizes of guitar, so I wouldn't worry too much about transporting it around, but be aware that no matter how careful you are, it will get dinked, so second hand might be the way to go.

    A quick glance at Anderton's website reveals a Fender Travel acoustic for 159, which doesn't sound bad. It's still a reasonable size, so should sound ok, but the top is laminate, so it won't have the depth of sound of a solid topped guitar, like the Baby Taylor, but then it's less than half the price. Worth a trip to Guildford to try it out?

    If you particularly wanted a smaller guitar with a preamp, Yamaha make the APXT2 (185 on the Gear4Music website). That one looks interesting, as Yamaha guitars are always bomb-proof and well made. Bear in mind though that electrics and damp environments don't mix, so I'd be wary of canoeing/camping with an electro-acoustic.

    As with most things, try before you buy, if at all possible. The feel and sound and balance of a guitar is completely subjective and it needs to be right for you.

    Just spotted the Vintage Travel VTG100 on Gear4Music for 159 (with a padded bag too). That looks pretty good and it's got a solid spruce top. No electrics, but probably worth a look.

    Hope this helps
    Jim

    PS - meant to say that if you see something locally, I'm happy to tag along and give it the once over.

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    Hey Col

    To answer just the

    What's the difference between a travel guitar and just a small guitar ?


    How well does an acoustic cope with basing about in a canoe/van ? (Mal ??)
    bit...



    My Baby Taylor isn't just smaller, it also has a completely removable neck, so in theory you can break it down pack it away in luggage. I've never done so.

    As for the other bit, up until the part where I got drunk and left it slightly outside the tarp in frost by accident, its fared well. That didn't help much, it was covered in ice in the morning and I blame that for the neck being slightly warped now. Of course, being a travel guitar, I could just order a new neck but then I'd only go do it again! It plays fine despite this, but the tuning needs constant tweaking on the 2 E strings, especially if you use a capo as I often do.

    Otherwise, the tuning is obviously affected by the different temperatures its exposed to, but it just needs a quick retune and its fine.

    It also (just) fits inside some big drybags, e.g. my Ortleib 110L or whatever it is.


    I believe "The Birdy Song" is the currently accepted tune to play in guitar shops.
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    Aha...the guitar-playing canoeists emerge en masse

    To correct my above post, the 159 Fender (CT60S) at Andertons is indeed a solid spruce top, but has no case, so extra for that.

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    Meant to sat that you're welcome to try out the Baby Taylor sometime.
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    Thanks for the insights chaps.

    I'll have a think and look at the options. Maybe I'll just get a second-hand, half-decent, full-sized acoustic and not worry about it if it gets a bit battered.

    Next time I see you Mal, I'll have a little fiddle with yours (I guess it lives in your car)

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigyellowtractor View Post
    Thanks for the insights chaps.

    I'll have a think and look at the options. Maybe I'll just get a second-hand, half-decent, full-sized acoustic and not worry about it if it gets a bit battered.

    Next time I see you Mal, I'll have a little fiddle with yours (I guess it lives in your car)
    It lives in the canoe, but deigns to rest in the car between trips. But yes, it's normally with me...
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

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    I have the Vintage Travel VTG100 - sounds okay for the price and size but I find I prefer a full sized fretboard.
    I also have a Vintage parlour guitar and this is a good compromise of size vs sound quality. Its cheap too, mine was 150 - Vintage v300

    I got the smaller guitar for my daughter BTW. Useful for kids

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    Today I took up Jim's offer to accompany me to Guitar Village in Farnham.

    We first looked at a Vintage parlour guitar and a Baby Taylor. The vintage was not horrible at all considering it's 99 price tag. The Baby was really nice but I'm afraid that me being a total beginner with builders hands, anything above the fifth fret would be out of bounds.

    Eventually I decided that I would forgo portability at this stage and go for something which I liked the look of, felt and sounded nice.

    I now own a Vintage V300 in mahogany. It has a slightly smaller "Folk" body and a nicely understated finish with no bling.

    V300MH

    We went back to Jim's luthier workshop and he took a little off the bridge to lower the action a bit.

    Now I just need to expand my repertoire of three chords

    Many thanks for you help today Jim.

    As a foot-note, a quick search of t'internet could have saved me twenty quid but if everyone did that, there wouldn't be a friendly place a few miles up the road where a total numpty can sit in comfort, dither about making a decision and leave sweaty fingerprints on ten or more guitars.

    As another foot-note (a feet note ?) It's not hard to buy a really quite nice guitar for not much more than a hundred quid. That wouldn't have been easy 30-odd years ago. At the budget end of things Jim really couldn't find much to fault the "Vintage" or "Tanglewood" brands.
    Last edited by bigyellowtractor; 26th-July-2019 at 06:06 PM.

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    Nice one Colin, nice one Jim. I look forward to having you join Maj's personal band!
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigyellowtractor View Post

    We went back to Jim's luthier workshop and he took a little off the bridge to lower the action a bit.

    Now I just need to expand my repertoire of three chords

    As another foot-note (a feet note ?) It's not hard to buy a really quite nice guitar for not much more than a hundred quid. That wouldn't have been easy 30-odd years ago. At the budget end of things Jim really couldn't find much to fault the "Vintage" or "Tanglewood" brands.
    My pleasure, Col. Ha...'Jim's luthier workshop'......or my ridiculously untidy ex-dining room/tool store/studio!

    Add 'the truth' to your 3 chord repertoire and that's country music sorted ;-)

    I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of both brands, but your Vintage did shine over the similar priced Tanglewood in terms of finish quality and sound. A good buy, that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Grey View Post
    Nice one Colin, nice one Jim. I look forward to having you join Maj's personal band!
    ...and like all amateur bands, we have a surplus of guitarists. Anyone play didgeridoo or kazoo? Maybe a folding/camping cajon would be good? I'll whittle one up in my luthier workshop ;-)

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    Well done. We now have the same guitar. For the price it has a great sound.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Grey View Post
    Nice one Colin, nice one Jim. I look forward to having you join Maj's personal band!

    Subject to the three chord limit though




    Quote Originally Posted by JimHou View Post
    My pleasure, Col. Ha...'Jim's luthier workshop'......or my ridiculously untidy ex-dining room/tool store/studio!

    Or to be very accurate, a workmate outside the back door :-)




    Quote Originally Posted by JimHou View Post
    Add 'the truth' to your 3 chord repertoire and that's country music sorted ;-)

    :-)


    Quote Originally Posted by JimHou View Post
    I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of both brands, but your Vintage did shine over the similar priced Tanglewood in terms of finish quality and sound. A good buy, that.

    I think so. Lets's hope my poor old brain can learn and retain some stuff and that my shovel sized hands have some dexterity


    Quote Originally Posted by JimHou View Post
    ...and like all amateur bands, we have a surplus of guitarists. Anyone play didgeridoo or kazoo? Maybe a folding/camping cajon would be good? I'll whittle one up in my luthier workshop ;-)

    I can get a note out of brass instruments or bring some sticks and rig up a kit using a waterproof barrel and some cooking pots




    Quote Originally Posted by kmac View Post
    Well done. We now have the same guitar. For the price it has a great sound.

    And still important, isn't hard to look at either :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by kmac View Post
    Well done. We now have the same guitar. For the price it has a great sound.
    And the same hair style, its just that Colin wears his on his face.


    Quote Originally Posted by bigyellowtractor View Post
    I can get a note out of brass instruments or bring some sticks and rig up a kit using a waterproof barrel and some cooking pots
    I have a tin whistle too, and know several notes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmac View Post
    We now have the same guitar
    Kenan,

    Have you managed to find a padded case / gig-bag that's a good fit ??

    Col

    edit: found and ordered a padded soft case for a classical guitar that seems like a good fit
    Last edited by bigyellowtractor; 29th-July-2019 at 07:29 AM.

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    Which songs SHOULD I try to learn on a 'coustic geetaar ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigyellowtractor View Post
    Kenan,

    Have you managed to find a padded case / gig-bag that's a good fit ??

    Col

    edit: found and ordered a padded soft case for a classical guitar that seems like a good fit
    Hi sorry missed this somehow - yeah I have the Kinsman classical Guitar case which just about fits and is well padded

    This is the one I have:
    https://www.gear4music.com/Guitar-an...-Bag-Black/VET but payed a bit less as it was some time ago now

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigyellowtractor View Post
    Which songs SHOULD I try to learn on a 'coustic geetaar ?
    Songs that you like. Just about anything is adaptable to an accoustic guitar. Look at Eric Clapton unplugged

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigyellowtractor View Post
    Which songs SHOULD I try to learn on a 'coustic geetaar ?
    Definitely with some atonal, free form Tibetan/Brazilian jazz fusion. You don't even need to tune the guitar first.

    I'm happy to throw a chord chart / TAB together if you pick what you want to learn.

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    That V300 Hog is a good choice, OP. I was dreading you getting a Fender, they've never made a decent acoustic... ever... not even the Paramount's (... Duck Feet awaits flack). If and when you feel the need to upgrade (aka, buy something a little more expensive, that you don't really need), I suggest a Takamine G series or Yamaha FS/FG800 series. The former will take almost any kind of beating you care to throw at it, while the latter have no right to cost as little as they do.

    And don't worry about the three chord thing - Dylan managed a reasonably successful career on three chords (I exaggerate, but only just).
    I'm at that difficult age... somewhere between birth and death.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigyellowtractor View Post
    Which songs SHOULD I try to learn on a 'coustic geetaar ?
    What sort of music do you like? No point learning something you don't really enjoy. And are you going to use a pick (plectrum) and do mostly strumming, or do you want to learn fingerstyle, or fingerpicking?

    I'd suggest you start with chords and strumming (with or without a pick), so that your left hand and wrist strengthen up (if you play right handed) and become accustomed to finding the basic chord shapes and your finger tips harden up. I'd also invest in a little mechanical metronome, so you can learn to play in time... playing on your own (I'm assuming, for now) can be the death of good timing.

    There a loads of You Tube guitar tuition videos, in every genre and for every ability, so I'd start there - that's where I go to learn most things.

    And last, but not least, take your time, try to play a little and often - and don't be discouraged when you hit brick walls... you'll get through them.
    I'm at that difficult age... somewhere between birth and death.

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    re you comments on Fenders... I was considering this for some blues and slide guitar stuff. Any views? (its a Fender Brown Darby)


    Made in the Far East (Indonesia I believe)

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    Not tried or heard the Fender Brown Derby, but it looks all wrong to me - like the unloved son of a Telecaster and a Dobro. Seriously, Fender have a poor reputation for acoustics and I don't see why their resonators should be any better. If you're dead set on one, check out Recording King...

    https://www.thomann.de/gb/recording_....htm#bewertung

    If you've never had a resonator you might want to try one first. I had one that lasted only a fortnight before the novelty wore off. It's a sound you, your wife, your dog and your neighbours have got to love...

    Just about any 'standard' acoustic would be a safer bet (for purchase, resale, or converting back to standard) if you want to try slide - if you're very heavy handed set the action a little high and maybe string it up with 13-56's. I use a Yamaha LS6 for Ry Cooder-ish stuff (who am I trying to kid?), with no special set-up... maybe why I'm so bad.

    Having said all that, as a measure of how fickle I am and why you probably shouldn't listen to me, you've got me wanting that little Recording King.....
    I'm at that difficult age... somewhere between birth and death.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigyellowtractor View Post
    Which songs SHOULD I try to learn on a 'coustic geetaar ?
    Col, my whole repertoire comes from just hearing stuff somewhere in life, then finding the lyrics and chords online somewhere, mostly Ultimate Guitar.com.

    The funny thing is, quite a few of my favourites to sing/play are not songs I would chose to listen to particularly, and vice versa, some of my favourite songs are not enjoyable for me to sing/play. Due mostly to lack of competence! Mostly, though, I just try stuff I like to hear, find it online, then turn it into a melancholy slow version as that's just what I do!!!!!
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    Thanks for all your thoughts and ramblings; always good :-)

    I have got a few chord sheets for songs on t'nterweb ( a couple are even accurate !! )

    I put a metronome app on my tellingbone to hopefully tighten up my timing.

    Fingers left are struggling to cope with strings, fingers right aren't coping well with strumbling and brain can't remember anything for more than six seconds!

    I've always struggled with singing and playing; it's the old "pat your head while rubbing your tummy" thing so, just for shits and giggles, I wouldn't mind recording myself for practice purposes. In the old days we used a big old real-to-real then we had a little Fostex(?) thing that got four tracks on a TDK 90. Are there options in the modern world using a pooter ? I don't require studio quality, just a means of recording the noise I make.

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    Lots of free recording software for the PC - try Garageband

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigyellowtractor View Post
    Are there options in the modern world using a pooter ? I don't require studio quality, just a means of recording the noise I make.
    For practice, I sometimes use a little Zoom G3n multi-effects with headphones, which gives me 80 seconds of looping, unlimited overdubs and undo / redo, all foot controlled. A hangover from when I had a Telecaster, but it's okay with acoustic and perfect if, like me, you don't always want to sit in front of a computer... plus it's got some nice chorus, reverb and delay effects, as well as zillions of whacky ones.
    I'm at that difficult age... somewhere between birth and death.

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