Sueddeutsche Zeitung Review

Sueddeutsche-Zeitung-Review*Editor's Note: This article is from the weekend section of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung ( Munich ), a very respected daily paper in Germany - Read the German version of the article - click here

The Folding Guitar

What’s a campfire without a guitar? You are hot in front and cold in back. There are charred potatoes and the burnt smell hangs in the clothing as do burs in woolen socks. And with a guitar? It’s exactly the same thing. Only that you don’t notice those things as much. The guitar magically produces an incomparable atmosphere even when most strummers master only a few chords.

But first a guitar has to get to the camp. It is a bit unwieldy, this instrument, and even though its neck is not exactly made out of glass, when something heavy falls on it, it sometimes can crack. If you carry the instrument in a knapsack, the neck sticks out—taller guitarists have to always think about ducking if they want to slide through somewhere without having an accident.

Enter the Voyage-Air guitar. Even though it is possible to break the body of the guitar with brute force, it’s unlikely to do that to the neck because that is already folded at the place where on ordinary guitars the neck is glued to the body. At that point the Air-Guitar has a very solid, stable neck that is held together with a screw hinge which can be tightened and loosened without a tool.

If you loosen the screw—carefully, please because the instrument is under tension because of the strings—the neck folds away and comes to rest over the sound hole. The strings hang loose without in a disorganized fashion, but because they are fastened below and above, they cannot get tangled. Besides they are too stiff for that to happen. To keep the neck from hitting the wood during transport, the well-padded bag, which is included, contains a sewed-in cushion that secures it.

What is the advantage of such a guitar? The guitar is no longer 1.2m long but instead together with bag a comparably handy package of about 70cm. The instrument the California manufacturer offers for $500.- plus shipping costs ( the cost of sending a guitar to Germany is substantial)differs from an ordinary guitar only in its hinge, which, by the way, cannot be seen from the outside because it is worked into the wood very precisely, I am happy to say.

For that amount of money, you expect considerable quality, and that is being achieved, not just for the folding mechanism. The strings run pleasingly close to the neck, the sound is good for an instrument of this intermediate price, and—what’s the most surprising—the patented hinge of the folding guitar functions so precisely that you don’t even have to retune all the strings from scratch.

Even if $500. - is not a bargain pick-me-up, the quality is alright, and you can hardly get a smaller acoustic guitar if it is supposed to sound like anything. With electric guitars it’s a little different. There you can find a model that fits into a flute case and you can still play it well—only what will you do with it at a camp-fire.


Stories From The Road

Owner Testimonials

  • 5star-100
    I received my VAOM-1C and boy does it sing!  I am the proud and happy owner of several top-notch Martins: a D35 Johnny Cash, a HD28e, a solid DCPA4R as well as a 1973 00-18. I also had a 2003 D18 which I sold because it wasn't so good. I was expecting the VAOM-1C to sound ok but not more. "Can't have the best of both worlds" I thought. Well, now I do. It is just exquisite, so melodic and yet with a surprising sustain and expressivity. It is a true jewel at a more than decent price! All the Best and THANK YOU!
    Jean-Dominique Michel, Switzerland - VAOM-1C
  • 5star-100
    My wife and I travel a lot and in the past have had issues with taking a guitar with me......they're either too bulky for the overhead compartment, or I have to let the luggage handlers toss around my guitars like they're a bag of beans. I recently purchased one of your VAOM-04 guitars, and I'm totally impressed with the sound and the playability of this instrument. My first choice is my Martins, but since I received the VAOM-O4 I haven't put it down. I would recommend this guitar to any player, even if you don't travel that much. I'm looking forward to my next trip. I may just spend most of the trip playing this guitar.
    Great Job Voyage-Air.
    - Tony H. - VAOM-04
  • 5star-100
    It’s considered a “travel guitar,” and it truly is a remarkably portable instrument; however, that label does it a disservice, because honestly, it’s a damn nice guitar. It just happens to have a nifty set of hinges that allow the neck to fold over on the top, making it far more compact and transport friendly. I love my Telair!
    - Anthony K. Sandy, UT - VET-2SBB
  • 5star-100
    I am pleasantly surprised at the quality and genius behind this amazingly compact, but great sounding guitar!! I work in the movie industry and travel quite a bit, and being able to bring my guitar as a carry-on wherever I go is just what I've been looking for! The overall sound is amazingly rich for its size, and the folding mechanics work like a dream! If you’re wondering if it's worth getting, the answer is a big YES!!
    - Nancy F. Santa Monica, CA - VAMD-04
  • 5star-100
    I bought a VAD-04 strictly for travel and light use. The day I bought it I paid a visit to United Airlines. As I was walking up to the counter the clerk said that he had seen these before and that there was no problem taking it on as carry-on. .I think that this is a great value and a nice sounding piece All in all it is a winner in my book. I’ve heard less sound from much more expensive instruments. I may mike it because I think it compares to my Taylor 814ce and Breedlove it surprised me!
    -  Michael, Columbus, NE - VAD-04
  • 5star-100 
    I travel a lot, and for years, I schlepped my heavy Goodall Jumbo, always worried about it getting damaged and stolen.  I recently purchased a Voyage Air guitar and love it.  Its light, gets on planes, and sounds terrific. It has made travelling with a guitar a no-brainer.  Even after closing and opening, it stays very close to being in tune. I recommend this guitar to anyone who likes to play wherever they go.
    - Stewart, Santa Fe, NM - VAOM-02