Note: Mixdown Magazine is noted for its gear reviews in Australia. Here's their first look at the Voyage-Air VAD-1 Dreadnought guitar:
Voyage-Air Acoustic Travel Guitar
Alright, I cannot repeat what actually came out of my mouth when our Editor first showed me this new guitar, but let's just say it was a combination of disbelief and amazement. Every now and then, a new product comes along that defies explanation and makes us wonder why it hadn't been done before. Then you stop and think, how on earth did they manage to do that in the first place? The Voyage-Air acoustic guitar is just that. The ultimate travelling guitar, it folds up and fits snugly into a specially designed backpack style case for easy transport. Yes, you heard me right – it folds up!
Anyone who has ever travelled with their guitar on an airplane knows the fear of letting it go into the hands of the baggage handlers to maybe never return in its original state. Now, the worries can be gone as with the Voyage-Air guitar you can take it on board with you in carry-on luggage. The folding design of the Voyage-Air guitar seems slightly farfetched to begin with, but it really works. This is a full bodied, solid top acoustic guitar. Not short scale, not slimline, not any other compromise. You get it all, and you get it in a small case, folded in two! I had the VAD-1 model to road test, this is an all solid guitar, spruce top and mahogany back and sides, with a gloss body and satin finish on the neck. When assembled it looks not unlike any other acoustic guitar of similar specifications, but when it is folded in half it looks like some other beast altogether. There is a split in the neck just below the fourteenth fret, where the neck joins the body allowing the strap pin to be unscrewed so the neck can be folded in.
Back in Tune
So, I immediately thought of all sorts of problems that could go wrong with this guitar and tuning stability first came to mind. But clicking the neck into place and tightening the screw saw the guitar sit right back in tune as though it was always in one piece. A clever string through design in the nut, with a zero fret just beyond that stops the strings from coming loose from the capstans when the pressure is relieved from the neck. This clever idea really took my fancy as it is something so simple, yet so clever and without it, it could be a make or break design point. I was also a little concerned about the playability, as you usually expect your guitar's neck to be firmly joined into the body and not be able to move. The action was slightly high, but this was only due to saddle height and could easily be adjusted by a guitar tech to bring it down. As far as the curve of the neck and the action were concerned, it was pretty much spot on. I wouldn't have thought it would work, just looking at the guitar to begin with, but it all comes together nicely. Tonally, the VAD-1 is a warm sounding instrument, almost with a classical nylon string tone to it, benefitting from the all solid construction. It feels great, sounds great, and packs up to go anywhere on your back. I think, as you all read this, disbelief will be quite popular. So, all I can say is, go and try one out. I was amazed. You will be too.
By Rob Gee
Distributor: Sonic Frog
Phone: (08) 8354 1115