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Folding guitars for travel - comments?

Scrump 15 Feb 07 - 06:02 PM
bubblyrat 15 Feb 07 - 07:25 PM
The Fooles Troupe 15 Feb 07 - 07:30 PM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Feb 07 - 08:20 PM
Big Mick 15 Feb 07 - 08:44 PM
wysiwyg 15 Feb 07 - 09:03 PM
DebC 16 Feb 07 - 10:15 AM
Scrump 16 Feb 07 - 10:24 AM
DebC 16 Feb 07 - 12:05 PM
Fidjit 16 Feb 07 - 06:11 PM
Little Hawk 16 Feb 07 - 07:52 PM
John MacKenzie 17 Feb 07 - 04:47 AM
Fidjit 17 Feb 07 - 06:10 AM
John MacKenzie 17 Feb 07 - 06:12 AM
Fidjit 17 Feb 07 - 06:20 AM
John MacKenzie 17 Feb 07 - 06:21 AM
deadfrett 17 Feb 07 - 08:51 AM
John MacKenzie 17 Feb 07 - 09:14 AM
GUEST,michaeldee21 11 Aug 08 - 05:59 PM
Mr Happy 12 Aug 08 - 08:37 AM
SharonA 12 Aug 08 - 10:56 AM
Mr Happy 12 Aug 08 - 11:10 AM
DebC 12 Aug 08 - 12:49 PM
Rowan 12 Aug 08 - 06:26 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 13 Aug 08 - 11:46 AM
GUEST,newmillguitar 25 Aug 08 - 10:54 PM
GUEST,Fleggy 26 Aug 08 - 05:05 AM
Big Al Whittle 26 Aug 08 - 08:56 AM
Brian Hoskin 26 Aug 08 - 09:39 AM
GUEST,DaveA 16 Sep 08 - 11:28 AM
JedMarum 16 Sep 08 - 12:26 PM
fretless 16 Sep 08 - 01:24 PM
GUEST,Don Firth (I get MY computer back this week) 16 Sep 08 - 01:39 PM
GUEST,New Millennium Guitar 18 Sep 08 - 11:55 AM
GUEST,Barney 16 Aug 09 - 05:11 AM
stallion 16 Aug 09 - 05:24 AM
bradstonian girl 16 Aug 09 - 04:44 PM
DebC 16 Aug 09 - 04:52 PM
GUEST,tessier 02 Apr 11 - 01:07 PM
Leadfingers 02 Apr 11 - 06:37 PM
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Subject: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: Scrump
Date: 15 Feb 07 - 06:02 PM

Somebody brought these to my attention. I'd never heard of them before.

I wonder if anyone here has used them or knows if they are any good?

(I mentioned this in another thread but I'm now raising it as a separate thread in case it got missed)


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 15 Feb 07 - 07:25 PM

The folding acoustic sure looks good to me,Scrump !! After all ,we had aeroplanes on HMS Eagle with folding wings ( Sorry ! ---Mainplanes ! ) so why has it taken so long for the folding guitar??
Although if it folded up in mid gig?? Oh dear !!


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 15 Feb 07 - 07:30 PM

Traditional instrument construction assumes that the strains and tensions will be constant. This means that there is a theory of 'playing in', where the wood adapts to the vibrations, and the tone is supposed to improve with age.

What happens when the strings are always loosened for storage on a traditional instrument?


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Feb 07 - 08:20 PM

I've got a small guitar with a bolt on the neck that can be detached for travelling. It fits in the stabndfard aeroplane cabin case. Of course, it's a drag having to loosen all the strings and tune up from slack, but the strings don't seem to mind.

But it takes a little time for the body to settle back into sounding right again, it has to be played in, as Foolestroupe said there. Doesn't take that long though.


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: Big Mick
Date: 15 Feb 07 - 08:44 PM

Debra Cowan (Deb C on Mudcat) and Jed Marum have both used this guitar and speak highly of it. I heard Jed use it when he played a gig in Jersey City. Make no mistake about it. This is a top quality instrument, pro quality. Drop either of them a PM, in fact I would bet they will show up here at some point.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 15 Feb 07 - 09:03 PM

Folding guitars for travel - comments

1. Only if they have fold marks clearly indicated-- look for dotted lines, with arrows indicating direction of fold.

2. I prefer to travel in vehicles, but hey!

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: DebC
Date: 16 Feb 07 - 10:15 AM

I liked the one I road-tested (I am pretty sure it's the same one Jed tested as well) so much that I am having Harvey build one for me. He has made many improvements in the two years since I was traveling around with the V-A. He has since improved the hinge system and it is now patented. He has also enlarged the headstock a bit as it was difficult to tune because the tuners were so close together.

I took the guitar on two different tours in 2005. On one tour, I folded it up after after every gig just to see what would happen. That didn't work very well as the hinge became loose after a while. I decided, and Harvey agreed that the V-A is really designed to be folded for transport only, like when one is flying on the plane. On another tour, I kept the guitar intact (not folded) and transported it in a gig bag in the car. This seemed to work much better for the guitar.

Harvey is ordering a normal size hardshell case for my guitar that I can check when flying, but I'll carry the V-A on and stash it in the overhead bin in it's backpack.

Harvey's guitars are really wonderful and I am pretty darn excited about getting the Leach Voyage-Air.

Deb Cowan
www.DebraCowan.com


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: Scrump
Date: 16 Feb 07 - 10:24 AM

It sounds as if these are good then. I raised it mainly because of the problems people have been experiencing transporting instruments with airlines tightening up on what can be taken into the cabin, or charging extra for shipping instruments (see other recent threads on this).

It sounds as if it could be worth considering, if for example you have an overseas tour for a few weeks. You could assemble it once there, and keep it like that until you fly home. You could carry a gig bag in your luggage to use while on tour.

Maybe we'll see more different versions if the idea is successful. I assume it could be applied to other stringed instruments, where these are big enough to justify it (not much point for a soprano uke!)


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: DebC
Date: 16 Feb 07 - 12:05 PM

When I knew I was going to be touring a lot more than I was, I spent the $$$ and got a Calton Case for my Martin HD-28. This was in 1998 and I *know* that the issues with carrying on a guitar were going for years before then.

The Voyage-Air was wonderful for me in that on the UK tour I used it, I just went through security as I normally do (though I must admit the TSA guys did raise their eyebrows when it went through the scanner) got on the plane and put the guitar in the Overhead.

Then I settled back in my cramped seat and decided which movie to watch.

Deb Cowan
www.DebraCowan.com


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: Fidjit
Date: 16 Feb 07 - 06:11 PM

Interesting.

So what price are we looking at here for the acoustic in a case?

Chas


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 16 Feb 07 - 07:52 PM

I don't know...it sounds a little like the old inflatable girlfriend idea. I question whether such high-tech innovations can ever match the original, classic item for appearance, durability, and overall performance value.

But maybe I'm just being too old-fashioned. ;-)


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 04:47 AM

Saw a price tag of $4000 + somewhere Fidgit, I'll go look again.
Giok


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: Fidjit
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 06:10 AM

Giok

So what's that in real money?

Chas


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 06:12 AM

£2000 ish


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: Fidjit
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 06:20 AM

Ouch!


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 06:21 AM

Martin prices.
G


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: deadfrett
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 08:51 AM

Traveled one time with my 1918 Gibson style "O" guitar (like Big Bill's) and the airlines folded it for me. Never would tune afterwards, so it went on down the line. I wonder if they make banjos this way?


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 17 Feb 07 - 09:14 AM

Oh sad!


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: GUEST,michaeldee21
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 05:59 PM

8.11.2008

I THINK IT IS A GREAT IDEA BECAUSE I CYCLE ALOT AND WOULD LOVE TO BE
ABLE TO CARRY AN ACOUSTIC GUITAR IN MY BACKPACK WHEN I TRAVEL TO GIGS.


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 08:37 AM

Good idea in principle.

What I don't like is the way the headstock kind've sticks out even when packed in its case.

Seeing as the sound box of the instrument is hollow, why not accommodate the neck inside it using a telescoping mechanism instead?


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: SharonA
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 10:56 AM

Very interesting idea. I wish that the site gave more specs like nut width, scale length, bracing, possible on-board electronics, etc.

I wondered how the strings stayed in place on the nut and bridge, but I see from the FAQ on the Voyage-Air site (linked to by Scrump) that they've solved this with what they call a "Freelock" nut and a "captive" bridge.

Still, there's the inevitable spot in the fingerboard where the neck separates from the body. Any looseness of the hinge or misalignment of neck to body would create unevenness in the fingerboard that would affect the action and perhaps cause buzzing. I'm sure it's all lined up properly at the factory, but how well does it retain its alignment over time and with wear? They put a picture of Brad Paisley on their home page, carrying the guitar around by slinging the neck over his shoulder and letting the guitar body hang by the hinge -- kinda gives folks the wrong idea about how durable it is, if DebC's description of the hinge is any indication!!!!

The case doesn't look like it prevents the neck from wiggling from side to side during transport. (Velcro straps on a detached pad? Phshaww!) DebC says the manufacturer recommends that it be folded in its case only for airplane travel... but what's the point in spending the $$$ for a folding guitar if you have to carry it around in a standard case??

Also, I see from the video that when the neck is folded down, the two sections of the fingerboard are pressed together. Even when placed in the case with the detached pad, there's no padding between those two fingerboard sections. Don't know what the radius of the fingerboard is, but whatever it is, there must be lots of pressure on and rubbing of the fingerboard and frets.

The video shows a soft, backpack-like gig bag which doesn't appear to protect the instrument from being crushed -- what's to keep the headstock, which sticks up when the instrument is folded, from being broken? The product section of the site shows a molded foam carrying case with a handle but no apparent backpack straps. I'd certainly prefer the molded foam for sturdiness but, as michaeldee21 says, it would be nice to be able to carry it on one's back also.

I don't much like the placement of the bolt that one must screw in to attach the neck. Where does one screw in a strap button without interfering with that bolt?

Of course, the biggest question is: what about the instrument's tone???

Again, the folding neck is an interesting idea -- or gimmick -- but it seems to me that they still have a few kinks to work out. For the time being, I'll wait and watch to see if it stands the test of time.


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 11:10 AM

Well there's already the 'air guitar' - why not an inflatable one??


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: DebC
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 12:49 PM

I visited Harvey last November and saw the new V-As. Mine still isn't ready yet (it's being custom-built, so I am on luthier time :-) ), so he'll be sending me one "off the rack" to use when I tour the West Coast in Oct-Nov.

My road tests were done three years ago and in that time, I know that the hinge has been greatly improved and is alot more durable than it was on the early models. What is very cool is that now you don't have to de-tune to fold it back up, and the intonation is spot-on when it's unfolded.

Another cool thing is that Harvey has partnered with Lance McCollum to build the necks of the V-As. Lance is an excellent luthier and if I were rich, I'd be ordering a McCollum guitar as well.

As for tone, the tone is amazing. Even the proto-types that Jed and I tested had superior tones. As for the backpack, now with all the airlines charging an arm and a leg for checked baggage, I'll be able to carry-on the V-A and I'll only have to check my suitcase.

Sharon, if you have any other questions, Harvey is very approachable and is always ready to answer questions.

Debra Cowan


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: Rowan
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 06:26 PM

Without wishing to lower the tone of the discussion by mentioning a Mudcat thread concerning an electric folding guitar , I can say the instrument described does what Mr Happy suggests (the neck slides into the body) and, because the strings are restrained over rollers, returning it to its playing configuration requires only minimal retuning.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 11:46 AM

I've never looked at a folding guitar, but I have tried a couple of very portable small instruments, mainly the Martin "Backpacker's Guitar."   My friends and I do a fair amount of backpacking and horse packing in the high Sierras and the southern California deserts each year. I wanted something that was packable and light and these fit the bill. The sound, though, was pretty bad. The Martin sounds, to me, like a wooden banjo without much projection. It's also clumsy to hold and control. If you're OK with just strumming hard for a background to sing-alongs, it's probably workable. This year, I took my Takamine in a hard shell case and loaded it onto a mule. It was worth the extra cost.


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: GUEST,newmillguitar
Date: 25 Aug 08 - 10:54 PM

Doesn't work. I've seen 10 of them and they all had warped necks. Faulty design to cut into a neck, through the fretboard, through the heel, at the point of the most tension and expect it to work.

The heel has travel in that when it is "locked" it moves. A contiguous neck is what we need to deal with the stress of the strings. Look at the Swiss full sized travel guitar called the Brunner Outdoor guitar. The neck comes off contiguously. It works, since 1995. The Voyage air is a stupid idea.


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: GUEST,Fleggy
Date: 26 Aug 08 - 05:05 AM

On a trip to New York I bought a Taylor guitar, like the baby Taylor but bigger, with a neck that comes off if you take out two screws; it seems to work OK and the bits fit into normal luggage; I stuffed the body with clothes so it did not eat up too much space; it is not as good as my Martin but I would not risk the Martin on a transatlantic flight.


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 26 Aug 08 - 08:56 AM

Somebody ought to form a company, you pay a subscription and you can borrow a guitar wherever you are.

Its hard enough to get the bloody things to stay in tune in the ordinary way of things - sometimes getting the strings into some semblance of agreement and harmony with each other is like the Northern Ireland peace talks.

common sense would seem to indicate its a crap idea. If it really works, I would be interested to what extent it works.


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 26 Aug 08 - 09:39 AM

Here's a link to the Brunner Outdoor Guitars website, that was mentioned above.


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: GUEST,DaveA
Date: 16 Sep 08 - 11:28 AM

John Greven, who makes the drop dead gorgeous Greven guitars (Grevenguitars.com), recently made a travel guitar for a client and he is up for building more - $3500


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: JedMarum
Date: 16 Sep 08 - 12:26 PM

I had use of this guitar from Harvey Leach for about a year. It is a true beauty and it works every bit as well as advertised.

I am a real bigot for quality sound out of a guitar - and this guitar has it. In particular, it has beautiful highs.

The strings slip through holes in the nut, rather then over slots - so they do not unwind off the pegs when you break the instrument down (in answer to a question above).

The guitar folds up and down very very easily and I never had trouble tuning or keeping it tuned. It has great electronics too.

The neck fit precisely and perfectly at the joint. It flawlessly fit and refit its position every time. As I said I used it regularly for a year and I never had wiggle, wobble or trouble of any kind with folding neck.

I normally play a jumbo guitar and prefer rosewood (the harvey leach guitar I had was mahogany) - so my usual preference was for a bigger and warmer sound, BUT this guitar was a beauty. I actually preferred its sound for some of the up-the-neck finger-style stuff I do, and I used the guitar in the studio for two songs. I have an endorsement from Larrivee guitars, otherwise I might still be carrying around Harvey Leach's guitar!

Like Deb said above, the guitar was a treat to travel with. It always fit the overheads on airplanes and never raised more then an eyebrow passing through security.

This guitar is the real thing. It's a great idea and I wish Harvey Leach continued success with it.


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: fretless
Date: 16 Sep 08 - 01:24 PM

John Sloan in Chicago used to make floding banjos -- the neck is hinged and folds into the pot. His son, Peter, has a few left for sale here . By the way, the strings look like wires in the airport scanners so you should allow some extra time for the scrurity guys to make sure you're not carrying anything more potentially damaging than a musical instrument.


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: GUEST,Don Firth (I get MY computer back this week)
Date: 16 Sep 08 - 01:39 PM

I think Foolestroupe's post at 15 Feb 07 - 07:30 p.m. is very much to the point re: loosening of strings and changing tension on the guitar. Several decades back, I left my good guitar at home while spending several months in another city (I took an inexpensive guitar with me). A bit new to guitars, I was advised by someone to loosen the strings if I was going to leave it in storage, so I did. When I got home and tuned the guitar up again, it never regained the rich quality of tone that it had before, and no, new strings didn't help. It sounded?okay?but it didn't have the vibrant sound it had before. It had gone sort of dead.

I have since been told?by a luthier?that that was the wrong thing to do. His advice was to leave keep a guitar at concert pitch, even if you're not going to play it for awhile (better still, loan it to someone you trust and have them play it while you're gone). He went on to say (and lots of folkies won't like or agree with this) that cranking a guitar's strings up and down for special tunings is definitely not good for a well-made guitar.

For travel purposes, I use one of these:   GO-Guitar. They're made by Sam Radding in San Diego, and their tone and volume is amazing for a soundbox their size. I have used mine in gigs in fairly sizable venues?and in one full-blown concert almost a year ago?and it did the job nicely. It sounded like a "real" guitar. Some folks thought it was a period instrument of some kind.

The only problem with the Go Guitar is that if you walk through an airport with one in its gig-bag, it looks like you're carrying a rifle. Bells ring, sirens go off, and you're surrounded by all these guys in uniform. . . .

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: GUEST,New Millennium Guitar
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 11:55 AM

It is a bad invention. If it hasn't been done before it is for a reason.
All of the 10 guitars I sampled had warped necks. making a cut, through the fretboard, all the way through the heel is messing with the stasis of the guitar, stasis based on a contiguous neck.
At the point of the greatest tension is this cut. The heel wanders around as well, like a three bolt Fender, you can move the heel thus making the intonation, neck angle and overall playability change with little pressure.
The cut into the fretboard, besides being ugly, is going to wear unevenly. Besides being an idiotic invention it is a true waste of money, badly finished and ham handed.


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: GUEST,Barney
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 05:11 AM

1) Any guitar sitting stores have to have neck adjustments, setups etc. Ill go into stores & show you Martins and Taylors that have warped necks and need an adjustment. Where did you play 10 Voyage Air Guitars? There are no stores in any one area that has 10 in stock! Sounds like someone is making things up!

2) from a distance of about 5' you can not tell there is a cut in the next. I've seen people play a V-A for an hour and then are shown it folds in half, they are shocked.

3) When the guitar is in playing postiting and unfolded there is ABSOLTULY no play in the heel. The point of greatest tension is by the nut. When you see guitars with broken necks tdo you ever see it at the 12th fret? No, its a broken headstock.


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: stallion
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 05:24 AM

I was going to say that I saw and heard debC with one and it sounded great to me but i don't play guitar, then I saw who started the the thread, probably one of his last , still here with us Paul!


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: bradstonian girl
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 04:44 PM

Saw Deb C at several venues in Broadstairs folk week. Voice and guitar sublime!


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: DebC
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 04:52 PM

Thanks, Bradstonian Girl. Send me a PM and let me know who you are.

Best,
Debra


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: GUEST,tessier
Date: 02 Apr 11 - 01:07 PM

i have a kopt 6 string sliding neck ( the neck slides into the body) and it is great it was bought in 1976 and played since with no issues, all hinges are tight


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Subject: RE: Folding guitars for travel - comments?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 02 Apr 11 - 06:37 PM

When Deb unfolded her guitar at Maidenhead and hit a chord it was NAD in tune ! Only needed slight tuning adjustment before the gig , and it sounded OK to me .


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