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Summer NAMM Awards: 'Hmmmm, on Second Thought..." PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 20 August 2007 03:28
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This is the sixth and final installment of my Summer NAMM Award series. In this article, the category is "Hmmmm, on Second Thought...". These are products that I originally thought might be candidates for the "What Were They Thinking" category, but later felt there might actually be a market for them.

Only one product made enough of an impression on me that I reconsidered my initial judgement - the Voyage-air Guitar ( The folks at Voyage-air have constructed an admittedly ingenious high-end travel guitar. The instrument uses a hinge mechanism to allow a full size, or nearly full size, guitar to literally fold into a carrying case and snap back perfectly in tune. I was skeptical about the assertions, but after trying one out at NAMM, these things actually work.
The guitars themselves are extremely well built, and the acoustic that I tested ranks among the best playing acoustic guitars I've tried in some time.

The problem that I originally had with the Voyage-air was their price point, which is above the $1,000 mark. I just couldn't see customers paying that for a travel guitar. The theory behind the Voyage-air is that you can take your favorite guitar with you, rather than your travel guitar.
As someone who carries a travel guitar on all my business trips, I certainly admit that it isn't something I actually look forward to playing. I take it because a) it helps keep my fingers in shape (since at times I travel more than six months per year), and b) it helps keep my bar bills down while I'm on the road (since I've never been fond of sitting in a hotel with nothing to do). I have to say that when I went back to the hotel room and picked up my cheap travel guitar, the Voyage-air started to have more appeal to me. Since I can now carry cool devices like the Tascam MP-GT1 [note: link this to previous article] and the Roland Micro BR [note: link this to previous article], having a better instrument on the road becomes very attractive.
And so, I've changed my mind on the Voyage-air Guitar. I'm not sure it's going to be a wild success, but I think it has a chance to be a sustaining product. I also think the folks at Voyage-air may have a chance to license their hinge technology. Some manufacturers might well want to make travel versions of guitars that will appeal to their customer base, like a travel version of a Les Paul. It's just a thought.

Anyway, it's an interesting concept and definitely well executed. I wish the Voyage-air guys all the best, as the folks at the booth were really great people.


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