The Voyage-Air VAD-06 is designed to be a travel guitar because it is actually designed to fold in half! Some of the stigma with a “travel guitar” has been lesser quality both in sound and workmanship and they are not often considered “real guitars”. More often than not they are looked upon as beaters you can take into the woods and sing songs around a campfire, with the singers drowning out the tinny sounding guitar.
Not so with Voyage-Air guitars! Michael Ferrucci and the good folks over at Voyage-Air sent me a Song Writers Series VAD-06 to check out and travel around with. It actually arrived in a small box that you would not recognize as containing a guitar. Inside the box the VAD-60 was packed in its proprietary Voyager case which is an engineering marvel in itself! More on the case later.
Some specs include: Dreadnaught body shape, Select spruce top with scalloped X bracing pattern, African Mahogany neck, back and sides, East Indian rosewood fingerboard, compensated saddle, 25.5” scale length, 1-11/16” nut width, Schaller tuners, thin gloss body finish with satin neck finish (feels great) and D’Addario .012-.054 Phosphor Bronze strings.
That’s a lot of specs. Let’s get it into the shop so I can “un-fold” it and play the darn thing already!!!
On the Bench: “Holy hinges Batman”, there really is a big freakin’ hinge that folds the VAD-06 (gulp) in half! I saw the pics on the Voyage-Air website but seeing it in person reveals a carefully thought out design for both ease of assembly and tone transfer. Who says you need a dovetail anyway?
I set the guitar up to play in less than two minutes from taking it out of its Voyager case to strumming a chord on it. I was pretty amazed at how easy it was and how close it was to being in tune. There was no messing around with adjusting, fiddling or anything at all! The guitar unfolded, I needed to tweak a couple strings and it stayed in tune, period! So if any of you are skeptical about the tuning stability or the sturdiness of the hinge system you can all stop right here, right now. Forget about all the issues you may be wondering about because I’m telling you that they don’t exist!
The overall quality of the guitar is excellent. The fit and finish is flawless and the fretwork is outstanding! No weeny frets on the Voyage-Air. No sir, these feel like nice medium jumbo’s and are dressed to feel silky smooth.
Another detail that obviously had a lot of thought put into is the nut. Think about it for a second. You fold the guitar in half and what happens to the strings? They fall out of the nut slots and then you have a mess of strings at the headstock. Not so with the Voyage-Air Captured Nut. You see the strings go through the nut, not sit in slots. This way when you fold the guitar the strings stay put so you don’t have that problem. Simple, but genius!
In the Shop: You would NEVER know by playing the Voyage-Air VAD-06 that it actually folds in half for travel. It feels like an exceptionally high quality acoustic guitar and sounds like one too……because it is! I personally really like the neck shape and it may be the best neck I ever felt on an acoustic guitar. The satin neck finish made it even more comfortable to play. It sounded warm and woody with a nice clarity that would cut through in a small group setting. There was also a lively and vibey quality to it which also contributed to the easy playability.
I found myself playing the VAD-06 for a couple hours trying all kinds of things with it. Flat picking, finger picking and with a capo at various frets. The solid feel and rich sound makes you forget about the hinge…..until you’re ready to put it back in the proprietary case and take it to jam with some friends that is!
Ok, the Voyager proprietary case is a whole other case in itself……(did you get that one)? Anyway this is one of the coolest cases I’ve ever seen and it offers the folding guitar excellent protection for travel. With the add-on laptop case that attaches to the guitar case you get shoulder straps and a pocket to house a 17” laptop. Talk about getting the most out of a travel guitar and its case. The guitar fit inside perfectly and was easy to secure it for travel.
On the Gig: I did not take this guitar to an official gig because there are no electronics in this particular model. I did take it to a friend’s house to play with some other guys and the first reaction was “there’s no way you have a guitar in that case”. And I know they were thinking “let alone a good one” under their breath. Well I have to say that all were amazed at the design but were even more amazed at the sound and how it was not lacking at all for being considered a travel guitar. The VAD-06 performed beautifully with its rich tone that cut through the mix with the other guitars and felt really comfortable play for a few hours non-stop. This is the kind of guitar that takes just minutes to get used to and you’re off playing music not thinking about getting around the guitar too much. Also to note (another pun..) I tried the VAD-06 sitting and standing with a strap and it was as comfortable as any other dreadnaught guitar.
Final Analysis: I have to say that I do not think of the VAD-06 as a travel guitar per se. I think of it as a really great sounding and feeling guitar that just happens to have extremely well designed travel capabilities. It is the best travel design I’ve ever seen and is completely worth the price. I would take this guitar into a studio, on stage or a road trip without hesitation…..it’s that good.
If you are looking for a guitar you can easily travel with but do not want to sacrifice quality or tone then you must check out Voyage-Air guitars. I am personally knocked out by this guitar and it makes me wonder what the upper line models are like! The VAD-06 would make a great companion for a business person that travels a lot and wants to bring a guitar along. You could even tote your laptop in the laptop case and record some tunes in your hotel room during down time. So if you have to hit the road make sure you take along the ultimate travel partner….a Voyage-Air guitar!