Travel guitar-- what would you design, if you built one for yourself?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
Alan Carruth
Luthier
Posts: 2866
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2007 6:56 pm

Re: Travel guitar-- what would you design, if you built one for yourself?

Post by Alan Carruth » Wed May 16, 2018 5:55 pm

A few years ago I built a small harp guitar that folds up to go into a box that will fit in the overhead on the airlines. The body size was based on a Martin size 1, which was a 'normal' mid-19th century guitar. I chose that size because the allowable footprint for the box is 14"x22", and that size is 13" across the lower bout. The neck is held on by string tension, with a bolt through the heel to keep it from folding up. It has an extension arm for the sub-bass strings that also folds. I've often thought that making one like that, without the extension, would be a great way to go for a travel guitar. You would not need to remove the strings in folding it up, and it would go into a really small box.

mlau
Posts: 68
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2016 5:42 pm

Re: Travel guitar-- what would you design, if you built one for yourself?

Post by mlau » Wed May 16, 2018 8:47 pm

Is it something like the voyage-aire?

I think you're talking about that MIMF $100 challenge?
That guitar impressed the heck out of me, and was one of the things that inspired me to start building guitars to begin with.

printer2
Posts: 433
Joined: Sat May 02, 2015 9:20 pm
Location: Winnipeg

Re: Travel guitar-- what would you design, if you built one for yourself?

Post by printer2 » Thu May 17, 2018 2:29 am

Alan Carruth wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 5:55 pm
A few years ago I built a small harp guitar that folds up to go into a box that will fit in the overhead on the airlines. The body size was based on a Martin size 1, which was a 'normal' mid-19th century guitar. I chose that size because the allowable footprint for the box is 14"x22", and that size is 13" across the lower bout. The neck is held on by string tension, with a bolt through the heel to keep it from folding up. It has an extension arm for the sub-bass strings that also folds. I've often thought that making one like that, without the extension, would be a great way to go for a travel guitar. You would not need to remove the strings in folding it up, and it would go into a really small box.
If the strings are height enough I am guessing you could do string bends without the aid of a whammy bar. I like it. Just looked it up, size 1 lower bout at 12 3/4", that Alan, always trying to sneak in that extra 1/4". :wink:
Fred

Alan Carruth
Luthier
Posts: 2866
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2007 6:56 pm

Re: Travel guitar-- what would you design, if you built one for yourself?

Post by Alan Carruth » Thu May 17, 2018 3:31 pm

Fred:
It's actually my own shape, based on Martin's size one, and it is 13" across the lower bout. It should still fit in a size 1 case, though.

printer2
Posts: 433
Joined: Sat May 02, 2015 9:20 pm
Location: Winnipeg

Re: Travel guitar-- what would you design, if you built one for yourself?

Post by printer2 » Thu May 17, 2018 9:42 pm

Alan Carruth wrote:
Thu May 17, 2018 3:31 pm
Fred:
It's actually my own shape, based on Martin's size one, and it is 13" across the lower bout. It should still fit in a size 1 case, though.
Just having a little fun with you. :D
Fred

Stephen Faulk
Posts: 674
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:27 am

Re: Travel guitar-- what would you design, if you built one for yourself?

Post by Stephen Faulk » Fri May 18, 2018 2:51 am

What are the parameters for a travel guitar? I mean full size guitars travel. Do you mean a guitar which can be carried on an airplane?
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

Alan Carruth
Luthier
Posts: 2866
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2007 6:56 pm

Re: Travel guitar-- what would you design, if you built one for yourself?

Post by Alan Carruth » Sat May 19, 2018 12:36 am

I'd say it should:
1) fit in the overhead without the need for any special permissions,
2) it should travel in a hard case; some folks really jam the bags in,
3) it should come as close as possible to being a 'real' guitar, big enough to have reasonably good bass tone,
4) it should require no special tools to set up.

The 'standard' size exists for a reason: that's the size that balances power and bass response in a way that suits the repertoire well. A smaller body, which would be required to fit in the overhead in a hard case, tennds to produce a powerful and 'carrying' tone, but can lack desirable 'fullness' in the bass. A small travel guitar might not be capable of covering some of the standard repertoire as well as a standard sized box, but when well made it might be more capable than expected in the hands of a good player.

mlau
Posts: 68
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2016 5:42 pm

Re: Travel guitar-- what would you design, if you built one for yourself?

Post by mlau » Sat May 19, 2018 4:45 pm

Al nailed it.

I'm actually having Clay Schaeffer (MIMF) making me a silk n steel travel guitar (steel string) that I'll study for my own possible build (if I don't quit building altogether). If nothing else, I might "lend" it to my sister (who is guitarless, and really likes wimpy tensioned strings).

I may try building a full sized guitar and try sticking the neck inside. The Smallman system looks pretty interesting to me.

-Matt

Stephen Faulk
Posts: 674
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:27 am

Re: Travel guitar-- what would you design, if you built one for yourself?

Post by Stephen Faulk » Sat May 19, 2018 11:23 pm

Well if Nigel Tufnel can design folding wine glasses, I'm pretty sure sure I can make a full size folding body the collapses to the dimensions of a laptop computer. The next neck could be telescopic and then lock with bolt. The neck would bolt onto the body.
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

Stephen Faulk
Posts: 674
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:27 am

Re: Travel guitar-- what would you design, if you built one for yourself?

Post by Stephen Faulk » Sat May 19, 2018 11:25 pm

My travel bass with folding body would of course be called the Derrick Smalls model. A fitting tribute to a master.
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

Stephen Faulk
Posts: 674
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:27 am

Re: Travel guitar-- what would you design, if you built one for yourself?

Post by Stephen Faulk » Mon May 21, 2018 1:57 pm

I was kidding about Nigel Tufnel, his wine glasses were a dismal failure. But I wasn't about making near full sized guitar that folds up.

There are new materials and old materials that can go together in unexpected ways.

I once saw a folding bowl made of thin veneer. Roll up doors and the room up cover on our bath tub have the capability to be held rigid and also roll into tight cylinder when not in use.

I think a wood sound board braced normally could have a colapsable structure behind it. The back and ribs could possibly work like a folding tent and the neck bolts and or clips in.

I would work with the concept and research the possibility of structure and materials by looking at industrial products that are portable. And look at things like how tents are stressed over frames into tensegrity structures.

For me this would be an engineering concept project first then after a familiarity with the materials was understood then bring it home aesthetically.

I would aim for the final package case to be thin. To be made of material that doesn't require a lot of internal cushioning. And would be quite strong.

The guitar would end up looking half Torres and half NASA. And it would be really expensive and sound like a guitar capable if giving a convincing concert.

I'm not interested in practical, this would be an engineering challenge. Just because it's a fascinating problem.
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

Paul Micheletti
Amateur luthier
Posts: 553
Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:48 am
Location: San Diego, CA

Re: Travel guitar-- what would you design, if you built one for yourself?

Post by Paul Micheletti » Mon May 21, 2018 7:55 pm

Stephen Faulk: Creator of the Origami Guitar (TM)

User avatar
AndreiKrylov
Posts: 2192
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:22 pm
Location: Canada

Re: Travel guitar-- what would you design, if you built one for yourself?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Mon May 21, 2018 8:37 pm

1. Guitar which will fit in carry on luggage. (with removable neck ...)
2. this has to be guitar with good sound!
I'd better speak by music...Please listen my guitar at Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, etc.

Stephen Faulk
Posts: 674
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:27 am

Re: Travel guitar-- what would you design, if you built one for yourself?

Post by Stephen Faulk » Tue May 22, 2018 2:19 am

Paul Micheletti wrote:
Mon May 21, 2018 7:55 pm
Stephen Faulk: Creator of the Origami Guitar (TM)
[/quote

The Kami No Tsuru line. Paper Crane model. $3000.00 and I send you a small thin brief case made of carbon graphite with titanium locks and hinges. Inside are five pieces of paper and instructions on how to fold them into a guitar.
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

Stephen Faulk
Posts: 674
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:27 am

Re: Travel guitar-- what would you design, if you built one for yourself?

Post by Stephen Faulk » Tue May 22, 2018 2:22 am

I'd like to see this as a design project contest between engineering schools. The MIT travel guitar would be cool. Then they work with a guitar maker to try to make the sound as good as possible.
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

Return to “Luthiers”