Personal blog and comfy corner of Lyra Rhodes: musician, cake aficionado, whinger...maybe just a place where I can stuff things (words!), rather than them falling down the back of the sofa

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Mini guitars - form or fashion?

Joan Baez (martin 045)
Mini guitars have always been around.
Particularly in blues and folk, the term "Parlour Guitar" has been used.
But I think it's always been more suited to the folk ethic, and particularly suits finger picking.
Take a look at this pic of Joan Baez playing a Martin 0-45 (courtesy Wikipedia)
They just sit in the lap better, easier to lean back on your sofa (risking a bad back, use plenty of lovely cushions lol) and while away the hours plinking and plonking away.
A real good example of a modern smaller form-factor guitar is the Taylor GS-Mini like in the pic below. I've got one of these, and I was blown away by the sound when I tried it out. It has a slightly rounded out back.
Amazing thing.
It just lacks a pickup, and the one you can buy for it doesn't seem all that amazing.
And they do one in Mahogany as well...which to me sounds a bit unnecessary...it's already quite a hard sound.
For me, Ed Sheeran takes it to the limit, with his "baby" guitar. (his gear guide is here). Apparently, it's a Martin LX1E. Of course, the Baby (and "Big Baby") Taylor has been around for a while, but this is a *Martin* and is electro-acoustic too...
Do I like it?
Yes actually.
These guitars are also useful because they don't have too much low-end "boominess" which is a real boon when recording, and sometimes DI from the pickup also works surprisingly well.
I mean, for your typical singer-songwriter, a Dreadnought or a Jumbo aren't particularly appropriate, not least they're a bit massive when stood up and finger picking.
Suzanne Vega favours an "auditorium" style guitar, which is entirely another subject, and given she's an idol of mine, one which I won't go into here... It'll take too long!
So, recently, given that I started out playing a classical guitar when I was a kid, I think there's a place for "crossover" guitars. I've seen some artists playing electro-classical guitars... and particularly when it is coupled with a low profile fast neck, then I think it's a winner... I even went to the extent of buying a Taylor electro-nylon guitar... but I sent it back, as the neck was still too wide, and the guitar itself too large... it was essentially "grand auditorium" as opposed to "travel guitar".
And that's the last phrase I'll leave you with... Travel Guitar. Would you take your fancy Martin or Taylor mini guitar travelling with you? Well... guitars are meant to be played, so why not!!!?
The Holy Grail?
A travel/parlour/mini guitar (whatever you want to call it) that's actually got some colour and design and style to it!! I've way too many beige guitars!!!
What about this mini Ovation / Applause? I had a larger "Applause" when I was a student, and the playability and Bass was outstanding. Why did I get rid of it? Why are they no longer in fashion, being something of an 80s thing? Dunno... thoughts on a postcard.

1 comment:

toddfan said...

I've had a VAGABOND travel guitar, ever since I saw Jill Sobule play one when she opened for Lloyd Cole & the Negatives. I quite like it!