Ed Sheeran and the cult of baby sized guitars (Part 2)

More chatter on travel/baby sized acoustics. This part looks at the really mini ones that I feel holds a firmer footing in my collection.

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I’ve always felt that a travel guitar should go as small as possible, even with trade-offs in volume and tone. After all, you are unlikely to perform to a big crowd on a travel guitar, so why the emphasis on volume and tone?

Super minis almost always comes with a scale length under 23 inches and really tiny bodies for easy storage. Here are some popular ones in SG.

Washburn Rover

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A perennial favourite in Washburn and AGF Forums, the Rover is widely mentioned whenever a mini travel guitar comes to mind. It has a tiny and thin body featuring a solid spruce top and laminated mahogony back/sides.

See how small it is compared to my dreads. Bob was loving the chance to pose. My Rover has since gone to a new home.

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One attractive feature is the inclusion of a semi-hard case that comes standard. Many owners swear by its usefulness and robustness when it comes to aircraft storage. Ironically, I find that the case makes the guitar less mobile.

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An oddity in the mini guitar range, the Rover has a relatively long scale compared to the rest. It has a scale length near to 24 inches. Strung stock with 10-47 gauge strings, it sounds clear and sweet but rather thin.

And yes, it has a truss rod.

Washburn-Rover-Review

However, the tiny body makes the guitar extremely top heavy and it is almost impossible to play it comfortably. The Rover’s odd body shape also makes it hard to hold.

The Rover retails at around $300.

Martin Backpacker

With an interesting story about its conception, the Martin Backpacker was always a conversation piece. Rightfully dubbed the broomstick, this guitar is easily recognised by its odd shape.

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Specs wise, the Backpacker would make you sit up and exclaim. A full solid wood Martin for under $400?! But wait a minute, the woods used are most likely leftovers at the Mexican factory. Since wood is wood, and the Backpacker doesn’t need large wood blanks, no one is complaining.

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Again the odd shape makes holding and playing the Backpacker quite an uncomfortable experience.

Here’s a Youtube video on the Backpacker. I like her singing!

There is also no truss rod in this guitar for setup purposes. This alone may seriously discount the backpacker as a worthy guitar since you cannot do much of adjustments to the setup.

SX TG1

This little guitar from the budget brand is rather overlooked because SX is usually associated with lookalike electric guitars.

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The TG1 has a more “usual shape” than the rest of the pack mentioned here. Although still a tiny guitar with a 22.5 inch scale length, the TG1 feels less awkward than the others when strapped on. It also plays rather comfortably when seated.

Solid spruce top and laminate sapele b/s make a good combination for simple and fun travel guitar.

Here you can watch a Youtube review.

It also comes with a really nice gigbag that seems to imitate the Taylor look. At $169, I feel that this guitar provides great value.

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I brought Peanut out to the barrage sometime in July and it was really fun. 🙂

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That’s what a travel guitar should be – small, easy to move around, and fun to play!

*Guitarbear stresses that there are more mini guitars than the trio presented here.

*photos from sxguitarist.com, Martin official wesbite and musicianfriend.

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