I travel all over the world for work as a cinematographer (www.dancoplan.com) and for vacation. I’ve suffered guitar withdrawal enough that I decided it was time to find a travel-friendly instrument. I needed something light, compact, relatively indestructible, and quiet enough so I could play anywhere without disturbing other people. I also wanted something fairly inexpensive but still good enough quality that I wouldn’t regret the purchase. I’ll save you the details of my exhaustive search but I ultimately chose the Sinsonido by Aria.
Licensed by SoloEtte, the guitar is nearly identical yet less than half the cost. The main part of the guitar consists of a single block of wood including neck and body, minus the upper and lower bouts. The headstock and tuners are built into the base which saves inches off the length while maintaining full size playability. This single piece, similar to an Irish hurley (a field hockey-style paddle used in hurling) is all you need to play, though this would be awkward without the upper and lower bouts to rest against your body. Three lightweight metal rods covered in foam padding fit into the body and form the guitar’s body shape. Compact, lightweight, rugged – perfect! This also makes for a great conversation starter because it looks so unique.
A pickup is built into the bridge and a standard 1/4” jack lets you plug in to an amp or with headphones. An easily accessed 9V battery on the back supplies power to the jack. This is perfect for playing at volume without bugging anyone. Controls include volume and tone.
The guitar plays really well. I had to dial in the action at the bridge (thumbwheels on bass and treble side – easy peasy) and tweak the truss rod (allen wrench included!), but the neck and frets feel great and sometimes I don’t even put on headphones – I just pluck and strum away, satisfying my 6-string fix. The tuners are plastic – not the best quality, but for less than $20 I replaced these with a metal set that fit the peg slots and mounting holes perfectly. The volume and tone knobs are pretty cheap as is their functionality, but they work well enough. For the cost, travel-friendliness, and the way the guitar plays I’m willing to accept this as a compromise. Finally, I find the tone to be a bit twangy, but I’m willing to forgive juicy tone just to be able to put a guitar I feel good about in my hands while traveling.
The Sinsonido includes a pair of fold-up headphones with the proper 1/4” plug adapter, an allen wrench to adjust the truss rod, and soft padded carrying case. I’ve literally taken this thing all over the world and played in airports, on buses, boats, trains, on hikes, and countless other places where a standard guitar would be too cumbersome. As far as travel guitars are concerned, this one gets high marks.
Dan Coplan is a Los Angeles based cinematographer and staff writer for www.sharemyguitar.com. He can be reached through his website mentioned at the top of the article or at email@example.com.Published in