Taking an acoustic guitar with you when you travel can be a lesson in compromises. You may have to make do with an odd-shaped instrument, a short necked model, or a cheap throw-away that produces poor sound. Wouldn't it be great if you could strap a full-sized Fender to your back, but still be able to meet commercial airline carry on luggage size restrictions? The iconic guitar maker has released two travel dreadnoughts with a Voyage-Air hinge mechanism that allows the instruments to fold in half.
In 2009, Voyage-Air CEO Jeff Cohen (and son Josh) appeared on the US television show Shark Tank to push a range of acoustic guitars featuring a patented hinge mechanism that allowed the instruments to collapse down to half size for ease of transport. The Sharks were impressed and offered to invest half a million dollars in the idea, in return for a controlling share of the company. The Cohens shocked the panel of billionaires by deciding to walk away from the deal and go it alone.
Voyage-Air Guitars subsequently added more acoustics to its catalog, successfully launched in the US, and created an electric guitar version. The father and son team took another (unaired) run at the Sharks in Season 3, resulting in an investment from Kevin O'Leary. This led to licensing talks with Fender last year, and now a test run of 150 VA dreadnoughts are being sold through select Fender dealers.
The Fender CD-140S VA travel acoustic features a solid spruce top with quartersawn X bracing, and laminated mahogany back and sides. The guitar has a rosewood bridge, synthetic bone saddle, faux tortoiseshell pickguard, and chrome hardware.
The Voyage-Air hinge is positioned between the 13th and 14th frets of the 20-fret, 25.3-inch scale mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard. A twist of the chrome locking bolt releases the neck from the body and the neck is folded forward. The strings can be tucked inside the guitar's body, and the instrument placed in the included companion travel bag. This model carries a recommended retail of US$1,100.
The CD-60 VA guitar has similar specs to the 140S VA, but comes with a black pickguard and retails for $1,000.
The promo video below does appear to suggest that players will be able to strum away as soon as the neck is locked in place, which, if CNET's review of Voyage-Air's own acoustic guitar is anything to go by, is quite an achievement.
Product page: Fender travel acoustics