Welcome to a weekly feature on my blog – Ben’s Zone. Written by husband… Ben. A foodie, coffee obsessed, ex-smoking, ex-drinking and Ridgeback loving Dad. Who is also seriously into his fitness. You can find him on the blog (most) Sundays. Enjoy!
Snap Dragon the Folding Guitar for the Travelling Guitarist
One of the things about my job that is most disruptive is the amount of business travel that it involve. I work with teams in the US and India and so at least four times a year I travel for two week trips to spend time with those teams. The working week is great as I get a chance to sit in a room with people I normally only speak to online but the weekends are tough. I’ve been doing the trips for a long time now and so I have done most of the tourist things. I got my Snapdragon Traxe Noir about 18 months ago and it’s saved my sanity many times. Check my full review for details.
5 Reasons Why I think Every Travelling Guitarist Should own a Snapdragon Traxe Noir
1. A Folding Guitar that goes Everywhere With You
My Traxe Noire came with a gig back and when folded up will go in any overhead baggage locker with ease. I do tend to put it in my hold luggage, but I can easily get the guitar in there with all the stuff I need for a 2 week trip. It doesn’t cost me to do this as the guitar only weighs a couple of kilos. I can even squeeze the guitar on top of the beach toys when we go on hols and to Centre Parcs. I always have access to a guitar and while I am a terrible player, the act itself is something I find deeply satisfying and I am never denied that with my Traxe.
2. Tough as You Like
Form factor aside, another big worry when transporting instruments is potential damage. Forget the horror stories from the airlines, just thing about how sketchy a car full of pointy kids toys is? I could, of course, put a guitar in the roof box but I can’t imagine dripping wet wetsuits are going to do it much good. Not an issue with my Traxe Noir. The body is super tough thick polycarbonate and the neck is sealed maple. Yes, there is buckle rash on the back but the non-glossy surface means it’s really hard to spot. When folded the body acts as a support for the neck so it’s very robust.
3. They Sound Good
Whether it’s purely acoustic or through a little battery amp (I use a Drummond and Hammett) you can get some really nice tones out of a Traxe Noire. I’m not sure what that really means for the whole tone wood debate but I don’t care. Volume is less because the body is smaller but it’s not compromised. I don’t have huge experience with piezo pickups but the more time I spend with the Traxe Noir, the happier I am with the tone I am getting out of it. More than any of my other guitars it’s teaching me how important my fingers are to the tone I get. With only a volume control on the guitar, less options means I focus better on the important components of my tone.
4. Working on a Shorter Scale can be Fun
Although the guitar is shorter scale, it’s worth remembering that it’s the same scale as a Fender Mustang, so it’s not that short. So you have to get more creative and try stuff that you might not have tried before. I never really feel like the frets are smaller than on my other guitars, even the neck is not that much smaller than a Strat. Admittedly it is hard to get to the top frets but even if I was a shredder (and I’m not for reasons of technique), I wouldn’t be shredding on an acoustic through a battery powered amp. It is quite possible to play some very satisfying blues on a short scale and when I do come back to standard scale I appreciate the extra space.
5. Turns Dead Time into Useful Time
Most of all, why I love my Traxe Noir and why I think every travelling guitarist should buy one is that it turns dead time into useful time. As I write this, watching the sun set over Bangalore I’m trying to think of the last time I had 5 hours just to play guitar and I can’t. I do manage to get a couple of hours in some evenings but not the sort of time you need to learn new stuff and actually do those tutorials you find in guitar magazines. If the guitar wasn’t so tough, transportable and playable those 5 hours would have been dead time for me, most likely spent watching a movie or something. So I’m eternally grateful to be able to play music wherever I go.