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Unread 06-17-2016, 02:24 AM   #1
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dieseljones's Avatar

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 3

I've had a revelatory couple of weeks in my guitar-playing, on the basis that a real photographer is never without a camera... So a good songwriter should never be without a guitar.

I commute to work - over an hour's drive each way - and use this as my office to learn songs. I also am constantly noting phrases or scraps of tunes which could large expand to a song. But I'm permanently short of time through the week and often can't find the time I'd really like to practise, explore and arrange new songs... and write my own.

I've tried taking my Strat or CPX15 to work, to utilise my lunch hour, but getting it in and out of the hard case in the boot, and into the back seat, risks serious damage to my pride-and-joys (prides-and-joy?)
I know most members of this community are American and probably have huge Ford Explorers (excuse the stereotyping) but I have a little Audi A3.

I did some research and found that a Piccolo guitar might fit the bill. I'll show my ignorance and admit I didn't know of their existence. But it's a soprano guitar an octave higher than standard.
I found a lovely little mahogany Ibanez, for just over a £100.
It's about a third bigger than a ukulele but has 6 steel strings and standard tuning. What's more the nut is 42mm, same as my Strat. The frets are significantly closer together and can be a bit of a squeeze as you move up the neck, but heck it's a small inconvenience!
I can now practice in my car every lunchtime.

The picture's below, but I'm new to this malarkey, so I'm not sure if I've uploaded it correctly!

Travel guitars tend to be still full scale length & 3/4 baby guitars can be £3-400.

Admittedly tuning is a bit of an issue. I googled that and found that the reduced scale length famously gives problems on that front. Tiny discrepancies are effectively doubled. And just fretting a note is pretty well pulling it out of tune.
Someone with perfect pitch might well find this excruciating. But it's close enough for me work with.

Tuning it up a full step certainly helps this, but rather cancels out the idea of it being in standard tuning. But since I'm a cowboy-chord guy - with everything capo'd to the appropriate key - I just compensate 2 frets.

I'm going to e-mail Ibanez and see if the neck would stand going to a higher gauge of strings and maybe flatwound, as that certainly helped the stability of my Epiphone Dot.

I admit I've only got small hands, and it may not suit everyone, but see if you can find one to try...
I've just written a rocking little song on it, called "Jesus, we come to Jesus" ...in my lunch hour, in my car!!!
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Last edited by dieseljones; 06-17-2016 at 02:38 AM. Reason: Spelling mistake
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Unread 06-23-2016, 07:56 AM   #2
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Joined: Dec 2004
Location: Coal City, IL
Posts: 585
I also have never heard/seen a guitar of that size in standard tuning. I have a Baby Taylor and it is a struggle to keep it in tune.
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