Skip to content

I've had my Apogee Duet 2 for about a year now, but it was until recently that I really had the chance to test out its abilities as a preamp for tracking multiple instruments and layering them together in a DAW. That said - here are my thoughts on this amazing little device:

The Duet 2, for those of you who haven't had the chance to use one, is a two line in four line out box with one button on it - that uses a set of breakout cables to handle the ins and outs. Kind of like an iPad or iPhone: it's incredibly minimal. One big knob that functions as a controller for a variety of purposes - from switching between sources, to controlling the volume - it's a very intuitive design. ...continue reading "Review: Apogee Duet 2"

Note: Things That Make Noise is my new series for reviewing instruments. I will also have a series called Things That Record Noise where I review recording gear. Check back soon for a review of the new Apogee Duet 2.

Traveling with your Guitar

If you’ve ever tried to bring a guitar onto an airplane, then you’re well aware of the ensuing headache that comes with the whole process. The great debate is over whether to check the guitar in a flight case that you trust will survive the baggage handlers, or whether one should attempt to bring the guitar onto the airplane and stow it in the overhead compartment. The happy medium for me was always to gate check the guitar. In fact, I’ll likely do this many times again in the future. I’ve never really had any major complications with this process, and sometimes just need my G&L ASAT with me. It's just kind of a hassle though.

When I realized how many flights I would be taking in the coming year, one of the first things that crossed my mind was this very issue. And, me being the guitar geek that I am, the conclusion that I quickly came to was that I needed (“needed”) to get a travel guitar. I suppose that an indestructible Tele or Strat in a gig bag would survive each trip. However, I don’t think I’ll be taking an amp on the plane with me. So that means traveling with an acoustic guitar. Was my main acoustic guitar going to survive multiple flights, even with a great flight case? Maybe. But would it be a pain to travel to multiple cities, often with stopovers in between, with a full sized guitar in a thick road case, a backpacking backpack, and an additional bag? Yes. It certainly would be.

Okay, so travel guitar it is. Where to begin…. None of the travel guitars that I had tried in the past struck me as being particularly inspirational if you will. The Big Baby Taylors sound pretty terrific for the price, and the necks can unscrew. But that sounds like a recipe for warped necks and stripped screws over time. The smaller Baby Taylor sounds okay, but isn’t full sized. The Martin LXM series felt kinda cheap in my hands. The Breedlove felt pretty good, but again - not quite right. Unfortunately, this is the story for most travel acoustic guitars. They’re just too small! Short-scale necks don’t feel right, and small-bodied guitars don’t resonate.

This quandary narrowed the field down to two guitars: The new Taylor GS Mini, and the Voyage Air guitar (the what?). After playing both, I ultimately decided on the latter of the two options. Click here for my full review. I think you guitar players will be impressed with this guitar find.

The Voyage Air, VAOM-4 model guitar is a full-sized orchestra model guitar. It has a spruce top, mahogany back and sides, and a rosewood fingerboard. The neck is a full 25.5” length, and the top has a glossy laminated finish. These specs, however, are not what make this guitar unique. What sets this guitar apart from the rest is that the neck folds in half across the body. No, you don’t need a screwdriver. The nut for the strap merely unscrews, and the neck folds over the body. Okay. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking – man, that sounds like a pain in the butt as far as restringing, tuning, etc. The crazy thing is that guitar stays about 90% in tune each time as you fold it and unfold it. It’s one of those things you have to actually do to believe. So this full sized orchestra model guitar that folds in half fits into a backpack that you can store in the overhead compartment of an airplane. ...continue reading "A review of the Voyage Air OM-4 (VAOM-04) Acoustic Travel guitar"

The academic year is winding down for me here in Denver. 30 total weeks of class, 3 rounds of midterms and finals, and more reading than I’ve ever tackled before. All good things. Very exhausting nonetheless. Life in here has been nothing short of a major change from life in Washington, DC. Maybe it’s the mountains, or the dearth of policy wonks, or the fact that I often spend Friday night reading books as opposed to playing shows somewhere on the east coast…. Whatever it is, it’s different.

Anyway – thanks for taking the time to come and check out my new blog. I don’t get the chance to catch up with friends and family as often as I’d like, so this is my attempt at staying in touch as I keep moving forward. And, this being my first post, I’ll cut to the chase, as I really got this up and running because of a new adventure that I’m about to embark on which many of you may know about by now.

In the coming months I will be heading to Israel to work on a health assessment project with an organization called Grassroots Jerusalem. Their work, among other things, aims to connect the efforts of peacebuilding organizations in Israel-Palestine. I’ll have more to say about their efforts once I hit the ground, but the projects we will be working on this summer have to do with assessing the conflict<->health nexus. From community organizing, to web portal and multimedia development, it sounds as though there will be no shortage of work to do. And, with the country feeling the effects of power shifts across the Middle East, George Mitchell recently stepping down as U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, and social unrest leading to increased violence in the region, the experience should be nothing short of… well, eye opening I suppose.

This being said, I also plan to meet up with some good friends along the way. And, no trip to a new country (or countries, if you will) would be complete without learning about local music, food & culture. I’ll do my best to document my travels on this website. So check back for photos, videos, and general musings on day-to-day experiences. Thanks for stopping by!

-Greg