A review of the Voyage Air OM-4 (VAOM-04) Acoustic Travel guitar
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.
Alright… So it must sound pretty mediocre right? No guitar that folds in half, and retails for $499 new can sound any good. Right? Wrong! This guitar actually sounds really really good. Now, to be honest, it didn’t sound amazing right out of the case. When I first played it, I was a little disappointed. However, think about the process of shipping any guitar across the country. Or think about the process of picking up that one guitar that’s been sitting on a stand or untouched in your closet for a year. Does that guitar sound really great? No. But it certainly would if you gave it a little TLC.
So after strumming this guitar that folds in half for a few hours the afternoon that I got it in the mail, I decided to go ahead and polish it up a bit. The first thing that I did was replace the bridge piece on the body. Now if any of you own a guitar with a plastic bridge piece, I highly recommend this as one of the first things that you do to your guitar. Just go to guitar center, and ask for a Tusq bridge piece. It will run you about $12 with tax, and it will make you guitar sound $100 dollars nicer. Don’t hold it against me if it doesn’t, but trust me on this. This will involve some sanding to get the new piece to install correctly and keep your action low. But that doesn’t take too long.
So after replacing the bridge piece and the strings, this guitar sounds absolutely fantastic. Does it sound as good as my Alvarez Dreadnaught? Not quite. But for a guitar that you can fold in half, carry on your back in a bag that also comes with a computer sleeve and a number of other pockets, I simply cannot see why any other model of travel guitar makes sense. I don’t have some sort of rating system for gear – but I can’t really say enough nice things about this little travel setup.
Many thanks to Nathan and Charles at Atomic music for giving me a call and playing the guitar over the phone to me. Those guys totally rock. If you’re considering your first guitar purchase, they will definitely take care of you.