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  1. #1

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    Hello, first-time poster, longtime intermittent reader here.


    I want to put together a nice low-volume practice rig for travel. Small enough to pack in an air travel bag, and cheap so it's not a tragedy if lost.

    My thought was a pedal-size preamp into a decent light powered speaker, such as an iPod dock.

    The micro guitar amps out there don't interest me, and I hate headphones.

    Do any of you do this? What have you come up with? Thanks!

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    No headphones severely limits your options.

    On a sabbatical in remote locations years ago, I used Apogee Jam interface with Garage Band on my iPhone and it was a blast! Of course it did require headphones...

  4. #3

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    Depends on how small you need it to be and how good you want it to sound.

    One slightly odd choice I'll throw out there is the Roland ac33. It isn't tiny but I can wedge it into a backpack. It sounds good enough on its own with acoustics or floaters that it doesn't need outside help. and it makes a pretty decent speaker for music or movies if you connect your phone or tablet to it. You can power it with batteries, and you get two channels plus line in/out. So you can go busking, jam with a friend or connect a mic to it as well. Has a neat little kickstand thing that angles it upward. Decent onboard reverb and chorus. Likes effect pedals.

    On the downside, it isn't super small or light. Not large by any means, but every inch and ounce counts on the road. no Bluetooth. kinda bland with electrics and it just sucks with dirt pedals- zero headroom, feels gross. Not crazy expensive, but they aren't giving them away, either. Plenty of them on the used market, though.

    Or maybe the plug into your phone or tablet idea, but grab a Bluetooth speaker instead of headphones?

  5. #4

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    Do you travel with a laptop or a tablet? If so you can download the free Amplitube which is an amp sim and also has effects. You would need an interface to plug the guitar into the computer. From there you could just use computer speakers (headphones would be better though). Or, you could travel with better external speakers for the laptop. You could probably even do all this with a smart phone.

  6. #5

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    Here's a set up that is great in a hotel room. Flying, it would fit in a carry-on bag or backpack. And it's got formidable tone and volume.

    Hotel Room Guitar Practice Rig?-interblock45-zt-jpg

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by semitone1
    Hello, first-time poster, longtime intermittent reader here.


    I want to put together a nice low-volume practice rig for travel. Small enough to pack in an air travel bag, and cheap so it's not a tragedy if lost.

    My thought was a pedal-size preamp into a decent light powered speaker, such as an iPod dock.

    The micro guitar amps out there don't interest me, and I hate headphones.

    Do any of you do this? What have you come up with? Thanks!
    Plugging a preamp/amp simulator into a powered speaker will work. connecting it via Bluetooth probably won't because of latency (I don't know how you're thinking of connecting). My travel solution is a Roland Microcube, which is a real amp (not a toy micro amp), but quite small and battery powered. It takes up about as much space in a suitcase as, say 4 pairs of socks. if you don't have room for it and socks, socks are overrated.

    john

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    Plugging a preamp/amp simulator into a powered speaker will work. connecting it via Bluetooth probably won't because of latency (I don't know how you're thinking of connecting). My travel solution is a Roland Microcube, which is a real amp (not a toy micro amp), but quite small and battery powered. It takes up about as much space in a suitcase as, say 4 pairs of socks. if you don't have room for it and socks, socks are overrated.

    john
    I just pulled out my Boss FDR1 "Deluxe Reverb" pedal and plugged it into a powered speaker and actually was pretty happy with the result. Your favorite tone pedal and a powered speaker could really be the ticket.

  9. #8

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    I use a yamaha silent guitar slg-200 for that. You can plug it to active speakers via a 3,5 mm headphone cord. However at least my bluetooth speaker had latency even when bluetooth bypassed by a connected cord straight from the guitar, so better test any speaker before buying. I use headphones or no amplification with this guitar. I am quite happy without headphones also as you can hear what you play quite well even then.

  10. #9

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    I have a Danelectro Honeytone mini amp: 5"x5.25"x2.25" 1.5w, 9v battery or adapter, 1/8' headphone jack, 2.5" speaker, 1/4" input jack. Comes in colors.

    Nice clean tone w/optional overdrive. Can be played at whisper levels, or cranked to get the hotel switchboard to light up with remarks on your tasty licks. Lists for $39.95.

    Can be had for much less.

    have fun!

    Also:

  11. #10

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    Thank you for the attention. I'm a whiner when it comes to digital latency. A Bluetooth speaker would need an aux in.

    The little Quilter should be a real contender. The Roland Microcube looks worth investigating, they make good stuff. I'd need a bigger bag though.

    I like the idea of a personality pedal like Boss or Tech 21 make.

    Are there any Bluetooth or computer speakers you have played through that didn't fart out from a guitar?

  12. #11

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    Yamaha THR 10 C ??

  13. #12

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    Yo, is that a Comfort Inn heat grinder in the background? That's travel cred!

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mecena
    Yamaha THR 10 C ??
    That's a tasty bit of kit. I'd hate for somebody else take too much a liking for it!

  15. #14

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    Does nobody just play a solid body quiet with no amp anymore?

    Just sayin' That would be my approach.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Longways to Go
    Does nobody just play a solid body quiet with no amp anymore?

    Just sayin' That would be my approach.
    Quite often, actually.

  17. #16

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    You can always buy that Quilter mini stuff, which is like AMT Fender preamp, and EHX Magnum 45 poweramp in 1 pedal. And some micro cab.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Longways to Go
    Does nobody just play a solid body quiet with no amp anymore?

    Just sayin' That would be my approach.
    About half of my playing time , solid body no amplifier.

    Eddie Van Halen said he mostly played solid body electric unamplified when he practiced
    Last edited by fep; 02-16-2020 at 11:21 AM.

  19. #18

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    1958 Harvard seems to be tolerated even in full volumes
    Last edited by Tal_175; 02-16-2020 at 11:41 AM.

  20. #19

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    In my road warrior days, I use to travel with a Pignose and which ever guitar suited my mood. It was usually my ‘78 Les Paul Deluxe because the LP was reasonably compact.

    If I were to do it today, I would likely just pack my iRig HD and play through my phone.

  21. #20

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    The Microcube is indeed handy, but I'm just wondering what kind of "socks" John A. wears

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter C
    The Microcube is indeed handy, but I'm just wondering what kind of "socks" John A. wears
    Finest kind.

    John

  23. #22

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    Hotel Room Guitar Practice Rig?-b3553f34-b766-4864-9e0b-461baf65b42e-jpg
    This is my travel rig.
    Headless guitar w/the Boss Katana Mini.
    Surprisingly decent tone for what it is. The amp itself is quite small, I don’t bother packing the box, just wrap it in clothes and drop it in the suitcase or carry-on bag.

    I don’t care for headphones either, but I usually pack some as well. Along with the iRig HD2 to use with my iPhone or iPad.
    Great for killing time in an airport :-)
    Attached Images Attached Images Hotel Room Guitar Practice Rig?-1693422a-0e36-4082-bcad-448c99298b95-jpg 

  24. #23

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    v281 that is pretty cool. What guitar is it?

  25. #24

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    Another vote for the Yamaha. Their THR 10 mkII is killer. Not super small, but quite small for a real amp. It sounds bigger than it is. It’s also a Bluetooth speaker and has controls for mixing audio and guitar. It’s the best practice rig I’ve found.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    v281 that is pretty cool. What guitar is it?
    It is a Steinberger copy, brand name is Blake (I believe it’s from the eighties and was made by Cort/Charvel). Bought it 2nd hand approx. 3yrs ago from Fridrik Karlsson, guitar player of Mezzoforte [Unbenanntes Dokument], but I’m afraid I don’t know much else about it (other than it has a Seymour Duncan Invader pick up in the bridge position :-) )

    In airport now, this thing is quite light and fits easily in the overhead bin.
    Hotel Room Guitar Practice Rig?-9d4ffbd5-e701-4e2e-8aab-90e25892cde8-jpg
    Last edited by v281; 02-18-2020 at 10:01 AM.

  27. #26

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    So, some moron was practicing his guitar in the hotel room next to mine while I was trying to sleep....I raised hell at the front desk and got my room 1/2 price. The guy next door is now not welcome at the hotel chain anywhere.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    So, some moron was practicing his guitar in the hotel room next to mine while I was trying to sleep....I raised hell at the front desk and got my room 1/2 price. The guy next door is now not welcome at the hotel chain anywhere.
    That was probably me; sorry about that.

  29. #28

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    I have a VoyageAir guitar for travel which I like a lot—it’s a mini dread, but I have a soundhole pickup if I want to amp it. They also make electrics—none currently available on their website but should resume soon. Personally I like the idea of a full size guitar for travel. Their folding necks are very cool and highly functional, and the guitar is every bit as good as any laminate flattop at a similar price point.

    As far as amps, I will second a Pignose. It has a reputation for being an overdrive machine—“a fuzz pedal in a speaker cab”—but at low to mid-volume it is pretty clean. You can turn it up and turn the volume down on the guitar for a cleaner sound as well.

    I have a Danelectro mini amp, and I’m not impressed that this is a serious machine. It’s kind of a toy. I actually took mine apart and was going to put it into a cigar box just for the heck of it, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. If you want decent sound this will disappoint you, IMO.

    I have used the AmpliTube app with a powered speaker as well as with headphones, and I like it quite a bit. Personally I’d like a Bose speaker, but we have a Nakamichi and a Philips which are much cheaper and will get the job done.