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Old 04-18-2014, 03:30 AM
pb+j pb+j is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 236

Well I bought one. This week I flew to LA to see family. I brought a decent Loar guitar with me to play and had the usual touch and go will they allow it on moment. I went to LA. Guitar sales to try the Journey out. I tried several models and ended up with the Sapele back version. It sounded these to me for my style. LA guitar sales took the Loar in trade. I had a couple hours with it today. Insomnia at the moment so I'll try to write an honest review and not a gee whiz review

The journey is a very comfortable guitar for the most part. It's a little neck-heavy, mostly because the very small body and the normal neck seem out of proportion. But it sits very nicely and the manzer wedge is very comfortable. The first fret area is annoying--for example, if I play an f major seven at the first fret followed by a Bb9, a standard jazzbo move, my hand is well into the tuning keys. There's a black plastic string retainer that holds the strings in the nut slots, and that gets in the way and is uncomfortable. I took a file and gently filed away some of the sharp corners on the plastic piece. Better, but it's a problem with the design with the small headstock and the tuning keys being so close to the nut. One of the compromises I can live with.

I like the satin finish very much, nicer than the thick finish on many chinese guitars (the Loar I traded in for example). The neck appears to be mahogany or some similar wood with deep pores; the pores have not been grain-filled and so the neck has a somewhat rough feel and look. The neck is very easy to remove and reattach, but I might try some beeswax on the threads of the screw. It turns a bit roughly. The backpack is very nice, well designed and easy to use, with generous exterior pockets.

The sound? It has some of the sound I associate with parlor guitars, which I tend to call "boxy." But not much of that sound. It's very smooth and polite sounding, with a nice forward midrange, which I like--I play mostly finger style jazz. It's very even playing, no hotspots or obviously dead spots, and it's sweet sounding all the way up the neck, not harsh or shrill. The bass is present but not pronounced--I'd say its a very very well balanced sound. The Sapele model was better for me than the rosewood, which had less midrange to it but was maybe louder and more projecting.

It's not one of those guitars where the notes seem to leap out, but it's not dead seeming either. You don't have to work to drive it. The top is quite thin. It's very lively with a pick. My family here all commented on how much they liked the sound, and how much they liked it more than the Loar it replaced, which was much more in your face and which I had to work to keep from getting harsh. There's nothing harsh about the Journey.

Have not had a chance t try the pickup as I don't have an amp out here.

It seems like an ideal travel guitar. With the exceptions noted above, it's extremely comfortable to play, with a well balanced even, smooth tone. Gentle, and intimate, but not quiet. My first response was like other peoples, surprise at how loud it is for a small guitar. Its enjoyable to play--I'd like playing this guitar even without the removable neck, which seems to me to be the key point. The compromises don't destroy the pleasure of playing it. The backpack is elegantly designed and easy to use. Looking forward to walking on the plane home with zero fuss or concern.

PS. LA Guitar sales was a very nice place to do business, excellent selection of guitars, friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
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