1. General Questions
“B-Stock” refers to a new instrument that came in from the factory with minor surface blemishes. Sometimes these will be a smudge in the finish, a pimple in the carbon fiber, some slight oxidation in the finish, or a small scratch. None of these blemishes affect the playability, but they are merely cosmetic issues that prevent us from sending these instruments to our dealers.
All “B-Stock” units come with the same warranty as our standard instruments.
2. Collapsible Guitar Questions
After assembling the neck, our collapsible wood guitars are usually less than a semitone off pitch. We recommend pulling on the strings before tuning to pitch to help them settle. Here’s a good video to show the assembly process:
However, here are a few things to clarify:
- If you’ve recently removed the neck, then assembled it, it’s usually much closer to being in tune than if you’ve removed it a month ago and just assembled the guitar.
- Our carbon fiber guitars are VERY close to being in tune after assembly, while our wood guitars may take 5-15 minutes of playing to settle fully after assembly. This is because carbon fiber is very consistent in all temperatures and humidities and is more precise material.
- For all collapsible guitars, usually after you’ve played a guitar for a bit, the strings have settled and intonation should not change significantly.
- Some of our newer models have locking tuners – these really help minimize the amount you need to retune after assembly. This is because part of the reason the guitar is out of tune is because the strings become loose around the tuner posts when removing the neck. Since a locking tuner requires less than a single wrap around a post the string is tight around the post and the tone doesn’t change much.
- If you’re playing live, we recommend you play for 15 minutes and adjust the tuners before playing live to prevent any need for retuning during your performance.
- Our necks are also adjustable – you can use the knob on the back of the guitar to adjust the neck angle to raise or lower string height. However, keep in mind that this will slightly affect your intonation as it would with any neck adjustment.
If you’re experiencing undesirable action (string height) on your collapsible Journey Instruments Travel guitar, this can be addressed quickly with one of the first two steps in most cases.
1) Firstly, please check to see that the knob on the back is fully tightened. Fully tightening the main knob on the back will resolve 95% of any high action issues. To tighten fully, there’s two effective methods:
a. Placing the body of the guitar between your knees, Twist the knob with one hand while pressing the headstock downward against the guitar body – this makes it easier to twist fully.
b. Alternatively, you can grab the neck of the guitar near the headstock and angle the guitar soundboard facing down at about a 45degree angle against a floor, table, desk, chair or flat surface. Now tighten the knob while applying downward force against the guitar back until it’s tight.
c. If you experience high swings of humidity and have kept your collapsible wood guitar assembled during this time, it’s likely that the bolt may be very tight. Apply force to the neck in one of the above two methods while twisting the knob to loosen the bolt. (this is not an issue for carbon models as the material does not swell and contract with humidity or temperature changes.
2) Secondly, check your truss rod adjustment. After confirming the neck mechanism is fully tightened – if you still find string height is too high or two low, this may also be due to changes in temperature or humidity causing changes in the neck of the guitar. Usually in high humidity and a wood guitar neck will have a more forward bow (causing high action), and in low humidity it will have a backward bow (causing low action and buzzing). Here’s a great video by Tony Polecastro that clearly explains how to do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFlIFN8oPDw
a. Start by evaluating the neck bow. There should be a very slight neck bow (nearly flat) to achieve proper string height.
b. If the neck bow is high, causing high action – remove the truss rod cover and use the included hex wrench to tighten the truss rod. Turn the truss rod clockwise a quarter turn and then evaluate the neck curve. Repeat this process
c. If the neck bow is backward or too low, causing low action – remove the truss rod cover and use the included hex wrench to tighten the truss rod. Turn the truss rod counter-clockwise a quarter turn and then evaluate the neck curve. Repeat this process
3) Thirdly, you can file down the saddle. Here’s a great video from StewMac that shows how to file down the saddle, change nut slot depth, as well as adjust the truss rod. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DpLRfbv9ok
4) Fourthly, we can provide you with precision shims to adjust the neck angle if needed. This is rarely needed, but can be done within 5 minutes if needed.
From our experience, tightening the neck fully and adjusting the truss rod if necessary usually fixes 98%+ of string height issues. Steps 3 and 4 are rarely needed.
Sustain: Actually sustain is better on our guitars than on a normal traditional acoustic guitar. The main reason is that we use premium grade Mahogany for our necks, and we embed stainless steel latch and bolt components. The neck plate connector is also stainless steel. As energy transfer is primarily horizontal (from nut to saddle through the neck), our design makes for very efficient energy transfer, hence prolonged sustain.
Intonation: Our guitars have intonation in line with premium brand guitars in the US market – which is very good. Moreover, because our necks are detachable, you can quickly add shims behind the neck connector plate to compensate for any intonation issue that may occur over time. (Though we don’t have a single report of this being done to date)
Our shim kits are basically 2-3 shims of wood that are laser cut to fit the slot of our collapsible guitars, and are used to adjust the neck angle. Before you consider installing a shim kit, we recommend you first 1) make sure you’ve fully tightened the main bolt on the guitar. 2) Adjusted the saddle if needed and 3) Adjusted the truss rod if needed. If you’ve done these things and your string height (action) is still high, you can use a shim kit to quickly lower the action. Here’s a link to the FAQ with pictures on how to do the above steps.
Shim kits can be installed permanently with all purpose wood glue, or temporarily. Here’s a link to the installation process.
Here are the links to our shim kits if you need one. Please note the shim kits are precision cut for the necks of the corresponding model, so make sure you order the shim kit for your precise guitar.
Nope. We’ve been producing our collapsible guitars for years and our guitars are played by some of the best guitarists on earth. We’ve personally been on hundreds of flights with our collapsible guitars. Not a single complaint to date about string life.
HOWEVER, if you play your guitar daily, and you’re a tone freak, you should change your strings at least once every 3 months or every 300 hours – whichever comes first. This assumes you’re using coated strings, and is recommended for all acoustic guitars – regardless of if they’re collapsible or not.
There is no crack in your string retainer (the plastic component above the neck that holds your strings in place when you remove your neck). Our string retainer is made from two parts that come together like two jigsaw puzzle pieces. We designed the retainer in two components so that a luthier or guitar technician can remove this piece and have access to file down the nut without removing the strings. Click the image below to order a replacement. NOTE: We have Two sizes one NARROW 1 11/16″ and one STANDARD 1 3/4″. If your Guitar ends in the letter “N” you need the narrow version, otherwise you can order from clicking the image below.
You can keep your Journey Instruments collapsible guitar either packed away in its case or assembled.
For our wood guitars, you should keep your guitar stored in moderate temperatures and humidity levels. (Humidity 40%-60% and Temperatures between 65-80 Fahrenheit (18-27 Centigrade). If you have big swings in temperature and humidity (over 15 degrees or 15%) wood guitars will expand or contract accordingly. This is common for all wood guitars. This means in big variances in temperature and humidity you will likely need to adjust your truss rod and saddle. (Additionally, if you’ve assembled your collapsible wood guitar before a significant rise in humidity, you will likely find the bolt to be very tight if you disassemble your guitar in the higher humidity level.)
For our collapsible carbon guitars, you can keep them fully assembled or disassembled with very little change. As these are entirely carbon fiber, they are extremely stable and can handle most any temperature or humidity swing without any noticeable change. However, we recommend against keeping your guitar in extremely hot environments for a prolonged period of time.
We recommend the following strings for our bass guitars. To install, we recommend assembling the guitar, installing the entire untrimmed string (through the string retainer), and making 2-3 wraps to tune to pitch. After tuning, then trim the strings.
Flat Wound: D’Addario ECB81S Chromes Bass Guitar Strings, Light, 45-100, Short Scale
Round Wound:D’Addario EXL170S Nickel Wound Bass Guitar Strings, Light, 45-100, Short Scale
Tape WoundD’Addario ETB92S Tapewound Bass Guitar Strings, Medium, 50-105, Short Scale
We recommend the following strings for use in our instruments:
For Collapsible Steel String Guitars (All Carbon and Wood Overheads, Carbon RoadTrip, First Class) we use:
Elixir 80/20 Phosphor Bronze 12/53 Lights
*For collapsible wood guitars, we recommend only light gauge strings. Using medium or heavier gauge strings on our collapsible wood guitars will void the warranty. Our carbon fiber steel string guitars (OF660, RT660) can use up to medium gauge strings.
For Journey Junior and Puddle Jumper Series we use:
D’addario EXP16 Coated Phosphor Bronze Lights
For our Classical Guitars: All OC520, OC522, FC522, JC520, OC660M we use:
Savarez 520 White Card Traditional Series classical guitar strings for our OC520, OC522, and FC522.
*we do not recommend high tension nylon strings on our collapsible wood classical guitars, but they can be used on the OC660M carbon model.
Firstly, it’s a way to increase the volume inside the guitar which give a little louder and deeper sound. Secondly, it’s super ergonomic. The design angles the guitar against your body so that when you strum, the movement of your arm is more ergonomic and causes less fatigue on your shoulder. It’s also a bit easier to play barre chords as it causes the fretboard to be more naturally angled – which helps gravity add a little extra pressure with your barred finger on the fretboard – the weight of your arm naturally adds more force against the strings. For guitarists with shoulder issues or injuries, this asymmetrical design makes guitar playing much more comfortable.
3. Carbon Fiber Guitar Questions
We use medium jumbo white brass frets on our carbon fiber guitars. We chose this material over stainless steel because it helps the guitar have a softer tone. Our fretboard is all carbon fiber.
You can re-fret our guitars, but the process is a bit more involved because you must use epoxy resin and a jig to press and hold the frets in place. If needed we have clear instructions for this that have been used by a few luthiers already.
Nope. Carbon fiber guitar necks have a hollow foam core, so if you file down the carbon fiber, it’s possible you’d file down to the foam core. If a neck were solid carbon fiber it would be significantly heavier than wood – and impossible to achieve relief adjustment with a truss rod.
4. Electronics FAQ
Our Passive Pickups:
In all of our instruments that use pickups, we use our in-house developed passive piezo pickups as our base pickup. These pickups use german-made ceramic piezo elements that are bonded to the bridge plate inside the guitar using cyanoacrylate (like super glue gel).
The advantages to these pickups are as follows:
- They have efficient transfer of transparent tone. When installed properly, these pickups amplify the ACTUAL sound of your guitar. Since we make instruments that sound great to begin with, this is a great match for our instruments.
- The unadjusted tone is much better than most under-saddle piezos. Our pickups sound more natural and less compressed than most under-saddle pickups – and they don’t sound metallic or compressed.
- They require no battery and are virtually maintenance free. This is great for travelling when you come to a situation where you have no access to batteries. It’s also great for high humidity environments as they are resistant to corosion as compared to pickups with traditional circuit boards.
- They are discrete. The natural instrument is a thing of beauty and cutting a “barn door” for a preamp or huge soundhole magnetic coils detract from the aesthetic beauty of a guitar.
- We get rave reviews from customers like this one. We increasingly find guitarists buying our pickups for installation on vintage and boutique guitars that cost thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.
Our Active Pickup Modules
- EPS001-05K for all traditional soundhole acoustic guitars
- EPS001-15K for offset-soundhole carbon acoustic guitars like OF660 or RT660
Our Active pickup modules are used with our upgradeable passive piezo pickups above. Please note – these are not stand-alone modules and must have one of our passive pickups installed in order to use.
We recently developed these battery-powered modules for artists who want more control over their tone when playing live. They comprise an additional microphone that can blend with the passive piezo elements already installed. This module has a dual source preamp with wheel controls for bass, treble, pan from microphone, master volume and a phase switch.
The Advantages of our active pickup modules are:
- Super-easy tool-free installation. You can install this in around 5 minutes on a guitar that has our passive piezo pickup already installed.
- Great transparent amplification with full control of your tone.
- Discrete access to all controls. Since the control module is around the edge of the soundhole, you preserve the guitar’s natural aesthetic beauty, while maintaining easy access to control the tone and volume to your preference.
- Ability to switch back to a passive pickup if your battery dies and you can’t find a replacement. You can re-route the passive elements to the pickup jack in a matter of minutes and still play amplified if your battery dies.
For more information, check out the specific model pages.
You can see our installation procedures here: https://journeyinstruments.com/pickup-installation/.
Simply put, we have no idea. There are so many on-board preamps on the market, and their specifications all vary. Even if the plug is identical, the volume and balance may not work well with your existing onboard preamp. If you need an onboard preamp, we strongly recommend our EPS001 series – we’ve benchmarked it against systems that cost hundreds of dollars more and our system offers amazing tone and control for the price.
For balanced tone, we recommend placing the piezos under the saddle on the bridge plate under the guitar – as shown in our installation manuals. However, since each guitar has a different tone, you can try experimenting with different placement of the piezos inside your guitar. By positioning the piezos closer to the treble side of the bridge plate (towards the thinner strings), you’ll get a brighter tone, whereas positioning them on the bass side of the bridge plate (towards the thicker strings), you’ll get a darker or deeper tone. There are some artists who like to use preamp to further alter the tone. We recommend either the EPS001-15K for our OF660 guitars, or the EPS001-05K for guitars with traditional sound holes.