Long story, short as I can make it.

In a discussion with a friend about buying a 5 year old a guitar. I suggested a Little Martin or Baby Taylor. Mother says, "that's too expensive." I say, "You can afford it."

But, I search a little for travel guitars and find this. By the time I advise the Mother, she has already bought the Martin.

I look at some videos and it peaks my interest so I cash in some points, beg for additional discount and order one up for myself.

This little guitar doesn't sound like much pure acoustic, it's laminated wood top back and sides. But, .......... it is well made, nicely finished, good neck, great intonation, and sounds absolutely great through a S1 Pro, without the preset.

I don't know how many times on a road trip I have wished for a guitar I could comfortably hold and play while in a passenger seat. I have been playing it for a week now, trying my best to play some tone into it. The physical size takes some getting used to but I can handle it with or without a strap. And, did I say that it sounds really good through the S1 Pro?

So now I've been daydreaming about a S1 Pro Jr. Take three of the twiddlers from the Compact and a 4 1/2 inch speaker, put it in a cabinet half the size of the S1, with the same battery, mixer, and sound. I could throw it all on the back of a scooter and play anywhere.


Original Post

There's also the Mackie Freeplay Live - 8 lbs, 10-15 hr LiOn rechargeable battery life, 150 watts, bluetooth and you can control EQ and volume from your phone. I owned both the Freeplay and the S1 -- prefer the sound of the S1, but the Mackie wasn't bad in an even smaller form factor.  Until there's an S1 Jr.

mmmm. A 5 year old?? ...... guitar???? Is mother one of those pushy tiger mothers? Anyhow. Each to their own. Most 'normal' people pick up the guitar to get girls!!!
But if now you are thinking of getting something 'portable' for yourself. I highly recommend a Line6 acoustic variax. Off one of those auction web sites as they don't make them anymore. Internally they used to rely on this conductive black paint for earthing which didn't work and sometimes the guitar would stop working for no good reason. But if you loop/connect an earth (I used a bush mechanic repair and used a high 'e' string) from the earth of each printed circuit board to the earth on the jack and string it with those coated strings ........ you got yourself the bargain of the century. The guitar itself may not be for the purist but the audience will not care. Through the Bose it sounds like guitars 10 times the price.

Hi Perro,

I said I would make a long story short, but I'll add a bit.

The 5 year old is a girl. Her father's family included musicians for the past several generations, however, her father is not involved in her upbringing.

She has shown great interest in music and instruments. Even though lessons are not taking place at this time, there is little to be lost in giving her the chance to learn and experiment on her own. If and when lessons are appropriate I am sure they will be provided.

I have very vivid memories from before the age of 5 of a guitar I was not allowed to touch. It later left the house in hard times in exchange for groceries. Then there was another at the age of 7 or 8 that an older neighbor lady heard me sitting on the back porch picking out children's tunes on one string, and agreed to put on a full set and properly set the bridge to give me a chance to learn. (60 some odd years later I still have that guitar but it's unplayable as it sits.)

I always encourage parents to give their children the opportunity, and help when I can, with decent quality, inexpensive instruments. Keyboards, guitars, violins, ukes, whatever the interest is.

In this case the Grandmother is quite capable of buying anything the child could ever possible want, but I still took the time to have a real keyboard sent to the child in her name. If she never plays or creates a single melody that's fine, at least she has a chance. Sometimes parents think a toy instrument is all a child needs, but a bad instrument is worse than no instrument. It must be tune-able and playable. Of course the child must know it is not a toy.

A real instrument also helps to teach a child to properly care for things of value. Two or three hundred dollars well spent can teach thousands of dollars in life lessons to a child.

Sometimes the price can be much less than a couple of hundred. Today (10/1/2019) Musicians Friend has a stupid deal of the day for Alvarez Grateful Dead branded ukes for $59.99 and $69.99 I watch those kind of sales and take advantage so I can afford to give it away.


EDIT; actually Musicians Friend is calling it a Rocktober sale. May last longer than a day. 

Oldghm: A thousand thumb's up.

After my dad showed me the chords for 5 Foot Two on Ukulele (I actually asked him to show me St. Louis Blues), I started playing the Arthur Godfrey style chordal melodies from his lesson books when I was about 8 years old on one of the decent playable ukes my dad had lying around.  He didn't allow me to play his Martins until later.

Where I live now, lots of kids start playing instruments when they're 3-5 years old - it's in the DNA of the islands.  The son of one of the guys in our band was a better drummer than our percussionist when he was 6 - I wanted to hire HIM instead.

After three months of banging around on this little Yamaha thought I would come back and share my feelings.

I play this thing every day. I keep it near the chair where I relax, read, watch TV and it is so small I can easily pick it up and play in any position I find myself in.

Still doesn't sound that good pure acoustic,  but I have gotten used to it and accept what it is and have no problem with it. 

Besides just having it convenient for practice or just passing time, what is it good for? Well I took it to a party along with the S1 and played for friends for about an hour. They are used to seeing me with inexpensive instruments around a campfire so no one cared that it was small, it still sounded big. In a jam session with other acoustic players or recorded music it offers a dimension of sound that wouldn't be in the mix otherwise.

I initially thought it wouldn't be a guitar for accomplished players, but I have changed my mind. It has good sound electrified and I think would make a handy instrument for an electric player with a band who might need acoustic sound for a song or two a night. Neck and action are good. I think electric players would have very little adjustment to make to be comfortable with this guitar, especially those playing shorter scale instruments. Anyone playing or experimenting with percussive style, might find this an interesting guitar. String tapping is not as responsive as on an electric of course, but strikes against the body offer workable tones for rhythm. The pickup doesn't have sophisticated eq controls, but Yamaha has it properly eq'ed internally for play on good PA equipment. Sounds great with the S1 or the Compact with or without the preset, depending on your taste. I play mostly without.

I did have to finally open up a couple of the wound-string slots to allow for more precise tuning, and it now tunes easier and stays tuned.

This will never take the place of a fine instrument, but when size and convenience matter, it's a great little stand in. 


Still wishing for the S1 jr.

Sounds kinda like an acoustic-electric nylon string. I have an Ibanez Talman TCY10E thin-line acoustic-electric that has a piezo pickup and more electric style neck that I use for more solo-y songs. It sounds a bit thinner than full bodied guitars of course, but is also the one I throw in the car for trips. I'm trying various gauge strings on it as 12-13 gauge phosphor bronze are just too thick cored to bend the 3rd string well at all. DR Zebra's hybrid strings (.010 to .046 with an unwound .017 3rd), but I'm also ordering some Martin FX and Silk & Steel FX strings, which were made for easier bending by using smaller core strings and thicker wraps to compensate.

Ibanez also makes a TCM50, which is the same as the TCY10E, but has a magnetic pickup between the soundhole and neck. I've been very curious to play one as many acoustic players I've seen opt for a magnetic acoustic pickup (i.e. LR Baggs M1, Fishman Rare Earth, etc). I always thought it would e interesting to get one and add a piezo and mod it to blend the two. Or add an internal mic and blend all 3

Ok, I'll stop, lol.



Guitar tone can be a very personal thing. I see people marvel at electric guitars frequently and I don't like them at all. If you don't find the electric / acoustic tone of the little Yamaha acceptable you don't hurt my feelings.

I think you miss the point.


 PS: When I posted this, Jeff's post was not in view. I was replying to Chet.

I was sort of joking about the little Yamaha -- or more accurately the sound on the video -- it's possible that a bit of EQ could help.  ;-)

Jeff: My Go-To guitar is a 2002 Taylor 514CE (Red Cedar top, solid Mahogany back and sides) with the old Fishman Blender system (peizo under bridge, microphone installed with electronics on top) coupled/mixed with a sound hole mounted Fishman Rare Earth Blend pickup (Mag plus omni microphone).  The best of all possible worlds.

My latest good friend when I'm playing in duos or solo situations and don't need the punch to get through a band is my brand new Taylor 714CE.  It's got a very accurate and flattering pickup system ON a very nice sounding rosewood/spruce guitar (that will get better acoustically as time goes by).

By the way - the Taylor X-brace system (in my 714) really IS a major advancement that more than matches all the hype.  Even the intonation of the guitar as one moves up and down the neck has been improved -- it's magic...

In a duo in the 90s, we used to travel with a pair of Taylor GS-minis with piezo pickups - it wasn't bad through the little Gallien-Krueger PA system we used to carry and all fit in the overhead on the airlines...

Whatever works, right?

As I sit at this computer there are 4 guitars within reach or within one step, out of their case and tuned. 2 Recording King Dirty thirties models, a GS Mini, and the little Yamaha. In this room there are 19 other guitars, all more expensive but none more pleasing than the ones that I play nearly every day. Today I've only picked up three of them, but it's early.


I'm takin' it easy today. Probably won't play more than an hour or two.

I played five hours on my 714CE and Gibson SG yesterday (with vocals). 

Got a gig tomorrow morning - 2 1/2 hours with 514CE and 714CE and then another 5 hour gig next two Weds with the 714 and SG again.

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