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Traveling around the world? Hate amplified feedback? Or just don’t want to wake the baby? Whatever your reason for needing a travel-friendly silent guitar, the steel-stringed SLG200S from Yamaha promises a full-size experience with plenty of tone and versatility. It’s one of the more expensive models on our list of the best acoustic travel guitars, so is it worth the extra cash?
The SLG200S may look unique and a little alien to some, but it actually provides you with everything you need to get a great sound. With the outline of a traditional 25” scale length guitar with a single cutaway, the body itself is made from a single piece of mahogany while the frame is a maple and rosewood laminate. This frame is detachable, allowing players to remove part of the body for easy storage and travel. Oddly for a guitar with technically no body, there are three color choices – natural, tobacco sunburst, or a simple black – all stylish and understated. This body is essentially an extension of the mahogany neck, which features a classic rosewood fretboard with 22 frets. The whole guitar is satin-finished and therefore very smooth to play. Of course, it’s very light and may feel a little odd at first, but when you get used to the fact you can stick your hand through the body, you’ll find it feels very similar to playing a standard steel-string acoustic.
While a silent guitar is one thing, having a guitar you couldn’t hear would be a bit pointless – which is why the SLG200S features an SRT Powered preamp system with an undersaddle pickup, with a host of controls that ensure huge versatility. There’s a panel for the essential volume, bass and treble controls, as well as a blend control and handy on-board digital tuner. Another cool feature is the built-in effects rotary knob, allowing you to add two kinds of reverb and chorus to your output. There’s also a crucial headphone input so you can hear yourself when not plugged into an amp. Aside from the electronics the SLG200S sports a rosewood fretboard, a Tusq nut, Micarta saddle, and good chrome tuners. It also comes with its own convenient padded gig bag, which isn’t the most protective of cases, but very suitable for carrying your SLG200S around.
Sound? On a silent guitar? Of course! Obviously there’s not much natural resonance, but through headphones or an amp the guitar offers a naturally warm acoustic tone, which can be blended and tweaked to your liking thanks to the myriad of controls. The effects are nice to play around with, but how useful they’d be over dedicated effects pedals is up for debate. The design of the guitar ensures feedback is a thing of the past – perfect for the gigging guitarist. Perhaps the only negative of this model is that you have to plug it into an amplifier to be heard.
For traveling – whether plane, train or car – the Yamaha SLG200S is super convenient and, providing you don’t bash it around too much, a robust performer. When plugged in, the sound is very comparable to a full-size acoustic, although you don’t get the natural resonance or low-end of, say, a solid mahogany acoustic. Still, the differences are minimal and therefore this SLG200S shouldn’t be limited to traveling, as it’s an excellent guitar for everyday use.