Guitar Review: An Ultra Portable Full Size Travel Guitar

SMG_Aria_travel_guitar1

The Aria Sinsonido: I travel all over the world both for business and pleasure. In consideration of bringing a guitar in addition to my luggage, I needed to find something that was light, compact, and relatively indestructible. I also wanted the ability to play anywhere without disturbing other people which meant acoustic offerings were likely not an option. Finally, I wanted something fairly inexpensive but still good enough quality that I wouldn’t regret the purchase. I’ll save you the details of my exhaustive search, but I ultimately came across the Sinsonido by Aria.

The guitar design is licensed by SoloEtte and is nearly identical in appearance, yet less than half the cost. I’ve never played an actual SoloEtte so I can’t comment on the quality difference. The main part of the guitar consists of a single block of wood including neck and body, minus the upper and lower bouts. The headstock and tuners are built into the base rather than at the top of the neck. This ends up saving inches off of the length, while maintaining full size playability.

This single piece, similar to an Irish hurley (a field hockey-style paddle used in hurling) is all you need to play, though this would be awkward without the upper and lower bouts to rest against your body. These parts come in the form of three lightweight metal (I’m guessing aluminum) rods, covered in foam padding, that form an acoustic guitar shape. They fit easily in holes set into the body.

The bridge and saddle comprise a unique pickup system that allows amplification of the guitar through a standard 1/4” jack. This allows you to hear the guitar through the supplied headphones (any pair will do so long as you have a 1/4” adapter to fit over standard 1/8” headphone plugs) or run through an amp. Controls include volume and tone.

Here’s an example of the Sinsonido in action by lburdalo

Playability-wise I really like this guitar. I had to tweak the neck’s truss rod and lower the action by dialing down the bridge height, but these were easy adjustments. I’d actually prefer a little lower action, but the bridge bottomed out. The neck and frets feel good, however, and I otherwise have no complaints.

The tuners are plastic 3-on-a-plate and for what they are, the Sinsonido stays tuned reasonably well, but the tuners are plastic so expectations can’t be that high. I replaced these inexpensively (less than $20) with an all-metal set that fit the peg slots and mounting holes perfectly.

The volume and tone knobs are pretty cheap as is their functionality, but they work well enough. Considering this guitar is meant to keep me entertained and in practice while traveling as opposed to a performance instrument, I’m ok with it. If I really cared I would research mods to the knobs and electrical components or look into the more expensive Soloette. While we’re on the subject, the overall tone is a bit twangy for my taste but keep in mind that it’s still more than adequate for the purpose it serves.

The Sinsonido includes a pair of fold-up headphones with the proper 1/4” plug adapter, an Allen Wrench to adjust the truss rod, and soft padded carrying case. A hard case can be purchased for additional cost. I’ve literally taken this thing all over the world and played in airports, on buses, boats, trains, on hikes, and countless other places where a standard guitar would be too cumbersome. I always get interesting looks and often questions because of its unique appearance – it’s a great conversation starter. I have since noticed a few travel guitars that fold in half into an even more compact package and I find this intriguing, but aside from this, I can’t recommend the Aria Sinsonido enough.

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