Review: McPherson Kevin Michael Carbon Travel Guitar

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Travel-size guitars are great for songwriters. With a smaller, slim style and a good-fitting padded bag, these go-anywhere instruments allow you to write and practice wherever you find yourself. However, with all their benefits traditional travel guitars tend to have thin tone and typically don’t feel as solid as full-sized guitars. Most players wouldn’t think of using a travel guitar in a performance situation, but the Kevin Michael carbon fiber travel guitar with its outstanding playability, volume and tone could change the mind of the most demanding guitarist.

This carefully crafted guitar looks great with a striking satin carbon fiber weave top, and textured body finish. But, more important is that this is a tough and true travel guitar that plays and sounds better than many full-size carbon and wood guitars. Always evolving, the new top design of the Kevin Michael with new lightweight, carbon fiber brace construction makes for a light guitar with excellent strength and stability, as well as an outstanding tone.

The Kevin Michael travel guitar weighs in at 3.7 pounds with a three quarter sized body. The overall length is 36.25 inches with body depth of 4 inches with 19 frets. It comes with chrome Hipshot tuners, the McPherson offset soundhole, cantilever neck, and a unique Tusq nut and saddle. To make the guitar stage-worthy, it has an L.R. Baggs Element Active System pickup with volume and tone controls that really do give it the personality and playability of a full-sized wood guitar. The guitar ships with Elixir medium Nanoweb strings and a tight-fitting padded gig bag with shoulder straps and padded handle. Newer models will also include a hardshell case.

After hearing the great tone from this travel guitar, I knew I’d have no problem traveling with it, but I also had no hesitation trying it out on a gig. It sounded great solo with a full-sounding deep tone from the lower strings and rich and even treble. With the band, we found it had the ability to cut through nicely with minimal EQ changes and compared remarkably well with bigger wood guitars on stage. It also sounded great and recorded well when we tracked with condenser microphones in a project studio.

The Kevin Michael Carbon Travel Guitar is built in Sparta, WI by McPherson Guitars and comes with a limited lifetime warranty. It is perhaps the perfect blend of ‘old school’ craftsmanship, innovative technology and space age materials. While this is not a classic wood guitar, it is much more than a good sounding guitar to travel with—it’s a great guitar.

MSRP $2,400

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