Fusion Guitar the all-in-one wonder.
Playing the guitar is probably one of the best things on Earth.
But sometimes you just want to go somewhere to relax, and it’s not easy to carry around a massive guitar with all the gear.
A growing segment in the industry is travel guitars. Instruments designed to be portable.
Enter ideas like the fusion guitar.
Made by Australian company Fusion Musitech, it is truly an all-in-one monster.
It includes not only the electronics for a headphone amplifier, but also a real amplifier with speakers !
Wait, there is more: you can dock your phone and process the sound or play along with your favourite tracks….
Features and Specs
Here are the highlights:
- It supports a multitude of iPhones docked directly in the device – no cables hanging out
- It sports a 20-watts class D amplifier and speakers built into the body, so you can make noise anywhere
- A lithium-ion battery so you can go wireless – claimed duration of 6 to 10 hours depending on use
- Typical guitar specks, with neck and bridge pickups and 3-way selector
- Common guitar neck size so you can feel at home: 25.5 inch scale length, 300mm radius, C-profile, 22 jumbo frets
- Option of Premium Rosewood or Canadian Maple Fretboard
For a complete list you can visit their website
The main attraction here is the no-compromise guitar feel. The scale length is the same as popular guitars such as Fender or Ibanez. The radius is closer to the Gibson SG than to a Fender. This depends on the Fender model and year of course, but I find the general feel of the Gibson a little better. So with the fusion guitar I feel right at home.
The reason why I say this is because most travel guitars compromise on the fretboard size due to size limitations. So they are hard to play due to the reduced space between frets, while this one feels normal and natural.
The other highlights are the built in speakers and the iPhone dock. I will cover the iPhone part later on – for the speakers I’d like to say it is a bold idea. Many guitar players resort to acoustic when away from an amp. I love the acoustic too, but sometimes I miss the fuzz and the excitement from a good old amplified rock and roll riff.
So the solution here is that you can crank it up straight from the fusion guitar with no need to connect to anything else.
Of course in case you do want to plug to something else you will have many options:
- A headphone 3.5mm jack
- A traditional guitar mono 1/4″ output – so you can connect to your amp or pedalboard in the ‘traditional’ way
- A stereo 1/4″ output so you can run the internal effects out to a PA or amplified speaker system
That is the million dollar question isn’t it ? Well it is not that big. Yes there are smaller traveller guitars (yours truly owns an EC-1 from ESP) but they don’t have all the bells and whistles.
So for the comparison I want to compare with a real size guitar as well, as seen below. Note that they all have the same scale length. Information was sourced from each manufacturer’s website.
|Item||Fusion Guitar||Traveler Guitar EC-1||Fender Stratocaster|
|Notes||Weight Excluding iPhone|
And here is the thing: with a Fender for example you still have to carry around all the gear you need to play: pedals, amp, speaker and so on. And while the EC-1 was the closest to an all-in-one I could find, it does not have internal amp and speakers (just headphone amp) and the iPhone is connected externally via an analogue jack.
The fusion guitar comes with a nice gig bag and that is basically all you need. Ah, guitar picks, don’t forget that !
iPhone dock opens many doors
And I do mean many doors. Through the iPhone you can make additional magic happen:
- Process the guitar sound with many popular apps such as JamUp, Bias FX, Amplitube and so on
- Record directly into the phone with Garage Band
- Play along Chords and Tabs
- Play along tunes from your collection, YouTube and so on
The bottom line here is that the doors are virtually infinite as these apps will get more and more popular.
I believe in the next few years we will see even lightweight versions of top-of-the-line amp modellers like the Helix, Fractal or Kemper turned into apps as well.
Just subscribed to online guitar lessons ? You can enjoy them right there on the device sitting on top of your fusion guitar…
I mean the possibilities are endless.
Testing it out
So then it was time to give it a spin and write about the general feel.
Does the size really matter ? Take a look below and see which set you want to carry around….
The overall playability resembles a normal guitar, no issues there. The body feels a bit bulky due to the need to accommodate the iPhone dock and the speakers, but you get used to it quickly I think.
Since the phone is just there you can even play along following a tab on screen if you want to use Ultimate Guitar, Guitar Pro or similar.
Or just fire up your favourite app, select some amp settings and rock out!
One thing I really liked in particular was the fact that it has a traditional headstock. Many travel guitars have that headless headstock with tuning done in the body. This changes the relationship between string length and tension so some of them won’t stay in tune. This wasn’t a problem here at least with the sample I tested.
For the sound, if you play through the apps then you have the sound of the guitar plus the sound of the app. For that there are plenty of demo videos on YouTube. So I decided to record the ‘pure’ sound unprocessed via a DI box. This is an indication of how it really sounds without any of the processing. Here is a sound clip of me just noodling around with it.
And the cherry on top, a little bit of the sound and the history from the creator of the device
A unique an innovative approach.
While the Fusion Guitar is slightly bigger than other travel guitars, it pays back in the sense that it is truly an all-in-one device.
Now it is your turn: go get one and rock out !
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