Sam Bell reviews the Donner HUSH-I Travel Guitar. Allowing you to seemingly practice anytime, anywhere—the HUSH-I delivers ultra-quiet performance, equipped with a preamp system providing a natural-sounding acoustic tone through headphones or the 6.35 port output. As lightweight as a laptop with a headless design, button tuners, and removable frames, the Donner HUSH-I may be the answer to taking a guitar on the go. Let's find out more.
Headless Guitars have been/still indeed are all the rage. They look like something from Star Trek, and they lead to convenience and Avant guard design. In this review, I'm going to be diving into a new offering from the music gadget company Donner. This is a silent acoustic guitar that could fit most conceivable places.
Donner is well known for creating affordable gear for the practising musician. Everything from FX pedals, accessories and guitars is covered, all within a very palatable price point. Perhaps most popular with Guitarists starting out in the very first steps of their journey and pro musicians looking for quick and usable accessories for their work.
The Donner Hush-I gives us a headless guitar with a streamlined body, the tuners are on the butt end of the guitar. There are removable frames that provide us with a picking hand armrest and leg rest so it feels a little bit more like a regular-sized guitar, but it's not imperative that you attach these every time as the guitar can be balanced on one leg in a sitting position and it does have sturdy strap pins if you wish to play standing up.
You can run this guitar two ways. There's a ¼-inch jack out if you wish to plug the guitar into an acoustic amp, PA system or DAW. But the way I feel that Donner wants us to use it is with the headphones (included!) to make it a truly silent travel practice experience. The guitar is powered by a 9-volt battery, which gives us a pre amp which features a volume, bass and treble control, plus a phase switch. The pickup system is Piezo, mini magnets under the bridge, within the body of the instrument, leading to a direct translation of the steel strings to output. Donner's website says that the 9-volt will last up to 50 hours of playing, which is plenty.
The neck looks very cool; its symmetrical radius, light and well-balanced. The rounded fret edges make the instrument feel smooth. My only gripe with the guitar is the traditional acoustic bridge, which makes it very hard to adjust the action. The guitar does have a truss rod on the body end of the neck, which can be adjusted to set the angle of the neck. But out of the box, the guitar had incredibly high action; we managed to get this down a bit in the studio with some truss adjustment. However, if you want to make this a smoother playing experience, it may be worth taking it to a professional to bring the bridge saddle down a small amount to make it more playable.
The sound of the guitar isn't bad at all, the Piezo gives a direct translation of the strings. Due to the size of the instrument, it's a little shallow sounding. Turning up the bass on the Preamp gives the guitar a bit more body. It's undoubtedly workable and fulfils its duties as a travel practice instrument. Thanks to the design, you don't have to buy specialised strings for this instrument, but you do have to string it back to front! Which is quite fun. If you want to play along to backing tracks, you can also plug in a ¾ inch jack for AUX, so you can take your tunes on the road.
When writing these reviews, I try to be mindful that not all gear is designed for everyone. The HUSH-I is certainly designed for a few purposes. First of all, a travel guitar. Something to take on holiday, take on a business trip, or take on the tour bus. It's not meant to be an instrument that promises a grandeur of tone and playability, but it serves its purpose and is full of features for a very reasonable RRP. In the travel guitar world, this is definitely an option worth considering. Donner delivers affordable gear that does its job well!
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