Designed for those who want to be able to play guitar where you wouldn't usually take a guitar, the Vox SDC-1 mini electric is miniature in size but gives you plenty of full-size benefits in a travel-friendly instrument. Nick Jennison tells us more.
To some, miniature guitars aren't something worth serious consideration. In the minds of these players, such instruments are toys at best and unplayable GSOs ("guitar-shaped objects") at worst. Sadly, this bias seems to extend to some less reputable brands too. But if you've ever spent time teaching young players, you'll know how important the right mini guitar can be. A guitar that stays in tune; one with an easy action and no sharp fret ends; one with quality electronics that sound good and don't buzz. For a young player starting out, a quality mini guitar can be the difference between a lifetime of enjoyment and giving up after a month.
Vox's SDC-1 is just such a guitar. It's being marketed as a "travel guitar", but to my mind, it's also an absolutely ideal instrument for a very young student player. It's made of solid woods with no MDF in sight and comes loaded with a miniature-sized humbucker that's powerful and toneful enough for both clean and distorted sounds. The tuners and bridge are solid, and the fretwork is very good. These might sound like things you'd take for granted in a regular size instrument, but so many mini guitars fail all of these tests. The humbucker is particularly impressive, in a class of guitar where weak, noisy single coils are the norm.
So if you have a young player in your life, the SDC-1 Mini is perfect. But what about you? You're a serious player with a serious collection - what good is this tiny guitar to you? Well, I'll be buying one, that's for sure. I'm lucky enough to travel fairly regularly with GI, and often it's impractical to take a guitar. I can easily fit an SDC-1 in my suitcase though, so I can still get some playing in while I'm overseas. The same goes for holidays, road trips, or any other occasion when I'm likely to be without a guitar.
The SDC-1's small size is it's strength when it comes to travel, but also when it comes to tuning possibilities. In the same way that a longer-than-standard scale length allows for low tunings, a small guitar like this one is perfect for tuning higher than standard. A personal favourite of mine is "High Nashville Tuning". Nashville tuning is essentially a 12-string guitar, but with only the highest string from each pair, and it turns mundane open chord strums into things of sparkling beauty. The SDC-1 Mini is small enough that I was able to string it up for Nashville tuning but tuned up a minor 3rd (G-G) for a stunning pseudo-mandolin effect. That's just one example of the creative possibilities that a good mini guitar opens up.
The Vox SDC-1 is a proper guitar in a class of instrument that's full of GSOs. It plays in tune, it's made of solid woods, and the electronics are both functional as well as sounding good. It's a fine travel guitar for any player, and the perfect choice for a young player beginning their journey.
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