I wrote a post a while back about a cheap 3/4 guitar I fell in love with at The Guitar Store. I still play that guitar (I actually now own 3 of them) and lately I have been finding more awesome small gear that I wanted to share with you. I’m still looking for really nice 3/4 guitars with a nut width about 38mm, and I’ll keep you posted when I find it. I’m currently playing a 1964 Fender Duo Sonic and a cheap acoustic guitar that also has a narrow neck.
If you are not familiar with ZT Amplifiers, I’d like to introduce you to a company that builds small, retro, great sounding amps. Besides building cool amps, like the Lunchbox Jr. that I use in my studio, they also design accessories that are as awesome as their amps. I dig the travel bag, but it’s the pedal cable kit that has really made my life easier. It allows you to power your pedals by plugging them directly into the amp, thus saving an outlet and keeping your playing space cleaner. (I don’t know why all other amps don’t have this function, it’s one of the best inventions.) Also available is a battery pack, which I don’t own yet, but I’d like to pick up now that the weather is warming up here in Seattle.
I was at The Guitar Store yesterday, and James, the owner of the shop, handed me a new pedal. It’s the new Dunlop mini wah pedal and it has blown my mind. I love the compact size (obviously) but the sound is truly incredible. I have not used a wah since I was in high school, so it’s going to take me a few minutes to figure out how to drive the thing, but I will say that the size makes it much easier to use. It’s super lightweight, which means I’ll probably bring it everywhere I play. It’s got 3 settings that you can change by taking off the back, and that’s also where the battery is located. (Of course, you can also power it through the Lunchbox Amp.)
Order your mini wah from The Guitar Store, and James will ship one right out to you.
This is the first thing I played on it and I’m sharing it because I’m just so excited about this pedal. I obviously need to work with it a bit more to express myself properly, but you get the idea here. 🙂
The Jay Turser 3/4 size guitar was probably designed for kids, but it has ended up working really well for me. The Guitar Store sells them for a very reasonable price, and with a set up from Eric Daw at Emerald City Guitars (where he filed a couple of frets down and replaced the tuners), it’s my favorite little guitar. The width at the nut is about 37 or 38mm, and that has made all the difference for me.
Another cool pedal they carry at The Guitar Store is the Ernie Ball Volume Pedal Junior. I remember my first volume pedal, and this isn’t it. Besides the fact that Ernie Ball has been building the best volume pedals for decades, this one is smaller, and therefore way cooler than older models.
These are the guitar picks I use these days. They are pretty thick and they are tiny, which why I prefer them over other picks. I used to use these, but the company changed the texture and I didn’t like the sound anymore.
When I am teaching, I prefer to use these Planet Waves 5′ instrument cables. This cable doesn’t get as tangled as other cables, and the short length helps keep my space looking clean. Planet Waves also makes these great 1′ cables (to get your pedals to your amp) and these .5′ cables (to link your pedals together.)
What’s better than buying cool, compact guitar gear? Learning new guitar skills! Here are some ideas to get you started on 3 note chords. I dig these chords because they are easier on my hands, but they also offer some really cool sounds you can play in a variety of styles. In the video, I apply triad inversions to Rock, 3 note 7th chords to the Blues (along with another really cool 3 note 6 chord that whole steps down to become a 9th chord), and big band voicings, guide tones, and quartal harmony to Jazz. Inspired? Sign up for some guitar lessons so I can show you how to learn and use these voicings.
I know this is a page about small guitar gear, but I am also a fan of cool small electronic devices. I own a Korg MicroSAMPLER, which is really cool, but it looks like it is no longer being sold. 🙁 I love that machine for its functions, but it also has a smaller keyboard, which I find helpful both for space saving reasons, and for playing. Here are two cool Korg Micro Keyboards that are currently available:
Want more recommended gear, not just tiny gear? Check the Guitar Gear Page
Susan Palmer teaches jazz, blues, and rock guitar styles in Seattle and via webcam. Since 2006, she has been the guitar instructor at Seattle University. Palmer created and taught, “The Rock Project” at Cornish College of the Arts from 2010-15, and she was music instructor at Seattle Girls School for the 2016-17 school year. Palmer is the author of, The Guitar Lesson Companion Method Book Series which is used by teachers and students in over 10 countries, including faculty at Berklee College of Music. Her extensive collection of lesson videos and jam tracks are available for free on YouTube. Palmer’s current and former students perform regularly throughout the country, including these Seattle venues: The Comet, The High Dive, Skylark, Neumos, The Hard Rock Cafe, Chop Suey, The Tractor Tavern, The Rendezvous, The Sorrento Hotel, The Crocodile, The Mix, Cafe Racer, The Edgewater Hotel, The Sunset, and other private events.