Voyage-Air TransAxe TelAir VET-2 – Candy Apple Red with Maple neck and fingerboard
Ultimate Travel Telecaster – Twang for the Road
This is how I received the Voyage-Air TransAxe TelAir VET-2 before I did the mods. See below what was done.
I purchased this at a good price right before a trip and wanted to give this a try. The unique features include a patented folding neck and a captive nut. The included case allows the guitar to be only 22-inch by 17-inch by 7.5-inches for travel. Basically a bit larger than a average briefcase in size.
The guitar is a bit of a hybrid. It has a shorted scale of 24 3/4” like a Gibson Les Paul. The neck is fat, but quite comfortable with a fairly flat fingerboard radius the measured around 16 with my gauges. The frets are slightly wider than a Fender vintage, but are not that high. Has the classic Telecaster shape and twang with the single coil pickups.
The neck relief out of the box was good. Just a very small back bow making the neck almost completely straight. It does have a truss rod adjustment, but I had no need to touch it. The playability is very good. One reason is likely the zero fret. The nut is captive to hold strings in place when you fold the neck. The guitar needed a slight bridge adjustment when it arrived. I just raised a few strings at the bridge and tweaked the intonation a small amount. The fret work is good, especially for a guitar at this price point with no sharp ends. The back of the neck has only a light lacquer and has a nice wood feel. No poly coat in the back of neck.
The electronics look pretty decent with the 3-way switch and pots looking to be Alpha brand. The pickups sound pretty good. Single coil Telecaster style said to be made by Tonerider form the UK. The Tonerider Vintage Plus are considered budget pickups, but sound quite good and bell like.
The guitar alone weighs in at 8-lbs 8-ozs which is a bit more than I would have expected. There is noting flimsy about it however.
The tweaker in me is wondering if it would be good to drop in a 4-way switch and re-wire to get a position for the pickups in series. Maybe at a latter time. Would like to swap out the tuners for better locking tuners, but the ones from the factory are not bad. Overall I thinks this is a great playing guitar and is NOT a “one trick” pony that I thought it would be. I have actually found myself playing it a lot at home.
Took on a trip and it was great to travel with. No issue as a carry-on with the case also holding my laptop. Fit perfectly in overhead and the TSA asked no questions or had any problems. Was able to play guitar in my hotel room every night instead of watching bad TV shows. I used Amplitube and Guitar Rig on my laptop and iPad. Made the trip more pleasant.
Voyage-Air also makes the Belair that sports P90 pickups in slightly more Gibson Les Paul Special style.
The TelAir is Voyage Air Guitars tribute to one of the most famous guitars ever, the Telecaster. It sports all the features that a pro expects and requires for that distinctive tone: Solid Alder body, Solid Canadian Maple neck (with either Rosewood or Maple Fingerboards). Wide vintage frets that make it effortless to bend notes. Custom ToneRider pickups that punch with rich harmonics, and a sustain that drills back to the Roots of Rock.
All of these features in one easy to carry, easy to play guitar. The TelAir is acclaimed by both students and pros for its distinctive, yet traditional tone. Fold it open and in seconds you’re ready to rock, with a guitar that’s lightweight, road tested, travel tough and sounds AMAZING.
The Voyage-Air TelAir. Easy play. Vintage vibe. 21st century portability. Take it anywhere. The price includes the all new Dura-Trans carry case that is slim, lightweight, tough and features a zippered laptop/accessory pocket for all your musical needs. Now everyone can afford to take along a great sounding, easy playing guitar wherever they might go. You can determine where to PICK WHERE YOU PLAY
• Body Shape: HGL-Leach Designed Single Cutaway
• Neck Material: Canadian Maple
• Body Material: Alder
• Fingerboard Material: Rosewood (on VET-1) Maple (on VET-2)
• Pickup Type: Custom TONERIDER™ “Vintage-Plus” S-S Alnico
• Finish Color: Sunburst
• Scale Length: 24 3/4”
• Number of Frets: 20
• Proprietary Voyage-Air Captured Nut
• Patented Voyage-Air Neck Hinge
• Position markers: Mother of Pearl Dots
• Pickguard Color: Black
• Tuners: 3 on a side, diecast, small oval button
• Hardware plating: Chrome
• Case Included: DuraTrans™ Semi-Hard Case
The DuraTrans case is small briefcase-size, and engineered for protection and convenience with the Voyage-Air TransAxe Series electric folding travel guitars. This case comes equipped with a highly rigid injection-molded top panel for impact resistance. Covered with black 800 Denier Ballistic Nylon, the DuraTrans case is elegant and road-tough. All TransAxe series guitars fit precisely into this case, with a strap to position the neck in the folded position, and a separate strap to secure the strings. Thin, light and convenient: that’s the DuraTrans case!
And there’s more: a zippered pocket on the back has room for storing a laptop computer and other on-the-road needs. Padded backpack straps are within another concealed pocket, so the straps aren’t in the way when you carry it ‘briefcase-style.’ Yet in seconds, you can sling this case over your shoulders and take your full-size electric guitar wherever you go.
Fits perfectly in an airplane overhead compartment. Has place for your laptop and small amp and accessories.
DuraTrans Case Specs: (inches)
• Length = 22″
• Width = 17″
• Height = 7.5″ • Fits easily in overhead compartments on most airliners
• 800 Denier Ballistic Nylon Covering (black)
• Molded High-Density EVA foam top shell
• Interior storage pocket for tuners, extra strings and stuff
• Zippered lap-top accessory pocket (fits up to a 17” lap-top computer)
• Concealed, highly padded backpack straps for comfort
• Extremely durable, and light-weight
• Can be baggage-checked or gate-checked for airline travel
Modifications and Improvements
After using the TelAir on my first trip and playing it around the house. I decided to make a few improvements.
One of the things about the Voyage-Air TransAxe guitars is you are able to bring “your” guitar with you most anywhere. These guitars are pretty well made guitars for the modest price point. They are gig worthy and not like some low end travel guitars that are short scale, have to be tuned differently or have other limitations. With this point made I still wanted to make this “my” guitar.
So I am changing a few things. Swapping out the tuners for Grover Locking Rotomatics 505C mini tuners. This will make changing strings a breeze.
I am going to enlarge the route of the control panel to fit a standard size Telecaster control plate with a volume and tone knob with a 4-way switch. This will make the TelAir more like a genuine Telecaster in looks and operation. The stacked pots and short control panel is alright, but I feel this will be a good improvement.
The stock Tonerider pickups were pretty decent, but I am going with the same setup I have on my Fender FSR Baja Telecaster Classic Player. It is a matter of personal taste and preference.
Fender Custom Shop Twisted Telecaster pickups deliver hot high-output Telecaster guitar tone with a dash of sparkling Stratocaster guitar character. The bridge pickup is a Broadcaster type. With these pickups you can avoid a volume drop when switching from bridge to neck that many Telecaster experience. The control plate is patterned after the Fender Baja Tele setup and features a 4-way switch and S1 switching. This should take the sound of this guitar up a notch and add some versatility.
After disassembling the TelAir I can see that the neck joint is quite solid due to the engineering and design used for the folding neck mechanism. The construction and design by Voyage-Air is quite good. The also use shielded paint in the pickup routes and control cavities.
The Grover Locking Rotomatics 505C mini tuners are almost an exact replacement. The only issue is minor that the screws on the back of the headstock do not line up exactly.
I just filled the old holes with plastic wood filler and sanded lightly when it was dry. You will not see the old holes as the back of the headstock is basically raw wood.
New Grover mini locking tuners installed and they look great. Should be a nice improvement over the stock tuners.
Time to route out the control panel for a full size Telecaster one. In my opinion this guitar should had a “real” control plate from the beginning. I used my compact router, bits from Stewmac and a Telecaster template I bought. I routed out the control cavity to fit a full size Telecaster plate.
I am using a Fender Telecaster control plate that is wired the same as my Classic Player Baja Telecaster with a 4-way and an S1 switch. Fender Custom Shop Twisted Telecaster pickup set. Same as my Baja as well.
To dress up the guitar a bit more I swapped out the plain plastic true rod cover for a cool flame brass one.
Final test was to fold the neck and put in the case. Still fits perfectly.
Finished the wiring and put on the strings. After a quick setup. I plugged it in and it sounds sweet. This guitar is now the ultimate “travel” Telecaster. I think it is reasonable to now say that this guitar is not a one trick pony and can be your ONLY guitar with just a few mods.