Roving around the country with a guitar as a companion, busking for change, is how many legendary players paid their dues in the first half of the 20th century. But full-sized acoustic and electric guitars don't exactly make easy travel buddies – dreadnoughts are bulky and pickup-packing axes often heavy. Dedicated travel guitars can help, but players may have to make sacrifices for portability. Philip Hart's Genesis guitars have been designed to marry full-size feel and tone with travel-ready convenience.
Philip Hart Guitars (PHG) has been in business since 2014, and was awarded a patent for an innovative neck design in 2016 – which is now being offered through Kickstarter in a new range of Genesis guitars. The patented PHG bolt-through neck is said to allow "the guitar to be assembled in a way that enhances the sustain and tone of the instrument to be better than a glued-in joint or a bolt-on joint."
The design allows a player to remove the neck before hitting the road, pack it into a bag and reassemble it at the destination. In a similar fashion to the Mercury Modular, but with fewer components to assemble/disassemble.
"As of right now, the patented design is only being used on the prototype," Hart told New Atlas. "The advantage of our guitars is the ability to take the neck off quickly, the ability to customize your guitar how you like it, and the way the neck fits into the cavity (neck-slot) of the body. That connection between the neck and the body allows the neck and body to act as if they were one piece of wood."
To get the Genesis down to travel size, detachable bands are placed around the neck to keep the strings in place when the tension is released. A bridge "dock" is permanently fixed to the guitar's body but the bridge itself can be removed so that the neck can be unmounted. To remove the neck, which includes a double-action truss rod for relief adjustment, Hart has found that detuning the strings by about 12 turns on each peg gives enough play to unlock the bridge and unbolt the neck from the body.
Then the instrument can be packed away in a travel bag, though PHG is also designing its own travel case. When the player's destination is reached, the Genesis is put back together. "It never falls out of intonation and does not need to be set-up again," said Hart.
The PHG Genesis project is currently raising production funds on Kickstarter, where pledges start at US$1,500. There are a possible 5,184 configurations to choose from. But if that's simply not enough for you, Hart told us that the $3,500 PHG Custom Line will give you just under a million config options. Both come with the bolt-through neck. If all goes to plan, shipping (to US only) is expected to start in September 2019. The video below has more.
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