The ultimate mobile guitar setup
Updated: Feb 25
I'm not a professional guitar player, but I do play with a band occasionally. For short trips to rehearsals and gigs, my home setup is fine: guitar, cables, accessories and my Helix Floor with its backpack. That all fits nicely in my car. But with family or for work I quite often go on trips by plane - and I mean commercial flights where space is not so generous...Hence the need for a truly mobile guitar setup.
This time I'll flip things around and start from the solution.
I will list below the components of my mobile setup, some purchase options, and then discuss caveats and alternatives:
1) LapAxe EX series guitar (short scale, ~60cm long overall, tuned in standard)
2) Apogee Jam HD - the latest, 24 bits 96 kHz version
3) iPad Pro 10.5
4) Bias FX from Positive Grid, for the iPad
5) Audio Bus 3 for the iPad
6) AnyTune Pro+ for the iPad
7) Garage Band for the iPad
8) Other iPad tools such as Guitar toolikit, guitar pro, etc
9) JBL headphones
With this setup I've played in places ranging from airport lounges to cockpits of sailing boats. The LapAxe bag is quite small and the rest of the gear fits nicely in a backpack. If you source a larger backpack you can even fit all in one.
- Dependency on the iPad
- A chain of gear that has to be connected every time I want to play, and that is not concise and monolithic
- No speaker apart from the iPad- Short scale guitar is harder to play than a normal one
The alternatives I've considered:
- A portable tone shaper such as the Mooer Audio GE200 or a Line 6 mobile pod instead of the iPad. The issue is that the iPad is virtually limitless as you can download new software. So from tones to tuners to background music and even recording you can do it all. Dedicated gear sounds great and it's 'plug and play' but will be limited to what comes in the box
- An iPad dock. Focusrite had one but apparently it is discontinued. I'm in the market for a new one, especially if it has built in speakers. This would make the iPad setup monolithic
- A speaker. The Marshall Stockwell is the one I tried but it's a bit heavy. I'm thinking of sourcing a JBL flip in the near future
- Other travel guitars. The travel guitar brand is the one I used before. It was 76cm long and required one step for assembly (the LapAxe is pick and play and 62cm long) but the scale was natural, similar to my Gibson SG. I'll always keep an eye out for more portable natural scale guitars and also smaller ones that tune to standard
There's a plethora of options out there to assemble your mobile guitar setup and the quest is to find one that works for you. The above setup is my 'ultimate' for the moment, but it may change once new gear comes out.
Ultimately my goal is to be able to play everywhere and anywhere - hope that is your goal too.
Further update, I've later replaced my Lapaxe with the Traveler Guitar EC-1