I teach guitar lessons and have to lug a guitar around a lot. I finally decided that it's getting to be too grueling having to carry my regular guitars around, so I recently took a chance and bought a used Traveler brand guitar (the 'Pro Series' with a piezo and a single coil) from Reverb.com.
Aside from the fact that the neck isn't straight and some of the frets are flat, I'm having issues just tuning the strings. There isn't really much fine control, and it just doesn't seem to be stable. I don't know if the overall system is to blame, or just the tuners themselves, but I suspect that it could be both. It is a headless design. The strings run over an acoustic-type saddle (with notches), and continue toward the butt end of the guitar where there is a set of 6 rollers which spin on an axle. The strings rest in grooves in the rollers, wrapping around the rollers and doubling back around to the back of the guitar where they attach to the tuners, which are contained in the body.
The individual rollers do seem to rotate around the axle when a string is tuned, but maybe the friction along the portion of string which rests on the roller prevents even stretching/contraction of the string during tuning?
Anybody have any thoughts about this or experience with this design? If I was confident that upgrading the tuners would make a big difference, I would be willing to replace them, but I wonder if maybe this in-body tuner design is just flawed due to the rollers.
I considered something like a Steinberger, but this Traveler guitar is lighter and cheaper. If I find the tuning stability can be improved, then I'd feel it's worth my while to level the fingerboard and replace the frets to get a playable guitar.
Also I'm using lighter strings than I'm used to---.010/.013/.017/.026/.036/.046. I mostly play acoustics with .012s, and a Strat with .011s. Not sure if lighter strings just aren't as stable.
Any thoughts? Thanks in advance!
try lubricating between the rollers.
If the Traveler doesn't work out, you might look at the Squire Mini Strat. I've seen them used for $50 on Craigslist. I bought a couple of new ones for my kids for Christmas when they were little, changed the keys to Gotoh, did a setup, and they played in tune