Travel schmavel – there's other stuff going on here. Words by Steve Henderson.
Note: This piece first appeared in Australian Guitar #133. Subscribe to our print edition here!
Mayson guitars are fairly new to Australia. In fact, since the company is only about a decade old, they’re pretty new to everywhere. Even so, the Mayson range is surprisingly extensive, typified by traditional shapes and sizes with stylishly clean lines.
Tonally, these guitars are definitely up-market. This review instrument, the Atlas E Marquis Travel, is the baby of the family. But, like many ‘travel’ guitars, it has a lot more going for it than just a backpacker’s knock-about. In fact, the acoustic-electric Marquis Travel has a slightly longer scale (23.54-inches), making it more of a tenor guitar, but with six strings.
The OOO body, proportionally smaller, and the cutaway make for a pretty inviting instrument.
The Marquis’ production values are simple but elegant: solid Englemann spruce for the top, lightly figured mahogany back and sides, black walnut bridge and fretboard, bone nut and saddle, double action truss rod, and chrome machine heads with dark buttons. Some nice touches include three-layer top binding (single-layer on the back), a double rosette, a walnut headstock overlay, and a functional (and attractive) bridge contour.
The matte finish feels good under the fingers, and the cutaway allows for plenty of upper fret access. The Marquis is a fine looking guitar, and its understated appearance accents the quality materials involved. But, the important issues are playability and tone, and the Marquis is, for its size, a real surprise. The smaller body (just 110 millimetres deep) offers up a balanced sound that belies its size. The bass frequencies are tight and focussed, and the mids and treble are loud, with no harshness at all.
If you’re after the deep boom of a ‘normal’ acoustic, like a dreadnought, you won’t find it here. The Marquis produces a warm tone with great string definition. It fingerpicks nicely and with plenty of character, and it strums with a loud and proud voice. The folks at Mayson have taken advantage of the shorter scale by making the neck no bulkier than it needs to be. It’s a very comfortable shape, and the matte finish slicks up pretty quickly.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Despite its diminutive size, the Marquis is a grown-up guitar, and a great alternative to larger instruments. Its tone has substance and is delivered with plenty of level and an easy feel. Through a Fishman Loudbox Artist and an SA330, the Marquis’ Purecoustics pickup delivers a fine acoustic/ electric tone with plenty of level and dynamic feel.
For players with smaller hands (kids, for example), it’s perfect. As for traveling, it comes with a truly deluxe gig bag, so fear not and get moving. The Marquis is a well-made, solid performer with loads character and a versatile personality.
• Solid spruce top
• Mahogany back and neck
• Dovetail neck joint
• Professional pickup
• Very portable
• Plays great
• Not as small as many travel guitars
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