“The sound is so good that I’m starting to question whether the expensive exotic tone woods that so many guitarists lust over really make much of a difference”: Donner Hush-X solidbody guitar review

The electric travel guitar that sounds so good you won't believe it isn't a regular solidbody

Donner's Hush-X guitar
(Image: © Donner Music)

Guitar World Verdict

The minimal design of the Donner Hush-X certainly is compact and lightweight enough to deserve its “travel guitar” distinction, but it performs every bit as good as a traditional full-size solidbody, making it a great, affordable all-around axe.

Pros

  • +

    Extremely compact breakdown travel design.

  • +

    Affordable.

  • +

    Big-sounding pickups.

  • +

    Plays and feels like a traditional solidbody electric.

Cons

  • -

    Single-coil pickup is placed more toward the middle than the neck due to the location of the truss rod adjustment cover.

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Way back in the the early Forties, Les Paul invented a minimalist solidbody electric guitar that he called “The Log.” About 80 years later, Donner Music has introduced perhaps the closest soulmate to that guitar since the introduction of the Steinberger in the Eighties. 

Donner calls the Hush-X a travel guitar, but it’s really a full-size instrument that feels, performs, and sounds like a traditional solidbody, albeit one that can be packed into a compact case that looks like a carrying bag for a two-piece pool cue.

Donner offers one version of the Hush-X guitar: a mahogany version with two finishes – a sunburst and a natural finish. The guitar has a one-piece neck-thru-body design, and lightweight metal frames that attach to either side via sliding clamps to provide a leg rest and armrest. 

The headless design is facilitated by a six-saddle fixed bridge with built-in thumbscrew tuners. Neck features include a 25 ½-inch scale, 22 medium frets, an asymmetrical profile, HPL (high-pressure laminate) fingerboard, 403mm radius, and a 1.65-inch wide bone nut with zero fret.

The pickups consist of a high-output humbucker with an unspecified magnet type at the bridge and an Alnico V single-coil pickup located about 2-3/4 inches from the 22nd fret, which is more like the middle than a neck placement. 

Resistance measurements for our test example were about 13k ohms for the humbucker and 5.4k ohms for the single-coil, providing a useful balance of hot-rodded humbucker and classic vintage single-coil tones.

Other electronic features include a concentric master volume/tone knob with the low-resistance volume control on the outside, an active/passive switch for headphone monitoring in the active position and 1/8-inch Aux input and headphone output jacks.

Weighing less than five pounds, the Donner Hush-X is super comfortable to play, with the metal frame extensions helping balance the instrument and preventing neck dives. The neck feels the same as any good C-profile neck, and the fretwork is outstanding. 

Donner's Hush-X guitar

(Image credit: Donner Music)

Plugged into an amp, the Hush-X sounds full-bodied and dynamic, with the humbucker rivaling the tone of many regular solidbodies – in fact, I doubt most guitarists would be able to tell the difference in a blind tone test. The sound is so good that I’m starting to question whether the expensive exotic tone woods that so many guitarists lust over really make much of a difference other than in an aesthetic sense.

The sound is so good that I’m starting to question whether the expensive exotic tone woods that so many guitarists lust over really make much of a difference other than in an aesthetic sense

The humbucker has a great classic rock growl through an overdriven amp with ample balls and bite, while the single-coil pickup has a Strat-like presence and zing that’s perfect for blues, funk, and slinky rock rhythms.

One feature I particularly liked was the easy-access rear compartment that makes it super easy to change batteries and anchor the strings’ ball ends when changing strings. That the headless design allows the use of regular strings is thanks to a locking clamp system above the nut.

The rear of Donner's Hush-X guitar

(Image credit: Donner Music)

Donner loads up the Hush-X with a ton of goodies that add generous extra value. These include a reinforced carrying bag, a clip-on tuner, earbud headphones, a 9-volt battery, Allen wrenches (stowed in the battery compartment), extra screws, guitar picks, guitar and case straps, and more.

Specs

  • PRICE: £/$349 / £297
  • TYPE: Electric travel guitar
  • BODY: Mahogany
  • NECK: Mahogany through-neck, asymmetric profile
  • SCALE LENGTH: 25.5"
  • FINGERBOARD: High-pressure laminate, 403mm radius
  • PICKUPS: Humbucker (bridge), Alnico V single-coil (neck)
  • BRIDGE:  Six-saddle fixed bridge with built-in thumbscrew tuners
  • WEIGHT: 4.4 lbs
  • FEATURES: Quick-assemble body frame, tuner, carry soft case, 1/8" aux input and headphones output
  • CONTACT: Donner Music

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Chris Gill

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.