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.
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 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.
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.
- 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