Hello audio folks and welcome back to Sounds From The Apartment!
This week we have another different type of article! It’s an interview combined with a product review! I am very pleased to introduce you to Yorgos Bechlivanoglou, the inventor of the MOOV – Travel guitar!
Nikos: Hi Yorgos, thanks for agreeing to do this short interview within these difficult, COVID-19, times we are going through! Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your musical background and how did you come up with the MOOV – Travel guitar concept?
Yorgos: Hi Nikos, thank you too for the invitation to present my idea of MOOV – Travel guitar. It is true that we are going through hard times. The whole world is in isolation for many weeks and months now, and while it is not pleasant, we must try our best and stay home to beat this virus. That’s why I recently made the following announcement on MOOV’s Facebook page: MOOV – Travel guitar informs you that it is renamed to “Don’t MOOV – Home guitar”! Obviously, a joke! Alright, I am getting serious now! I’ll go on and introduce myself.
I am a professional musician, concert guitarist and guitar teacher from Greece. More specifically my studies are based on classical music and guitar but I love playing different styles of music and guitars. In addition to classical guitar concerts and my collaborations with different ensembles and symphonic orchestras, I have also collaborated with many Greek and foreign well-known singers, composers and songwriters touring in Greece and abroad. I have enjoyed travelling to many countries, meet different cultures and love the special beauty of the native nature. But I have also experienced all the kinds of problems that can occur when carrying your instruments with you. I referred in plural because in many concerts I use up to three different guitars: a classical, an acoustic and an electric in addition to a guitar pedalboard and other equipment.
So, my short story with the MOOV – Travel guitar starts on a scary cold winter night of 2013! I was going to a concert and I remember being very tired by carrying my equipment, so I started to think how I could reduce the weight and the volume of the equipment I was carrying, as they weren’t just heavy, but also inconvenient! I researched about a travel guitar construction which would sound and feel like a real guitar. After testing a lot of them, I realised there was no product in the market that would satisfy my needs. So, the MOOV – Travel guitar came up to my mind as a question from which everything began: “What do I really need from a guitar?” I tried to “deconstruct” in my mind the guitar as an instrument, throwing away everything unnecessary and, finally, what remained was MOOV. Through the years I constructed three prototypes, improving on each one the functionality of the design. I tested it thoroughly and practised on it for many hours at first and then I started playing in concerts with it. Later on, in 2018, I decided that it is a really good solution and will help many musicians around the world, professionals or not. So, I started to produce the MOOV – Travel guitar in cooperation with the Vouladakis music instrument workshop and since September 2018, when the company was founded, MOOV has sold many guitars all over the world (Europe, USA, Asia, Australia etc.). Τhe interest is continuously increasing from all around the music community and I couldn’t be happier about the feedback we receive which is also very impressive!
N: Is there a way the MOOV – Travel guitar differs from other guitars of its kind that are currently in the market?
Y: There is not only one but many ways that the MOOV – Travel guitar differs from all other travel constructions. First of all, it is important to make clear that we are talking about a full-sized body and string length (650mm) travel guitar. There are many other travel constructions out there, that try to reduce their volume by using shorter string length or a smaller guitar body or, sometimes, both. MOOV is not one of them. But let’s have a look at the biggest issue of travel guitars.
All travel constructions have a thin, almost two-dimensional soundboard outline which looks like the 8-shape of a guitar but it doesn’t feel like a real guitar body because there is no 3rd dimension or, in other words, the depth of it. As a result, the guitarist plays in a wrong position which affects their technique in a negative way. Imagine your position while playing a normal guitar! Your right hand rests on the front side of the guitar body but your legs and your thorax come in touch with the backside of it. The MOOV – Travel guitar has four independent brackets, instead of a soundboard outline we mentioned above. These brackets have exactly the same position (length, height and depth) as the spots your body would touch on a normal guitar body. Together, these four brackets create a precision three-dimensional geometry of the four spots of a normal guitar body that are necessary for the ideal playing position, especially to the classical guitarists. The result is a natural feeling and a pure sense of a real guitar!
But the advantages of the MOOV – Travel guitar don’t stop there. I will mention a few of them in short:
- MOOV is the smallest foldable travel guitar ever made. The amazing total length of 38cm makes transportation a piece of cake. MOOV’s gig bag is also foldable so the guitar can be carried either folded or unfolded. When unfolded the total length is just 73cm!
- Thanks to the height-adjustable bracket that comes in touch with the left or right leg, you can play at your desired position without needing a footstool.
- MOOV has a real guitar sound unexpected to such kind of constructions, due to its unique design, high-quality materials and the versatile dual-source, piezo and microphone electric system. It is also highly feedback resistant even when using heavy distortion effects!
- MOOV is completely silent. Its minimal design produces the minimum possible sound you can get. There is even a headphone output on the electric system where you can plug in your earphones and listen to it as loud as you wish without bothering anyone around you. You can also connect your MOOV – Travel guitar to any speaker that has an auxiliary input, such as portable Bluetooth speakers, should you wish to have external sound amplification.
These are only some of the features the MOOV – Travel guitar offers, but you can easily tell how they make it the best choice of its kind.
For more information please visit MOOVs’ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MoovTravelGuitar
N: Who would you suggest should be looking to invest in the MOOV – Travel guitar and why?
Y: The MOOV – Travel guitar is addressed to both professional and amateur guitarists who want a high quality, silent and portable instrument for performance or practice purposes.
To those who travel a lot with airplanes and they don’t want to pay a lot of money to extra seats for their guitar(s) or are worrying too much about the condition the airlines will return their instruments, although they have already invested in heavy hard cases to carry them around.
To the classical or acoustic guitar players who don’t want to compromise their technique and good playing position on a portable instrument that doesn’t allow them to feel comfortable while playing.
And of course, to the guitar lovers, like me, who want to ride their bicycle and enjoy playing while relaxing on the beach or mountain, whichever you prefer!
N: Great! I’ll make a slightly more personal question now. As a well-established classical guitarist what were your influences that led you to take this musical journey?
Y: Since I was a child, I had many different interests and hobbies. For example, I loved sports and played basketball, but also, I loved drawing and painting, or even, making little constructions with my own hands and these are only a few of many other activities I used to do. In all of them, no matter how different they were, I was putting in a common element. Perfectionism. I really strive to do everything as perfectly as I possibly can.
Similarly, in music I had many different influences and, as I mentioned previously, I have been involved with a lot of different kinds and styles of music. A very crucial influence was also the fact that I come from a country which is the crossroad of the Western and Eastern cultural civilisations. It simply enabled me to listen from Anatolian traditional music to classical, jazz, up to heavy metal. But the most important thing to me in music. independently of the genre, is not to make me feel like shallow. Music is a beautiful language and I like to hear it flow. If a song tells me the same thing repeating a small music phrase all the time, I get the feeling that it devaluates my intelligence. Maybe this was one of the reasons which led me to focus and specialise in classical guitar and music. Of course, the fact that classical music is so demanding was a challenge for my perfectionism, and that is a prerequisite for myself before doing anything. Last but not least, I am so fond of the guitar sound of any kind that, I am confident, no matter how many times I would come back in life, I would choose to become a guitarist again and again!
N: What would you say was the biggest challenge you faced during your musical journey as a classical guitarist? How difficult or easy was to overcome it?
Y: Thank you, Nikos, for this very interesting question! It gives me the opportunity to refer to the biggest problem for most musicians. I will start from the easy part. For me, it was to be all day in my room, practising the guitar and studying music. It is an amazing journey which helps you look deep inside you, discover and find yourself, and finally, through music explore the natural rules that govern this universe. We should not forget that the universe is inside us and, at the same time, we are a very tiny part of it. But here comes the hardest part, which was no other than going out of my room and communicate my work to other people out there, while believing in myself. It is very difficult to be the manager/promoter of yourself and describe your work and dreams with modesty. The key to overcoming these obstacles is good intentions. If your intentions are focused in offering to people and to be a useful tiny fraction of the universe, then you will be happy in every little step you make and one day, sooner or later, your dreams will come true!
N: What are the next future plans for yourself and MOOV?
Y: Regarding MOOV, my brain can’t stop thinking about how I can improve it constantly, creating new models and other auxiliary products which will help musicians. There are many versions of MOOV already: Classical (nylon strings), Acoustic (steel strings), 7 & 8 strings and due to the fact that MOOV is hand-made, there are options for different fret scale, nut length or even fretless, and other types of customisation. Personally, I would like to continue playing and creating music, travelling all around the world and live with my family a simple life, outside of big cities, close to nature.
Thank you very much for your time Yorgos! It’s great to see new innovative ideas making the cut in the industry! We need more ideas like that!
I wish you all the best for whatever the future holds for you and MOOV!
Let us know how you could this interview by leaving your comments in the section below!