Gear Overview: Lava Mi 2 Carbon Fiber Acoustic Guitar

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by Emile Menache

After a long time across the periphery, manufactured supplies resembling carbon fiber and HPL (high-pressure laminate) are discovering alternatives for guitar-making mainstream wooden in addition to new makers resembling Lava Music. Based by Musician Institute grad Louis Luc, LAVA calls itself a music know-how firm targeted on different supplies and creative design. Launched in 2017, Lava’s Me mannequin was one of many first one-piece injection molded carbon fiber guitars. The brand new Lava Me 2 ($799 Avenue) now sits in the course of its product line to supply a brand new and improved tackle the unique. Whereas carbon fiber guitars aren’t more likely to change their wood counterparts anytime quickly, the Mi 2, with its stable building and good sound, sounds much less cynical than it did a couple of years in the past.

Lava Me 2 Acoustic Guitar (Red)

carbon fiber optics

Carbon fiber could sound new, nevertheless it has truly been seen in guitar manufacturing because the mid-Nineteen Sixties, when aerospace trade chief Charles Kaman first used it to create spherical backs (mixed with a wood high and neck). which made Ovation Guitars an enormous vendor. Nineteen Seventies. Kaman’s firm may even provide totally artificial guitars with the Edmas line. At this time, along with Lava and rebooted Ovation, firms resembling Rainsong, McPherson and KLOS use the fabric for guitars.

A lot of the carbon instruments I’ve seen are black and industrial. Not this particular lava. The limited-edition RED mannequin I examined makes a robust visible element. (Guitar can also be accessible in a spread of different colours.) As a result of it seems like a vogue trade design observe, it may be tempting to dismiss the instrument as a instrument higher fitted to music movies than delicate musical performances.

However seems could be deceiving. Sure, the Me 2 blindly grabs you even earlier than you hear it. You possibly can’t miss out on its matching physique and neck, racing oval soundhole, built-in tailpiece, brushed aluminum controls and unadorned HPL fingerboard and saddle. Even with the confectionery end, the overview mannequin turned out to be way more than simply eye sweet.

molded fabrication

The Mi2’s molded carbon fiber building is supposed to reduce gluing, which in idea creates a firmer and tighter marriage between the highest, again, neck, fingerboard, bridge, and strings. If the purpose was a secure enjoying floor and powerful vocal manufacturing, the Lava was profitable. The Mi 2 delivers deeper and fuller time than I anticipated, particularly with a physique that is solely 12.7 inches large and 4.63 inches deep. It feels so alive.

The benefit of carbon is its resistance to environmental situations that make wooden guitars unstable and generally inconsistent. The Me 2 options Lava’s Fly+ Neck, which, in keeping with Lava, “was designed by monitoring the totally different powers of gamers to maneuver throughout play.” As you go up, it feels narrower, deeper and rounder on the backside, barely wider and flatter. However in the event you’re nervous that such dimension modifications may look bizarre, I discovered the precise reverse. I’ve lengthy fingers, and whereas that is usually a bonus, the place of a number of the fingers can really feel crowded on the brief neck. Nonetheless, Lava felt very snug in all areas. I used to be in a position to make a stable connection to the wires with out a lot effort. In flip, this stored my palms relaxed and prevented me from greedy the neck too onerous.

The neck is bolstered with a inflexible carbon-fiber rod making it thrice more durable than earlier fashions. This, mixed with PLEK frets machining, provides the 18-fret fingerboard a relaxed low motion that conforms to the pitch vary. I used to be in a position to play aggressively with out creating fret. Extra vital, there have been no useless spots, and the addition of a heel-less neck made it simple to achieve the very best frets.

Like tonewood, carbon fiber is available in a wide range of formulations. Lava calls its model the Airsonic, which mixes sturdy carbon-fiber layers and a light-weight honeycomb construction. The Mi 2’s 1.4mm thick Tremendous Airsonic high, Lava’s lightest to this point, gives the identical stiffness as normal carbon fiber, however weighs 30 % much less.

Lava Me 2 Acoustic Guitar (Red) Closeup

materials distinction

Whereas comparisons to different carbon devices could make some sense to technical specialists, most acoustic gamers are more likely to evaluate lava to wood devices. On this regard, a number of issues instantly got here to the fore. First, the Mi 2 has a sturdier decrease midrange than you’d look forward to finding in a relatively sized woodworking instrument. It feels sizzling and full. Whereas it produces barely much less top-end sparkle than my Martin 00-18 (which is not a brilliant shiny guitar), the highest finish sounds clear – like a very good tenor singer hitting a excessive notice.

The second – and maybe extra vital – distinction is the noticeable distinction in the best way vowels are developed. Maybe this can be a byproduct of the stiff neck and physique, however the Me 2 has a pointy assault and a linear decay with sturdy stability. These qualities have been evident throughout the large dynamic vary and enjoying kinds.

Likewise, the guitar’s midrange-rich character is mirrored in its dynamic vary. It is not that you may’t form the tone of your assault; However the place some guitars could have a brief window for a selected time, the Me2’s vocals have a wider band. You do not drop readability whenever you play quietly, and issues do not sound too loud whenever you hit the strings onerous. That is particularly good in the event you play a single-note lead line. You do not have to be loud on the guitar for the notes to pop.

Tonal consistency additionally applies as you progress from low to excessive pitch. Bass notes are tight and powerful, highs clear and full. The Mi 2 exhibits not one of the crossover results that minimize a number of the guitar sound from treble to bass. My solely grievance is the slightest bump of resonance between the bottom B and notes.

superior electronics

Among the finest options of the Me 2 is the L2 preamp and pickup system, developed at the side of LR Baggs. Along with sending indicators to an amplifier, the L2 lets the M2 act as its personal amp, utilizing the again of the guitar as a speaker. Controls embrace total quantity, reverb, and results (which might toggle between refrain and delay with a small change hidden within the soundhole). The soundhole additionally has a small microphone with a rotary degree dial. This lets you combine some ambient sounds with the pickup system. Like another naming of lava, I discovered its identify (bump) complicated. Consider it just like the soundhole mic discovered on a hybrid microphone-piezo pickup system.

The results, particularly the reverb, sounded nice from my enjoying place. The refrain was refined however good. As you flip clockwise, the Delay knob will increase the delay time. I want the Mi 2 had the tap-tempo function accessible on the Lava Mi Professional. Nonetheless, the impact regarded good. I particularly preferred the best way the unplugged guitar projected the echo a couple of ft in entrance of me. This created a way of dimensional house that you may’t get with conventional delay and amp audio system.

The pickup system labored very effectively to go straight into an amp and right into a recording rig. Whereas there isn’t any EQ, the pickup’s steadiness is nice and avoids the higher center of the nostril that plagues some acoustic guitar pickups. The onboard mic helped make the plug-in output sound extra pure by including a shimmer of acoustic “air” to the sound.

Whereas the impact can appear extreme at excessive settings, I discovered {that a} average quantity of onboard amplification and a few scrumptious reverb actually made the Me2 blossom. However after I turned off the impact I used to be much more impressed with the sound.


If I needed to choose one phrase to explain Lava Me 2, it could be “superb.” I hoped for a enjoyable little seaside guitar—and the Lava touts portability and skill to face up to the weather as promoting factors. And as you’d count on from a brightly coloured instrument, the Lava is marketed as a stage guitar. However I ended up with Me 2 for different causes. Its sharp assault and broad tone inspired me to take a seat in my studio and mirror on a number of the methods and voices I usually take as a right. Me 2 acquired me pondering.

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Physique one piece carbon fiber; HPL Bridge

neck carbon fiber bolstered with compound profile; HPL Fretboard; 1.68″ nut width; 23.5 “size of scale”

different LR Baggs L2 pickup system with onboard and outboard amplification; reverb and refrain or delay results; onboard microphone; Perfect Bag 2 Light-weight Case

price $799 Avenue

made in China

Store Lava Mi 2 from these on-line retailers:

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