Extraordinary folding guitar gets new look and mechanism redesign

After showing off a clever folding system for its Ascender travel guitar at NAMM 2019, Ciari Guitars has returned to the music industry expo with a cheaper model rocking a new look courtesy of luthier legends Grover Jackson and Joe Glaser and a new folding mechanism.

Though you can just stuff your prized instrument in a soft gig bag for short trips or a gig-van-ready hard case for the rigors of life on the road, that long neck bolted or glued to the body is just asking for snappy trouble. Over the years, we’ve seen a good many designs aimed at making the guitar even more travel-friendly – some cutting things back to the basics or shrinking down body and neck, and others that collapse down into key components or fold the neck over the body.

Ciari’s Ascender falls into the lattermost category of travel guitars, but takes a delightfully different route to much of its neck-foldin’ cousins. For its pro-level Custom guitars, the neck is hinged in two places, there’s a beautifully complicated truss rod mechanism and a management system to keep strings neat during travel and tensioned for play.

This folding system has been completely redesigned for the Standard series “to be super intuitive, low profile and with reduced weight for enhanced ease of use.”

Front and back view of the Ascender Standard in natural finish, showing the new body shape and redesigned folding mechanism
Front and back view of the Ascender Standard in natural finish, showing the new body shape and redesigned folding mechanism

Ciari Guitars

As before the neck hinge folds in two places – at fret positions 12 and 14 – but the mechanism lever is now housed within the central body cavity instead of the lower horn and pulls down like a vintage industrial power switch to unlock for fold and travel in the supplied quilted gig bag or optional backpack.

When it’s time to play, the guitarist simply pulls the neck away from the body to lock and load. The folded length comes in at 18.5 inches (469.9 mm), and the guitar unfolds to 36.5 in (927.1 mm).

The basswood body in natural, nano-satin black, seafoam, red or blue remains a single-cut but is a little less Les Paul and more modern offset courtesy of Jackson and Glaser. It features Seymour Duncan humbucking pickups selected by three-way toggle plus tone and volume controls, with coil split, and a Tune-o-Matic roller bridge.

The headstock design is also the work of the two famed luthiers, which is home to locking tuners and ends a bolt-on 24.75-inch scale mahogany neck with a pau ferro fingerboard and 22 frets.

All in, the new model tips the scales at around 7.15 lb (3.2 kg) and is up for pre-order now for a deposit of US$100 toward a ticket price of $1,799.

Product page: Ascender Standard