Lava is a forward-thinking company that has been developing smart guitars for some time now. The Blue Lava Touch hybrid electric-acoustic smart guitar offers several digital features designed to appeal to all types of players. It is a more affordable sibling to the Lava ME 3, a revolutionary instrument that changed how even the most conservative guitarists see their instrument. So is the Blue Lava Touch guitar for you?
First of all, check out the lengthy video showcasing the different features, various tones, and my global impressions of the Blue Lava Touch. It also contains an overview of the included and optional accessories.
Blue Lava Touch guitar has a modern design
The Blue Lava Touch’s design is similar to Lava’s more expensive ME 3 smart guitar, which I also reviewed, but with a few key differences that make it more affordable. First of all, the Blue Lava Touch is only available in 36 inches, while the ME 3 comes in 36 or 38 inches. The smaller size makes it an ideal instrument for travel or for younger players. It still remains a comfortable choice for adults as well. The scale is a reduced 23.5″.
The biggest difference is the material used. While the ME 3 is constructed out of carbon fibre, the Blue Lava Touch is a bit more traditional. Instead of picking wood, Lava opted to use a more environmentally friendly high-pressure laminate. This recyclable material is very resistant to humidity and temperature changes; good news for us Canadians.
The other difference that reduces the price is the fact that the computer is slightly less powerful in the Blue Lava Touch. At 2GB, it has half the RAM of its sibling. Also, the battery provides a shorter playing time of about 5 hours.
The guitar has the robust Hilava operating system onboarded and sound hole controls with a volume and on/off switch. It ships with phosphor bronze strings in gauges .012-.052.
Hilava OS digital features
The Blue Lava Touch is fitted with a 3.5″ touchscreen that gives you control over the Hilava system. This is truly a revolutionary way of experiencing and practicing guitar.
Lots of effects to choose from
The Blue Lava Touch hosts over 50 integrated effects. While some of them are a bit wild and eclectic, they are all based on regular options musicians have been using for decades. These include reverbs, delays, modulation (such as chorus and flanging), distortion, wah, pitch shifting, etc. You’ll have access to them via presets, but if you organize them on a virtual pedalboard, you’ll be able to tweak every parameter as you see fit. This allows you to create the tone you hear in your head.
Essential tools and practice modes at your fingertips
A great addition in the Hilava system is the various tools guitarists use daily. These include a tuner, a metronome, and a simple recorder. The latter is very useful to retain song ideas, chord progressions, or melodies before they vanish from your ear or fingertips.
There are several practice modes to help you work on your chops. These will help you perform chord changes, steady your strumming, learn the most common scales, train your ear, and play single notes. When you practice for over two minutes, you’ll get a breakdown of your performance and you’ll be able to assess which areas you need to work on. This won’t replace a guitar teacher any time soon, but it sure is a great supplement for traditional lessons.
Big bank of loops to play over
When connected to a wireless network, you can download various loops from Lava to create musical ideas and practice your rhythm chops. These loops are created by the company and are in various styles. You’ll be able to lay down up to four tracks and adjust certain parameters such as length and tempo. It’s an excellent way of developing musical ideas and one of my favourite methods of working on time keeping.
Lava+ social media
Once you have recorded your idea, you can upload it to Lava’s social network: Lava+. It’s a well-designed app that allows you to share your musical ideas, videos, and comment on the work of others. You can follow your favourite accounts to easily keep track of what they are up to. You’ll also be able to store effect templates, favourite grooves, practice summaries, and more on the network’s cloud for future reference and backup.
Blue Lava Touch accessories
With your purchase of a Blue Lava Touch guitar, you’ll get a soft case. It’s pretty padded, so it’ll protect your instrument from bumps and drops. This type of case is light and ideal to transport the guitar to lessons, jams, or anywhere else you want to take it to. There’s also a single pick included. It’s comfortable and sounds good. I used it for the audio samples in the video I filmed.
There are a couple of optional accessories to accompany your Blue Lava Touch as well. The Ideal Strap 2 is comfortable and will make long practice sessions easier to handle. It also integrates a cool locking mechanism. This means that you’ll never drop your guitar while playing, without any extra purchases. The AirFlow wireless charger doubles as a charger and a stand. It will keep your instrument upright when you don’t use it. Otherwise you can always use the included cable.
Blue Lava Touch offers great sound
The Blue Lava Touch is an impressive instrument. It’s well built and sounds great. The tone is impressive for a smaller-bodied guitar; it has a good deal of bass. This quality is something that interests a lot of players. The action was low and easy to play when I received the instrument. You can also adjust it, thanks to a truss rod (something that’s absent on the ME 3).
There’s a lot of value in the Hilava system. It provides many different functionalities you just don’t find on a conventional guitar. Even if you’re not a big technology user, you’re sure to make the most out of the built-in tools and probably plug in from time to time. Everything is on board for you to find a great tone, no matter what kind of system you plug into.
Compared to the ME 3, the Blue Lava Touch guitar is a bit more traditional thanks to the materials used. It’s also less expensive, which makes it accessible to more people. It’s also easier to justify for those that already have one or multiple guitars.
The Blue Lava Touch is for everyone
I expect that beginners will greatly appreciate the Blue Lava Touch guitar. It has a compact form factor that is slightly easier to manage than full-sized acoustic instruments. It’s full of extra features and practice tools that will keep them coming back day after day. It also has great future-proofing thanks to options that support creativity and that allow one to share music with a worldwide community. It’s a very pleasant experience that will foster a passion for the instrument, without breaking the bank.
Experienced guitarists will appreciate the many different creative avenues available through the Hilava OS. The number of effects is impressive, versatile, and complete. You’ll never feel like you’re missing some kind of option and you can edit all the parameters to your liking. The loops are a fantastic way of working on song ideas, chord patterns, and melodies. You can then instantly share on Lava+ to your followers and other users of the social network. It sounds great plugged in, so you can use the guitar for performances too. I’m sure they’ll enjoy the attractive price, especially if they are looking for a trip-ready instrument.
As with the ME 3, I think the more traditional players will find this model compelling if they give it a chance. It’s a lot of features packed in a single guitar, but they are wonderful, well integrated, and will help get the creative juices flowing.
The Blue Lava Touch guitar is worth checking out on Best Buy’s website.