Quick Hit: Traveler CL-3BE Review
Size-defying sound, price-defying appointments, and ready for a road trip.
Recorded direct into Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 interface into GarageBand.
Clip 1: Treble and bass flat, thumb-picked.
Clip 2: Treble and bass flat, played with pick.
Super clean build, you can take it anywhere, high-end appointments, nice gig bag.
Onboard tuner is a little clunky.
There’s been a bit of a trend towards less cumbersome in the world of acoustic bass guitars. Since plugging in an ABG is almost inevitable if you want to be heard while playing with others, why wrestle with a jumbo sound box if you don’t have to?
The Traveler CL-3BE’s solid-spruce top and open-pore mahogany back and sides are elegantly outlined by 5-ply ebony/maple binding. I didn’t detect a single blemish. Add to that a scooped lower-bout cutaway and beveled top, and you have a nicely built bass with some very boutique-y add-ons. Kudos also go to the smooth, fast-playing neck and fretboard that’s void of any issues.
Unplugged, the 23 1/4"-scale Traveler has a clean, woody tone with ample volume and projection for solo riffing on the sofa. For electronics, the CL-3BE is outfitted with a Shadow preamp/undersaddle pickup combo with a 2-band EQ, tuner, aux in, and a phase switch. Plugged in, the CL-3BE produces round and thuddy notes that are rich in lows yet still defined, and sound much closer to an upright than standard-scale ABG cousins, with their zingier nature. A bonus of the Shadow system is that it’s also a headphone amplifier, so you can have amplified tones wherever you find yourself while still keeping it relatively quiet around others.
At 450 bucks, it’s not chump change for what will likely be an ancillary instrument, but the CL-3BE is priced right compared to others in its class. When you also consider this ABG’s build and stand-out appointments, it would be money well spent.
Test gear: Gallien-Krueger 800RB, Orange OBC212, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4