Lava Music has announced the LAVA ME 3, or as it’s calling it, the Smartguitar. The concept promises a special kind of guitar experience: not only does the acoustic guitar have a one-piece body made of carbon fibre, it also has a 3.5 inch multi-touch display, effects, loops, 4 GB RAM, 32 GB storage, Wi-Fi (2.4 and 5 GHz), Bluetooth 5.0 and more. The ME 3 version adds a lot of useful tech to what was already an advanced platform – this is essentially an acoustic guitar crossed with a smartphone.
LAVA ME 3
Lava Music’s instruments, it’s safe to say, stand apart from ordinary acoustic guitars. The xcompany doesn’t even try to go the same way as well-known and proven guitar types. On the contrary, it tries to take a new path in almost every aspect of the LAVA ME guitar, starting with the materials. The single-piece body is made of injection-moulded carbon fibre. The obvious advantage here is that this instrument is very light, while at the same time being extremely rigid and won’t be affected by humidity. No matter how much the temperature fluctuates or how high the humidity is, these guitars maintain their setup.
AirSonic 2: Built to last forever?
The previous ME 2 model was able to withstand temperatures between -20 C and 90 C, and humidity between 10% and 90%. The new ME 3 is made of AirSonic 2, the manufacturer’s latest carbon fibre composite said to be another 30% more resistant than the previous generation.
Multi-touch Screen & HILAVA System
One of the big new features of the LAVA ME 3 is the 3.5-inch multi-touch display, making the guitar as intuitive as your average smartphone. Along with a colour display comes the HILAVA control system supporting a range of useful apps that allow players to access functions such as tuner, metronome, effects pedal, looper pedal and recorder without connecting an external device. That sounds amazing, and I’d love to try it out to see if it feels as intuitive to use as the idea suggests.
Apps and effects in your guitar
This guitar comes with a raft of effects, including standards like reverb, delay, auto-wah, chorus, octaver and doubler, but also algorithms for modern electronic genres. The parameters can be adjusted right down to the smallest detail, so these aren’t just ready-made presets that can’t be changed. Other apps give you tools like a tuner, metronome and even a recorder (more later). The apps are easily accessible with a simple tap on the screen.
Loops and practice app
The apps include a Loops app, with over 100 grooves from various genres. You can create recordings using the loops and record up to 4 tracks. In the guitar! The recorder in particular sounds like an incredibly useful feature for songwriting. No need to reach for a recorder or root around for a cable to hook up to your DAW; I really like the sound of that. Once your work is complete, you can instantly share it on social media and, using the LAVA+ mobile app (iOS and Android), to the Lava Music online music community.
The practice app offers five modes: chord change, strumming, scale training, ear training and single notes. It uses sound recognition technology to detect the accuracy and consistency of the playing and to give appropriate instructions in case of deviations. You get a detailed report after each exercise to let you analyse your progress. If it works as advertised, this could be brilliant for acoustic guitar learners.
Big bass and wireless charging
Like the ME 2, this version has the FreeBoost technology, presented here in an upgraded 2.0 version. FreeBoost uses the back of the guitar as a speaker, and Lava Music says the sound quality of the LAVA ME 3 has been improved over the previous generation with 20% deeper bass. The LAVA ME 3 is available in 36- and 38-inch sizes weighing 2080 and 2250 grams respectively. The modern finishes range across white, pink, soft gold, blue, red and space grey, so there should be something for everyone there. The LAVA ME 3’s extensive feature set is rounded off by a PLEKed fingerboard, a super futuristic yet strangely retro wireless charging station (you can also use USB C) and Elixir strings.
LAVA ME3 Price and More Information
The LAVA ME 3 starts at 999 US dollars. The older ME 2 version is also still available, retailing for €799, as is a compact E model for €599. The Pro version has a rounded back and uses more advanced materials, priced at €1399.
I’m quite stunned by the idea of having apps running in a WiFi-capable acoustic guitar. My impression is that a lot of the features could be genuinely useful to players and learners, especially the recorder and practice feature. This looks like genuinely interesting technology rather than just gimmicky nonsense that inflates the price but is ultimately useless. I haven’t tried it but the ME 2 has got some great, if not uniformly ecstatic, reviews so far. If you’re open to a carbon-fibre acoustic packed with technology, this could be very tempting.
LAVA ME3 Videos