Small, portable, and the best travel guitars should fit your budget and the music you want to play. These will be discussed here, plus links to our useful buying guides.
- Quick Links To Our Best Travel Guitar For The Money Recommendations
- Our Compact Travel Guitar Reviews
- What Is A Travel Guitar?
- What Distinguishes Them Apart From Regular Guitars?
- What Features Should a Good Travel Guitar Have?
- The Benefits and Drawbacks of Travel Guitar Playing
- Why Should You Be Purchasing a Travel Guitar Today?
- Which Travel Guitar Is Best, In Conclusion
Want to learn the best way to travel with a guitar? Look here.
Looking to just right into the buying guides for specific types of guitars:
Some other buyer guides for related things:
- Guitar cases that are best suited for flying and air travel
- Small guitar amps for traveling
- Nylon string travel guitars
- Carbon fiber travel guitars
- Can You Take A Travel Guitar On A Plane?
- How To Travel With Your Guitar
These two link above cover both electric and acoustic, but what if you have some other requirements but not sure what type you want. Read on.
Quick Links To Our Best Travel Guitar For The Money Recommendations
- Best Value – Taylor GS Mini Mahogany
- Best Affordable Budget For Airplanes – Hofner Shorty Electric Travel Guitar
- For Beginners – Cordoba Mini M
- Silent – Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light
- For Camping – Martin Steel String Backpacker
- Best Sounding – Martin LXK2 Little Martin
Our Compact Travel Guitar Reviews
Best Value – Taylor GS Mini Mahogany
The Taylor GS Mini Mahogany body is a must-have for any top travel guitar list. It features a solid mahogany top, stacked Sapele back and sides, and a Sapele neck. It’s a scaled-down guitar with a 23.5-inch scale length and a Genuine African Ebony fretboard with 20 frets.
The GS Mini has a unique feature that has made everyone, not just beginners, fall in love with it. When you play the GS Mini, it produces a strong tone that rivals that of a full-size guitar. As a result, the guitar’s mix of mobility, playability, and melody makes it impossible to forget.
- For a little travel acoustic guitar, the tone is deep and silky.
- Well-made, and the Mahogany has a lovely aesthetic.
- The action is fantastic, and barre chords are simple to play.
- The slender neck may be susceptible to fracture.
- The first three frets are a little tight because to the short scale.
Best Affordable Budget For Airplanes – Hofner Shorty Electric Travel Guitar
I kept coming back to the Hofner Shorty as my preferred travel guitar based on online ratings and recommendations. I was drawn to the Traveler Guitar models because of their headless necks and built-in tuners, not to mention a great affordable price.
My main concerns were overall weight and portability, although price was also a major consideration. Paying twice the price for a guitar that is only 5” shorter (because to the lack of a headstock) and weighs only one pound less felt ridiculous. Besides, this is a touring guitar, so expect a few scrapes and bruises.
Each of those scrapes and bruises hurts a lot more now that you’ve spent so much more money on them.
The Hofner Shorty is one of the greatest alternatives for a travel guitar because of its minimal weight, portability, and sound quality. You can’t top it in terms of value for money.
For Beginners – Cordoba Mini M
The guitar’s overall size is close to that of a parlour guitar, and its playability is comparable to that of its classical guitar brothers. It’s tuned to A by default (which is standard), but if you want thicker strings, you may tune it to E. Whatever is most comfortable for you.
- Good price and good guitars for beginners.
- Even though it’s portable, it still allows you to play classical guitar.
- Because of the thick wood top, the tones are pleasant.
- Tuning to E with standard strings causes tuning problems.
- For some players, the neck may be too wide.
Silent – Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light
The Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light is probably the tiniest and lightest electric travel guitar on the market, but it’s still a full-scale guitar. It’s crafted of Eastern American Hard Maple neck-through-body and has a scale length of 24.75 inches. Because it’s fitted with a high-output dual-rail humbucker, it’s no less than a typical electric guitar, despite its diminutive size.
This guitar’s detachable lap rest is a nice addition. Despite the fact that you’re playing a tiny electric guitar, you may utilize the lap rest to play it like a regular guitar and detach it when not in use.
The entire length of this guitar is 28 inches, and it weighs just over three pounds, so it won’t add much weight to your luggage.
- There’s no need to set anything up because the action is perfect.
- The UltraLight electric guitar is small, yet it has a regular scale length.
- The sound quality is excellent, despite the lack of volume and tone adjustments.
- Even with the lap rest, there may be certain shortcomings when playing seated.
For Camping – Martin Steel String Backpacker
One of the most recognisable body shapes is the Martin Steel String Backpacker travel guitar. It’s designed like a boat paddle, which is both stylish and functional as a travel guitar. It sounds amazing for such a small instrument, thanks to the non-laminated genuine solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides.
Martin is known for producing high-quality guitars, and the Martin Backpacker travel guitar is no exception.
- Built to last
- Keeps a good sense of balance.
- Affordably priced
- It may take some time to adjust to an abnormal body form.
- It lacks bass and volume due to its size.
Best Sounding – Martin LXK2 Little Martin
Martin provides a large selection of travel guitars, all of which are excellent. However, I’ll only highlight the second Martin, the Martin LXK2 Little Martin, which has captivated guitarists all over the world. This is a Natural Stratabond modified low-oval neck on a modified 0-14 guitar with a 23-inch scale length.
This one has a Koa-grained HPL (high-pressure laminate) top, back, sides, and headstock, and is made with the same craftsmanship as high-end Martins. It features a rosewood fretboard and Natural coloured Stratabond, making it a breeze to play. This is an excellent practise partner as well as a travel companion.
- The tone is more balanced and centered on the mid-range.
- There are no sharp fret edges on the fretboard.
- Made of high-quality materials that are resistant to wear and tear.
- Fingerstyle is great, but strumming isn’t so much.
- The action level is fairly high from the store.
What Is A Travel Guitar?
A travel guitar is an instrument designed to address some of the disadvantages of taking a guitar on the road, whether for an outdoor retreat or overseas, for a long weekend or a challenging trip. When and how we travel has an impact on the wear and tear on our musical instruments. Many guitarists feel lost without anything to play when the mood strikes them, and we often find ourselves wishing we hadn’t left our instrument at home while on vacation or meeting new people.
On the other hand, we also understand that transporting our prized possession into uncharted area can put it at risk of being damaged or even lost. We’d prefer a lower-cost, smaller-sized (and lighter-weight) travel companion as a solution, especially if you plan to haul it around for an extended amount of time. The most important feature is that it is a travel-friendly guitar. And I like things with a gig bag included as well.
Some Other Quick Options:
- Baby Taylor BT1
- Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor
- Yamaha GL1 Guitalele
- Luna Safari Series Muse Mahogany
- Martin LXK2 Little Martin Koa
- Yamaha APXT2
- Washburn RO10 Rover Steel String Travel
What Distinguishes Them Apart From Regular Guitars?
When it comes to travel guitars, there are two main schools of thinking. One option is to downsize a regular-sized guitar while maintaining the same proportions but in a smaller overall container. This method ensures that the instrument retains its familiarity while also making it appealing to younger students.
The alternative option is to totally rebuild the instrument, perhaps by incorporating the tuning pegs into the body. Of course, such significant design alterations might lead to other issues, which may be compensated for with features like detachable arm and leg rests. While these guitars may appear unusual, the playing experience should be similar to that of a standard guitar. Even though the actual form of the guitar is substantially different, scale lengths, fret positions, and pitch will be the same.
What Features Should a Good Travel Guitar Have?
When comparing different brands and kinds of travel guitars, there are a few crucial elements to consider. Above all, you need something that is small. Traveling with a full-size dreadnought is great for tone, but trying to navigate it down an airline aisle or through a crowded train will have you wishing for something smaller for an acousticelectric travel guitar.
Of course, you’ll want something that looks nice and is made of high-quality materials, but you don’t want anything so valuable that you’re afraid to take it on the road with you. Thankfully, most travel-oriented guitars are built to last and can withstand a few knocks.
When it comes to materials, solid wood isn’t as crucial in travel guitars as laminate because solid wood isn’t as resistant to temperature and environment fluctuations. Choose something with solid wood on top but laminated back and sides if you still want the tonal benefits of solid wood.
When it comes to tone and projection, the smaller the guitar is, the quieter it becomes. Whether you’re travelling with a guitar for practice or performance will determine your options. A full-size folding guitar – or a tiny acoustic with a pickup and preamp system – is essential if you want to amaze on the street corner or in a coffee shop.
You can be more flexible if you merely want something to strum on the beach or noodle with in your hotel room. In that situation, opting for a compact or silent guitar is a wise decision.
Finally, think about the cost. You don’t want to overspend on a guitar that is more likely to be misplaced, stolen, or damaged. Traveling with a costly guitar, unless you’re a professional musician or a touring artist, is pointless when travel instruments range from $100 to $400. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if something horrible happened to it.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Travel Guitar Playing
It’s not all good or all awful, just like every other guitar. If you’re looking for one, you’ll need to measure the benefits against the drawbacks.
- The body is smaller, making it easier to travel with.
- Scale length is full (or almost full).
- Affordably priced compared to a full-sized acoustic guitar.
- Those with larger hands/fingers may find it challenging to play due to the smaller size.
- It may not sound as full or as warm as a full-sized guitar.
Why Should You Be Purchasing a Travel Guitar Today?
Whether you’re a beginning guitarist or a seasoned pro, there are a plethora of reasons to invest in a portable guitar. Here are a few examples for you to consider:
- Travel guitars are much easier and more convenient to transport when travelling. This is due to their small size and light weight, which allows them to easily fit on planes or in cars.
- They’re ideal for artists who don’t want to take their main guitars on a journey where they’ll be roughing it.
- A musician’s inspiration can strike at any time, especially when they’re on the road!
- Having a travel guitar allows you to flesh out song concepts as they arise, even when you’re on the road or on vacation.
- If you’re packing your van for a long road trip, you’ll discover that travel guitars take up significantly less space than standard guitars, allowing you to have more storage space for other items.
Which Travel Guitar Is Best, In Conclusion
These are all fantastic travel versions in a variety of sizes, designs, and pricing ranges. Whether you’re looking to buy or just browse, we hope this article has given you some ideas.