12 Best Travel Guitars in 2017
Having the wrong travel guitar is like playing with only minor chords. You could do it, but it would always seem like there’s a better way. We will be sharing that better way with you here in our guide.
Here, we highlight the best travel guitar models and provide you with useful shopping tips that will help you find the right one for your playing needs.
Whether you’re flying to a far off foreign destination or hanging out on the streets of Seattle in front of the Experience Music Project, you will find the right guitar for your travel needs thanks to our expert guide.
Table of Contents
- Top 12 Travel Guitars Ultimate Table
- Tips for Selecting a Travel Guitar
- Acoustic vs. Electric
- How Are You Going to Travel, and How Is Your Guitar Going to Travel with You? Protecting Your Guitar Might Be an Issue.
- Top 5 Best Travel Guitar Reviews
Top 12 Travel Guitars Ultimate Table
|1. Cordoba Mini M Travel Acoustic Nylon String Guitar||Acoustic||10 inches||4.8|
|2. Traveler Guitar Escape Mark III Acoustic-Electric Travel Guitar||Acoustic + Electric||10.2 inches||4.7|
|3. LX1E Little Martin Travel Guitar||Electric||7 inches||4.6|
|4. Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Electric Travel Guitar||Electric||5.2 inches||4.6|
|5. Washburn RO10 Rover Steel String Travel Acoustic Guitar||Acoustic||8.3 inches||4.3|
|6. Traveler Guitar Speedster Electric Travel Guitar||Electric||7.5 inches||4.3|
|7. Traveler Guitar PRO BRN Pro-Series Hybrid Acoustic/Electric Guitar||Acoustic + Electric||5.2 inches||4.2|
|8. Traveler Guitar EG1C BLK V2 Custom Electric Travel Guitar||Acoustic + Electric||10.5 inches||4.2|
|9. Martin Steel String Backpacker Travel Guitar||Acoustic||9 inches||4.1|
|10. Martin Classical Backpacker||Acoustic||9.5 inches||4.1|
|11. Johnson JG-TR2 Travel Guitar||Acoustic||11.5 inches||4.0|
|12. Hofner HCTSHBKO Shorty Travel Guitar||Electric||8 inches||4.0|
Tips for Selecting a Travel Guitar
Picking the best travel guitar is all about knowing what you need, and what you want your guitar to do for you. We’ve got a few things to keep in mind while you’re shopping for that instrument on-the-go.
You’re taking your guitar with you because you want to enjoy it, so here are a few things to consider to get the most enjoyment out of your selection.
Acoustic vs. Electric
You’ll have to start by deciding whether nor not you want an acoustic guitar or an electric guitar. It may seem pretty obvious, but let’s talk pros and cons.
- Acoustic – An acoustic guitar lends itself to campfire singalong, and Blowin’ in the Wind isn’t a song that requires an amp and a rack full of effects pedals. Acoustic guitars need no power, no cords, and less maintenance than electric guitars, which make them a great traveling companion.
Their sound range can be limited, so if you’re doing some serious performing on the road or you plan on using a PA system, you’ll need extra equipment to get that acoustic sound to carry. Acoustic guitars can also be more fragile than electric guitars, so they require a bit more care during transport.
- Electric – There are just some times where an electric guitar is essential. You can’t shred your way through the Metallica catalog on an acoustic guitar, and if your sound needs to travel some distance or get really loud, you’re going to have involve electricity at some point.
As a general rule, electric guitars will be thinner and more robust than acoustic guitars, because of their solid body. As the name implies, you won’t get much out of them if you’re not near an outlet, and you’ll need an amp and cables to complete your setup, but not all travel guitars are meant for camping or backpacking through Europe.
An electric travel guitar is an excellent choice for a musician whose traveling light or will have the benefit of meeting up with people who already have the equipment. These guitars are also ideal for people with limited space in their homes.
- Did You Know That You Can Have Both? – There are some travel guitars that combine the hollow-body shape of acoustic guitars with the electronic elements of electric guitars. They’re quiet when it’s called for, and they can be turned up to 11 when it’s time to get serious. The cost can sometimes be a bit greater, but for a versatile instrument that’s ready for a variety of situations, these may check all your boxes.
How Are You Going to Travel, and How Is Your Guitar Going to Travel with You? Protecting Your Guitar Might Be an Issue.
- Car – If you’re loading up the family roadster for a few days or a cross-country trip, you’ll be in charge of packing the luggage. Depending on your space, you could go a little bigger, or smaller. You also get to decide where the guitar is stored, so you can determine if you need to buy a case or if you can just put it in your luggage.
- Plane – Remember the commercial with the gorilla throwing around the luggage? You may want to take your guitar with you as a carry-on item. If it’s too large, or if you already have a carry-on, then you should consider buying a guitar that you can fit in your suitcase.
We don’t want to sound bossy, but even if you have a soft-side case for your guitar, we don’t recommend checking it. Better safe than sorry.
- By Foot – You are never more than arm’s length away from your guitar when it’s in your backpack or thrown over your shoulder. If you’re not the clumsy type, you may not need a case at all. Maybe just a strap is enough for you.
If you’re extra careful, a soft-side case won’t add much weight, and it will protect your guitar from bumps and dings. If you’re carrying everything, we want you to check out the lighter options for guitars. Weight can add up, and we would hate for your guitar to be more work than fun.
- A Little Bit of Everything – If you plan on spending time on a train, then a bike, then hiking, then another train and a ferry, you will want to find a good balance between size, protection, and weight. You won’t be carrying everything all the time, so you could go a bit heavier if you want; this could mean a heavier guitar or a lighter guitar with no case.
Top 5 Best Travel Guitar Reviews
Cordoba’s Mini M gives you the slim shape that you need for easy mobility, but it still offers a traditional shape (even if it’s a little smaller) that’s easy to hold while you play. Some travel guitars employ unique shapes to save space, and while they can be remarkably small, they can also be difficult to get used to playing.
This guitar gives you solid construction, a familiar shape, and a robust sound. The wooden body resonates the way you would expect, and the neck gives you the feel and spacing that you’re used to on a standard-sized guitar. The spruce body resonates nicely, and the high-quality mechanical tuning pegs are going to hold a tune while you’re on the go.
As an all-around, instrument-on-the-go, you’ll have no trouble taking this guitar on the road, and it doesn’t require you to adjust your playing style when it’s time to play. To us, this is definitely the best travel guitar on the list.
Traveler’s Escape Mark III isn’t the cheapest travel guitar on our list, but you can count on getting your money’s worth. This cutting-edge design has a loud acoustic voice that really sings. When you get somewhere you can plug in; it becomes a shredding machine.
The tuning mechanisms are located inside the body so they could eliminate the headstock to save more space. The maple neck and rosewood fretboard offer a feel and spacing that doesn’t require you to jam up your hands or re-learn your technique just for this instrument. You’re also not limited to a binary choice of acoustic strumming VS plugged-in-and-loud.
A built-in amp and 3.5mm headphone jack allow you to play with electricity while you listen through headphones so you can practice without bothering your family or traveling companions. The flat body of solid alder is lightweight, and easy to transport, especially with the included gig bag.
Martin’s LX1E Travel Guitar is a great choice for the acoustic player who appreciates a bit of electric amplification. The body features a traditional shape with a slightly narrower frame that makes it easy to take while you travel, but also makes it an ideal guitar for smaller players.
The spruce body resonates with a rich, loud tone and the rosewood neck gives you the spacing and action that you’re used to. When an amp is available, you can simply plug in and turn up the volume. The design is a little larger than some instruments that offer stripped-down shapes specifically for traveling, but the classic shape of this guitar means that you don’t need to learn how to hold it to play.
You also have the option of built-in contour and phase adjustments if you would like to mix things up while you are plugged in.
The Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Electric Travel Guitar is an instrument that has a stripped-down design that understands what traveling is like. The body is made from a single piece of maple rather than using a separate piece for the body and neck. It adds strength and makes it more difficult to break the neck.
The tuning pegs are located inside the body, eliminating the need for a headstock and removing four to five inches from the overall length. That wire you see sticking out is a detachable lap rest that gives this instrument an easy-to-hold shape while you’re When you don’t need the lap rest, you just take it off, and you’re ready to travel.
A standard ¼-inch amp plug lets you go electric, and the plug jack even doubles as the strap-peg to reduce even more weight from the design. A phenolic plastic saddle transfers the resonance of the strings to the body, creating an acoustic sound on a body that’s only a fraction of the size of an acoustic guitar.
We love the Washburn RO10 Rover Steel String Travel Acoustic Guitar because it’s not the smallest, and it may not have all the bells and whistles, but when you need a travel guitar on a budget, this one gets you what you need.
The Washburn name is synonymous with quality instruments, and this instrument is right in line with their reputation. The mahogany body and spruce top produce a first-rate voice, and the full-scale neck with bound rosewood fretboard is as easy to play as any full-sized instrument.
High-quality tuning pegs keep your notes clear and true, and the scaled-down size is easy for backpacking, road trips, or just a hike out to the campsite; this is also a great guitar for smaller players. Full-sized guitars are just difficult for some players, but kids’ guitars are often made from cheap materials that don’t last or won’t hold a tone.
This instrument is made with Washburn quality and may very well be the ideal choice for a musician with a smaller frame.