Finding a great travel guitar isn’t simple. You need to find something that is lightweight, sounds great as well as fits the budget. We address some of the key considerations to make when buying one later in the buyers guide. This post reviews some of the best travel guitars and brings you a buyers guide.
Bellow we’ve listed 6 of the best guitars for travelling available to date.
Yamaha Steel String Silent Guitar
One of the greatest things about this guitar from Yamaha is it comes with steel strings. This is a great option for someone who likes to travel but is not interested in a large acoustic guitar. You can use this guitar to practice or play on stage. It gives you the sound quality you need in a conveniently collapsible package.
You can practice this guitar while making almost no noise. There is the option to use headphones or the line-out feature when you are ready for people to hear your music. Line-in functionality will allow you to play this guitar will all of your friends. This guitar frame is made from Maple and Rosewood.
What makes this ideal for traveling is the fact that it has a full-sized body but can collapse to take up much less space. The SRT technology used here is intended to mimic the resonance of a full-bodied instrument but in a body-less instrument.
Voyage-Air Transit Series VAMD-02
Here you have a guitar that gives you everything you could want from an instrument in addition to amazing portability. It is considered 15/16 and has a dreadnought body shape. The top of the guitar is Spruce and features an X-brace design. Mahogany makes up the sides, back, and neck. For your fingerboard and bridge, Rosewood is used. This instrument features chrome-plated die-cast tuners. You also get Phosphor bronze strings.
On top of the fact that the neck folds, this instrument is very portable due to its lightweight and size. The Voyage-Air Folding Neck-Hinge System is patented and exclusive to this manufacturer. Despite being shorter than your average guitar, it has a full-sized neck. This makes this an ideal instrument for students and serious players alike.
As a bonus, this guitar comes with an awesome travel bag. It features a large zippered pocket for throwing your laptop or other electronic needs for playing your music.
Traveler Guitar AG-200EQ
Coming in natural, sunburst, and black finishes, this very small travel guitar makes a big statement. According to the manufacturer, this is the absolute smallest full-scale acoustic guitar that you can buy. It comes with a built-in headphone amp for when you want to practice in private. You also get an onboard tuner for convenience.
If you want to play along with the music you know and love, this guitar features an Aux-in jack to do just that with. This can also be used to send your music through an amp or a mixer. One great thing about this guitar is it uses standard strings, so you can easily obtain them.
This guitar may appeal to you because it is an acoustic electric that you can throw in your bag and go with. In order to make it smaller, the makers used a streamlined tuning system. This eliminated the need for a headstock, which reduces the length by 20%.
Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy
This small guitar has a lot to offer anyone looking for something to travel with. First and foremost is its inexpensive price tag. For the low cost of this instrument, you get an acoustic guitar made from Agathis on the top, back, and sides. The neck is made from Nato and the fingerboard is made from Rosewood. This is considered a parlor-size guitar.
On this guitar, you will find a C-shaped neck. That being said, users report it is fairly simple to convert this instrument into a left-handed one. It is just a matter of flipping the tone bar and restringing.
The quality of sound is amazing, especially considering the price and the size of this guitar. Many users report that it sounds just as good as instruments they paid 4 times as much for. Because it’s quite easy to play it makes a good starting instrument to learn on. This guitar comes with a 24″ scale, making it capable of making big noise.
Yamaha JR1 FG Junior
Yamaha provides its customers with everything they need to get started with this 3/4 size guitar. This would be a great guitar for someone who travels, a beginner, or a child. This bundle includes everything you will need to get started. You get a guitar strap, clip-on tuner, capo, peg winder, Legacy picks, folk guitar strings, and a handy instructional DVD. All of this can be thrown into the convenient soft gig bag that comes with your purchase.
This guitar has a Spruce top, Meranti back and sides, and a Rosewood fingerboard and bridge. Nato is the wood of choice for the neck. The finish of the guitar is glossy on the top and satin on the back and sides.
This is an impressive little guitar that can stay in tune for long periods. Yamaha is known for making sturdy instruments that produce good sound, and this guitar does not disappoint.
Martin LXM Little Martin
This is an excellent option for someone looking for a travel instrument from a giant in the guitar industry. It is made of high-pressure laminate in a Spruce pattern on top. Mahogany high-pressure laminate is used on the body as well. This less expensive material allows for having a more affordable option for Martin guitars.
You also get a Micarta fretboard and bridge. This instrument has a 23″ scale. You get Martin’s patented neck mortise. There is also a Stratabond modified low-oval neck and the famous C.F. Martin script logo on the headstock.
Perfect for beginners, travelers, and children, this guitar sounds beautiful. These “little” guitars produce an impressive amount of sound and excellent intonation. They can produce music that sounds almost as sweet as a full-size guitar. It comes with a soft gig bag for convenience. This bag is heavily padded to help protect your new instrument.
Travel Guitar Buyers Guide
Many musicians worry about taking their prized instruments on the road, but at the same time want to play while out and about. This is where buying a guitar specifically intended to travel with can come in handy. Other people who turn to these guitars are those shopping for children. Anyone who thinks they are interested in learning the guitar but is reluctant to spend too much can also benefit from shopping for a travel guitar.
Just like any instrument, there are several things that are important to the build and quality of these guitars. On top of the normal considerations, you will have to worry about anything the manufacturer lost or skimped on when designed a smaller guitar. This guide is designed to highlight the most important things to look out for when shopping for a travel guitar.
Acoustic vs Electric
With any guitar, the first question you have to ask yourself is if you want an acoustic or electric guitar. There are travelers out there that are a combination of both. What type of instrument is right for you depends purely on your personal preferences. Obviously, a serious musician is going to get a traveler that is similar to their normal instrument. For beginners though, deciding which guitar style captures the sound they want to create is essential before even looking at a travel guitar.
Due to the way they are often used, there is a wide range when it comes to the sound output in travel guitars. Some people want their traveler to sound as big and bold as their full-sized, and there are some options out there that come close. Others are concerned about being able to practice in their hotel room without getting complaints. There are plenty of options out there for this as well.
[quote-box]In fact, there are some travel guitars out there that are practically silent.[/quote-box]
These work well when you plug in a high-quality pair of headphones. Deciding how you are going to use your travel guitar is an important first step in the buying process.
Odds are, you want any instrument you spend hundreds of dollars on to last awhile. Instruments can sometimes be fragile, just due to the way they need to be designed to provide high-quality sound. That being said, you do want a guitar that will not break easily. Travel guitars, more than their “normal” counterparts, see a lot of abuse. They are often thrown in a trunk or overhead baggage compartment. Please note, it’s important they are not made of cheap materials that will easily crack and break.
Gig Bags/Carrying Cases
Going right along with durability is the need to have something for your travel guitar to travel in. A carrying case or a gig bag can help prevent major damage, as well as minor things like scrapes. Soft gig bags are included with the purchase of many travel guitars. This can be effective because they usually have a decent amount of padding to protect your instrument.
For any instrument, you will want to consider the playability of it. The scale length and nut width of your scaled down guitar are important. Many serious musicians find it important to find a travel guitar with a similar neck size to their normal instrument. For beginners, guitars with shorter scales are often considered easier to play.
Size and Weight
The biggest reason you are likely looking for a travel guitar is because you need something portable. The size and weight of your instrument are the biggest factors when it comes to how easy it will be to travel with it. Many manufacturers strive to make their instruments small enough to qualify as an airline carry-on and to fit in the overhead compartment.
It is inevitable that a smaller guitar will feel different to play than a full-sized one. This seems to be a much bigger issue for pros than it does for beginners. Holding the lightweight and smaller guitar may feel awkward at first. However, using a guitar strap can greatly help with this issue. Certain models out there come with extensions to help you comfortably rest the instrument on your lap. Of course, this is less of an issue with guitars that are practically full-sized but fold in order to travel. Over time, you will get more comfortable with the size of your travel guitar.
Depending on what type of guitar you want to travel with, it may be nice to have a few built-in electronics included. A built-in headphone amplifier is a nice touch that often comes in handy when on the road. Fancier options out there can even have built-in effects and tuners. An aux input is a nice feature to have if you like to play along with your favorite songs. Just be sure to pack spare batteries, especially if you tend to travel off the beaten path.
With any instrument you drop serious money on, it is important to love it. You want a travel guitar that makes a good impression, both on you and anyone else who may see it on your travels. Luckily, there are almost as many design options out there for travel guitars as there are for full-sized ones. Many guitars are even available in different finishes, letting you customize your instrument to your personality further still. Having a travel guitar is a great way to encourage yourself to play more often. It is even more effective if you love the look of your instrument.
Although often cheaper than full-sized guitars, this is not always the case. As with any purchase, do your research into any product you are considering to make sure you get your money’s worth. You can get a travel guitar, with all of its accessories, for under $200. You can also spend much, much more than that. Reading user reviews on the sound quality of an instrument is a great way to see if it is worth its price tag.
You should put just as much time and consideration into buying a travel guitar as you would a full-size guitar. Whether this is your first instrument or you are just adding to your collection, be sure to really think about how you want to use your guitar and what features will help you to get the most out of it. Hopefully, this guide served as a good starting point on your journey to the best travel guitar on the market for you. Once you have found the perfect travel guitar, you can move on to finding the perfect travel amp. If you’re looking for some tips on flying with a guitar check out this useful post.