Best travel guitar
by ArtHouse Studio

Being a musician who loves to travel can be tough. You always want your best gear with you so you can play at any time. For guitarists, this is getting easier as many companies are releasing incredible guitars which are compact, light, and easy to bring with you on your trips. Let’s take a look at some of these instruments and see which is the best travel guitar.

Travel guitars are generally smaller than regular guitars, and made of sturdy materials. This gives you the chance to take one with you anywhere you go without having to worry about taking up too much space or it getting broken in transit.

The most important factors to pay attention to in a travel guitar are the size, the durability of the wood, and, of course, the sound. Smaller guitars tend to lack some lower frequencies which full-size guitars have due to their bigger size. However, we’ll see some fantastic options with many different price ranges here.

Top Picks Summary for the Best Travel Guitar:

You can find more in-depth info about the guitars below, including things that I like and don’t like. Also check out the other 10 alternatives that are not in the “best X” category but are also highly recommended and might suit your needs more.

Taylor Baby Mahogany BT2 (Best Overall)

Taylor Baby Mahogany BT2
Taylor Baby Mahogany BT2 travel guitar – Taylor Guitars

Price: $449

Specifications:

  • Acoustic guitar
  • Steel strings
  • 22-3/4” scale
  • 1-11/16” neck width

The first guitar on this list is a fantastic instrument made by Taylor. The Baby Mahogany BT2 is built in the dreadnought style, and has a full sound that you won’t find in most 3/4-size acoustic guitars.

The top and neck are made of mahogany, while the back and sides are sapele, and the fretboard is ebony. The mahogany gives it a clear mid-range punch, so it’s perfect for playing blues and rock.

The BT2 plays really smoothly and feels great in your hands. The price is great for the quality, but might be too high for players on a budget. However, if it’s within your price range, you won’t find a better deal for a guitar that’s great for playing and recording, whether at home or on the road.

Pros and Cons of the Taylor Baby Mahogany BT2

Pros:

  • Full sound
  • Great quality to price ratio
  • Compact size

Cons:

  • High price if you’re looking for a budget guitar

Check it out on Amazon.

Taylor Baby BT2 Review

Martin Backpacker

Martin Backpacker
Martin Backpacker travel guitar – Martin Guitar

Price: $299

Specifications:

  • Acoustic guitar
  • Steel strings
  • 24” scale
  • 1-11/16” neck width

The Martin Backpacker is definitely one of the most interesting looking guitars on this list. Its thin body makes it really easy to travel with. The body is built out of sapele and the neck is made of select hardwoods, which gives it a sturdy feel.

The sound can be a bit thin, which can be expected from its compact size. And the balance between the body and neck is a bit off. However, these dimensions are what makes it such a fantastic travel guitar. It’s very light and can fit into tight spaces.

Overall, it’s a good, strong guitar, especially for a trip. It may not be the best instrument for performing, but as a traveling companion that you can practice on, it’s perfect. And it will definitely catch the eye of locals and other travelers because of its cool look.

Pros and Cons of the Martin Backpacker

Pros:

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Good price

Cons:

  • Thin sound

Check it out on Sweetwater.

Journey Instruments Carbon Fiber OF660M (Best Innovation)

Carbon Travel Guitar OF660M
Carbon Travel Guitar – Journey Instruments

Price: $1,399.99

Specifications:

  • Electro-acoustic guitar
  • Steel strings
  • 24-1/2” scale
  • 1-3/4” neck width

Our first electro-acoustic on this list is the Carbon Fiber OF660M by Journey Instruments. This is arguably the most innovative guitar here. The carbon fiber makes it extremely durable (and great looking), but what really makes it stand out is that the neck can be detached from the body, halving the size of the instrument.

When you buy this guitar, you get a special soft bag to pack it into which is TSA compliant, making it the best option if you travel mostly by plane. It has a 3-piezo transducer pickup set under the bridge, so you’ll be ready for recording or performing at any time.

The carbon fiber feel of this guitar can take a bit of getting used to, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t comfortable. The neck feels great and the sound hole gives a fantastic resonance, so you really feel the tone of this guitar.

Pros and Cons of the Journey Instruments Carbon Fiber OF660M

Pros:

  • Easy to attach and detach neck
  • Nice tone
  • Durable build

Cons:

  • High price

Check it out on Amazon.

Squier Mini Jazzmaster HH

The Squier Mini Jazzmaster HH
The Squier Mini Jazzmaster HH travel guitar – Fender

Price: $287.96

Specifications:

  • Electric guitar
  • Steel strings
  • 22-3/4” scale
  • 1-5/8” neck width

Squier make great instruments, and their Mini Jazzmaster HH is no exception. It has that classic look of a Jazzmaster, but shortened to make it a perfect travel guitar. It has two humbucker pickups and a three-way switch, so you can get amazing tones easily.

This is an incredible instrument considering its size. It sounds fantastic and can stand up to plenty of regular-sized electric guitars. The weight isn’t well balanced between the neck and body, but that’s what keeps the heaviness down without influencing the playability too much.

If you decide on bringing an electric guitar with you on your travels, it can be a good idea to pick up a travel amp as well. If you feel like that will take up too much space, you can also get a digital rig that plugs into your phone or tablet. No matter which you get, the Mini Jazzmaster HH will sound incredible on it.

Pros and Cons of the Squier Mini Jazzmaster HH

Pros:

  • Great price
  • Sounds good
  • Classic Jazzmaster look

Cons:

  • Not well balanced between body and neck

Check it out on Amazon.

Cordoba Mini II FMH

Cordoba Mini II FMH travel guitar
Cordoba Mini II FMH travel guitar – Cardoba Guitars

Price: $199

Specifications:

  • Acoustic guitar
  • Nylon strings
  • 22-7/8″ scale
  • 1-7/8″ neck width

The Cordoba Mini II FMH is a beautifully crafted nylon-stringed guitar. It’s built out of flamed mahogany and has a bit of extra depth on the body, which gives it a rich sound. Having said that, it has a bit of a ukulele vibe to it, so if you’re looking for a classical guitar sound, you won’t find it here.

It has a lovely tortoiseshell binding and the mahogany grain shines through on the body, giving it an exotic look. It’s a great choice for road tripping and will suit many playing environments, from sitting around a campfire to performing at an open mic night.

One of the biggest pluses for this guitar is its price. If you’re on a budget, the Mini II FMH is a fantastic choice, as you’ll get a great sound for a low cost.

Pros and Cons of the Cordoba Mini II FMH

Pros:

  • Beautiful finish
  • Amazing price
  • Richer sound than a ukulele and other travel guitars

Cons:

  • Not as rich a sound as a traditional classical guitar

Check it out on Sweetwater.

Luna Safari Koa Supreme

Luna Safari Koa Supreme travel guitar
Luna Safari Koa Supreme travel guitar – Luna Guitars

Price: $349

Specifications:

  • Electro-acoustic guitar
  • Steel strings
  • 22-1/2” scale
  • 1-11/16” neck width

Let’s take a look at the next great electro-acoustic guitar. The Safari Koa Supreme is made by Luna and comes close to the Taylor Baby Mahogany BT2 in terms of quality, price range, and sound.

It has quite a short scale, so is really compact and easy to store. The materials are durable, with koa for the body and mahogany for the neck. It has a piezo pickup, so you can plug it into a DI or your audio interface, giving you the ability to use it for recording or performing.

It has a fantastic sound, especially for its size. It may not reach the punchy feel of the Taylor though, and is better suited to more mellow and folky styles. This is the main difference between the two. So if you’re looking for something a bit cheaper with a pickup, the Safari Koa Supreme is a fantastic choice.

Pros and Cons of the Luna Safari Koa Supreme

Pros:

  • Beautiful sound
  • Great price
  • Compact size

Cons:

  • Lacks some lower midrange

Check it out on Sweetwater.

Hofner Deluxe Shorty

Hofner Deluxe Shorty travel guitar
Hofner Deluxe Shorty travel guitar – Hofner

Price: $199.99

Specifications:

  • Electric guitar
  • Steel strings
  • 24-11/16” scale
  • 1-11/16” neck width

Another great electric guitar for your travels is the Hofner Deluxe Shorty. It has one of the longest necks on this list, with 24 frets. What makes it so compact is the body, with its cool Hofner style.

There are two humbuckers, a 3-way switch, and volume and tone knobs. The pickups are excellent, giving you surprising versatility for a guitar this size. As always, you might miss some of the low end of a full-size guitar, but the Shorty makes up for it due to its size.

The choice of wood also makes a difference to the overall sound. There’s a mix of basswood, maple, and blackwood. All these details add up to an incredible guitar with a full scale neck that is still easy to bring with you on any trip.

Pros and Cons of the Hofner Deluxe Shorty

Pros:

  • Surprisingly big sound
  • Great size
  • Good price

Cons:

  • Bad balance between body and neck
  • Tends to have some tuning issues

Check it out on Amazon.

Ibanez EWP14 Piccolo (Best Size)

Ibanez EWP14 Piccolo travel guitar
Ibanez EWP14 Piccolo travel guitar – Ibanez

Price: $199.99

Specifications:

  • Acoustic guitar
  • Steel strings
  • 17” scale
  • 1-11/16” neck width

The Ibanez EWP14 Piccolo is the closest guitar here to a ukulele. It has a scale of 17”, similar to a baritone ukulele, and needs to be tuned higher than other guitars. It’s recommended to stick to A standard, rather than E standard.

That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a great sound. The body is made of ovangkol and the neck is okoume, and the steel strings give you more of a guitar sound than a nylon-stringed ukulele vibe.

It’s the shortest guitar on this list, and takes up very little space. It has a cutaway so you can easily reach the higher frets. It’s an incredible practice guitar that is perfect for traveling, and is a good choice for anyone on a limited budget.

Pros and Cons of the Ibanez EWP14 Piccolo

Pros:

  • Lightweight and compact size
  • Fantastic price

Cons:

  • Closer to a ukulele than to an actual guitar

Check it out on Sweetwater.

Traveler Guitar Travelcaster Deluxe

Travelcaster Deluxe travel guitar
Travelcaster Deluxe travel guitar – TravelerGuitar

Price: $289.99

Specifications:

  • Electric guitar
  • Steel strings
  • 25-1/2” scale
  • 1-11/16” neck width

As you can imagine from the name, Traveler Guitar’s Travelcaster Deluxe is another fantastic instrument for taking with you on trips. It’s an electric guitar in the style of a Stratocaster (if you removed most of the body).

Don’t expect it to sound like a normal Strat though, seeing as the body is a lot smaller. That doesn’t mean you can’t get great tones from it. It’s made of poplar and maple, has three single coil pickups, a 5-way switch, and three knobs (volume and tone).

It can feel a bit strange at first, because the body is quite small. The neck feels really good though, and you’ll quickly be ripping into your favorite riffs. It has a great sound for such a lightweight instrument, and can fit into plenty of small spaces, including overhead compartments on planes.

Pros and Cons of the Traveler Guitar Travelcaster Deluxe

Pros:

  • Tonal versatility
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Tough to balance

Check it out on Sweetwater.

Martin LX1E Little Martin (Best Known)

Martin LX1E Little Martin travel guitar
Martin LX1E Little Martin travel guitar – Martin Guitar

Price: $499

Specifications:

  • Electro-acoustic guitar
  • Steel strings
  • 23” scale
  • 1-11/16” neck width

This next instrument is probably the best known on this list. Many people will recognize it as one of the guitars that Ed Sheeran uses regularly. And if an international popstar uses one for recording and performing for thousands of people, you know that C.F. Martin & Co. have done something right with the LX1E Little Martin.

It’s made of various types of wood, including spruce and mahogany, which give it a rich sound that feels fuller than some of the other guitars on this list. You can choose between the electro-acoustic model with its Fishman Sonitone piezo pickup or the strictly acoustic model (which is a bit cheaper).

It’s 3/4 the size of a regular acoustic guitar, which makes it a perfect option when traveling. It’s still a really comfortable and well built instrument with a lovely sound. An incredible choice for playing at home, in the studio, at an open mic night, or even at a stadium gig if you can.

Pros and Cons of the Martin LX1E Little Martin

Pros:

  • Fantastic sound
  • Great price to quality ratio

Cons:

  • Lacks projection

Check it out on Sweetwater.

Yamaha SLG200S Silent Guitar

Yamaha SLG200S Silent Guitar
Yamaha SLG200S Silent Guitar – Yamaha

Price: $729.99

Specifications:

  • Electric guitar
  • Steel strings
  • 25” scale
  • 1-11/16” neck width

Yamaha have come up with an amazing guitar that is perfect for players who have restrictions when it comes to volume. The SLG200S is technically an electric guitar, but has an innovative body shape and the sound of an acoustic. They’ve taken a minimalist approach to keep the weight and resonance down, so this instrument is great for traveling.

It comes with its own preamp, so you can play with just headphones. It has a tuner, plus reverb and chorus effects. You may be thinking that it’s only good for practicing quietly, but it’s perfect for live gigs too, as the lack of a typical body reduces any chances of feedback.

Overall, it’s a comfortable guitar to play, with good effects, and it’s really light. You can even remove the neck to make it shorter, which is handy considering its long scale length. Definitely worth checking out if you’re traveling but don’t want to make too much noise.

Pros and Cons of the Yamaha SLG200S Silent Guitar

Pros:

  • Amazing effects
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Almost no projection or resonance

Check it out on Sweetwater.

Washburn Rover 10SK

Washburn Rover 10SK travel guitar
Washburn Rover 10SK travel guitar – Washburn

Price: $279

Specifications:

  • Acoustic guitar
  • Steel strings
  • 23-3/4” scale
  • 1-11/16” neck width

You might picture this next guitar as being a traditional folk instrument from some European country, but it’s made by American company Washburn. The Rover 10SK is a lightweight, steel-stringed guitar with an intriguing design. It’s built with solid spruce and mahogany, which you can notice in the crisp sound.

The body is very narrow, making it perfect for storing in small spaces. However, it’s still a good size for holding on to. The neck is perfectly smooth, but it slightly outweighs the body.

Whether fingerpicked or strummed, you’ll enjoy the great tones from this guitar. Once again, its sound focuses mostly on the higher frequencies, but that doesn’t mean it’s not delightful to listen to.

Pros and Cons of the Washburn Rover 10SK

Pros:

  • Lovely design
  • Compact body

Cons:

  • Lots of treble

Check it out on Amazon.

Traveler Guitar LTD EC-1 (Best Electric)

Traveler Guitar LTD EC-1 travel guitar
Traveler Guitar LTD EC-1 travel guitar – TravelerGuitar

Price: $699.99

Specifications:

  • Electric guitar
  • Steel strings
  • 24-3/4” scale
  • 1-5/8” neck width

Another great offering from Traveler Guitar is up next. The LTD EC-1 has a classic Les Paul style, but with some important differences. There’s no headstock, and the tuners can be accessed in the body on either side of the strings. Also, despite its full scale, it’s 24% shorter than other guitars of its kind.

It has one humbucker pickup which can give you fantastic, aggressive tones. There’s a standard jack output for plugging into an amp, or you can use the custom preamp to listen through your headphones. You can even use the Aux In to plug in your audio device and play along to your favorite songs.

This is definitely one of the most innovative instruments on this list, and a great sounding one at that. It doesn’t lose as much of the low-end that some other travel guitars do, but is just as compact. Even if you’re looking for an incredible guitar to have at home, not necessarily one for traveling, this is a perfect choice.

Pros and Cons of the Traveler Guitar LTD-EC1

Pros:

  • Compact body
  • Full scale
  • Innovative design

Cons:

  • High price if you’re on a budget

Check it out on Sweetwater.

Yamaha APXT2

Yamaha APXT2 travel guitar – Yamaha

Price: $209.99

Specifications:

  • Electro-acoustic guitar
  • Steel strings
  • 22-13/16” scale
  • 1-11/16” neck width

Based on the renowned APX500 series, the Yamaha APXT2 is a classic electro-acoustic guitar but 3/4 the size. It has a scale length of 22-13/16” and a small body, so it can fit into tight spaces. And even though it’s shallower than other guitars of this size, you can still get a great full-sized sound.

The active preamp and contact pickup give you pro tones when it’s plugged in. The rosewood and spruce also contribute to giving you a great sound. There’s even a built-in tuner, so you don’t have to go searching for your phone’s tuning app.

Despite its size, many professional musicians look to the APXT2 not just for practicing on the road, but also for performing. It’s light and easy to carry with you anywhere you go, so it’s definitely worth considering as your next travel buddy.

Pros and Cons of the Yamaha APXT2

Pros:

  • Professional sound
  • Low cost

Cons:

  • Quite heavy for its size

Check it out on Sweetwater.

Kala Solid Cedar Top Parlor

Kala Solid Cedar Top Parlor travel guitar
Kala Solid Cedar Top Parlor travel guitar – KalaBrand

Price: $349

Specifications:

  • Acoustic guitar
  • Steel strings
  • 24-7/8” scale
  • 1-11/16” neck width

Kala have succeeded in making a fantastic travel guitar without sacrificing any quality. The sound is warm and perfectly suits anyone who enjoys playing folk, country, and rock. It’s made of robust materials, including cedar and mahogany, which provide that inviting tone.

It’s longer than a lot of the guitars we’ve mentioned so far, which makes it a bit more difficult to store than others. However, the body is a dynamic size, giving a nice resonance to the instrument without taking up too much space.

It feels really nice to play, and could make the perfect soundtrack for a road trip or campfire gathering. It already has the vintage look that suits anyone who enjoys traveling across the country. So, if you’re looking for a comfortable guitar to take with you on your travels, look no further than the Kala Solid Cedar Top Parlor.

Pros and Cons of the Kala Solid Cedar Top Parlor

Pros:

  • Warm sound
  • Good weight balance

Cons:

  • Quite long

Check it out on Sweetwater.

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