Hit The Road With The Best Travel Guitar (Buying Guide)

travel guitar closeup

If you love to play guitar, have an expensive guitar, or just a nice setup in your home then you may not want to take your guitar with you wherever you go. In order to be able to take your guitar around, luckily, there are plenty of guitar’s that are literally meant for this purpose.

See Our #1 Travel Guitar Pick on Amazon

The thing about a traveler’s guitar is that they are generally small in size. You don’t always have to sacrifice on sound quality in order to get yourself a travel guitar, but often times this is a small price that you pay in order to be able to transport the guitar around with ease. Below we share our recommendations on the best travel guitars for the money.

Our Travel Guitar Ratings At-A-Glance

travel guitar ratings

Top 10 Best Travel Guitars Rated (2017)

our rating is based on value and sound quality
GUITAROUR RATING
Yamaha JR1 3/4 Size Acoustic Guitar with Gig Bag and Legacy Accessory Bundle
Yamaha JR1 3/4 Size Acoustic Guitar with Gig Bag and Legacy Accessory Bundle
(9.3 / 10)
Martin LXK2 Little Martin Koa Pattern HPL Top with Padded Gigbag
Martin LXK2 Little Martin Koa Pattern HPL Top with Padded Gigbag
(9.7 / 10)
Cordoba Mini M Travel Acoustic Nylon String Guitar With Cordoba Gig Bag
Cordoba Mini M Travel Acoustic Nylon String Guitar With Cordoba Gig Bag
(9.7 / 10)
Fender MA-1 3/4-Size Steel String Acoustic Guitar
Fender MA-1 3/4-Size Steel String Acoustic Guitar
(9 / 10)
Cordoba Mini O-CE Travel Acoustic-Electric Nylon String Guitar With Cordoba Gig Bag
Cordoba Mini O-CE Travel Acoustic-Electric Nylon String Guitar With Cordoba Gig Bag
(9.9 / 10)
Yamaha GL Series GL1 TBS Guitalele
Yamaha GL Series GL1 TBS Guitalele
(9.3 / 10)
Ibanez PF2MHOPN 3/4 Mini Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
Ibanez PF2MHOPN 3/4 Mini Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
(9.5 / 10)
Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Electric Travel Guitar with Gig Bag
Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Electric Travel Guitar with Gig Bag
(9.3 / 10)
LX1E Little Martin Travel Guitar w/ Fishman Pickup
LX1E Little Martin Travel Guitar w/ Fishman Pickup
(9.3 / 10)
Luna Safari Series Tattoo Travel-Size Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
Luna Safari Series Tattoo Travel-Size Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
(9.3 / 10)

What To Consider

In order to help you pick out the right guitar for yourself, we have come up with a buyer’s guide for travel guitar’s that you can use to better inform yourself about travel guitars and to help you decide which the best travel guitar is, for you.

Materials

The one thing that you will find about guitars is that they are made out of all sorts of different materials. The body, the handle, the back, the sides, and even the strings of the guitar can all be made out of different things. There is certainly no perfect material for every purpose so it really depends what kind of a sound you are going for and what your personal preferences are. When it comes to a travel guitar, you really do run a higher risk of damaging the guitar as there are a lot of things that can cause damage to the guitar during transport. There is also a higher risk of damage when you are constantly taking it in and out of the case and around to different areas. There are all sorts of different hard and soft woods that are used to make guitars and generally the price will differ according to what type of wood is used to make the guitar, as well as the additional features incorporated into the design. Some of the most common types of wood that are used to make the body of guitars include: rosewood, ash, basswood, maple, mahogany and poplar. Some of the most popular wood used in fretboards include: Ebony as well as a rosewood fretboard design. Due to the fact that there are so many materials you can purchase, one of the best ways to find out which type of material you like in your guitar is to try some out yourself. Almost all guitar shops will let you play guitars to try them out and this can help you to get a good grasp as to the different tones that they are capable of playing.

Size

You may have varying size needs according to where and when you are going to be playing the guitar. It is important to realize that the length of the guitar often does have some impact in the overall sound that the guitar is capable of making. It is important to make sure that you don’t get a guitar with such a small neck that you have a hard time hitting the notes, but you also don’t want to go so large that it is no easier to transport than a regular old guitar. Especially if you already have a case at home for the guitar it is always important to make sure that you know how big your guitar is, so that you can protect it as best as possible. The best thing about a guitar is that once you learn how to play, size can just be a matter of preference at that point. Once you know the notes, you should be able to play pretty much anything and each guitar will produce their own unique sound. You may feel more comfortable with one size than another size though as it may make it easier for you to reach the notes that you want to hit.

Additional Features

Some features that we haven’t covered yet can be a deal breaker for some people. From tuners to tone controls to anti-feedback circuits, there are all sorts of nice features to be had if you are willing to pay the price for it. There are guitars with built in tuners and there are also guitars that come with external tuners so it really depends on your preference as to which of the two you like the best. Tone controls on a guitar come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and there are often extra knobs located on the guitar that allow you to do other things. It is likely that you will see a volume knob, as well as an on/ off knob. You will find a variety of labels on guitars and sometimes even more knobs than this, depending on the brand that you purchase. Often times, you will find a variety of bonus accessories come with your purchase and you can find anything from a new guitar case, to a strap, to guitar picks. It is important to try your best not to let accessories sway your decision too much as you should definitely look for a quality guitar, before you go out and start purchasing high quality accessories and storage options for it.

Types

Believe it or not, you actually aren’t stuck buying just a plain old travel guitar if you want to get something a little more interesting. You can actually get yourself a guitar that is capable of disassembling into a small enough size that it can fit into a briefcase or some kind of a smaller bag. By being able to take your guitar apart it makes it easier to transport your guitar without running the risk of breaking it as much. By being able to take your guitar apart it allows you to be able to pack your guitar in with foam, blankets or other soft materials of your choosing if you wish in the hopes that less damage or no damage to the guitar will be caused. There are also some guitar’s that fold rather than disassemble and although this may not be quite as convenient, it does save you the hassle of piecing your guitar back together again each and every time. Different guitars will have a different amount of frets built into their designs. Generally speaking you will find that most designs have listed between 12 and 14 frets above the guitar body. There are certainly designs that are built in order to allow you to play the guitar more comfortably when you are in a seated position and there also guitars available that are more meant for if you are playing in a standing position. Depending on the contour of the guitar it may sit a little bit more nicely on top of your knee, or it may be setup with a nice strap and not as much of a contour for standing up and playing. It can be hard to determine, especially for a beginner guitar player, what type of contour they like. Trying a guitar out both sitting and standing and playing even just a few different notes in both of these positions will help to give you a better idea as to what you like and I definitely recommend you try out several options if you get the opportunity to try some guitars out.

Strings

The best part about guitar strings is that you can always replace them when they break or if you find that they are no longer producing the sound that you desire. It is important to realize that by putting new strings on a guitar, you will of course have to re-tune the guitar in order to hit proper notes when you are playing. Generally speaking there are two different types of strings available in the marketplace. There are nylon strings as well as steel strings available, the two types generally aren’t interchangeable on a single guitar. There is a fairly large difference in the sound that nylon strings make compared to steel strings. Nylon strings tend to produce a lighter tone and are often used in more classical music. Generally you will find that guitars with nylon strings have more space between the strings and a shorter fretboard than that of a guitar with steel strings. Steel strings create a louder noise and is more commonly associated with being the “regular” noise that a guitar is expected to make when it is strummed. One thing that you will find about guitars if you already don’t know too much about them is that they come available with a different quantity of strings. A guitar that has less strings is generally easier to play than that of a guitar that has more strings. You will normally find that there are four, five, as well as six and twelve string guitars available. The more strings that are on a guitar, the more notes that can be played thus making it harder to learn how to play.

Design

One of the most important aspects of a guitar for a lot of people is the actual design that is incorporated onto the guitar. No matter the wood that the guitar is made up of, you will be able to see the grains of the wood incorporated into the design. Sometimes companies or people will paint guitars in order to increase the visual appeal and although this may eliminate the natural grain look on the guitar, it can make the guitar quite customized and beautiful. One of the main difference as far as the design of a guitar goes will be how the top of the guitar is made. Generally the top will be made out of laminate or it will be made out of solid wood depending on the price tag of the unit. A solid top of a guitar will normally be made using two pieces of wood. These pieces of wood will meet in the middle and have their grains matched evenly down the length of the guitar. The other type of top that you will surely come across is a laminate design. These designs will be made out of several layers of wood that are pressed together into one in order to create the top. The main benefit of a laminate top is that it is less expensive than that of a solid top, however, it certainly doesn’t produce the same quality of sound that you would expect to hear out of a guitar that has a solid top.

Compatibility

There is certainly no guitar perfect for everyone. There are four, five and six string guitars, there are acoustic, electric, bass and so many other options to choose from. Before you make a purchasing decision you should always look and see what sorts of accessories that your guitar comes with. It is always important to make sure that you have a proper guitar case for protection and it is also important and a good idea to have a strap for your guitar so that you don’t drop it while you are playing. If you are buying a guitar that is capable of plugging into an amp in order to amplify the sound, then you should definitely make sure that your cords and your amp are compatible before proceeding with your purchase.

Final Thoughts

There is certainly no perfect travel guitar for everyone, but you can see our favorite on Amazon here. No one has the exact same sound preferences and certainly not everyone likes the same kinds of designs.  Many people like to play on guitar’s that are made out of particular kinds of wood, while other people have no preference at all. It can definitely take some time and a lot of playing hours before you begin to develop some kind of a preference, luckily you can get some pretty inexpensive travel guitars which can help to introduce you to the many options you have available. Hopefully this guide has helped to give you a general idea as to the options that are available to you. Remember that it is always a good idea to check out the return policy as well as the warranty on the guitar you are interested in to give you some peace of mind before making your final purchasing decision. Best of luck in your search for a travel guitar and hope that you find one that you like.

top image license: though DepositPhotos

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