Best Travel Guitar


Are you looking to bring the joy of music along on your travels without the fuss of carrying a full-sized guitar? A travel guitar might be just the perfect companion for you. But what makes one travel guitar better than another? Let’s delve into what you should look for and which instruments top the list, making it easier for you to strum away on your next adventure.

Our Top Picks

Our #1 Top Pick: Taylor GS Mini-e Solid Koa Top ESB w/Gig Bag

The Taylor GS Mini-e Koa is a showstopper, both in looks and performance. Its solid Koa top ensures exquisite sound quality that matures with age. The compact size of the GS Mini-e Koa defies its full and rich tone, making it a great travel companion. This guitar features Taylor’s patented NT neck and comes equipped with built-in electronics, including a preamp with a built-in tuner. It’s more than just a travel guitar; it’s a versatile instrument perfect for performances or writing songs by the campfire. With the included gig bag, the Taylor GS Mini-e is ready to hit the road and impress both you and your audience.

Pick #2: Martin LX1E Little Martin Acoustic/Electric

Martin Guitars are legends in the music world, and the LX1E Little Martin maintains that legacy. As the smallest guitar that Martin offers, it’s great for travel or for smaller players seeking a quality instrument. Its solid Sitka spruce top and mahogany high-pressure laminate back and sides give it a balanced tone with plenty of volume. The LX1E also features Fishman Isys T electronics, making it gig-ready. It’s an exceptional piece that combines playability, portability, and Martin-quality sound.

Pick #3: Yamaha APXT2 3/4-Size Acoustic-Electric Guitar

The Yamaha APXT2 is a 3/4 size version of Yamaha’s best-selling electro-acoustic guitar, the APX500. This compact travel guitar delivers robust sound and comes with ART-based pickup system and a Yamaha’s proprietary tuner, offering great sensitivity and accuracy for quick tuning. It’s budget-friendly and has a spruce top with meranti back and sides. Its passive pickup might not be as dynamic as others, but for its size and price, the APXT2 is a trustworthy pick for casual players and beginners.

Pick #4: Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Acoustic-Electric Travel Guitar

If portability is your primary concern, the Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light is one of the most compact models you can find. It boasts a full-scale neck despite its minimalistic body, which is quite impressive. The guitar features a custom piezo pickup, so it’s ready for your amp or PA system. The Ultra-Light lives up to its name, weighing in at around 3 pounds, making it perfect for the musician on-the-go. While its unconventional body shape might not be everyone’s cup of tea, its convenience can’t be denied.

Pick #5: Cordoba Mini M Travel Acoustic Nylon String Guitar

For those who prefer the feel and sound of nylon strings, the Cordoba Mini M is a splendid travel option. It features a solid spruce top with mahogany back and sides, giving it a clear, resonant tone not always found in smaller instruments. Its miniature size makes it incredibly portable without sacrificing the wider fingerboard that classical players are accustomed to. With quality materials and superior craftsmanship, the Mini M stands out for classical and flamenco guitarists looking for a travel-sized option.

What to Know Before You Buy

  • Size Matters: Travel guitars are usually smaller than regular guitars, but there’s variation within the category. Consider how much space you’ll have and how you’ll be transporting the guitar.
  • Tone Wood: The type of wood a guitar is made of will greatly affect its sound. Spruce, mahogany, and koa are popular options that offer different sound qualities.
  • Electronics: Some travel guitars come with built-in pickups and preamps. If you plan to perform, look for a guitar with this feature.
  • Neck and Playability: Despite their smaller bodies, some travel guitars have full-scale necks, offering a playing experience similar to that of a standard-sized guitar.
  • String Type: Nylon strings offer a softer feel, common in classical and flamenco guitars, while steel strings are typical for a brighter, louder sound.

Factors to Consider Before Buying

  • Playability: Is the guitar comfortable to hold and play? Are the frets accessible, and is the neck a comfortable width for your hands?
  • Durability: A travel guitar should withstand the rigors of the road. Look for sturdy construction and reliable hardware.
  • Sound Quality: A smaller body doesn’t have to mean a tinny sound. Seek out travel guitars known for their robust and rich tone.
  • Budget: Decide how much you’re willing to spend. Travel guitars can range from budget-friendly to premium prices.
  • Intended Use: Are you jamming by the campfire, recording, or performing? Your use case will help determine the best guitar for your needs.

Why Trust ChooseRight?

At ChooseRight, we are dedicated to providing you with comprehensive reviews based on extensive research. We’ve meticulously read through thousands of user reviews, gathered feedback from professionals, and personally tested the most popular travel guitars on the market. Our reviews are crafted from a place of expertise and genuine use experience to ensure that when we recommend a product, it’s because we believe it’s the best option for most people. We are passionate about music and the instruments that bring it to life, especially when it allows you to make music wherever you roam.

Finishing Thoughts

Choosing the best travel guitar comes down to a blend of personal preference, intended use, and practicality. Whether you’re after the rich, full tones of the Taylor GS Mini or the extreme portability of the Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light, each of these guitars has something unique to offer. Remember, the best travel guitar is not merely the smallest or the cheapest; it’s the one that fits seamlessly into your life on the road and keeps the music echoing wherever you find yourself. Loop one of these guitars over your shoulder, and you’re ready for a musical journey like no other.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a travel guitar?

A travel guitar is a smaller, more compact version of a traditional acoustic or electric guitar, designed to be easily portable for people who want to play while on the go. They typically have a shorter scale length and a smaller body, making them lightweight and convenient to carry.

Are travel guitars only for beginners?

No, travel guitars are not just for beginners. They are suitable for all levels of guitar players, from novices to professionals who seek a compact instrument for practice or performance while traveling.

Can you get a good sound from a travel guitar?

Yes, many travel guitars are designed with sound quality in mind. While their smaller size may affect the volume and bass response compared to a full-sized guitar, many models still produce a pleasing, balanced sound suitable for practice or even live performance.

What should I look for when choosing a travel guitar?

When choosing a travel guitar, consider the size and weight for portability, the build quality and materials for durability, the sound quality, and whether the guitar has features like built-in electronics for amplification. Additionally, think about the playability and how comfortable the guitar feels in your hands.

Are travel guitars more expensive than regular guitars?

Travel guitars come in a range of prices, much like regular guitars. You can find affordable options that are great for casual use, as well as higher-end models with premium features that can be more expensive. Overall, they can be comparable in price to their full-sized counterparts.

Can I take a travel guitar on an airplane?

Yes, travel guitars are designed to be taken on airplanes. Their compact size often fits within airline carry-on luggage requirements, but it’s always best to check with the airline for specific size restrictions.

Do travel guitars require special strings or maintenance?

Travel guitars generally use standard guitar strings and can be maintained much like any other guitar. Regular cleaning, proper string replacement, and storage in appropriate conditions are recommended to keep the guitar playing well.

Is the playability of a travel guitar different from a regular guitar?

Due to their smaller size and shorter scale length, travel guitars may have a different feel compared to full-sized guitars, which can affect playability. It may take some time for players to adjust to the more compact fret spacing and neck profile.

Can travel guitars be customized like regular guitars?

Many travel guitars offer some level of customization, such as the ability to change strings or pickups (for electric models), or add a strap or external pickup to acoustic models. However, due to their unique designs, some modifications may be limited compared to standard guitars.

Are there travel guitars with built-in amplification?

Yes, some travel guitar models come with built-in amplification systems, like preamps and pickups. This allows guitarists to easily connect to an amplifier or PA system without the need for additional gear, which is particularly useful for traveling musicians.

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