Top 7 Options For The Best Travel Guitar: Full Buyer’s Guide

By Monica | Product Reviews

Oct 27
Best Travel Guitar

Our interest in music is not limited to our studios or stages. Even if we are on the road, the rhythms and melodies always linger with us. It is a great thing, honestly. Being able to embrace the art of soothing your ears and soul wherever you are is something that not all people can do.

For hardcore guitarists, investing on the best travel guitar is a must. Well, you can stick with your conventional acoustic instrument. However, you should prepare your body for some cumbersome load that you should carry. It is not a discouragement. But if you want to travel light and conveniently, 3/4 acoustic guitars are certainly the best choice.

Mini guitars, unlike the popular belief, does not suck at all. But of course, this statement does not apply to all travel guitars out there. After all, guitars are not created the same and equal. Always remember that. That kind of understandable stratification is the reason why I always recommend to my readers to only get the best options. By doing that, you will not be throwing away any considerable investments.

So basically, our collective goal here is to find a travel guitar that won't disappoint us in any way possible. Lucky for you, I did some prior research already. I have visited many music stores and online communities as well to get some good recommendations for this type of guitar. The list below features the units that have constantly been lauded by professionals and hobbyists alike.

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Best Travel Guitar: Top 7 Options

From its appearance alone, you are already sure that this guitar will never let you down. The Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar is arguably the most recommended mini guitar by many communities today, even by folks in the r/Guitar Reddit page. When I saw the guitar myself, I already found out the reason.

Specifically, this guitar is a Dreadnought, but with a 3/4th scale cutaway. It features a lovely mahogany back and sides construction. It also flaunts the iconic Taylor Standard X-Bracing, which just enhances the aesthetics and quality of its finish. Meanwhile, its fingerboard is crafted from authentic African ebony. That is not something that you can see every day.

The Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar is an ideal choice for travel junkies. It can also be a good choice for kids and players with small hands. The sound that it can produce is extremely legitimate. You will not hear any sort of tone loss. Everything is full and sweet.

You will appreciate the design and construction of this guitar. Many attested that this is a reliable instrument because it is comfortable to use, even if you are on the road. The top of this guitar optimizes the vibration of the guitar to guarantee that it can generate impactful sound.


Pros:

  • Rugged and durable construction
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Optimized vibration and sound production
  • Tone quality is top-tier
  • Comes with a gig bag

Cons:

  • No noticeable drawbacks

Let's take a look at this product...

Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar, Mahogany Top
  • Body Body type: Dreadnought 3/4th-Scale Cutaway: No Top wood: Solid Mahogany Back & sides: Layered Sapele Bracing pattern: Taylor Standard Baby X-Bracing Body finish: Matte 2.0 Orientation: Right-Handed Neck Neck shape: Taylor Standard Baby Profile Nut width: 1 11/16" (42.8mm) Fingerboard: Genuine African Ebony Neck wood: Sapele Scale length: 22-3/4" Number of frets: 19 Neck finish: Matte 2.0 Electro
  • Conceived as a starter guitar for kids, the lovable Baby Taylor has maintained its enduring appeal in part by being a legitimate musical instrument that anyone can enjoy
  • The three-quarter-size Dreadnought helped touring musicians like Taylor Swift sketch new musical ideas on the road, and it's been a reliable musical accomplice for travelers seeking inspiration while trekking the world
  • All Baby Taylor models ship with a durable travel-worthy gig bag made by Taylor for optimal fit and protection
  • Tone Woods A guitar's top is the primary filter and distributor of vibrating string energy through the guitar, which means it has a huge impact on its sound

You can never get wrong with any Martin guitars. That is what I can guarantee. When it comes to travel guitars, this manufacturer has a lot to boast. One of these is the Martin LXM Little Martin. This guy is a little beast that can unleash your musical ideas even if you are not in your comfort zone. The tone quality and power that it has can easily satisfy your requirements.

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Take note that this guitar is made mostly out of artificial materials. Many were surprised at first when they discovered this fact. Instead of using traditional laminate wood, the guitar was incorporated with mahogany and spruce-patterned HPL (high-pressure laminate). But despite this, the guitar was able to deliver what most of us thought impossible.

Fortunately, the Martin stayed old-school on the hardware of this guitar. The configuration is something that we are all familiar with. It has a rosewood bridge that comes with a Tusq saddle. Notably, the nuts are also crafted from Tusq, too. What makes Tusq good is that it has an identical performance to the bone. On the other hand, the tuning machines are all proprietary Martin designs.

The sound production is great. I am hands down to this instrument. Nobody would have expected that the Martin LXM Little Martin can produce excellent sound projection despite being a compact and "artificially guitar." I recommend that you should try this travel guitar!


Pros:

  • Clear and distinct high-range production
  • High-quality hardware
  • HPL construction somehow improved its tone quality
  • Lightweight and very playable
  • Remains to be rugged

Cons:

  • Some do not approve the artificial construction

Let's take a look at this product...

Martin LXM Little Martin
  • The LXM features a Spruce Pattern HPL (High Pressure Laminate) textured finish top along with Mahogany Pattern

It still surprises me that the Dean FLY MAH Flight Series Travel Acoustic Guitar is a budget-friendly option. With the kind of construction and quality that it has, this guitar should be in the higher price category. But let's not milk the manufacturer already. Let us just be happy that this high-end guitar is always within our reach.

There are a lot of reasons why the Dean FLY MAH Flight Series Travel Acoustic Guitar. Of course, the biggest perk that it has is its portability. With its 3/4 size, the guitar provides its users the versatility they need. It is lightweight, but the sounds it creates are full and rich.

The construction of this guitar conformed to the industry's standards. Both of its sides and back are made from genuine mahogany. Therefore, you can guarantee that you can hear the sound that you want to make. Meanwhile, its fingerboard and bridge are made from rosewood.

The rest of the hardware of this instrument will fit your liking. It features the iconic "Flight" inlays which improve its overall aesthetics. Take note that this guitar is available in three different top tonewood. You can either choose the mahogany, satin, or bulbinga models. Each of them has unique tonal characteristics, so you need to be careful in choosing.


Pros:

  • Lightweight but full-sounding guitar
  • Beautifully designed instrument
  • High-quality hardware
  • Top is available in different tonewood
  • Clear and wide-range sound production

Cons:

  • Doesn't have a deep bass
  • Susceptible to tuning issues

Let's take a look at this product...

Sale
Dean FLY MAH Flight Series 3/4 Size Travel Acoustic Guitar, Mahogany
  • Mahogany Top
  • Set Neck
  • Rosewood Fingerboard
  • Chrome Hardware
  • Mahogany Body

If you can invest a little, you might want to get the Martin Steel String Backpacker. This unit has a solid performance while offering a serious portability that you can't get on most of its counterparts. Of course, you can expect a lot from this unit. After all, it is an authentic Martin guitar. From the build down to the sounding, this instrument does not lack anything.

The Martin Steel String Backpacker is not really that expensive. It became a high-end choice because of its innovative and professional design. From its unique and sleek look, there is no denying that this guitar is made for travelers. Unlike the standard guitar, the body shape of the Martin Steel String Backpacker is similar to an oar. This makes the guitar ergonomic, functional, and practical.

You might need to adjust yourself to the shape of the instrument. However, nothing drastic is needed here. Once you can learn the ropes, the guitar becomes comfortable and extremely playable. Despite its compact shape, the resonance of the guitar is surprisingly powerful. Meanwhile, the mahogany construction of this instrument makes it a full-sounding unit.

The rest of its hardware is pretty standard already. The bridge is made from Rosewood, with an incorporation of ergonomic tuning machine. Playing with this instrument is something that you will never regret.


Pros:

  • Ergonomic and extremely playable
  • The most compact unit on this list
  • Produces powerful resonance
  • Covers the entire frequency range decently
  • Playable and functional

Cons:

  • Some may not like the oddly shaped body that it has

Let's take a look at this product...

Sale
Martin Steel String Backpacker Travel Guitar with Bag
  • Solid Spruce Top
  • Solid Tonewood Back and Sides
  • Unique Contour Neck Shape
  • Features 24-Inch Scale Length
  • Features 15 Frets

The previous guitars that I have featured are purely acoustic. I know that some of you are still looking for a "plug-and-play" version of a traveler guitar. For that cause, I am going to introduce to you the Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Acoustic-Electric Travel Guitar. This particular unit can deliver the efficiency and presence that are necessary for your out-of-town gigs and performances.

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Just like the Martin Steel String Backpacker, the Traveler Guitar Travel Guitar possesses a unique shape. It is not shaped like an oar but rather a shape comparable to a paddle. It is unique but remains to be functional. Specifically, the guitar features a one-piece body made from maple. It comes with a natural finish, too. You can find the piezo pickup of this instrument under its saddle.

The usability of the device further increases as it features a removable lap rest frame. It enables you to play the instrument regardless of your preferred position. It also allows you to transport the guitar easily. On the other hand, this guitar is sporting an in-body tuning system. That sounds technical, but that just is the set of standard tuning machines that are integrated directly into the body. As a result, a headstock is necessary anymore!


Pros:

  • Ideal for any experience level
  • Extremely compact and lightweight
  • Transporting this device is easy
  • Comes with a Piezo pickup
  • Produces a full sounding result

Cons:

  • You might need to make some adjustments before you can play it comfortably

Let's take a look at this product...

Sale
Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Acoustic-Electric Travel Guitar with Gig Bag
  • One-piece maple neck and body with natural finish
  • Features a Shadow under-saddle piezo pickup and standard 1/4-inch output
  • Detachable lap rest frame
  • Includes deluxe gig bag, limited three-year warranty
  • Full 24-3/4" scale, 22-fret acoustic/electric travel guitar fits in airline overhead bins

If you are looking for something that can complete your day right away, then you check the Yamaha JR1 3/4 Size Acoustic Guitar. This travel guitar is offering a package deal that anyone cannot simply turn down. Aside from the guitar, you can also get a capo, clip-in tuner, peg winder, set of picks, authentic Yamaha strings, and a gig bag for the price of one. Interestingly, this bundle doesn't cost the way that is should be.

Now, let us focus on the guitar. The Yamaha JR1 is a mini guitar that offers portability to its users. You can take it anywhere conveniently because it is lightweight and compact. It only has a body depth of 3 1/4 inches, which is ideal for beginners and children. In short, it is not only ideal for travelers at all.

Specifically, the JR1 is patterned after the iconic FG Series of Yamaha. Therefore, you can expect that its craftsmanship is beyond the industry's standard. The selection of tonewood on this instrument ensures its tonal quality, especially on the side of high and mid frequencies. The top is crafted from spruce while both of the sides and back are made from meranti. The tonal quality is there. You just have to try it for yourself.


Pros:

  • Ultra compact and rugged design
  • High-quality acoustic sounds
  • Easy to transport
  • Works well with any skill level
  • Decent hardware and tonewood selection

Cons:

  • It is not a full sounding instrument

Let's take a look at this product...

Yamaha JR1 3/4 Size Acoustic Guitar with Gig Bag and Legacy Accessory Bundle
  • LEGACY ACCESSORY BUNDLE INCLUDED - The Instrument Store includes its Legacy Accessory Bundle: clip-on tuner, capo, guitar strap, peg winder, Legacy picks, Yamaha folk guitar strings and instructional DVD
  • PERFECT BEGINNER GUITAR - 3/4 Size Acoustic Body Style, NOT full-size
  • SMALLER SIZE - Smaller for children or ideal as a travel guitar; Body Depth is 80 to 90 mm (3 1/8" to 3 9/16"); Finger Board Width (Nut/Body) is 43 mm (1 11/16"); Strings Scale is 540 mm
  • QUALITY YAMAHA PRODUCT - Spruce Top, Meranti Back and Sides, Rosewood Fingerboard and Bridge
  • GREAT STARTER KIT - This beginner kit will supply everything a student guitar player needs, including a gig bag

The Luna Safari is something that you want to get if just want a travel guitar that you can play and show-off. The body of the guitar took an inspiration from Hawaiian roots, which is clearly seen on the intricate ornamentation. Specifically, the layout was all monochromatic and embedded in black against the brimming brown skin of the guitar. With this kind of design, it is no wonder why a lot of people fell in love this instrument.

But of course, it is not all fun and games for the Luna Safari. When it comes to its sounding and overall performance, the guitar can certainly deliver. The sound that it can produce is crystal clear and distinct at any frequency. Moreover, despite its small size, the guitar can still generate full tonal capabilities. Therefore, anyone can use this, regardless if they are on-road performers or just simple hobbyists.


Pros:

  • Aesthetically pleasing guitar
  • Full-sounding instrument
  • Excellent resonance capabilities
  • Full mahogany construction
  • Comfortable and easy to play

Cons:

  • Narrow spacing on its strings
  • Default strings may be too tough for some people

Let's take a look at this product...

Luna Safari Series Tattoo Travel-Size Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
  • Mahogany Body
  • Mahogany Top
  • Set Neck
  • Rosewood Fingerboard
  • Chrome Hardware

Choosing the Best Travel Guitar: Considerations

It is pretty given that you are going to need to an excellent travel guitar. I can safely assume that what you want is something that is similar to your guitar but with the size that won't be cumbersome for your body. After all, what we all want here is convenience.

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The qualifications of choosing a travel guitar are almost the same as to its big cousin. Perhaps, the most significant consideration that you should always pay attention here is the size. Specifically, a travel guitar is smaller than standard guitars. That's a given. But how small is small?

Guitars do vary in multiple sizes. You can see 34 1/2 and 30 1/4 models. But these ones are extremely small. They are perfect for practicing children. The ideal dimension of a travel guitar is 36 3/4 inches. With this unit, you can have a compact instrument, but with the playability and power of the real thing.

Sounding

The next aspect that you should keenly inspect is the sounding of the guitar. Now, most of us have different preferences when it comes to the tonal characteristic of the instrument. Some of us want to have more emphasis on the high frequency while some want the guitar to have a focused law. But a perfect balance between the high, mid, and low is not that bad either. It doesn't really matter. As long as you can satisfy your ears, that is already great.

However, always make sure that the guitar tone doesn't suck. It should be full-sounding. I know that you are looking for a small guitar. But this doesn't mean that the sound that it should produce should be miniature as well. That's not the goal here. What we want to get is a compact and portable instrument that didn't compromise the quality of its sound at all.

Of course, the tonewood used in the guitar has a role to play here. Therefore, it is pretty crucial that you can have a good understanding of how these wood types can deliberately affect the tonal characteristics of your instrument.

For example, the spruce is an ideal choice for guitar builders. It is both light and durable. It is capable of producing crisp and highly present sound. But when it gets older, the sound it produces is already mellow.

Another common tonewood that is utilized by manufacturers is the mahogany. After all, this one is the material that they should get if they want to implement versatility on their instrument. The sound that it creates is extremely "present" in the mix. You can always hear bright and warm sounds whenever you are playing. Pair the tonewood with cedar or spruce, and you can get a perfectly balanced instrument.

If you are going to shop for guitars next time, make sure that you can check these details from the get-go.

Price

The price is an indicator that can either lead you to win or losing end of the trade. Since we are talking about travel guitars here, there is no need for you to break your bank account. But of course, there is always a minimum line here. If you go down, you might end up with a bad instrument.

Typically, the lowest possible price that you can pay for a standard guitar is $300 or so. But for travel guitars, the minimum value could go down as low as $100. However, make sure that the figures won't go digits. I won't recommend you buying an instrument that is at that price.

When it comes to guitars, the sky's the limit. You can spend for all you want. There is no one that is going to stop you (maybe except your guilt or financial conscience). Fortunately, you don't have to bet all your money on the line here. High-grade travel guitars can be brought within the $300 to $500 price range. You can already spot really good units within these figures.

Other Essential Considerations

Aside from these important factors, I would also like to emphasize that the hardware of the guitar should be inspected as well. The bridge, tuning machine, and fingerboard are some of the essential components that you must check. Try to see if they can suit your taste and playing style. Moreover, always be on the look for potential damages. It is not a good thing to bring home a damaged guitar.

Also, don't forget to assess the intonation and action height. These two components will tell you how playable and well-made a guitar is. If the instrument on any of these aspects, you might want to move on to your next option already. Just don't bother with settling with such kind of guitar.

Final Verdict

Having the best travel guitar is always a good thing, especially those who constantly hit the road. The benefits that a portable and travel-worthy instrument are too much to elaborate. But we can always break them down to things: convenience and playability. Travel guitars are tools that allow you to harness your skills even if you are not in your comfort zone.

One guitar that exhibits these characteristics is the Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar. It is a compact guitar, but the tonal prowess that it has will leave you breathless. Its ergonomics and functionality don't lag too. There is no learning curve involved here. Once you can get your hands this instrument, you can already play it comfortably right away.

But I know that some of you have other travel guitars on your mind. If you think that there are other compact and portable out there that I have failed to mention, just feel free to tell me in the comment section below!

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About the Author

Hi everyone! Im Monica and I am an avid lover of guitars and everything in-between. My current profession is not really music-related. It is quite discouraging but I just don’t want to drop my zeal–especially not to guitars! I created GuitarTrance.Com so that I can keep up with my hobby. Of course, I want to engage with the community as well! Hope we can all get along!