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The Best Travel Guitar – Comparisons, Reviews & Buyers Guide

The road can open your mind to new experiences and bring new ideas. It’s a great way to get inspired and get creative.This is good and all, but ideas are precious and all guitarists are well aware that 90% of the ideas disappear in a second if they are not recorded at the same moment.So do not leave home without a recorder and a guitar.Another major reason for carrying a guitar with you is keeping yourself in shape. You don’t want to go on a long trip and come back all inspired to play just to find out that the time you took off playing has set you back a few steps.If you want to be a good guitarist, you must know how important it is to practice regularly and any absence, even for a few days can have quite visible consequences.Plus, if you are a street performer, you will need a guitar that you will be able to take with you without hesitation, wherever you go.So if you are a free spirit who likes to travel, but still keep in shape and have a guitar around, you will need a good travel guitar to carry with you.For all these occasions you need to look at what exactly can be found on the market.I wrote this review for the best travel guitar to help you find out exactly what you need. 

What are the criteria that a travel guitar needs to meet?

I guess if you’re an adventurer you will not be sitting in a luxury 5-star hotel and playing a golden “Martin” ‘36.For every other scenario, you’ll need a lightweight, compact, durable and rather inexpensive guitar.You need to take into account the following factors.
  • Weight and dimensions
Heavy baggage is not a good option for traveling. Large baggage too.No one wants to carry a piece of large, heavy equipment on top of their regular baggage.Dimensions are very important to a traveler, especially if you want to carry with you everything necessary packed in a suitcase.And when you only have a bit of room left in the suitcase, adding a fully functional guitar sounds impossible, right?Well, having this problem in mind, some companies have decided to find a solution.
  • Durability
Traveling can be hard and intense, so the luggage must be protected and safe.This can be quite a challenge for guitars. They are fairly sensitive to tremors as it is possible to cause damage to the body and to the tuning.Therefore, the choice of a guitar that is stable for tuning is very important.As we all know, tuning a guitar (especially electric) in crowded and loud areas is almost impossible.Plus it will definitely hurt you (at least emotionally) if you notice some physical damage to your guitar.
  • Price
When it comes to damage, it’s normal that buying a cheaper guitar is a better solution, at least when you take into consideration the conditions the travel guitar must endure.The level of risk exposure to a travel instrument is quite high, so it is not surprising that a more logical option is a cheaper product if you do not want your travels to cost you way more than you have planned.So those are the most important requirements that a travel guitar needs to meet. Now let’s take a look at what choices we have available.

Traveler Guitars Comparison

Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light  Acoustic-Electric Travel Guitar with Gig Bag
One-piece maple neck and body with natural finishFeatures a Shadow under-saddle piezo pickup and …
from $299.99
Taylor Guitars Baby Taylor, BT1, Natural, Left
3/4 Size DreadnoughtSolid Sitka SpruceSapele Back/SidesGig Bag Included
$349.00
MARTIN BACKPACKER TRAVEL GUITAR - CLASSICAL 11GCBC
$225.00
Yamaha SLG200S Steel String Silent Guitar, Natural
Steel Strings, Natural FinishThe SLG is the perfect instrument for practice, travel or stage use – …
$649.99
 

Traveler Guitars

Traveler (the name itself says enough) is a known manufacturer of guitars and guitar accessories.Inspired by the needs of many guitarists around the world, Traveler has found the formula for a simple, compact and quality guitar designed for traveling.Despite the dimensions and their non-standard form, these guitars promise good sound and stable tuning.Traveler is great for electric guitars due to their magnets as well as solid body structure.For lovers of the acoustic guitar, they might not be an ideal option, but taking into account the predisposition to the guitars and the circumstances for which these guitars are intended, these are more than a solid solution.

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Stable tune and good tone when plugged in
  • Smooth full size 22 frets neck

Cons

  • Not loud enough when unplugged (for an acoustic guitar)
  • No knobs for tone and volume
  • Not the most comfortable to handle

Traveler Ultra Light

This is one of the most popular and successful models of Traveler guitars.This is due to the minimum size and weight combined with a 22 fret neck. 

The Built

These guitars are single piece wood which means they are physically very durable.The length of the neck is 24 and ¾ inches, which means that they have a regular, standard guitar neck length that can match guitars such as Les Paul or Strat / Tele.The neck is very smooth and easy to play both from the front for the frets and the back for the movement of the thumb.The weight of this guitar that looks like a cigar box-like is only 2 lbs and therefore it does not even feel like an extra load with your luggage.The length is 28″ thanks to the removed headstock.These guitars are usually made from maple or mahogany, with a choice of a brighter or warmer tone.In addition to the natural colors of maple and mahogany, they are also available in Gloss Black, Antique Brown and Vintage Red shades. 

Tuning System and Strings Setup

Instead of on the headstock, the pegs are placed in the middle of the body of the guitar and with this, the length is reduced to a minimum.The tuners are as standard as for the acoustic guitar.They are divided into two sections with three each. The ones on the upper side begin with the high E string and the next ones line up to the low E clockwise.The strings are placed in the opposite direction, more precisely the string metal ball is on the top of the neck.They continue along the neck up to the hipshot leading to the tuning system itself.This way of setting the mechanism resembles the mechanisms of headless guitars, but the minimum difference makes this guitar unique.The guitar has ultra light strings that have low action, making the sound and feel on the hand very smooth. 

Electronics

What gives the acoustic sound of this guitar is the Piezo Bridge, which can be connected to an amp or a headphone amp, which is a very useful thing.By functioning as electric, this guitar has a ¼ inch jack, which is simultaneously one of the two strap buttons.The lack of these guitars is the lack of knobs for volume and tune so that the tone will depend on the setting on the amp.Also, because there is no other magnet except the piezo bridge, this guitar has only one tone option and we all know how much of a problem this can be if we want to play it like an electric guitar with an amp and to add effects. 

Handling

Even though it is not very comfortable to carry because of the shape, Traveler has tried to correct this with the lap rest.This is ultra helpful for playing sitting down and playing without a strap.The lap rest is detachable for easy transport.But despite this, you will probably need time to get used to it.Because of the two wood pieces on which guitar tuners are placed, this guitar is missing that nice round back.This is another small minus but it’s not terrible.By having the weight of the body lighter than the weight of the neck if you do not hold the guitar on the neck, it leans down.This is how you lose the position in which you are most comfortable holding. As I said, it does take some time getting used to it. 

Guitar Gig Bag and Hanging Strap

For this guitar to be an extra easy to carry, there is a soft handheld guitar bag with two handles and a bigger belt for the back.As part of the bag on the outside, there is a pocket in which the lap rest is located where besides it there is enough space for extra items such as cable, tuner or recorder.By making these guitars intended for traveling I do not like that bag is made out of fabric material.Although this is lighter and weighs less than 1 lbs, the bag does not guarantee great protection as a suitcase for example. You will have to be careful as to how you store the guitar during your trip (definitely not with all the other luggage). 

Price

This guitar is pretty affordable.The price is about $300 which is realistic for a guitar with such performance.When you take into account the main goal of the guitar and its dimensions, the price is the real deal.On the market, the same guitar can also be found for left-handed guitarists, which can be about $20 more expensive. 

Social Proof

Travel guitars are a very specific thing for guitar players. You want to have an instrument that light and easy to transport, but you are also looking for something durable and of quality. After all, you are not looking for a toy, but rather a full-size instrument that will give you the full experience of playing and help you reach your potential.The Traveler guitar is overall a successful model and also it is very widespread. Which means you will find a lot of users that have different opinions on it.Here are some of them. Customer Review on Best Travel Guitar 3 Customer Review on Best Travel Guitar 2 Customer Review on Best Travel Guitar 1 

Alternatives

It’s an interesting option to have a light and easy traveling guitar. It is certainly something that most guitar players need. With this into consideration, you will find quite a few companies that manufacture these types of guitars.Here is a list of several models worth mentioning.
  • Baby Taylor BT1
This model of the Taylor guitar is made for traveling, which is obvious due to its dimensions.This is a ¾ size acoustic guitar made of spruce or mahogany.The dimensions are overall reduced both in the body and in the width of the neck, which are not convenient if you are accustomed to playing a standard acoustic guitar and have thick fingers.On the other hand, these guitars with their dimensions and the low action are very suitable for small children.Compared with Traveler Ultra Light, these guitars are lighter and louder but not tougher.The key advantage of having the Traveler guitars is a firmer body and a lower price compared to the Taylor guitar. The Taylor guitar can cost about $150 more than the Traveler.
  • Martin Backpacker
This is one of the guitars that deserves attention.Martin guitars are one of the most famous and high-quality acoustic guitars.Their reputation is due to the fresh and wide tone, the beautiful finish and the quality wood as well as the excellent tuning systems.This acoustic guitar falls into the category of traveling guitars due to its dimensions and weight.She has a very distinctive character and taking into account the size of the resonant box, this guitar produces a fairly good tone.The guitar is a bit lighter than the Traveler Ultra Light.Although it has a 24″ long neck, this guitar is longer due to the headstock where the tuners stand.The neck has only 15 frets and is very narrow but this is still enough for a miniature acoustic guitar.The Martin Backpacker is similar to the Traveler in its price because it is also manufactured in Mexico under a Martin Guitars license that guarantees quality.
  • Yamaha SLG200S
Yamaha is a proven producer of guitars and thanks to its long experience it has produced many series of guitars for a variety of purposes.Travel guitars are no exception.Yamaha SLG200S is made for players that are constantly traveling or just want a very light guitar.This guitar is distinctive by the cavity in the guitar body and it is available with steel strings or nylon strings.Other than the main parts (the neck and the body), the guitar also has two other parts that determine the shape.The lower part serves as a lap rest and is static and the upper part is removable.This guitar is very quiet when playing acoustically because there is no resonant box, the plus side is that it can be plugged into an amp.Thanks to the electronic part of the guitar, there is an option to plug in a tuner or for connecting an MP3 player and headphones.This can allow you to jam wherever you are.The guitar body has a piezo and preamp with effects like reverb and chorus.Unlike the Traveler Ultra Light, these guitars are longer and wider and definitely more expensive, almost double the price of the Traveler.However, the high cost is not accidental.This guitar is not intended for travel alone. It has a quality tone and can be used for gigs, concerts and even for recording in a studio.In this case, the lightweight is only a bonus. 

Where do we go now?

As one of the best traveling guitars, the Traveler Ultra Light stands out as the smallest, easiest full-scale guitar with 22 frets.Despite the lack of headstock and narrow body, this guitar has everything it needs for a regular acoustic or electric guitar.The guitar can be plugged into your favorite amp if you are in a gig or in a studio thanks to the acoustic piezo pickup.And let’s not forget, what provides the full guitar experience is the lap rest that completes the guitar and makes it comfortable to play.This is all you need to know about a travel guitar. The thing to do now is to choose your guitar and chose your destination.