So who needs a travel guitar?
What’s wrong with the usual acoustic or electric guitar?
Well . . . the size.
A travel guitar was born pretty much out of necessity. A lot of travellers, backpackers and even students who pay the guitar on a regular basis, wanted to take it with them.
It’s not like you can carry your laptop on top of a hill and bang out some nice tunes with your midi guitar controller or something.
Although that might be possible now that I think about it, it’s just not practical.
Since most standard guitars have a wide body, it was getting quite annoying and in some cases, painful to take a guitar with you on your travels.
This need gave birth to the travel guitar. Hence the name too.
Pretty crazy eh?
Today travel guitars are becoming the norm and come in various types.
Such as acoustic, electric, bass, classical and even folding (For the super traveling and guitar enthusiast).
Let’s have a look at each in some detail.
Martin Travel Guitar
- Backpacker design
- Solid Sitka spruce top
- FSC Certified Richlite fingerboard
- Compensated White Tusq Saddle
- Lightweight, durable, easy to play (and tune)
The Martin backpacker travel guitar is considered by many as one of the best travel guitars out right now. The Martin brand is respected right up there with the Yamahas and the Fenders and they did a great job with this travel sized guitar. As far as the construction is concerned, you got a nice solid top (Spruce), and a fretboard that’s long enough to help you play pretty much whatever you like.
I believe it’s about 23 or 24 inches long or something. Which is a fairly good size.
This is great travel guitar for backpackers and travellers. It also comes with all the necessities such as a strap, a travel guitar bag and all together, it still less than 6lbs. Not as light as a standard ukulele but light enough. People who value quality and are at an entry level as far as strumming goes, would definitely lean towards this Martin travel guitar. I prefer the nylon stringed guitar vs the steel strings just because it’s easier on my hands.
Best Yamaha Travel Guitar
- 3/4 size of the world best-selling acoustic-electric guitar, APX500II
- Features ART-based pickup system
- Yamaha's proprietary tuner with great sensitivity and accuracy
- Includes gig bag
- Smaller size makes this guitar a great traveling companion
Wherever there are going to be quality guitars, Yamaha will be there. Once again, they didn’t disappoint when it came to a travel guitar. The apxt2 is yamaha’s answer to the acoustic electric travel guitar world. Yamaha loaded this little travel guitar with steel strings and even a built-in tuner.
So you can literally get started right away. This travel guitar package contains a whole bunch of things. Pretty much anything a traveller would need like guitar picks, strap and a decent guitar bag made of lightweight canvas.
By the way, kids love this little guy as well.
Best Travel Electric Guitar
- Full 24 3/4" scale electric travel guitar.^Fits in airline overhead bins with included gig bag^Eastern American Hard Maple neck-through-body.^3 lbs. 2 oz. & 28" long^Features a dual-rail humbucker pickup, adjustable bridge and truss rod.
Now this travel electric guitar by Traveler Guitar definitely has the looks and will make you feel like a rockstar. That said, different people have different issues with it. It’s one of those you either love it, or you are having issues with kind of guitar. I think that can be mostly blamed on the company itself since they are somewhat new and not as established as the Martin or the Yamaha brand (No offence to them).
So this specific travel Guitar model comes with six strings, surprisingly pretty lightweight. You can either get an electric acoustic version or an electric one.
If you like a quality travel electric guitar (Solid Rosewood and Black Walnut construction) and are not big on the “brand name” kind of person. You might want to take a closer look at this one.One thing I do appreciate about these guys is it comes and your typical right-handed and left-handed models. So you don’t have to switch the strings or anything. That’s some good thoughtful stuff by the traveler guitar team.
Still a respectable traveler guitar but I will definitely give them some time to establish themselves in the industry.
Best Carbon Fiber Travel Guitar
- Body Body type: 000 Cutaway: Single cutaway Top wood: Carbon Fiber Back & sides: Carbon Fiber Bracing pattern: Integrated Top Bracing Technology Body finish: High Gloss Orientation: Right handed Neck Neck shape: C Nut width: 1.69 in. (43 mm) Fingerboard: Reinforced Polymer Neck wood: Carbon Fiber Scale length: 22.75 in. Number of frets: 21 Neck finish: Satin Electronics Pickup/pream
- "A travel-size instrument that sounds like a full-size guitar? Yes it is possible
- Composite Acousitcs Cargo is comfortable to play anywhere, from the forests of Oregon to the foothills of the Catskill mountains, and even in your favorite armchair
- Finely appointed and incredibly durable, the Cargo is ready when you are
- It easily fits airline overheads or anywhere space is tight
If you want to check out a travel guitar that is literally from the future, you need to look into Journey instruments OF660M travel guitar. I mean how many guitars do you know that are made of carbon fiber? Also keep in mind they use this material for hardcore travelers. So just in case if you ever drop your travel guitar, it won’t break in half right away (Like a typical wooden guitar may).
The features on this travel guitar are really something else. Such as a removable neck, which means you can take it on as a carry on in pretty much any airplane. Also thanks again to the carbon fiber body, it’s also resistant to pretty much all weather conditions. I guess you can say the OF660M by Journey Instruments is the ‘Terminator’ of travel guitars.
Man what an old reference . . . Okay how about the T-5000 of travel guitars?
Best Travel Guitar
- Spruce top
- Slim profile
- 21 Frets
- 24-3/4" Scale Length
- Bag included
If you look at all the things a person looks at before getting something, than this is the best travel guitar by. It’s made by a company called Johnson guitars. If you haven’t heard of them then don’t worry about it. They’ve actually been around for quite some time. In fact, you can learn about this brand a little bit later below.
Their JG-TR7 Trailblazer II Travel Guitar has a nice spruce top, with about 21 frets, And thanks to the generosity of Johnson guitars, it also comes with the bag. It seems to be fairly new on the market so there isn’t much feedback on it but oh well looks like a decent travel guitar. Johnson guitars aren’t widely popular but they aren’t being hated on either. They are kind of in the middle.
Best Classical Travel Guitar
- 6-string Acoustic Guitar - BackPacker Classical with Gigbag
Another great travel Guitar by the one and only Martin brand.This is pretty close to the first one we reviewed. The only difference is this is a classical travel guitar (Hence the name). The Martin backpacker classic comes with six strings, a nice traveling travel guitar bag. Although most users just love the overall quality, I would recommend that you use a guitar strap on this one ( (Especially when you’re sitting). It’s just more comfortable and feels a lot better this way.
The Martin backpacker classic seems to arrive properly tuned which is always appreciated so you’ll be ready to rock and roll right out of the box.
Not sure if that’s the case for all shipped Martin travel guitar but if it is then two thumbs up for the Martin team.
Zenison Blue Acoustic Travel Guitar
- Brand: Unbranded
- MPN: Does Not Apply
This travel acoustic guitar by Zenison seems a little longer in length then the usual. It’s actually about 35 inches and most of these travel guitars are between 20″ or 26 inches or something. Most consider the Zenison blue acoustic travel guitar as their backup travel guitar.
Yes believe it or not, there are people who actually have “backups” for their travel guitars. These are professional backpackers / die-hard musicians. Now don’t expect this to be like a Martin or a Yamaha but it does the job fairly well.
Construction is nowhere near a professional travel guitar though. I guess now you know why why people consider this their practice travel guitar. Think of this guitar like buying a pair of shoes from Winners. It’s not the latest or the greatest but it will help you get to from point A to point B.
Best Travel Guitar For Kids
- Talent Import & Export Co., Ltd.
If this page was dedicated to professional travel guitar players, I wouldn’t even be mentioning this travel guitar. I believe the company Original Hobbyy that makes it is just doing it for the reason of “doing” it.
They seem like a toy maker anyways. Nothing wrong with that but I wouldn’t take this over any other quality travel guitar that’s out there. Again, I think this one is actually recommended more for kids then even adults or even beginner travelers. I still wanted to showcase it so you guys can make your own decision.
The best part is it comes in various colors which is really cool and that’s why it seems like it’s actually meant for kids. Nothing wrong with that I mean I would rather see a kid get started on a full size guitar but if you can’t get one, now there’s an another option for you.
Best Smallest Travel Guitar
- Full 24 3/4" scale acoustic-electric travel guitar
- Fits in airline overhead bins. Only 28 in. long!
- One-piece Eastern American Hard Maple neck-through-body design
- 2 lbs. 15 oz. & 28" long
- Features a Traveler Piezo Pickup with standard 1/4" output
Get ready for the smallest travel guitar ever made. At least that is what the Traveler Guitar team is claiming. It’s basically an electric travel guitar and has some decent features. Just like the earlier Traveler guitar reviewed, this one also comes in two types of wood and in right-handed and left-handed options. You get to pick from five different colors too. Seems to be liked by both travelers on the go looking to strum a few notes and newbies alike.
Best Left Handed Travel Guitar
- Slim profile
- 21 Frets
- 24-3/4" Scale Length
- Bag included
Just because most of the world is right handed doesn’t mean we have to leave our left handed friends out. If you are one of them, well this Johnson JG-TR3L travel guitar can be quite helpful for you. It’s similar to the JG-TR7 except that it’s not for right handed travel guitar enthusiasts.
Anatomy of a Travel Guitar
Most travel guitars are basically just a smaller size (Sometimes as small as 3/4 of the size) of other popular guitars out there. So the features remain the same. The only thing might change is the headstock (Top part) of a travel guitar. Especially if it’s electric. They usually don’t have one.
Travel Guitar Brands
Here are some of the most popular travel guitar brands in the market.
You know Yamaha makes the worlds best guitars right? I mean that iconic black pick guard means it’s a Yamaha. Well they put all their expertise in the travel guitar niche as well. They are simply the best.
If Yamaha is the Rolls Royce then Martin is the BMW of travel guitars. You can find various nice models ranging from beginners to professional level. The Martin brand offers decent quality for .
Not the most original name but I bet it helps them in getting the word out there. If you are budget conscious, this travel guitar brand may help accommodate your needs. They’ve been around since 1992 and have established themselves in the travel guitar market. They actually specialize in it. One thing you’ll really appreciate about their travel guitars is they are super lightweight.
Believe it or not, these guys have been around for quite some time. At least since 1933. They haven’t made some breakthrough guitar yet but have their own set of loyal fans. Think of them as the Ford motors of guitars. Besides travel guitars, they also make other acoustics and stringed folk instruments.
Anyone that has passion for what they do I have respect for them. That’s what Journey instruments are all about. You’re not as big as the other guys but they’re definitely trying to make a name for themselves. It’s always nice to see some new companies coming to the me so let’s see how far these guys can go. Some people like their travel guitars and some don’t but let’s see how things pan out for them in the near future. We’re hoping that they stick around.
What is a travel guitar?
A travel guitar is a small version of an electric, bass, classical or acoustic guitar. It was made to help the backpacker market take lightweight guitars on their many travels. It’s usually really thin in width.
How to make a travel guitar?
That really depends on your woodworking skills but the closest thing we have so far are DIY guitar kits. There are countless tutorials on how to make your own travel guitar and you can always check out Youtube videos as well.
What is the best travel guitar?
This truly depends on your preference but if a travel guitar is small in size (Like three times smaller than your average guitar), plays and sounds well and is light-weight, you got yourself a very good contender for a travel guitar. Just keep the main things in mind and that is the size and the weight. The smaller in length and the lighter in weight, the better. If you can grab a nice brand name travel guitar like a Yamaha or a Martin or something than even better.
What is the best travel acoustic guitar?
I would say the best travel acoustic guitar it’s either the Martin or the Yamaha. I kind of leaning towards Martin just because the body is slimmer than the Yamaha. However the sound is way better on the Yamaha.
So at the end of the day. you just have to look at what’s more important to you. All depends on how far along you are as far as guitar playing goes as well.
If you are a beginner, Martin is just fine and if you really relish the quality of the sound produced, Yamaha all the way.
How to travel with a guitar on plane?
Well this is the great advantage of having a travel guitar. They are literally super small compared to your average guitar.
So taking them on a plane shouldn’t be an issue at all. However, that also depends on what kind of travel guitar you have as some do come in wide-body designs.
Most likely though, if you have a typical travel guitar, you should be just fine. You can easily store a travel guitar in the luggage compartment, or in some cases actually fit in your carry-on bags.
Just make sure when you’re putting them in your carry-on bag, you place them in a proper travel guitar case.
If you’re really good with tuning a guitar as well, you might as well remove the strings before you pack your guitar for travel.
That is actually a smart way or preparing your guitar before traveling with it.
You can always restring them when you need them so it is not really a big deal.
Also keep a decent guitar tuner with you. They are super small in size as well so it should all work fine.
How to tune a travel guitar?
Tuning a travel guitar is just like tuning any guitar. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to tune a travel guitar. As long as the strings are attached to tuners, you should be good to go. Just remember it’s E, A, D, G, B, E.
Why a travel guitar never stays in tune?
A travel guitar usually never stays in tune is because well . . . you’re traveling with it. Sometimes when you bump into things, the tuning kind of gets out of wack. A fairly normal issue that can be easily avoided. All you need to do is place your travel guitar in a travel guitar case. This will definitely minimize the issue and if you have a guitar tuner in the case somewhere, then you’re all good to go.
Why get a carbon fiber travel guitar if I don’t travel?
Well if you are a hardcore Traveler, a carbon fiber guitar is your best bet. Just because you don’t want to be somewhere are stuck on a mountain perhaps and accidentally drop your typical wooden travel guitar. However, if you’re not a traveler then you don’t really need a carbon fiber guitar.
How do I turn on a Pignose travel guitar?
You simply plug them in like any other guitar or if they have a built-in amplifier, you pull on the pig nose. Yeah it’s a really fun way of turning on a travel guitar.
Where do you put a guitar strap on a travel guitar?
To put a guitar strap on your travel guitar, you simply look for the buttons. there are two buttons in total and one is on each side. These two buttons serve as hooks and once you place your travel guitar strap on them, you should be set.
How to play a travel guitar?
When you play a travel guitar it’s just like playing any other guitar out there. The only difference is the size is much smaller. So if you have big fingers, that might be an issue but overall it’s literally like playing any other guitar.
Where to buy a travel guitar?
Travel guitars are usually available in all music stores. The ones featured here are available on Amazon.