The 7 Best Travel and Mini Guitars – Play Music on the Move
If you are always on the move, you probably wonder which guitar would be the most convenient to travel with. Regular guitars are relatively bulky instruments and they are sensitive to temperature changes, humidity, while also being a little fragile. Traveling is often difficult with regular-size guitars.
Fortunately, there are numerous models of so-called travel guitars on the market. A great thing is that they come in various forms. People started with junior guitars first. Those are typically guitars with smaller, ¾-size body, with the same shape as full-size guitars, which are designed for kids.
Soon after, manufacturers realized a high demand for portable guitars, so these days we can find various kinds of products that are designed to save as much space as possible. Some of them feature pretty odd shapes, while others could be disassembled. All in all, you have plenty of choices.
Here is our pick of the seven best travel guitars:
1. Martin Steel String Backpacker
There are numerous travel guitars that come with distinctive shapes, but this one is an absolute leader. You will hardly find anything similar to this shape. It actually looks more like some odd medieval string instrument, but actually works very good. Typically for Martin, the build quality is amazing, but the thing that impresses most is the sound quality. Despite the small and odd shape, this guitar resonates great.
The main reason lays in tonewood back and side of the body, and a solid spruce top. Also, the neck is very comfortable and if you don’t need anything more than 15 freets, this may be a good choice for you.
A 24” scale provides a quite genuine guitar playing feel, though its uncommon body may take some time to get used to it.
Also, the price looks quite affordable, if we consider the brand’s reputation.
2. Yamaha JR1
There aren’t many companies that build instruments with such precision even in this price range. The overall quality of this instrument is amazing. Everything is on its place and despite that this guitar is primarily designed for kids, it could also be a great travel guitar.
The thing that makes it great for travel is its size. It is a ¾-size guitar, with a scale that measures 21.25 inches. Other than size, it is pretty much a typical dreadnought guitar, similar to Yamaha’s famous FG series of folk guitars.
However, the small size isn’t the strongest point of this instrument. There are many guitars on the market that are smaller, but just a few of them can match JR1’s tone. Despite the size, this guitar delivers a very rich tone, mainly thanks to a good combination of sprice top and meranti back and sides.
Unlike most small guitars, this one features pretty rugged construction, so it can really deal with heavier gauges as well. After all, it comes standard with 0.12 string gauges.
3. Rondo Music SX Trav 1
For players who are on the move, this guitar could be a great choice. It may not have some famous name on the headstock, but the great overall quality is indisputable. Practically, this is a ¾-scale guitar.
Logically, the neck is shorter but that’s not all. This guitar feature quite small body, even for standards of small-size guitars. Rondo Music SX Trav 1, measures just 33 inches in overall length, which sound very cargo-friendly.
Still, such small body means drawbacks as well. Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is sound. This body is very slim, so it doesn’t seem rational to expect some big sound from a body that is just 2.5 inches deep.
Still, those who are searching for a portable instrument that is great for practice would definitely appreciate its sturdy construction and quality hardware. Actually, tuners on this guitar are great.
All in all, great value for the money!
4. Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light
What about a travel guitar that doesn’t sacrifice scale length? The Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light is the answer. Simply, there is no guitar around that features such cargo-friendly shape and dimensions. Instead of typical body shape, this one comes with just some kind of extended neck, something very similar to Steinberger, but even smaller.
Despite the super compact size, this guitar features a full-size 24.75” scale, while being just 28” long. It comes with a nice case, which is also very compact, so you won’t have any trouble to carry with you anywhere. Of course, the main reason for such short size is because there is no headstock. Tuners are placed under the body and they actually work great.
Considering that there is practically nobody and hole to resonate, this is actually a silent guitar, which sounds pretty much like an unplugged electric guitar. This makes it great for practice, but if you want to perform with it, an amp would be required. A great thing that a piezo pickup is included and it works great.
5. Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor
In accordance with the name and reputation, the Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor features a quite high price for the class of compact guitars. However, most users agree that its quality definitely justifies the price. In terms of size, it’s not the most portable guitar around but in return, you get amazing sound quality, which is pretty much on par with full-size guitars.
The secret of such great tone lays in the body, which features sapele laminated back and side, while the top is made of hi-quality mahogany. Such combination ensures richer, but also a little bit darker tone compared to most ¾-size guitars.
All in all, this guitar may not be the most travel-friendly but combined with amazing tonal qualities, there’s no doubt it makes a fantastic package. Still, keep in mind Taylor’s reputation, so be ready to pay more than you would usually pay for similar products.
6. Journey OF660 Carbon-Fiber
Journey OF660 Carbon-Fiber has something that other guitars on the list don’t. You can disassemble it and pack in a compact rucksack, which makes it by far the most travel-friendly guitar you can find on this list. However, that’s not the only great thing about it. It is made of hi-quality composite materials, which provide superior sound characteristics. The overall quality is amazing. The final touch is great, while all components come from renowned companies. For example, it features Grover tuners. However, a huge drawback is its very high price. Still, if your budget is pretty much unlimited, there’s no good reason why you shouldn’t get it.
7. Traveler Guitar AG-105EQ
This model is a perfect example that you don’t need some super-strange shapes to make guitar travel-friendly. Moreover, you don’t need to shorten the scale. Practically, all you need to do is to take off the headstock and to downsize the body for a bit and you have a full-size scale travel guitar.
The body of this guitar has been downsized for a bit, though it features a typical dreadnought shape, with four inches in depth. The thing that makes Traveler Guitar AG-105EQ portable is the fact that there is no headstock, so the overall length goes around 33 inches, despite the 25.5” scale. Logically, tuners are mounted on the body, below the bridge.
Soundwise, this is a great piece of instrument. Its price is relatively high but it definitely gives a lot in return. Also, keep in mind that this is electro-acoustic guitar, which comes with hi-quality custom-made Shadow preamp and Shadow Nanoflex pickup. It features typical EQ controls, as well as a built-in tuner. For even more convenience, there are also 1/8” headphone jack and a handy aux-in jack.
As you can see, there is a pretty wide choice of travel guitars. Some of them are more compact, others sound better. Also, they go in a pretty wide price range, so I have no doubt you’ll be able to find your perfect fit.