If you’re a musician that’s always on the move, you know how difficult it can be to carry a full-size guitar along all the time. Bumpy roads and crammed flights can damage precious instruments in a single unfortunate moment. Instead of risking your primary guitars, taking a more compact travel guitar is a great option that all musicians should consider.
Travel-friendly guitars not only sound and play like regular guitars, but are compact, lightweight, and are far easier to travel with on road trips than full-sized guitars. If you’ve been thinking of getting yourself a travel-sized guitar but are unsure which one to pick, then you’ve come to the right spot.
I’ll start this article by reviewing the best travel guitars at each price point, but if you want to learn more about them before reading reviews, I’ve included some information about travel guitars at the bottom of the page. In this article, I’ll cover all the different styles of travel guitars so you can find the one to best suit your needs!
|Name of Product||Image of Product||Description||Price Range||Full Review|
|1. Martin LX1 Little Martin Acoustic Guitar (Best Overall Acoustic)||Type: Acoustic|
Scale Length: 23”
|$350||Read Full Review Below|
|2. Yamaha JR1 FG Junior 3/4 Size Acoustic Guitar (Best Value Acoustic)||Type: Acoustic|
Scale Length: 21.25”
|$170||Read Full Review Below|
|3. Taylor Baby Taylor BT1 Walnut Acoustic Guitar (Editor's Choice Acoustic)||Type: Acoustic|
Scale Length: 22.75”
|$370||Read Full Review Below|
|4. Traveler Guitar Travelcaster Deluxe (Best Overall Electric)||Type: Electric|
Scale Length: 25.5”
|$640||Read Full Review Below|
|5. Traveler Guitar 6 String EG-1 Custom (Best Full Scale)||Type: Electric|
Scale Length: 24.75”
|$560||Read Full Review Below|
|6. Martin Steel-String Backpacker Travel Guitar with Bag||Type: Acoustic|
Scale Length: 24”
|$230||Read Full Review Below|
|7. Luna Safari Series Muse Mahogany 3/4-Size Travel Acoustic Guitar||Type: Acoustic|
Scale Length: 22.5”
|$170||Read Full Review Below|
|8. Traveler Guitar Mark III MK3 MHG Acoustic-Electric Guitar||Type: Acoustic-Electric|
Scale Length: Full 25.5”
|$500||Read Full Review Below|
|9. Cordoba Mini M, Mahogany, Small Body, Nylon String Guitar||Type: Acoustic|
Scale Length: 20”
|$220||Read Full Review Below|
|10. Fender CT-140SE Travel Acoustic-Electric Guitar||Type: Acoustic-Electric|
Scale Length: 23.5”
|$400||Read Full Review Below|
|11. Steinberger Spirit GT-Pro Deluxe||Type: Electric|
Scale Length: 25- ½”
|$630||Read Full Review Below|
|12. Hofner Shorty Electric Travel Guitar||Type: Electric|
Scale Length: 24.7”
|$150||Read Full Review Below|
|13. Traveler Guitar Escape Mark III||Type: Acoustic-electric|
Scale Length: 25.5”
|$500||Read Full Review Below|
|14. Voyage Air VAOM-02G2||Type: Acoustic|
Scale Length: 25 ½”
|$650||Read Full Review Below|
|15. Cordoba Mini II M, Mahogany, Small Body, Nylon String||Type: Acoustic|
Scale Length: 22.8”
|$130||Read Full Review Below|
|16. Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Acoustic-Electric Travel Guitar||Type: Acoustic-Electric|
Scale Length: 24.75”
|$310||Read Full Review Below|
|17. Washburn RO10 Rover Steel String Travel Acoustic Guitar||Type: Acoustic|
Scale Length: 24”
|$250||Read Full Review Below|
Here Are the Best Travel Guitars
1. Martin LX1 Little Martin Acoustic Guitar (Best Overall Acoustic)
|Body||Solid Sitka spruce top and Mahogany High-Pressure Laminate back and sides|
|Fingerboard||Solid Morado or East Indian Rosewood|
My Review: When it’s a Martin, you can rest assured that it is going to be a top quality guitar. The iconic American brand is well known for crafting some of the greatest sounding acoustic guitars around. The Little Martin is a testament to the saying that good things come in small packages. Built with solid Sitka spruce top and mahogany high-pressure laminate back and sides, this small wonder produces the same resonant, loud projection akin to top-of-the-line Martins and comes with a padded gig bag.
Overall Build and Size: We are in awe of Little Martin’s smart design which has delivered a great guitar that belies its 23” scale and 15” length. This wonderful sounding model is extremely sturdy and very easy to play, making it a perfect travel companion as well as a great pick for beginners. Little Martin is a popular choice when it comes to a travel guitar as it packs comfortably into overhead compartments of most airlines. This natural golden-brown, small-bodied acoustic comes equipped with a black Micarta bridge with compensated white Tusq saddle and chrome small-knob tuners.
Overall Sound Quality: Little martin’s powerful projection and a well-balanced tone set it apart from other miniature parlor guitars. It delivers a pretty bright and resonant sound and scores high on versatility. Take it along with you on your next trip to the hills and let the magic unfold.
Body and Neck Wood: This Martin LX1 boasts of a solid Sitka spruce top with a warm satin finish which gives it classic look. The back and sides are made up of Mahogany high-pressure laminate. The guitar has a hand-rubbed rust birch laminate neck which has a modified low oval shape with standard taper making it extremely comfortable to play. The use of sustainable wood in some of its parts has made us fall in love with this beauty all the more.
- Solid Sitka spruce wood top
- Big on tone, quality, and versatility
- Perfectly travel-sized and easy to carry
- Eco-friendly construction using sustainable wood parts
- Affordable for a Martin guitar
2. Yamaha JR1 FG Junior 3/4 Size Acoustic Guitar (Best Value Acoustic)
|Body||Spruce top, Tonewood sides and back|
My Review: If you are looking for a pocket-friendly 3/4 acoustic travel guitar with a good tone and easy playability, the small and portable Yamaha JR1 FG might be worth looking at. The natural Spruce top and the rosewood fretboard offers great playability and a bright tone, while locally sourced tonewood adds a reliable durability to the overall body. Compact, light, and bearing the time-trusted Yamaha brand legacy, this travel guitar is lightweight without compromising on the sound quality. Overall, I would say this is the best travel acoustic guitar for the money.
Overall Build and Size: The JR1 FG is a well designed 33 1/4-inch medium-sized dreadnought that strikes a good balance between value and quality. Despite being originally positioned as a beginner guitar for children, we found it to be quite a good option for adults looking for a reliable travel guitar as well. What we like about this model is that it doesn’t let its compact size come in the way of offering a great tone.
The build is of good quality with a rosewood fretboard and a sturdy mahogany neck which offers a comfortable playability. This makes it a great fit for most guitarists – from young students just starting out to someone looking to play an impromptu gig by the bonfire.
Overall Sound Quality: Thanks to the Spruce wood top, players get a nice resonant tone that amplifies lower tones surprisingly well – normally you wouldn’t really expect a guitar this compact to have such an impressive low end. Because of this quality, this will work well when playing in intimate settings with a small audience. Its sound is great right out of the packaging, without any tweaks needed. You’ll also see that the brand offers quite a comfortable action on it already.
Body and Neck Wood: The Luna uses a Spruce wood for its top, locally sourced tonewood for the body and sides, and rosewood for the fretboard which makes it long-lasting and durable. The neck is sturdy, but not too wide, which gives it an easy feel when playing, especially for kids or someone with smaller hands. It is well-balanced, and, when played sitting down, fits quite comfortably as you play.
- Compact, well-designed body
- Spruce wood top
- Amplifies lower tones remarkably well for its size
- Affordably priced
3. Taylor Baby Taylor BT1 Walnut Acoustic Guitar (Editor’s Choice Acoustic)
|Body||Spruce wood top and Walnut back and sides|
My Review: Thinking of getting yourself a travel guitar which is an all-rounder? Look no further than Baby Taylor BT1. Manufactured by Taylor, a brand renowned for carefully crafted, high quality, and great sounding acoustic guitars packed with playability enhancing features, Baby Taylor BT1 fits this definition to a T. The small-bodied guitar is made with a premium tonewood combination of Spruce/Walnut and comes with an X-braced top, die-cast chrome tuners and a Micarta Saddle. In addition to being a great choice for travelers, this little wonder will make for a perfect starter guitar for young players.
Overall Build and Size: Baby Taylor BT1 is a trimmed down, sleek ¾ dreadnought and great for traveling players who prefer smaller instruments. This dread may be small but offers the same features that make this iconic American brand so legendary. The guitar has a solid spruce top which works well in enhancing resonance as well as capturing nuances and dynamics. The layered walnut body offers resilience from temperature and humidity and gives it an aesthetically pleasing look. The acoustic sports an elegant, natural look with a varnish finish.
Overall Sound Quality: Don’t be fooled by its small size- Baby Taylor BT1 delivers a surprisingly bold and loud sound for a scaled-down dreadnought. Thanks to the bright sounding spruce wood top and walnut back and sides. The guitar’s tonewood pairing works well in creating a warm and resonant tone with great definition.
Body and Neck Wood: The BT1’s top wood is expertly crafted with solid Sitka Spruce wood and teamed with a layered walnut body and a glossy smooth ebony fretboard. The sleek Maple neck feels familiar and very comfortable when held. There is no doubt that you will have an absolute blast playing this great little guitar wherever you decide to take it.
- Perfect Travel Buddy for all guitar enthusiasts
- Scaled-down dreadnought with short maple neck, easy to play
- Solid high-quality tonewoods used- Spruce top, Walnut body
- Taylor hard bag included
4. Travelcaster Deluxe Electric Guitar (Best Overall Electric)
|Coils||3 Ceramic Single Coil Pickups|
My Review: Fender has always been known to push the envelope for quality and player-friendly features, and they’ve done it again with the neat little travelcaster deluxe. This innovatively designed electric guitar retains a full scale length, but cuts down the body design in an innovative fashion. Weighing extremely light, you can enjoy the quintessential tele sound even when on the move, thanks to its high quality single coil pickups and a delicious vintage tremolo. If you’re looking for the best travel electric guitar and are willing to spend the money, this is one of my top recommendations.
Overall Build and Size: Weighing only 5 lbs, the travelcaster scores high when it comes to portability, especially for an electric guitar. We’re quite impressed with its innovative design that retains the essential contours of an electric guitar’s S-shaped body while cutting out the rest to make it travel-friendly. Its adjustable 2 point fulcrum bridge adds even more customizability, while chrome tuning machines let you tune your strings to perfect precision. This allows you to enjoy a full scale length with a guitar that can easily fit into a cramped car space or overhead compartment of a plane.
Overall Sound Quality: This is perhaps the best part about this little wonder – unlike some other travel guitars that may sacrifice certain elements of playability or tone, the travelcaster deluxe offers the same crisp, snappy, high quality tone and sound quality that Fender is famous for, even in this compact setup. This has been made possible because of the three high quality ceramic single coil picks, and a 5-way pickup selector that lets you mix and match to zero in on the perfect tone. Finally, the vintage style tremolo lets you squeeze out a fabulous variety of sounds and sustains, so there’s nothing that holds you back from expressing your creativity, even on a travel guitar.
Body and Neck Wood: The lightweight of the travelcaster deluxe has been made possible thanks to its poplar body, which keeps the overall setup extremely portable and nimble. The maple neck and fretboard allow for butter-smooth playability anytime, anywhere.
- High quality ceramic single coil pickups
- Vintage style tremolo for more creative possibility
- 5-way pickup selector for tone customizability
- Extremely lightweight at 5 lbs
- Full scale-length
5. Traveler Guitar 6 String EG-1 Custom (Best Full Scale)
|Length||24.75” Full Scale|
My Review: If you are scouting for a full-scale electric guitar which is also light enough to travel along with, look no further- The Traveler Guitar EG-1 Custom fits the bill. The single-cut guitar’s alder body makes it compact and lightweight while also giving it a strong, clear, and full-bodied sound. It features Traveler’s proprietary 4-channel in-built headphone amplifier, an in-body tuning system, and an aux-in jack, making it perfect to jam privately or rock out.
Overall Build and Size: The Traveler Guitar EG-1 retains the full scale 24.75” and 28.5” length of a standard-sized guitar while weighing less than 5 pounds and packs effortlessly in an airplane overhead bin. It has been cleverly designed without a headstock and built from a lightweight yet top-notch Alder, making it compact yet ideal for those unwilling to compromise on a scale as well as playing experience. It comes in a classic glossy black color.
Overall Sound Quality: The EG-1 Custom’s alder body and mahogany neck give it a rich and balanced tone with a great playing experience. It is equipped with Traveler’s custom onboard headphone amps which allow you to choose from clean, boost, overdrive, and distortion tones using the custom tone knob push-pot. With this travel guitar, you are not only getting a full-sized feel but also a world-class quality sound, thanks to the chromatic Shadow E-tuner built right into its Alnico Humbucker 9K pickup.
Body and Neck Wood: The snazzy travel guitar is crafted from premium tonewoods with an alder body, an African mahogany neck, and a walnut fingerboard. It features some fantastic aesthetically pleasing appointments such as a white-black-white binding on its glossy black Alder body, a gold humbucker with cream pickup ring, and black dish knobs with Gold caps.
- Full scale and ergonomically designed travel guitar
- Crafted from top-notch hardwood
- Built-in headphone amp with 4-channels
- Aux-in for riff learning and jamming to your favorite songs
- Chromatic E-tuner on pickup ring
- Comes with a compact, custom gig bag
6. Martin Steel-String Backpacker Travel Guitar
|Body||Solid Spruce wood top, Mahogany back and sides|
My Review: Martin Guitar Co.’s Backpacker has been innovatively designed to be the perfect travel mate for you. This well-built acoustic is a steal considering it has a solid Spruce wood top and is priced within an affordable range of $300. It’s incredibly fun to play and can act as a great backup guitar when your primary one is not around. This popular travel guitar was launched more than 25 years ago in the mid-nineties and we’ve only heard great things about it since. This is easily one of the best travel guitars for backpacking and trips where you just can’t bring a larger guitar.
Overall Build and Size: Martin’s Backpacker is an incredibly light and compact guitar making it easy to stow away and take along on treks or trips without a worry in the head. Although designed to be easy to carry, weighing less than 2-1/2 lbs., nowhere does it compromise in the sturdiness and durability department. Built with a solid Spruce wood top and Mahogany back and sides, it has a beautiful natural hue and a matte finish.
Overall Sound Quality: The Backpacker has a robust and impressive sound for a guitar its size. It may not give out the rich tone rendered by a typical dreadnought but don’t let that make you think that you’ll be sacrificing in the tonal quality with this little travel buddy. The guitar has been crafted from high-end hardwood which lends it an unamplified projection, making it perfect for travel.
Body and Neck Wood: This travel guitar has a solid Spruce top and Mahogany back, sides, and neck giving it the classic Martin acoustic sound. It has a narrow body with 15 frets and a flared lower bout making it extremely easy to carry. Just sling it over the shoulder and you are good to go!
- Ultra-compact and extremely light
- Made from high-end spruce and mahogany hardwood
- Narrow body, easy to carry
- Unamplified and consistent sound
- Comes with a padded gig bag and chrome tuners
7. Luna Safari Series 3/4 Size Travel Guitar
|Body||Mahogany top, back, and sides|
My Review: This 3/4 size dreadnought is a part of Luna’s pocket-friendly Safari series. The brand has a reputation for crafting great-looking guitars. This model features a solid mahogany top, back, and asides and has an eye-catching Celtic laser etching around the soundhole. This beautifully handcrafted guitar is lightweight but packs in a punch with its powerful tonal quality. Luna Muse Safari comes with a branded gig bag which makes it easy to carry it when you are on the go.
Overall Build and Size: This stunning acoustic has a scale length of 22.5” and weighs just shy of 4 lbs., making it an incredibly light and ultra-compact travel companion. All panels of this 3/4 sized dreadnought have been crafted with mahogany. It also comes with a 19-fret rosewood fingerboard and bridge and chrome-colored hardware. The tuning machine is sealed die-cast and the nut and saddle are Graph Tech BC6115. The charming reddish-brown shade of mahogany makes this guitar a real treat to the eyes.
Overall Sound Quality: The Mahogany body and dreadnought structure of Luna Safari Muse ensures that players enjoy a rich and articulate sound. It may not be too low-end heavy, but with its delightfully bright sound and a pocket-friendly price tag, it sure is a steal!
Body and Neck Wood: Luna Safari Muse has been entirely made out of Mahogany which is a popular tonewood known to produce and sustain a well-balanced tone. The C-shaped neck makes for a breezy playing experience. The warm natural satin finish and the mother of pearl moon phase inlay on the fingerboard give it a classy and mystical look.
- A travel-sized dreadnought with laser engraved Celtic rosette
- Fun and easy to play, ideal for younger players
- Rich and articulate sound
- Perfect for left as well as right-handed players
- Budget-friendly with most websites offering it under $200
8. Traveler Guitar Mark III MK3 MHG Acoustic-Electric Guitar
My Review: When an entire company is dedicated to building top-of-the-line travel-friendly guitars, you know you cannot go wrong when you opt for one of theirs. The Traveler Mark III MK3 Acoustic-Electric is a full scale, unique looking guitar with a Mahogany body. Like other Travelers, it too features an in-built Shadow headphone amp, an aux input for jamming, and a proprietary in-body tuning system. With a standard tuning system, this travel guitar does not need a special set of strings and works perfectly with any standard acoustic strings you prefer.
Overall Build and Size: Measuring around 30” in length while weighing less than 5 pounds, this Mahogany guitar has a minimalistic body which makes it portable and player-friendly. The in-body tuning system eliminates the need for a headstock, making it sleek and travel-sized while offering a full-scale playing experience. The Escape Mark III comes equipped with a Shadow NanoFlex piezo under-saddle pickup which produces the authentic acoustic sound while the standard ¼” output jack lets you effortlessly switch to the electric mode. The control plate allows you to adjust the volume and tone directly from the guitar.
Overall Sound Quality: The Electric-Acoustic has been cleverly built to produce exceptional electronics as well as the authentic acoustic style sound. The choice of hardwood used lends it a resonant, well-balanced tone which is carried through even when you plug in the guitar and use it as a semi-electric.
Body and Neck Wood: The Escape Mark III has a natural finish mahogany body with a cutaway for access to higher frets, and a bolt-on mahogany neck. To top it off, it has a Rosewood fretboard which is the most commonly used fretboard owing to its warm and rich tones and the ability to even out the high-end harshness.
- Full scale, versatile guitar
- Stows away comfortably in overhead bins
- Built-in headphone amp with clean, distortion, boost, and overdrive tones
- High quality, plush gig bag included
- Built-in chrome tuner
9. Cordoba Mini M Nylon String Guitar
|Body||Solid spruce wood top with Mahogany back and sides|
My Review: Cordoba has a well-earned reputation for making traditional Spanish guitars with a modern twist. The brand is an innovator and leader in high-quality nylon-string guitar and the model we are about to review here is no exception.
Cordoba’s Mini M is a travel-sized traditional looker. With a mahogany body and a spruce top, it has an incredibly rich tone and a full, bright sound. The brilliant combination of its ultra-compact body and a full-sized 1.96” nut width makes it very easy to play and an ideal companion for your vacations or road trips.
Overall Build and Size: Mini M is an extremely lightweight,18-fret, nylon string parlor with a beautiful rose pattern etched out along its rosette. A short 20” scale length and full 1.96” nut width makes it an ideal travel sized guitar while retaining the string spacing and the overall feel of a full-sized guitar. The natural satin finish gives it a gorgeous sheen without betraying its woody feel. The guitar comes with a custom Aquila string set, tuned to A but can be tuned to standard E tuning with a thicker gauge. The Minis also come in three different wood combinations-spruce/mahogany, spruce/rosewood, and all ovangkol.
Overall Sound Quality: Despite its easy on the pocket price tag, Cordoba’s commitment to quality and sound with Mini M is truly admirable. It has a lightweight body with an impressively loud sound thanks to its smart design and the quality tonewoods used.
The solid spruce wood top offers a blend of clear, rich, and complex sound which is backed by a powerful tonal foundation owing to its mahogany back and sides.
Body and Neck Wood: With Mini M you get a solid Spruce wood top guitar without hurting your pocket. A solid wood top is an unbeatable vis a vis laminate or select wood, as it not only gives out a great tone but also lasts for longer. The mahogany body enhances the sturdiness property and clubbed with spruce wood top and rosewood fretboard contributes to the deep richness and resonance of this guitar. Mini M’s solid and heavy Mahogany U-shaped neck enhances the sustain and captures every nuance and detail, beautifully.
- Affordable, lightweight guitar with an impressive sound
- Solid top and body made from quality tonewoods
- Comfortable U-shaped Mahogany neck
- Includes a gig bag
10. Fender CT-140SE Travel Acoustic-Electric Guitar
|Body||Solid Spruce top and Rosewood back and sides|
My Review: Perfect for all guitar enthusiasts- whether professional or hobbyists, The CT-140SE acoustic-electric is undeniably one of the finest travel bodied guitars made by Fender. Compactly built with solid Rosewood and a spruce top, it features a sophisticated Fishman Presys pickup and preamp system, which ensures an authentic sound is reproduced even when plugged in. The solid high-end components and a hardshell case all priced under $400, make this Fender a great value and should definitely be explored when picking out a guitar for serious beginners or simply for your travel needs.
Overall Build and Size: Traveling with CT-140SE is a cakewalk thanks to its compact dimensions. An auditorium shaped travel body has been scaled down to 23.5” to ensure it fits well into cramped spaces and overhead airline compartments. With premium hardwood used through the body as well as Fishman pickups and preamp system, rolled fingerboard edges, players can expect an easy to play high-quality guitar that’s quite sturdy in its design. CT-140SE comes with two color options- Natural and Sunburst with a glossy finish and equipped with chrome-plated hardware.
Overall Sound Quality: CT-140SE offers high-quality Fender sound at a reasonable price. The spruce wood top renders a powerful sound and detailed dynamics while the rosewood body & fretboard delivers rich overtones. The scalloped, X bracing design also plays a vital role in enhancing this bolder, richer tone as well as its harmonic output.
Body and Neck Wood: The Acoustic-Electric has a solid spruce top is a popular choice of wood for acoustic tops as it offers unparalleled durability and a full, bright, and versatile sound. The rosewood body and neck mellow down the bright punch delivered by the spruce wood. All in all, you get a well-balanced tone that responds well to any style of playing, from hard strumming to fast or delicate picking.
- Top-notch fender quality with a great value
- Solid Spruce top & Rosewood body delivers a rich, balanced tone
- Scalloped, X bracing design
- Easy to play neck with rolled fretboard edges
- Sophisticated Fishman Presys pickup/preamp
- Hardshell case included
11. Steinberger Spirit GT-Pro Deluxe
My Review: This next guitar comes from the extensive heritage NY-based brand “Steinberger”. These guitars for their distinctive shape, and high-quality construction, having been used by likes of Geddy Lee (Rush), and Sting (The Police), back in the day to more modern day artists such as Arif Miradolbaghi (Protest the Hero). They feature a headless design, and a compact size playable even on an armed office chair. The GT-Pro brings the same quality and aesthetic to a more affordable line of travel guitars.
Overall Build and Size: The original Spirit was one of the most popular attempts at making a body-less travel guitar in the 80s, and the modern Spirit GT-Pro Deluxe has some unique features to match! Featuring a full 25-½ scale length, and a tight fretboard radius, the Spirit is quite easy to handle, play and travel with. Keeping it simple with one volume and one tone knob, and including a tremolo bridge and the locking tuners make for a stable and well-tuned guitar, even without a headstock.
Overall Sound Quality: The deluxe model features a humbucker pickup on the bridge and neck, with a single coil in the middle. The twin humbuckers designed by Steinberger and perfected by Epiphone, make the Spirit sound fat and round while reducing the tinny signals to a minimum. The 5-way pickup selector also makes the guitar versatile and comfortable across a large selection of amps and amp plugins. Perfect for both the Stage pro, and the couch pro !
Body and Neck Wood: The original Spirit guitars designed by Ned Steinberger, were made from a composite of carbon-fiber, however, the new Spirit GT-Pro eschews that for a completely maple body and neck. In such a small guitar, this resonant wood makes for a big jump in playability and sustain. The Spirit is able to hold its own against full bodied guitars while delivering the same resonance and exceptional output!
- Classic Steinberger design
- Hyper compact
- Gibson (Epiphone) construction, reliability, and warranty
- Bridge and Neck Humbuckers for a well-rounded rock/metal/blues sound
12. Hofner Shorty Electric Travel Guitar
|Body||Basswood top and back|
My Review: Are you someone who doesn’t want to be away from their guitar even when traveling? Then the Hofner Shorty Electric Travel Guitar has to be one of your top choices. It offers a full-scale length while being ultra-compact which enables you to take it along with you wherever you go. Fitted with a single Hofner open humbucker pickup, and volume and tone knobs, the Shorty is designed with no flashy bits except for its curious design.
Overall Build and Size: The Hofner Shorty has a basswood top and back, a neck made from maple, and a fretboard made from rosewood. Basswood is a lightweight wood which produces a good sound and works especially well with Hofner’s open humbucker pickup. Considering the price range, the craftsmanship and the materials used to make this guitar are of a better-than-expected quality. The black finish gives it a slight rock and roll feel. The shape of the guitar can feel a bit strange in the beginning with its short body, long neck and the headstock, but you soon get used to it. Overall, the Shorty Electric is a sturdy little guitar that needs some time to adjust to its style and shape.
Overall Sound Quality: Without amplification, the guitar sounds quiet, and is suitable for a quiet day of practice. Once amplified, the sound produced is bright, trebly, and strong. The volume and tone controls work very well and you can get a range of tones from this little guitar from clear to dirty. The action on this guitar might need a touch of adjustment.
Body and Neck Wood: The basswood body and maple neck make for better playability when playing standing up. Its small, neck-heavy body makes it a little awkward to play, which is also compounded by there being no place to rest the playing arm.
- Compact size
- Considerably lightweight
- Strong sound when amplified
- Crisp, clean tone
- Durable gig bag included
- Good bang for the buck
13. Traveler Guitar Escape Mark III
|Body||Mahogany back, sides and top|
My Review: Looking for a guitar which can hold its own during travel and on stage? Look no further! The Traveler Guitar Escape Mark III offers a full-scale 25.5” while being small enough to fit into the overhead compartment in an airplane. This acoustic-electric comes packed with a plethora of features – from an in-body tuning system, a headphone output to a Shadow under-saddle pickup – that helps you stay on top of your game. This is a great lightweight option for a performer or even for a student who wants to up his game. The Escape Mark III also comes with a deluxe gig bag that keeps it protected when not in use. Overall, I would say this is one of the best travel guitars out there.
Overall Build and Size: The Escape Mark III is just 30” despite boasting a full-scale at 25.5” and has a compact mahogany body, back, and top with a bolt-on mahogany neck. The natural satin finish gives it a refined feel. The single cutaway gives the player access to the higher frets while also giving it a tasteful look. The full-sized scale has a comfortable, familiar feel to it while playing. The relatively thin body needs some getting used to and it can be difficult to rest your arm while playing, but the overall balance of the guitar is excellent. Despite being quite lightweight at 4.5 lbs, it does compromise on the quality, durability, or sturdiness of the piece.
Overall Sound Quality: When not plugged in, the Escape Mark III sounds like any other unplugged electric guitar, but once plugged into an amplification system, produces a sound that emulates a steel-string acoustic guitar. This guitar has a clean, warm, mellow sound and is not disturbed in the slightest by string hum or any other problems. The premium quality mahogany used in the guitar allows for greater resonance and a better sustain. Altogether, the way the Escape Mark III is crafted makes for a truly exceptional auditory experience.
Body and Neck Wood: This guitar features a mahogany body and neck which adds sturdiness to the piece, and the black walnut fretboard gives it a smooth feel while playing. The headstock has been removed from its traditional place and added to the body itself which gives it a different, non-traditional appearance. The In-Body tuning system is sturdy and reliable, and the tuners are protected from outside interference.
- Mahogany wood body
- Full-scale fretboard despite the compact size
- Warm, mellow sound, great resonance
- Shadow under-saddle pickups and In-Body tuning system
- Cutaway to reach higher frets easily
- Lightweight, highly portable
- Great choice for multi-city gigs
14. Voyage Air VAOM-02G2
|Body||Mahogany back and sides, spruce wood top|
My Review: Traveling with a guitar, be it a regular sized guitar or that of a travel variety, is awkward due to their long, thin necks. But, with the Voyage Air VAOM-02G2, its manufacturers have found an ingenious solution to that age-old problem – a patented hinge which lets you literally fold the guitar in half! It comes with its very own deluxe Voyager case in which you can stow the guitar when not in use. For someone who doesn’t want to compromise on the dimensions or the size, this is a great fit!
Overall Build and Size: The Voyage Air is a full-sized acoustic dreadnought guitar. The body is made from mahogany as are the back and the sides and has a single-ply laminate spruce top with bracing. The fingerboard and the bridge are crafted from laurel – a soft-colored, brown wood that is almost identical to rosewood. It has a high-gloss protective finish which gives it a soft look. The foldable neck-hinge has been tested under pressure and is very dependable. The build of the guitar is quite sturdy, no matter how strange it might seem to fold and unfold the guitar each time. The only thing to keep in mind is that the strings need to be slackened off before folding!
Overall Sound Quality: Despite being a travel guitar, the Voyage Air is a full-sized acoustic guitar with a full, rich sound and a good deal of projection. The full-scale fretboard offers comfortable playability and adapts to any playing style, be it fingerpicking or strumming.
Body and Neck Wood: The body and the neck are both crafted from mahogany as are the sides and the back. The top is made from a single-ply laminate spruce which can be a letdown for some people. The fretboard is made from laurel as is the bridge on the guitar.
- Foldable design for better storage and transport
- Full-size guitar that can be easily carried around
- Mahogany and spruce laminate body
- Full, rich sound like a regular sized acoustic guitar
15. Cordoba Mini II M, Mahogany, Small Body, Nylon String
|Length||Layered Mahogany top, back and sides|
My Review: The Cordoba Mini II MH travel guitar is a handsome ½ size guitar. Whether it be an impromptu performance or a relaxed practice session while camping, you won’t hesitate to bust out this beauty. It has a delightfully warm, full, well-balanced tone that seems more like a guitar than a ukulele. The Cordoba Mini II Mahogany is a beauty that ticks all the right boxes in looks, sound quality, playability as well as price!
Overall Build and Size: The small body of the Cordoba makes this an ideal choice for a travel guitar. Being a ½ sized guitar, it is easier to carry along on trips than other bigger guitars. The satin polyurethane finish gives it a more sophisticated look than other guitars in this category. Despite a slightly cramped scale at 22.8”, the guitar tunes perfectly to a standard E and the fingerboard offers overall comfortable playability. Guitar players who have slightly smaller hands will certainly find this to be a more manageable instrument than a full-sized acoustic guitar. The build of this guitar speaks of quality and a solid body that can take the pain of travel.
Overall Sound Quality: The Cordoba Mini II promises to sound more like a full-sized guitar than a ukulele – and delivers! It has a nuanced, full-bodied tone that is mellow and full of warmth. Compared to some other travel guitars, this one has a deeper body that projects the sound well. Even though it isn’t particularly loud, it has enough volume for a lonesome practice session or small, intimate performances.
Body and Neck Wood: The layered mahogany body and neck, and the Morado fretboard (with 19 frets) are instant visual hooks that draw you to this little fellow. There is a single action truss rod inside the neck. Even though this guitar doesn’t feature a full-size scale, the fretboard offers good playability and is easy to adapt to.
- Layered mahogany body and satin finish
- ½ sized guitar easy to carry along
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Warm, full tonality
- Pocket-friendly price
- Ideal for kids and players with smaller hands
16. Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Acoustic-Electric Travel Guitar
|Body||Maple wood, Eastern American Hard Maple back|
|Neck||Maple wood Fingerboard: Ebony|
My Review: The Traveler Ultra-Light Acoustic-Electric is marketed as the smallest, lightest full-scale travel guitar on the market, and it certainly delivers on all these counts. The compact design of the guitar without a headstock is unique, yet offers a full-scale playing experience that one gets on a full-sized acoustic. The piezo pickup delivers a bright acoustic sound when plugged into an amplifier. Despite being a higher-priced guitar, the Traveler Ultra-light Acoustic-Electric Travel Guitar is certainly worth a try.
Overall Build and Size: This Traveler Ultra-light guitar really lives up to its name. Weighing in at only 3 pounds, it is one of the lightest travel guitars on the market. At only 24 ¾”, it can even fit into some suitcases and is easy to carry around. Made from a single piece of maple wood with a regular-sized fingerboard made from ebony wood, it comes with an adjustable truss rod. Despite the guitar’s shape, the detachable lap-rest makes it comfortable to play sitting down, although the different designs might take some getting used to. The overall build is quite sturdy and can easily be taken along on your travels and even stowed in the overhead bin on a flight, thanks to its detachable lap-rest. The range of satin finishes it comes in allows you to choose the color you feel the most comfortable with.
Overall Sound Quality: This Traveler guitar comes with a ¼” jack socket and a built-in acoustic piezo pickup which can be used to amplify its sound. The piezo pickup gives it a bright, crisp tone once plugged into an amplifier. This one is a silent guitar and only finds its voice through an amplifier. Given this little fact, it can’t be used to strum a few chords around a campfire but can come in handy when looking to practice quietly. It is also well-suited to live performances where there is an amplification set up at hand.
Body and Neck Wood: The body and neck of the guitar are crafted from a single piece of Eastern American Hard Maple. The full-size fingerboard is made from ebony wood and has 22 frets which are easy to adapt to from a conventional acoustic guitar. The satin finish on top gives it a smooth, hand-friendly feel while playing.
- Extremely compact build
- In-body tuning system
- Bright, crisp, articulate sound
- Piezo pickup for amplification
17. Washburn RO10 Rover Steel String Travel Acoustic Guitar
|Body||Spruce wood top, Mahogany body, back and sides|
My Review: Washburn guitars have been consistently delivering guitars crafted with extreme care and quality since the 1880s. The Washburn RO10 Rover features a mahogany wood body, back and sides, a solid spruce top, and a full-size neck which makes for good playability. This guitar produces a sound that emphasizes the treble without being too loud or resonant, which makes it suitable for different playing styles – whether flat-picking or playing finger-style
Overall Build and Size: The Washburn Rover is a visually appealing 33.5” long acoustic guitar, with a beautiful mahogany body and a solid spruce top which enhances its look and overall feel. It has a rosewood fingerboard and a full-size neck which feels like a regular-sized guitar and needs no time to get used to. The fingerboard also makes for good playability. The overall build of the guitar is sturdy and robust and makes for a good, albeit heavier travel guitar. The Washburn is available in a natural finish as well as a blue finish. The deluxe gig bag, included with the instrument, makes sure that no harm comes to the guitar when carrying it around with you.
Overall Sound Quality: The Washburn isn’t made to produce a loud sound, but taking into account its compact size, the sound is quite impressive, if a little more treble-y than usual. For a travel guitar with a full-size neck, the Washburn RO10 Rover lives up to its potential.
Body and Neck Wood: The Washburn is made from a mahogany body and the fretboard is crafted from rosewood. The solid spruce top gives the guitar a nice resonance, although the wood used and the full-sized fretboard makes the guitar a tad heavier than expected.
- Robust, well-built guitar
- Full-sized neck
- Solid spruce top
- Versatile, good playability for multiple playing styles
- Moderately priced
Choosing the Right Travel Guitar (Buying Guide)
Adding a travel guitar to your collection means you can take your 6-string pal along on road trips without a worry. And as you can see from our top 17 list, there are several great options to choose from. What matters is that you pick a type of guitar that you’d prefer – be it playability, size, or tone quality. If you ask us, then our pick for the travel guitar with the most impressive sound quality would be the Baby Taylor BT1 for acoustic and the Travelcaster Deluxe for electric. Be it an intimate impromptu gig or a long road trip, this beauty sounds like a dream and is so compact to travel with.
If you ask us for a great affordable option for a 3/4 travel guitar, then the Yamaha JR1 FG Junior 3/4 Size Acoustic is worth exploring for those on a budget. Finally, for those looking to strike a balance between the top of the line quality as well as not spend a bomb then you should check out the Washburn RO10 Rover Steel String. At the end of the day, it’s all about having fun and having a portable companion that gives you the freedom to strum along wherever you are. We hope this list gave you all the information you need to take your pick. Bon voyage!
What Is a Travel Guitar?
Simply put, travel guitars or travel-sized guitars are a more compact, lighter version of a full-sized guitar. You’ll find both acoustic travel guitars and electric variants in the market, depending on your needs.
Most travel guitars have the same or almost the same scale length (distance between the nut and the guitar’s bridge) as regular guitars so that you get a more compact guitar without compromising the playability of the instrument. On the other hand, you also have travel guitar options that have 3/4, 1/2, or even 1/4 scale length as full-size guitars.
Travel guitars have smaller body and neck, which makes them lighter and easier to carry with you wherever you go – be it a month-long cross-country tour, a weekend road trip, or even a backpacking hike to the mountains!
Why Should You Buy a Travel Guitar
Whether you’re a hobby guitarist or an experienced player, there are so many good reasons to get yourself a travel guitar either way. Here are a few for you to go through:
- Light & Portable: Travel guitars are far easier and hassle-free to carry with you when traveling. This is thanks to their compact size and lightweight that lets them easily fit on flights or a vehicle.
- Great Backup Option: they work great as a backup guitar for musicians who don’t want to take their primary guitars on a trip where they’ll be roughing it out.
- Strum On the Road: Inspiration can strike a musician anytime, especially when you’re traveling! Having a travel guitar lets you flesh out your song ideas as and when you think them up – even when you’re out on the road or on vacation.
- Take Up Less Space: If you’re packing up your van for a long road trip, you’ll find that travel guitars take up far lesser space than traditional guitars do, freeing up more storage space for other things that you’d want to carry along.
What to Look For In A Travel Guitar
With several options for travel guitars available in the market, it’s crucial to know what to look for when sizing each option up. Here are the key features you should consider when comparing travel guitars and making your decision:
Full-sized scale-length vs. Reduced Scale Length
Many travel guitars come with a full-size or almost full-size scale length (around 25.5 inches). When making such travel guitars, the manufacturers choose to make them compact by reducing the size of the guitar’s body, instead of the fretboard size or length. These guitars feel like you’re almost playing a regular guitar, just more compact and more portable.
On the other hand, you also find one-half (1/2), three-quarters (3/4), or even as small as one-quarter (1/4) sized guitars. These have smaller fretboards than regular guitars. So consider the scale length you’ll be comfortable playing on when taking your pick.
Even amongst travel guitars, you will find options of all sizes to choose from. While some travel guitars are only slightly smaller than full-size guitars, others are extremely compact. Most full-size guitars are 38 inches in their overall size.
On the other hand, travel guitars So do consider how compact a guitar you’re looking for and look at the measurements when taking your pick.
As you already might know, the wood used in the guitar’s construction affects its tone and sound quality. Woods like Maple, Spruce, Sitka Spruce, and Rosewood produce a bright, higher, slightly treble-heavy tone and sound.
On the other hand, woods like Mahogany and Koa have a richer, warmer tone that is mid to low-range in its character. So it’s all about deciding what type of sound works best for your playing and style, and going with it.
Quality of Wood Used
As is the case with full-size guitars, do consider the type of body, neck, and fretboard wood used on your potential travel guitar. The better the quality of wood used, the sweeter and richer the sound and the more durable the construction. You can choose from a wide variety of woods such as mahogany, maple, spruce, walnut, and more, depending on the look and sound you prefer.
Overall Shape and Design
Travel-friendly guitars come in a wide variety of shapes and designs. Some travel guitars are more compact versions of the classic shapes like a dreadnought, concert, or auditorium style guitars. However, you will also find extremely futuristic and innovatively-designed travel guitars as well, that are foldable, triangular-shaped, and even ones with barely any guitar body!
I know of buddies that would love a triangular-shaped travel guitar, but also know a few who wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing! So it’s all a matter of personal taste. This is why it’s important to see the shape and design that you will be comfortable playing with and carrying, and choosing accordingly.
Last but never least, it’s a good idea to have a budget in mind when browsing through options. Travel guitars are available in a wide price range – from affordable, budget-friendly options under $200, mid-range options between $200 to $400, and higher-end travel guitars that are in the $400 plus range.
Do make it a point to check the features and wood quality that you’re being offered at any price point. While very low-priced travel guitars may seem enticing at first, you may end up shelling out more in its repairs in case the instrument is not well-built. So it’s important to pick an option that is value for money, no matter its price.
My name is Chris and I’ve had a passion for music and guitars for as long as I can remember. I started this website with some of my friends who are musicians, music teachers, gear heads, and music enthusiasts so we could provide high-quality guitar and music-related content.
I’ve been playing guitar since I was 13 years old and am an avid collector. Amps, pedals, guitars, bass, drums, microphones, studio, and recording gear, I love it all.
I was born and raised in Western Pennsylvania. My background is in Electrical Engineering, earning a Bachelor’s degree from Youngstown State University. With my engineering experience, I’ve developed as a designer of guitar amplifiers and effects. A true passion of mine, I’ve designed, built, and repaired a wide range of guitar amps and electronics. Here at the Guitar Lobby, our aim is to share our passion for Music and gear with the rest of the music community.