Oh yeah! Time to take your show on the road.
If you’re in the market for a travel guitar (whether a travel acoustic guitar or travel electric guitar) I’ve got you covered….
…especially if you’re trying to save some money.
So, here are my travel guitar reviews….
Best Travel Acoustic Guitar
Decent travel acoustic guitars are tough to find at cheap prices.
Decent travel acoustic guitars are tough to find in general.
In fact – I’m not a big fan of “travel guitars”.
But I am a fan of traveling with a guitar.
So rather than buy an actual travel guitar – I prefer smaller sized guitars (sometimes even kids guitars) or a larger sized ukulele (if I’m really tight on travel space).
So what should you get?
In order of size, here’s what I suggest.
Ok… so this isn’t actually a travel guitar: it’s a Parlor Guitar.
What is a parlor guitar?
Parlor guitars were most popular in the late 19th and early 20th century.
These guitars were typically used in American folk and blues.
They have a midrange tone and not a whole lot of bass.
This Ibanez model is 42″ long and 16″ wide.
By comparison, a standard dreadnaught guitar is 43 x 17 inches.
So you’re really not saving too much space, but then again – no one said that this is actually a travel guitar.
Regardless, I like it a lot if you’re tight on space but still want a full guitar kind of sound.
Child Sized Guitar (3/4 Guitar)
This is probably my favorite guitar for travel.
Yeah I know it’s a guitar designed for kids.
But it’s small.
It plays nicely.
And it’s cheap.
I don’t mind taking this with me on vacation.
I don’t mind if it gets dinged up a little bit… again it’s small and cheap.
And since it’s cheap… if something happens to it (or I lose it) while traveling… no big deal.
It doesn’t sound as nice as a parlor guitar… but I’m ok with that.
As for its size: 35.5 x 16.2 inches.
It’s significantly shorter and thinner (hence the slightly sacrificed sound quality).
But since it’s still 16″ thick (almost as thick as a normal sized guitar), the resonance remains and we still get a pretty good sound out of it.
When I’m traveling with a guitar I want it to sound nice, play nice, and I don’t want to worry about damaging or losing it. This guitar covers all of those bases.
Now we’re getting smaller.
If the child sized guitar is too big… you may want to consider a ukulele.
A baritone ukulele will basically sound like a classical guitar…. but you only play the bottom four strings.
The tuning on a baritone uke is essentially the same as the bottom four strings of a guitar.
This means that you can pretty much play your chords, melodies, and/or scales without having to learn any new information…. pretty cool.
But again… it’s small and it’s got nylon strings. It will sound halfway between a ukulele and a guitar.
As for its size: 32 x 12 inches.
It’s not much shorter than the kids guitar. Significantly thinner though.
Remember, as the instrument gets smaller it will start to feel less and less like a guitar.
This ukulele will feel like a tiny guitar. If you’re cool with that… go for it.
Mini Travel Acoustic Guitar
This is a weird one.
It’s smaller than a baritone ukulele.
But it has six strings like a guitar.
It sounds like a ukulele.
It’s tuned like a ukulele… except for the two additional strings.
In other words… it’s basically a Tenor Ukulele with two additional strings.
If you want to get an idea of what this will sound like, put a capo on the fifth fret of a classical guitar.
That’s what this sounds like (though probably a bit thinner sounding due to the size).
Speaking of its size: 30.5 x 10 inches.
It will not feel like a guitar when you hold it… but you can play it like a guitar.
However: Keep in mind that the alternate tuning of this instrument means that you can use your normal guitar chord shapes…. but they won’t be the same chord.
For example: If you use a traditional open G chord shape (as played on a guitar), it will actually be a C chord due to the change in tuning.
Not a big deal… just something to remember.
Ok… this is a ukulele.
It’s tuned like a ukulele.
It has four strings.
It is not a guitar.
But it’s small.
Size: 24 x 10 inches
The only reason I included this is because I own it and love it.
If you need to go super small, go with this ukulele.
Travel Acoustic Guitars to Avoid
Martin Travel Guitar
The most popular travel acoustic guitar is probably the Martin Travel Guitar.
Often known as the backpacker guitar.
I’m not a fan.
I mean… look at it.
It doesn’t look like a guitar.
I’m not a fan of the sound either.
I don’t expect a full sound out of a travel guitar, but the Martin sounds thin and tinny, which (for the price) doesn’t make it worthwhile in my opinion.
Additionally because of the unique shape, you really need to wear a strap (even when sitting down) while playing this guitar.
Again… and inconvenience that I don’t want to deal with…. maybe I’m being too picky.
Martin makes great guitars.
Martin makes some of the best guitars in the world.
But I can’t recommend their travel guitar.
It’s certainly not the worst… but you can probably do better with any of the suggestions above.
I’d also suggest that you avoid Soprano Ukuleles.
These are what we think of when we think of ukuleles.
They are tiny.
I mean super tiny.
By no means will they be a substitute for a guitar.
They have their place – and can be fun – but they won’t scratch that guitar itch.
That’s it! Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions in the comments below!