Yesterday I reviewed and recommended the best travel acoustic guitars.
Today we’ll cover the best travel electric guitars.
Decent travel guitars are hard to find.
They often end up feeling awkward (Martin Backpacker… I’m talking about you).
But don’t worry.
There are actually some decent options out there if you’re thinking about taking your electric guitar with you on a road trip (or any kind of trip).
Here’s what I suggest:
Child Sized Guitar
If you’re looking to save money on a cheap travel guitar, I’d suggest first looking at a child sized (or 3/4 sized) guitar.
I usually recommend the Squier to all of my younger students.
With the three single coil pickups, they’re super versatile – just like a standard stratocaster.
They usually run about $100 so they’re very affordable.
Their low price is also nice in the event the guitar is lost or damaged during travel.
The downside to using a child sized guitar for travel purposes is the size.
Even though it’s not as large as a full sized electric guitar, it’s still larger than most travel guitars.
Size info: 44.5 x 14.5 inches
Weight: 11 lbs
That’s the size info from Amazon, the Fender website yields even less results. I’m guessing that it’s not really 44 inches long – probably closer to 35″. It’s hard to tell with Amazon as sometimes the size is actually the shipping size.
For those interested, the Squier Mini has a 22.5″ scale length compared to the 25.5″ scale length. When we’re talking about scale length we’re talking about the distance from the bridge to the nut.
Here’s what I mean:
It’s nice to know the scale length, but if I’m traveling I’d also like to know the actual size of the entire guitar.
A comparable guitar (size wise) is the Dean Playmate EVO Junior Solid Body Electric Guitar. I actually have one of these and measured.
Size info: 37 x 10 inches
Weight: 6 lbs
This Dean guitar is my go-to travel guitar. I recently took it with me on a family vacation to the beach. I packed it in soft gig bag and wedged it in my car with all of my other stuff.
It held up great, no scratches no damage and it was super fun to play while I was away.
If you have a larger budget and want a smaller guitar (that is a true travel guitar), here’s what I’d consider:
This is pretty close to a child sized guitar if only slightly smaller.
Size info: 33.5 x 10.5 inches
Weight: 5.3 lbs
Yes it’s about the same size as a child guitar, but it has a full 24.75″ scale. That means it will feel much like a standard guitar – just with a smaller body.
The other cool feature is the headphone jack.
You can plug your headphones in (no adapter needed) and choose from 4 different effects (clean, boost, overdrive, and distortion).
I love this aspect of it.
I don’t have to pull out my computer and run my guitar through Garage band. I don’t have to use an amp. I can just plug my headphones in and play.
This guitar is small and cheap.
It hits the mark between travel guitar and affordability.
It has a full scale length, so it should feel like a full sized guitar in that respect…. with a notable exception:
This thing is super thin.
You’ll probably need a strap to play it comfortably (even when sitting down).
It reminds me of an electric version of the Martin Backpacker (of which I am not a fan).
But it’s pretty cheap… so it may be worth it for you.
Size info: 30 x 8 inches
Weight: 6.5 lbs
Now this is a legit travel guitar.
Here are the specs:
Size info: 28 x 5.2 inches (when arm and lap rests are detached)
Weight: 4 lbs
As you can see: It’s super light, and super compact.
It has an arm rest and a lap rest. That means that you can sit comfortably with it and play (without the use of a guitar strap). These rests can be removed when traveling.
It has piezo pickups which – when plugged in – will give it an acoustic sound. However, anyone who has ever plugged in an acoustic-electric guitar will know what that this is a little misleading. It will sound clean and clear, but probably a bit thin and tinny as well.
On the other hand, the humbucker pickups on this guitar can be split to single coil which means there is versatility in the kind of electric guitar sound you can get.
Downside – no direct headphone plug-in like the SONIC L22 Travel Electric Guitar. I realize this isn’t standard, but it should be given the nature of the guitar (and given the price).
The other downside, the lap and arm rests are detachable (as opposed to stowable/foldable). This means you’re dealing with additional parts which can be frustrating when traveling especially if you’re prone to losing things like me (Author’s Note: On my last vacation I lost my only pair of eye glasses as well as my Kindle Fire Tablet… losing things is a concern of mine).
This is probably the most popular travel electric guitar, and given the specs it’s easy to see why.
Size info: 28 x 5.25 inches (with lap rest stowed)
Weight: 3 lbs
It’s very small and very light (despite having a full scale length).
It has a lap rest (but no arm rest). However the lap rest can be folded for easy portability.
I love the efficiency of the design, even if it looks a little weird.
Time Travel Guitar
If I had an extra few hundred dollars laying around (or if anyone wants to get me a really nice Christmas present) this would be the next guitar I buy.
I think there is some subconscious part of my brain that locked on to that scene where he stands in front of the gigantic speaker, with a metal pick, and hits those strings.
Such power out of such a tiny instrument.
Here are the specs:
Size info: 27.5 inches long (with a 19″ scale)
Weight: 4.25 lbs
That it! Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions in the comments below. I’d love to hear about your travel guitar experience!