Playing the guitar is a wonderful experience, and when concerts, rehearsals and other events show up, you can already think about a career in music. But traveling requires comfort and portability, and these features do not necessarily go hand in hand with sound quality, or do they?
Professional guitars are usually huge and heavy, almost impossible to carry around if you are not traveling in a tour bus and you do not have your own jet, but that is precisely why travel guitars were invented: to answer your playability needs in a compact lightweight design.
Yes, there are some amazing travel guitars out there, you just have to decide on what it is that you really need, check various features and prices and compare them, and, finally, name your choice. What matters to you more: sound quality, portability or price? What type of guitar do you prefer: electric, acoustic, bass?
We did the research for you, and in the following lines, you will find top quality and budget friendly suggestions for each of the guitar categories identified above. Traveler Guitar, Martin Steel String, Blackbird, Cordoba, Washburn, Luna Muse, Yamaha or SoloEtte are just some of the brands that should pull your strings on your search for the best travel guitar of 2016.
Best Sounding Travel Guitar
If you are not willing to sacrifice sound quality for portability, you may want to consider the Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Acoustic-Electric Travel Guitar. It is compact, cleverly built and lightweight, but, what matters the most, delivers amazing sound through its standard output of 1/4 inch and under-saddle piezo pickup.
A more budget friendly option, but still reliable in terms of sound quality would be the Martin Steel String Backpacker Travel Guitar. With its unique looks and excellent sound, it replaced standard guitars for many amateur and professional players, impressing them with tonewood sides and back solid spruce top, and uniquely contoured neck shape. The six strings, 24-inch long scale 15 hardwood fretboard help it stand out among most travel guitars in its category.
Best Traveling Travel Guitar
Besides sound quality, when on the road at all times, you want light weight and compact design, you want a guitar that you can take with you on a plane or carry around for hours on end. If you also want style, innovation and originality, you will love the Blackbird Rider, with its sleek irresistible and indestructible carbon fiber body. It is meant to be plaid outdoors, judging by its impressive 24.5″ scale acoustics and its sturdy design, but it will do great in any environment, as long as you can afford it.
If it exceeds your budget, do not despair. There are other more affordable options available, like the Cordoba Mini O, ingeniously combining portability and light weight with the performances of a full size guitar with nylon strings. You will love the ovangkol top, back and sides and its comfortable, thin U-shaped neck.
Best Budget Travel Guitar
As a passion, music can be quite costly and, unless you know you can recover your investment, you may want to stick to more affordable options. Luckily, you have quite a few options. Maybe the most attractive of them is the Washburn Rover Travel Guitar. Despite its small size, it plays like a professional acoustic guitar, allowing for impressive projection and volume.
Even lower on the price scale, there is the Luna Muse Safari Travel Acoustic Guitar, a typical 3/4 guitar with unique satin finish, obvious attention to details and valuable aesthetic elements like the impressive inlay moons and the Celtic sound hole and the unique waxing and waning inlay moons of the 19th fret. Maybe its most valuable feature is the baritone warmth that other guitars in this price range surely miss.
Best Electric Travel Guitar
If you are after a compact but reliable electric guitar, the Traveler Guitar Speedster v2 Electric Guitar should definitely get to you with its playability, light weight and compact profile, brought to life by a built-in headphone amplifier. You will fall in love with its modern elegant design, faultless performance and coil split functionality of the dual rail humbuckers with high output.
Not very far in terms of performance and elegant design, but much more affordable than the Speedster, the Hofner Shorty Travel Guitar has been writing history in the field of travel electric guitars and promises to continue on the same path in 2016 as well. You can expect a 24.7″ scale length with 18th fret joint and an open humbucker producing tones usually achieved only by bigger and costlier guitars.
Best Acoustic Travel Guitar
A brand made famous by names like Billy Cox, Vern Tejas, Traveler Guitar has conquered the travel acoustic guitars market with the Traveler Guitar AG-200EQ‘s compact shape and standard playability, made possible by the streamlined tuning system, which eliminates the need for the headstock and drastically shortens overall length. It balances sounds well and provides enough volume, incorporating a custom Shadow preamp.
Your next best choice of acoustic travel guitar would be the Yamaha JR1. With a classic but attractive and elegant look, it makes an excellent choice in terms of craftsmanship and value for money.
Best Travel Bass Guitar
When it comes to travel bass guitars, the old and small but mighty SoloEtte Lil Thumper is a solid choice. With its simplicity and impeccable execution the Lil Thumper still rules its market niche. Its flexibility and usability derive from the 27-inch length scale and 3½-pound weight, while seasoned players instantly fall for its lower octave classical strings and mysterious pickup. However, all these features make it a little pricy, so, if your budget is limited, do not hesitate to look around a little more.
At almost half of the Lil Thumper’s price, you will come across the Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Bass, an affordable and satisfactory choice that has gained a lot of appreciation for its light weight of just 3 pounds and 6 ounces, compact size of only 33 ¾” and comfortable 30” length scale. You can plug it in directly into your effects processor or amplifier and get great performance range.Published in