Top 5 Best Travel Guitars 2020:
- Luna Safari Muse Travel Acoustic Guitar
- Fender CT-60S Acoustic Guitar
- Martin Steel Backpacker Guitar
- EG-1 Custom Electric Travel Guitar
- Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Acoustic-Electric Guitar
You have checked all the essentials on the packing list – passport, money, cell phone charger, sunglasses, clothing items…
If you’re a musician, there is one more thing to check – the travel guitar.
Unbelievable as it sounds, it is still possible to bring your guitar on a flight, train, or a bus, and play it in any place you go to without dragging the 5 kg of your acoustic guitar with you.
You can be carefree about whether it would get damaged, stolen, or simply whether it would fit the overhead compartment of your plane.
That’s why we’ve scoured the market and compiled our choice of the five best travel guitars out there.
Before we begin, we want to emphasize that there are as many categories of travel guitars as there are different kinds of musicians.
You may want to get yourself a new traveling companion as a professional musician and earn money on vacation, or you want to be able to hike and camp enjoying the perfect notes. Of course, you can also enjoy the benefit of carrying a compact guitar around your city.
So, before you read the actual reviews, navigate through the types of travel guitars so that you can get in tune with the options!
Factors To Consider When Buying A Travel Guitar
We’ve boiled down everything you need to know about travel guitars, and we find the following criteria the most important for your purchase:
- You want your travel guitar to be portable and easy to store, so size is probably the essential factor when it comes to this instrument.
- There are different options for the size of the travel guitars, ranging from 3/4 of the standard guitar size to extra-small guitars that you can fit wherever you want.
- Despite the drawbacks that come with the smaller size of guitars, such as the short scale length, and lower quality of sound, we’ll assist you in finding the one that won’t come at the expense of quality.
There are several shapes of the body to choose from, which will affect the properties of the sound it produces.
- “Dreadnought” – the well-known guitar archetype, named after a battleship, it has wide lines and a bigger cavity, which allows it to produce the greatest range of frequencies of a balanced sound. You can’t go wrong with this prototypal shape, and most of the guitars we chose are this shape.
- “Jumbo” – this type of guitars is characterized by the biggest cavity, and an irregular rounded shape. Generally, this shape means that the sound will be louder, and it is excellent for bass.
- Miscellaneous – as you will see, the travel guitars cannot always be simply classified into one of these two main groups, and there are many variations (some of them quite innovative), but we’ll always investigate them for you.
There are two main types of travel guitars (just like with full-size guitars):
- Acoustic – It is best to master the chords and scales on the acoustic guitar, as it provides a clear sound. Furthermore, for our matter, traveling, it is more portable as it only requires a bag to be carried around. The only con is that strings can hurt your fingers sometimes, but I’m sure most of you are pros who are accustomed to this.
- Electric – These guitars are easier to play, due to the lighter press on the strings needed, so you can play longer without getting tired. The beginners often opt for this kind because amplified sound can cover the mistakes. However, there are two cons: they are more expensive, and you need to carry around additional equipment (though we chose options that can also be played with headphones).
This factor is important due to the different quality of sound when it travels through different materials.
Our absolute favorite is wood, as the sound moves through it at an incredible speed.
It is not enough to say “wood”, however, as there are also sub-types that are the best for your guitar. Certain types provide better sound, some of them belonging to rare kinds of wood, which can result in a higher price.
Keep in mind that this is only relevant if you opt for the acoustic travel guitar – with electric guitars, the significance of the type of wood is very small, simply because the sound does not result from the direct traveling through the wood, but from the components of the electric guitar.
The top 5 best tonewood for the guitars include:
5 Best Travel Guitars In 2020: Detailed Reviews
An average musician does not pick the travel guitar every day, so the list of factors was a must to prepare you for the real deal: choosing your travel guitar.
For this guide, we’ve collected our favorites after testing out most of the popular options on the market.
There is no particular arrangement of our top 5 picks, we just randomly presented them to you, making sure to highlight the pros and cons of each one.
Our first competitor for today is a real testament to the fact that it doesn’t cost a fortune to obtain an instrument that sounds great.
Luna Safari Travel Guitar is made of mahogany top, sides, and back with a satin finish that enhances the favorable impression, ending with beautifully designed Celtic etching around its hole.
It is a 3/4 size model (36 inches/90 cm long) and contains all of the key elements of a good travel guitar – quality material that will last, pleasing tone, and a good balance of sound volume, being louder than what would you expect with this size.
The number of strings is 6, and the guitar is dreadnought and ambidextrous.
A little tip I have for you to make the most out of this guitar: loosen the strings a bit after you get it to avoid the buzz it can make.
- The best budget option (other 3/4 models are almost double the price);
- Compatible with left and right hand;
- Nice design;
- Increased volume due to the dreadnought shape.
- The bag that comes with it is a bit unfortunate and bulky (you can always buy another one);
- sometimes there is a buzzing sound when playing;
- 36 inches might be too long for some traveling situations.
Some users stick to a reputable brand, and in the world of guitars, Fender is certainly at the top of the list, providing its users with products that equal classical style and exceptional quality.
Of course, this renewed brand has its diverse offer of travel guitars, and we picked CT-60S Acoustic Guitar for our top 5 because of its excellent performance and price.
The quality of the tonewood is standard; mahogany for the sides and back topped off with solid spruce account for the rich and clean tone.
It is somewhat smaller than a standard 3/4 size, being 23.5 inches (59 cm) long, and Fender has appropriately called it “Travel” body style.
This shape is what one would call “auditorium” – basically dreadnought, but with a slightly narrower middle part, therefore looking like a regular but smaller guitar.
The guitar will come with a fresh set of Fender’s Dura-Tone strings.
Who else loves the addictive feeling of new strings under your fingers?
Additionally, the scalloped X bracing means the strings will last longer.
Overall, this little brother of standard high-quality Fender acoustics and vintage looks has been paired up with compact body size to ensure this guitar would be a perfect companion for your trip.
- Easy to play;
- Great value for the price;
- Good sound;
- Durable parts;
- The nut of the guitar is made from plastic;
- Does not include a bag;
- There are some options that offer louder sound.
With this guitar, Martin has done away with the standard shapes, achieving a noticeably unique and travel-friendly playing experience, packed into a 24-inch scale and authentic design.
Undoubtedly, this guitar is one of the most revolutionary and brilliant ultra-light (0.90 kg) instruments!
Its shape reminds of a canoe paddle, or something similar – quite innovative and perhaps a little bit strange, but extremely practical and convenient.
Our test has shown that this shape allows the guitar to sit comfortably in your hands and that playing is an equally unique and pleasurable experience.
It is incredible how it is made from quality tonewoods (mahogany sides and the back, while the top is made from the wood of a spruce tree), and yet manages to be so lightweight. This combination results in great tunes and rich, clear and warm tones.
Although the components may seem simple, and one would expect a lower quality of the sound due to the small size, thanks to the materials and quality of the components, this guitar delivers a phenomenal performance.
Moreover, although the body of the guitar is smaller, the fret is the regular size, which means you won’t have to compromise on the level of your playing style. The strings are quality and easy to press.
What is best is that it comes at an excellent price for the value (honestly, we expected it to be a lot more expensive).
- Top-notch parts and tonewood;
- No buzzing noise;
- Extremely portable, as it can be stored pretty much anywhere;
- Comes with a great case;
- Resistant to all climates.
- Although we loved it, some users may find it hard to adjust to the unique shape of the guitar. Other than that, we found none!
Next up is the instrument that differs from all the previous options in that it is an electric guitar.
So, if you’re an enthusiast of the electric, amplified sound of this kind of guitars, consider this option as your traveling companion.
The EG-1 Custom guitar is a full scale (24 inches) guitar that contains the standard 1/4 (for the amp) audio output and the 1/8 output that allows you to plug in your phone and jam simultaneously with your favorite song.
What is innovative about this guitar is that it is equipped with a built-in headphone amplifier, meaning that you can play it immediately and without disturbing anyone if you are, for instance, at a long layover at the airport.
It brings the same feel and sound as a full-range electric guitar, and the sound and tunes are spot-on. And it weighs only around 1.9 kg (4 lbs)!
It doesn’t have a regular headstock (that’s why it is shorter), but it contains a built-in automatic tuner, the Shadow E-tuner, that automatically arranges the quality of your sound.
You have four tonal options: clean, boost, overdrive, distortion.
Last but not least, it is rather beautiful – elegant black body with a smooth gloss finish.
Overall, if you’re looking for a flexible electric guitar that offers you to practice and learn songs while listening to them, and later show what you’ve learned – all that while traveling – look no further.
- Versatile thanks to the additional features, will satisfy professional traveling musicians;
- It includes a nice gig bag with a shoulder strap.
- Strings feel somewhat harder to bend than with most electric guitars;
Our final option is another peculiar but rather fascinating and attention-worthy instrument.
For one, it is a combination of an acoustic and electric guitar. This means that the versatility of this guitar is packed into a 28-inch long body.
In all honesty, it resembles electric guitars more than the acoustic. The sound without the amplifier is not very loud; perhaps a bit louder that what would you expect with an electric guitar, but still not satisfying.
Next, its bold futuristic design does not mean the quality of the sound is altered.
It is shaped like a paddle, similarly to Martin’s Backpacker, but the sound is just as good, thanks to its maple base. And it can be fitted anywhere!
Again, it is smaller because it lacks a headstock, featuring in-body tuning instead, which is quite easy and intuitive to master.
Once you get used to its exterior and a specific playing style, you’ll be sure to draw attention to yourself with this excellent travel guitar.
It is not ambidextrous, but you can buy a variant with right and left-handed configuration. One of the reasons that it contains two versions is the position of the leg support, which can be inserted only on one side, depending on your choice.
We suggest that you buy it with a full kit, as you will add only a few bucks, and get the handy acoustic headphone amplifier, headphones, and a set of Traveler Guitar picks.
- Lightweight (around 2 lbs/0.9 kg);
- Clean but powerful sound;
- Nice bass;
- Excellent gig bad.
- Some musicians will have difficulty adjusting to the unusual shape;
- The label “acoustic” is not really justified.
Our Conclusion & Recommendation – Which Travel Guitar Should Make It To Your Packing List?
Finally, we want to give you our encore: the Martin Backpacker Guitar stands out as a perfect choice for your backpack international gigs.
For its price tag, this is definitely the most tempting option to buy.
We liked it for its charm, uniqueness, and above all, compactness – it can easily fit into any of your traveling adventures and pursues.
What is more, albeit its super-small size, it does not limit your playing experience and allows you to express all of your guitar-playing skills.
If you prefer electric guitars, your best choice for on-the-road gigs is the EG-1 Custom Electric Travel Guitar, with the amazing 4-channel built-in headphone amplifier and solid and durable body.
No matter which type of musician you are, we can attest that these two choices will serve you in all your endeavors!