On top of scratches and scuffs, life on the road can prove challenging for a guitar. Constant humidity changes are hard on the tonewoods, finish and electronics of your guitar. Whether you are going off on an extended global adventure or simply heading out of town for the weekend, the details of the travel acoustic guitars outlined below will provide a good idea of which instrument is worth taking along on your next voyage:
Top Travel Acoustic Guitars
Traveler Guitar AG-200EQ
Selling for approximately $500, the Traveler Guitar AG-200EQ is among the leading players in its class. This is because they are specialists in innovative, lightweight and compact travel guitars. The AG-200EQ is modeled after a traditional, non-cutaway acoustic guitar. Notwithstanding its compactness, it delivers a full-sized playing experience and has a 25.5-inch scale length. Its glossy mahogany neck, with its 20 jumbo frets and ebonized rosewood fretboard, makes playing easier. The back and sides of the guitar are crafted from laminated mahogany and its solid spruce top has a revised traditional bracing pattern. It feels durable, looks good and is easy to store while traveling.
• Modified Traditional Bracing pattern designed for increased presence and volume
• Shortest available full-scale acoustic travel guitar
• Uses standard guitar strings
• Built-in tuner
• 1/8 Aux-in jack enables play along with tracks from a music device. Additionally, the signal can be routed into a mixer or an amp.
• Includes a deluxe gig bag
Pros and Cons
• Its preamp enhances fuller sound
• The guitar is fitted with truss rods that are adjustable.
• It has no headstock so it’s lightweight
• It is quite durable
• Available with standard ⅛-inch jack for output of sound and ¼-inch jack for input
• Gloss finish is vulnerable to scratches and smudges
• Does not come with a pickguard
Yamaha JR1 FG Junior
Selling for roughly $135, the Yamaha JR1 is essentially a ¾ size guitar designed to satisfy travel needs. Its small, portable size makes carrying it around easy and it is quite convenient for traveling. Additionally, the carefully selected woods and its overall design make it a beauty to behold. Unlike most small guitars, the JR1 has a good and ample sound. It is also easily tuned and constant tuning is not required to keep the sound in check.
• Good sound
• Nice look
• Gig bag
• Steel strings
• Portable size
Pros and Cons
• The steel strings last longer as they don’t break easily
• The size of the body and neck is ideal for smaller hands
• Compact design
• The gig bag is ideal for transportation and storage
• Steel strings may cause callouses and could be a bit challenging for kids
• Fret Space could be close fitting and challenging to play, particularly for big fingers
Selling for about $330, this little guitar is ideal for young apprentices. It is adequately small to be used by children comfortably. Additionally, there is no need to worry about its safety as the sturdy bag it comes with will safeguard it during travel and storage.
Left-handed and right-handed guitarists alike can use this guitar. Therefore, there’s no need for the guitar to be re-adapted for left-handed players. A high-pressure laminate material is used to make The Martin LMX. The lightweight body is also not vulnerable to moisture or heat that causes other materials to warp.
It comes with a multipurpose, well-padded gig bag to safeguard the guitar. The big pocket at the front provides additional storage for personal effects and accessories. This makes it easier to carry around the guitar, especially since the bag has backpack straps for added convenience.
• High-quality wood finish
• Weatherproof body
Pros and Cons
• Tremendously weather resistant
• Has a first-rate wood finish
• It can be safely transported in the included well-padded gig bag
• Different color options
• It goes out of tune easily and constantly requires tuning
Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light
Costing around $300, the Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light is rated as the best available mini acoustic guitar. It is very compact and quite portable to travel with, weighing less than 4 pounds and measuring just 30 inches.
Notwithstanding its miniature size, its scale length is the same as the full-scale, standard guitar. Therefore, it delivers the same experience as playing a full-size guitar. The lap rest can be detached to make the instrument even narrower, making it fit easily in overhead storage.
• Detachable lap rest
Pros and Cons
• Its strings are easily replaceable
• Lightweight and easily to carry around
• It has jack ports for sound input and output
• Its medium frets are durable
• Some people find it costly
• Pickup sound tends to be noisy
Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy
Selling for roughly $170, the Gretsch G9500 made the list largely because of its ‘twangy’ vibe that transports it to the next level. Additionally, it features a set of components that are distinct from several of its counterparts. The guitar has amazed many users with its combination of affordable pricing and impressive sound quality.
Its body is made entirely of agathis, with a smooth white rosette and an X-bracing. It has a matte sunburst finish that goes from dark brown to black. It is remarkably contrasted a white Gretsch pick-guard.
• 12-inch radius rosewood fingerboard
• 24-inch scale neck
• Semi-gloss Sunburst finish
Pros and Cons
• Impressive tone and volume
• Decent style and playability
• Awesome attention to detail
• Material is not especially durable
• It feels boxy and a bit cheap
Priced at approximately $650, this guitar has the unique twist of being silent. This electro-acoustic, steel-string instrument is designed with a detachable rosewood and maple frame. Its solid mahogany body extends from its satin-finished mahogany neck. The Yamaha SLG200S feels light yet very comfortable to play. Its generous single cutaway allows easy access to the 22 frets located on its rosewood fretboard.
The guitar features versatile controls that include an integrated effects rotary control, with chorus and reverb. It sounds impressive with the built-in headphone socket or through an acoustic amp.
• Mahogany neck and body
• Ssatin finish
• Rosewood fretboard
• 22 medium frets
• 25-inch scale and 15¾-inc radius
Pros and Cons
• Sounds outstanding through a PA
• Plays beautifully
• Packs down
• Crafty electronics
• Its look is not cohesive
Martin Steel String Backpacker
Selling for roughly $200, you shouldn’t allow yourself to be fooled by the compact size of the Martin Steel String Backpacker. With its braced, solid tonewood top and solid mahogany back, neck and sides, this cool little number delivers a surprisingly huge projection. It is designed to endure the harshness of hiking, camping and air and off-road travel. It comes with first-class chrome-enclosed tuners, includes padded gig bag and weighs under 2 ½ pounds.
• Mahogany neck, sides and back
• Solid spruce top
• 24-inch scale length
• Exceptional contour neck shape
• It has 15 Frets
Pros and Cons
• Great sound
• Compact and easy to carry
• Enclosed chrome tuners
• Padded gig bag included
• Some users find it heavy
• It twists while being played
Priced at roughly $200, the Washburn Rover is fairly inexpensive in comparison to some of others on this list. This super travel-friendly acoustic guitar has a full-sized neck and a tiny body that enables you to jam out wherever you go. It also retains the sound and look of a real full-sized guitar.
Its tiny dimensions ensure that it can be stored just about anywhere – places like the overhead compartment of an airplane, a school locker or the trunk of your car. Its full-size 24-inch scale length ensures your playing will not be hindered in any way. Attached at its 15th fret, the satin-finished mahogany neck has 17 full frets and the rosewood fretboard. On the treble side, there are 3 additional frets. The body design makes them easily accessible. When using a strap, it is comfortable to hold, otherwise it’s a bit awkward; however, it is fun to play with the neck.
• Solid spruce top
• Quarter-sawn scalloped bracing
• Smooth matte finish
• The back and sides are made from laminated mahogany
Pros and Cons
• Lightweight yet robust
• It is available in blue, black, red and natural
• Easy to store
• The tone could be fuller
• Awkward to play without a strap
Things to Consider when Buying a Travel Guitar
When picking the best travel acoustic guitar, there are many factors that should be considered. Below are some things to think about when buying a travel guitar:
Your travel guitar must be able to withstand a certain level of abuse. While it is still important to exercise care, there should be relatively few problems when you take it on trips. Since you can’t test its durability beforehand, read lots of online reviews and decide accordingly.
Sound quality should also be a major factor in the type of guitar you ultimately buy. Typically, travel acoustic guitars come with output jacks and preamps to amplify sound.
You will be wasting money if you buy a guitar that is horrible to play. Therefore, you should ‘test drive’ the guitar. There are adjustments that can be made to make the guitar more playable; however, you should ensure you enjoy playing it before finalizing the sale.
Most travel guitars are made from solid spruce or laminate, unlike the solid wood typically used to make full-scale guitars. Ideally, you should go for a solid-top guitar that will produce the best sound. A laminate body will have the capacity to endure weather extremities.
Ensure that the guitar you ultimately purchase fits in a price range that falls within your budget. It is also important that you get the best quality guitar within that price range. User reviews will also be a big help with this category.
• Manageable Size
Obviously, size is a vital consideration as it relates to travel guitars. If it is awkwardly made or too big, it defeats the whole purpose of buying one. A manageable, lightweight guitar is essential, regardless of your mode of travel.
• Carrying Case
A carrying case is vital to ensure your guitar will remain safe while you travel.
When it comes to travel acoustic guitars, the top brands include renowned manufactures like Traveler, Martin, and Yamaha.
Travel Guitar Accessories
• Guitar Stand
Any model of travel acoustic guitars can be safely cradled in a stand. Additionally, it can be folded, slipped into the included case and taken along for the ride.
• Battery Powered Amps
Battery Powered Mini-Amps allow you to use the inbuilt speaker or plug in headphones to play at high or low volumes. Depending on the amp, a variety of effects and tones can be accessed.
• Headphone Amps
These will allow you to jam just about anywhere.
• Noise Cancelling Headphones
While any headphone can work decently when jamming out in a hotel room, noise-canceling headphones make air travel way more bearable.
• Locking Tuners
These improve tuning stability and make string changes easy.
• Guitar Straps
Lightweight and padded for comfort, a strap makes guitar playing very comfortable.
With travel acoustic guitars, it is easy to take along your music everywhere you venture. Whether you are touring with your band, venturing off the beaten path or travelling to a special destination, one of these guitars will have you constantly jamming all across the globe. Their versatility makes them ideal for beginners, practical musicians, players with a desire to travel and pretty much everybody in between.