The 7 Best Small Guitars for Traveling

 

The inspiration to create music can strike anywhere and at any time. As a musician, you want to be ready when that happens. Have you ever reached for your guitar to play a melody that is running through your head only to realize you don’t have it with you? The following best small travel guitars are designed to solve this problem.

If you’ve never owned a travel guitar you may be wondering how they differ from standard ones. We'll explain not only what a travel guitar is, but also the benefits of them and important features to consider when choosing your own acoustic or electric travel guitar.

Should you find that you need additional information before selecting the right travel guitar, we will attempt to help you weed through the choices available to you in 2021. We will highlight seven of the best travel guitars on the smaller side that are available on the market today.

What is a Travel Guitar?

Before you can decide if a travel guitar is the right investment for you, it’s important to first know what a travel guitar is. To put it simply, a travel guitar is designed to be taken anywhere. They are generally smaller and lighter than a traditional guitar and are made to be durable enough to simply grab the bag and go.

The sound quality associated with a travel guitar is different than that of a full-sized guitar. These traveling guitars are not designed for perfect sound or for recording. They are ideal for those situations that warrant playing for your own enjoyment or to bring a moment of inspiration to life.

The Benefits of the Best Small Travel and Mini-Guitars

The obvious benefit of a travel or mini-guitar is they are highly portable. Often, a travel guitar can be carried on the back while a full-sized guitar might be too bulky and heavy to carry in this manner. Travel guitars tend to be smaller than a traditional guitar making them better suited for use in small places such as hotel rooms, RVs, or tents. A travel-sized guitar allows you to enjoy playing virtually anywhere.

Important Electric or Acoustic Travel Guitar Features to Consider

When considering the purchase of a travel guitar, you should be aware that some of them are basically scaled-down versions of a traditional guitar. Others are completely redesigned for portability and look very different from your traditional guitar. These redesigned models are still highly playable, but you might find features moved or added to increase their portability. The main things to consider when choosing your own travel guitar are portability, durability, playability, sound quality, and price, basically the same considerations as buying a traditional guitar with portability being a top consideration.

Acoustic vs Electric

Many guitar players exclusively play either an acoustic or an electric guitar. Luckily, there are both acoustic and electric travel guitars available. Acoustic models, like their traditionally sized counterparts, do not require the use of an amp to be heard. If you anticipate an impromptu jam session with friends while traveling, an acoustic travel guitar is often better suited to those needs.

If you choose an electric model, you should remember that the sound coming from the instrument is muted without the addition of other equipment. Typically, you can use a personal set of headphones to amplify your sound for your own enjoyment. However, if you want to share your sound with the world, an amp is required for others to experience the full effect. There are lots of tiny portable guitar amps available just for this purpose.

 

 

Hofner Shorty Travel Guitar

The Hofner Shorty is an electric travel guitar that features a tiny body and a 24.7” scale length. It’s an affordable choice for those on a budget. The single humbucker gives the guitar an authentic electric sound, however, the tone does have its limits.

Why It's on the List

This budget-friendly favorite electric travel guitar has been in production since the 1980s.

Pros
  • Inexpensive electric travel guitar
  • Tiny body
  • 24.7" Scale length
Cons
  • Has tone limits

Amazon Price:

$189.99

Shop Now for a Hofner Shorty Travel Guitar

 

 

Martin Backpacker Travel Guitar

The Martin Backpacker is a 15 fret guitar that features a bell-shaped body. This guitar features a solid spruce top and solid mahogany back and sides. It’s designed to be lightweight and easily transported, however, it can be awkward to play while seated due to the contour of the body.

Why It’s on the List

This affordable guitar boasts the trusted Martin name and has been in production since 1992.

Pros
  • Unique shape
  • Lightweight
  • Trusted name
Cons
  • Awkward to play while seated
  • Only 15 frets

Amazon Price:

$228.00

Shop Now for a Martin Backpacker

 

 

Traveler Escape Mark III Travel Guitar

The tuning pegs of the Traveler Escape Mark III are within the body of the guitar eliminating the need for a headstock. Smaller and lighter than a traditional dreadnought design, this electro-acoustic guitar is strung in reverse and features extensive onboard electronics to give players the built-in tools they need.

Why It’s on the List

Onboard electronics provide players a familiar playing experience in a non-traditional design.

Pros
  • Extensive onboard electronics
  • Lighter than a traditional dreadnought
  • 25.5" Scale length
Cons
  • Non-traditional stringing
  • Tuning pegs inside the body

Amazon Price:

$499.99

Shop Now for a Traveler Escape Mark III

 

 

Steinberger Spirit GT-Pro Deluxe Guitar

The Steinberger Spirit GT-Pro Deluxe is not usually considered a travel guitar, but it’s size and shape qualify it for the distinction. The Spirit GT-Pro Deluxe features a headless neck-through design in conjunction with a small body. This guitar also features a fold-out leg rest.

Why It’s on the List

This guitar has a unique shape with a neck-through design.

Pros
  • Unique shape
  • Headless design
  • Full-size fretboard
Cons
  • Leg rest can be flimsy

Amazon Price:

$628.00

Shop Now for a Steinberger Spirit GT-Pro Deluxe

 

 

Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light

The Traveler Ultra-Light is an acoustic-electric guitar that features a headless design. This full-scale guitar is approximately 28 inches long and is approximately 40% lighter than a traditional acoustic guitar. The headless design means the tuning pegs have been relocated to a hollow section of the body on either side of the strings.

Why It’s on the List

This guitar has a unique design and is one of the lightest guitars available on the market.

Pros
  • Full-scale guitar
  • 40% lighter than other guitars
  • Unique design
Cons
  • Awkward to restring
  • Awkward to tune

Amazon Price:

$299.99

Shop Now for a Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light

 

 

Traveler Travelcaster Deluxe Electric Guitar

Stratocaster fans might find this guitar to be a strange representation of the familiar. The pickguard features the familiar lines, three single-coil pickups, and control knobs that are easily recognized as a Stratocaster. Shaving the remainder of the body away from the pickguard leaves a 5 lb guitar that’s easy to transport.

Why It’s on the List

This electric travel guitar has the traditional lines and sound of a Stratocaster in a portable lightweight instrument.

Pros
  • Only weighs 5 lbs
  • 25.5" Scale length
  • Familiar Strat sound
Cons
  • Awkward body
  • May be hard to adjust to appearance

Amazon Price:

$289.99

Shop Now for a Traveler Travelcaster Deluxe

 

 

Voyage Air VAOM-02G2 Small Acoustic Travel Guitar

The Voyage Air VAOM-02G2 is a full-size acoustic guitar that has been equipped with a hinge so that it folds in half for traveling. This gives you the benefit of being able to travel with a standard size guitar more easily. The hinge has been tested in multiple ways to ensure durability. You will need to loosen the strings before you fold the guitar.

Why It’s on the List

The unique foldable design allows you to travel with a full-size guitar.

Pros
  • Full-size
  • Hinged for portability
  • Decent sound
Cons
  • Pricey
  • Must slacken strings every time you travel

Amazon Price:

$649.00

Shop Now for a Voyage Air VAOM-02G2

 

 

Final Thoughts

Travel guitars are available in both acoustic and electric models and are typically smaller than a standard guitar. While they provide additional portability, there are sometimes trade-offs with the tone, sound, or playability.

Even with the trade-offs, musicians who often find inspiration striking when they are on the road can benefit from owning a travel guitar.

 

 

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