If you’re going on a holiday and would like to create your own cool atmosphere with some guitar tunes, surrounded by a circle of close friends, carrying a cumbersome instrument can prove a real drag.
If such problems have been pestering you, then no worries, you can buy a moderately sized travel guitar that sounds just as good as your own faithful wooden companion. Best travel guitars reviews, go!
First Of All, A Couple of Words On Some Guitar Characteristics
Since travel guitars are usually sized down for rather obvious reasons of convenient transportation, some of the other more subtle characteristics of these instruments come into play. The first important thing to pay attention to in my experience would be the tonewood or the wood which is used in the instrument’s construction.
The sound and acoustics of different kinds of wood vary significantly, and it is not unusual to see guitars which are manufactured with one sort of wood used for their necks, and some other, more acoustically appropriate, for the body.
Travel Guitar Benefits: Why Choose Travel Guitar Over Standard Guitar?
The reasons to go for this approach is typically of practical nature. In my personal experience, the small-sized body is greatly significant when traveling, especially when taking the plane, in which case every inch and ounce count.
With these fellas, it’s all about practicality, so the main criterium is to find an option that matches the capabilities of a full-size guitar but in a small package.
Additionally, small six-strings have their own sonic charm and type of sound they produce. A smaller body usually means less resonance and a bit more brightness and twang, which is actually a feature greatly appreciated by some players.
One of the key points to pay attention to depending on what kind of sound you appreciate is the type of tonewood. We dissected this matter thoroughly, you can check out more details in the following segment.
The Difference Tonewood Makes
One of the most common choices for standard budget guitars tends to be basswood, which is easily obtained and fairly reasonably priced.
Its feather-like weight, softness and light color make it a very manageable and malleable material to work with, which leaves plenty of room for curious designing solutions. They have a solid sound, which offers great dynamics and tonality which is evenly balanced.
Another commonly found wood utilized for both body and neck constructions is maple. Unlike the aforementioned basswood, maple is dense, much heavier and typically hard.
Due to these characteristics, it is often paired up with a somewhat lighter sort of wood, to even out the end mixture.
It is not uncommon, although a bit rarer, to find bodies made exclusively of maple wood, but in such constructions, weight can present a problem. Other than that, by itself or in a mixture, maple wood provides clear sound and precise tightness in low tones.
A wood that would come somewhere in between basswood and maple, would be mahogany, mostly when it comes to its weight.
It is considered a medium weight wood, ranging toward heavy, and the typical tone it yields tends to be soft and warm, with a nicely balanced sound.
Further on, poplar represents a somewhat different type of wood, now increasingly used in constructions of reasonably-priced guitars. It is fairly soft, especially if we take into account that it’s classified as hardwood, and it yields a stable and balanced sound, even if it’s a bit monotone.
Bodies made of this type of wood can’t really boast a great resonance or sustain, but their nicely evened out sound and reasonable price still make them a common choice for many people.
On the other side of the price spectrum, however, rosewood finds its place among highly praised materials. Although it is most often used for building fretboards, it has gained something of a reputation in body designs, mostly for aesthetic reasons.
The wood itself is heavy, and it creates an emphatically bright tone, which is why is more commonly seen in electric guitars, where the wood itself is not of primary importance.
Another wood, commonly found in electric guitar body constructions is walnut. Its sound characteristics are fairly similar to mahogany, with a tone that is full and rather warm, as this wood tends to be dense and pretty heavy.
Travel Guitar Shape and Size
When it comes to the shape of a travel guitar, the design of their bodies and neck constructions all play a major role in retaining the high-quality sound in spite of the reduction in size. Having said that, most travel guitars resemble the full-sized acoustic guitars, only on a 3 / 4 scale.
Some models might be equipped with a narrower body which protrudes only a little bit towards the side, in comparison to the stock neck width. Those are usually called “backpackers” as they are made specifically in such a way to be easily transported, comfortably carried about and last but not least – to be durable, as traveling musicians tend to have their daily exploits filled with often strenuous activities.
Now, let us proceed to some actual best travel guitars reviews.
Take A Look at Some of These Awesome Yet Compact Travel Guitars
1. Martin Steel String Backpacker Travel Guitar
If your absolute priority in your quest for the perfect guitar for journeys is size, then this martin travel guitar might be just what you’ve been looking for. It has a shortened neck, according to the best small guitar standards, and the material used for its construction is mahogany, offering a warm and deep sound.
The real size-related advantage comes into play if we take into consideration its special body design, which is scaled down to three-fourths of the standard-size acoustic guitar, and further on reduced in size even more thanks to its innovative design which makes the body almost the same width as the neck, with only roughly a fourth of it fanning out subtly towards the end.
This interesting, down-sized body design is realized with armor like mahogany used in the construction of its back, and fine spruce for its top, which makes for a curious combination of toughness and finely balanced acoustics.
For its small size, it offers a decent enough sound, especially when finger-picked. However, this model is not exactly the best option if the bass is really important to you since its reduced body doesn’t leave enough room for a more pronounced resonance.
Another downside may be that some people might find it difficult to find a comfortable sitting position while playing (especially if they are tall), so you might want to buy a strap as well or play standing up.
2. Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Acoustic-Electric Travel Guitar
Up next on our list of best travel guitars reviews is the Ultra Light fella. This particular guitar is in the opinion of many people possibly the best electric travel guitar out there, and that just might be true, for several different reasons.
First of all, it offers a full-sized travel guitar fretboard, which feels as though you were playing a standard size guitar.
It’s equipped with a solid and durable maple body and neck made in one piece and enhanced aesthetically with a natural finish. It also features a rest frame for your lap, which is detachable and can easily be packed without taking up much space.
Further on, in the department of space, this guitar’s minute size makes it possible to fit it in airplane overhead compartments. Also, it comes with a piezo pickup and a standard common 1/4 inch output.
On the downside, you may experience some difficulties playing without a strap, which is due to its super small size and light weight. Another thing some players might not like would be the lack of a built-in headphone input.
3. Washburn RO10 Rover Steel String Travel Acoustic Guitar – Natural
This Washburn travel guitar is another example of compactly organized full-scale guitar neck, with a smaller, travel-friendly body.
The fact that the exact range of the neck typically seen in standard-sized guitars hasn’t been compromised for space here, means that the scale and reach of the fully operational neck make it possible to elicit sounds which can be compared to its big brother’s acoustic performance.
Of course, a smaller body does mean somewhat reduced resonance, but the quality of the sound itself can definitely be considered as up to par with a full-sized acoustic guitar.
As with the aforementioned models, a strap might be a good idea, as the guitar’s small frame may present some difficulties to a player unaccustomed to travel guitars and smaller instruments.
Although it cannot really be considered the same as a standard guitar (lacks in resonance), this Washburn travel solution will give you the best possible performance for its size.
4. Taylor Guitars Big Baby Taylor
Continuing the rundown of best travel guitars reviews is the Big Baby Taylor – the world-famous Taylor guitar manufacturer’s take on a small, compact and easy to transport type of acoustic guitar.
This particular model is an alteration to a previously already well-known Baby Taylor, with its newly designed moderate increase in size contributing greatly to the general improvement of the acoustics and resonance.
Taking into account this fine touch, it can be said that this model is one of the finest examples of a proper Taylor travel guitar, the market for which seems to be ever-expanding.
This guitar is slightly smaller than a standard size guitar, and thanks to its spacious body, in comparison to some other travel-sized guitars, it produces a full, strongly resonating sound, which can be easily considered to be on the same level as some of the standard-sized acoustic guitars.
The downside of this model would probably be the price, which might put off some of the players with a smaller budget to work with. Other than that, its size may come across as borderline acceptable when it comes to traveling.
5. Yamaha JR1 3/4 Scale Guitar
In comparison to some other typical travel guitars, this Yamaha’s take on a small and easy to carry about instrument has features similar to a standard guitar when it comes to its shape, closely resembling some of the best parlor guitar models on the market.
Similarly to standard guitar layouts, this model has its back made out of solid mahogany for tight and bright tonality, and its top out of fine spruce wood which contributes to the softness and maximized resonance for its small size.
A rather handy feature on this model is the adjustable rod on the neck, which makes fine configuration and adjustment possible, opening up an option of playing both finger-style and with a pick, depending on personal preference.
Also, this very model might be a perfect solution if you’re searching for a starter guitar for your child, as it enables various playing styles, and it resembles the full-sized guitar perhaps better than any other small travel model.
On top of all, it is family budget-friendly and fairly reasonably-priced, if we take into account its quality, which can be by all means compared to some two or three times more expensive travel guitars.
Possibly the only downside of this guitar can be its size, which at times can seem to be even smaller than a typical 3/4 travel guitar, and that might get you an impression that the already reduced resonance of a 3/4 is even more downplayed with this model.
All in all, this Yamaha’s take on compact travel guitar probably has everything you might want from such an instrument, as it’s easy to carry, reasonably priced and good for children and beginners in general. While some other manufacturers too have interesting models, this one offers probably the best money-to-quality ratio of all.
We hope you enjoyed the ride, you’ve been great, these were the best travel guitars reviews, thank you for your attention! If you enjoyed our content, make sure to share and comment, feedback is what fuels our passion!