We take a look at some of the best travel guitars, ideal for musicians in need of a high quality, portable and great-sounding option for making music on the move...
Travel guitars make life a lot easier for musicians - let's take a look at a few of the best.
Once you’ve learned to play guitar (and got the hard part of the way) you can take those skills with you anywhere in the world– it’s one of the cool things about being a musician! However, one of the most annoying things about being a musician is trying to drag a full-size dreadnought acoustic guitar on to a plane and arguing with the desk staff about how it’s not going anywhere near the cargo hold – we’ve all been there. Sometimes even trying to fit one in the boot of your car can be problematic. It’s heavy and awkward!
The fact is, taking a full size acoustic guitar around the world with you isn’t always practical. If you want to be able to play guitar anywhere, your best option is a travel guitar or ¾ size acoustic. Whether you’re going on a road trip, need a portable guitar for festivals or just want to be able to take a guitar with you without too much fuss, the travel guitar is the musicians best friend.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that a smaller size guitar means lower quality, but that’s simply not the case. With the increasing need for portable, gigging acoustic guitars, brands have been producing professional quality mini acoustics (or travel guitars) with a heavy focus on quality. What they lack in size, they more than make up for in projection and quality of tonewoods. Great for writing at home, jam sessions and recording, the travel guitar is the professional musician’s new go-to.
There are hundreds of ¾ size travel guitars out there, so choosing one can be a little daunting. However, you’re in luck as we’ve decided to compile our top 5 best travel guitars with offerings from Taylor, Yamaha, Martin and more.
1. Yamaha JR1 Travel Acoustic Guitar
This awesome acoustic guitar from Yamaha is compact and built for the road.
The JR1 Travel Acoustic is the perfect travel companion as it combines a condensed scale length with a versatile sound that is great for a range of playing styles.
Featuring a Spruce Top for a vibrant and resonant tone, the Mahogany Back and Sides lend a powerful dynamic feel to the guitar - it also boasts a Nato Neck for premium playability and a comfortable Javanese Rosewood Fretboard.
The bright timbre of the Spruce sits beautifully amongst the darker overtones produced by the Mahogany parts of the construction, and despite the nifty 540mm scale length and compact body depth it projects well, too.
This guitar also comes complete with a gigbag, so whether you’re a beginner off to your first lesson or a seasoned veteran ready to hit the road, you can’t go wrong with the JR1 from Yamaha.
2. Faith Nexus Neptune Electro-Acoustic Guitar
The Faith Nexus Neptune Electro-Acoustic Guitar is a great smaller size guitar that provides a sound far louder than you'd expect from a travel size guitar such as this. The team over at Faith Guitars have essentially taken all the great qualities of the classic Saluda shape, creating the Faith Nexus Neptune in homage. This results in a Jumbo-style acoustic guitar in a smaller, more portable ¾ size travel guitar shape.
The Solid Mahogany top, back and sides are perfect for providing bright and articulate tones with strong bass frequencies whilst the Fishman 'IsysT' Preamp and Pickup System ensure you’re ready to gig anywhere and at any time. The Faith Nexus Neptune sits comfortably in the best travel guitars category thanks to its reliable construction, great sound and budget-friendly pricing.
3. Taylor Baby BT2 Acoustic Guitar
Powerful, portable and affordable, the Taylor Baby BT2 Acoustic Guitar is by far one of the best travel guitars ever constructed thanks to its high-quality engineering, superb sound output and the fact it won’t break the bank!
Smaller than a GS-Mini, yet still bright and powerful, Taylor Baby BT2 is a very portable travel guitar that retains all the resonance and projection you’d expect from a Taylor but in a smaller, easier to carry set up - ideal for travelling musicians or if you want something for those camping trips, festivals and impromptu couch jam sessions.
The X-bracing provides that warm, rich tone and gives the Taylor BT2 a unique voice that can be heard clearly. It may be small in size, but the sound is far from small! This particular model (pictured above) features a mahogany top renowned for its woody, earthy tone and mid-range tonal qualities. Whether you’re finger picker or prefer to strum those big chorus chords, you’ll appreciate the warmth within the Taylor baby BT2.
4. Yamaha APXT2 Travel Guitar
The Yamaha APXT2 Travel Guitar has been designed for those travelling and touring musicians who need something they can write record and play with regardless of their location. Whether it's a tourbus, hotel room or just sat in the house, the Yamaha APXT2 Travel Guitar is a perfect option.
We think this is one of the best mini acoustic travel guitars as it features an ART-based pickup system that brings out the lush qualities of the Spruce top and Meranti back and sides.
At way under £200, it's also one of the cheapest travel guitars available and a great guitar for beginners, too.
5. Washburn G-Mini 5 Acoustic Guitar
At just over £200 the Washburn G-Mini 5 Acoustic Guitar won't break the bank, but it will certainly break that writers block you're having thanks to its incredible playability and lush sound.
This Mini Grand Auditorium-style acoustic guitar features a select Spruce top with a Mahogany back and sides as well as a Mahogany neck for added comfort.
The engineered fingerboard is environmentally friendly and comfortable to play whilst the natural finish is hard-wearing, making it perfect for players of all levels. Reliable chrome tuning machines have been included for added tuning stability and the Washburn Heritage rosette which surrounds the soundhole finishes off the guitar nicely.
The Best Travel Guitars Sound Comparison
If you're finding it hard to make a decision on what the best travel guitar might be for you, Sam has put together this really useful sound comparison between all 5 models. Listen to all the different sounds from each acoustic and hear what makes each of these models so special.
4. Martin LX1 X Series Acoustic Guitar
We simply had to include the Martin LX1 in our best travel guitars roundup! Thanks to the likes of Ed Sheeran kicking off his career with one of these and producing a range of signature models such as the Martin Ed Sheeran Divide Signature Edition Guitar, the Martin LX1 is quickly becoming an industry-standard travel acoustic. The LX1 is a powerful, ¾ travel guitar affectionately labelled the “Little Martin” that features the same reliable construction Martin guitars are renowned for - everything is just scaled-down!
The LX1 features a hand-rubbed Sitka Spruce top usually reserved for top of the line Martin acoustic guitars, mahogany pattern HPL textured finish back and sides and a solid East Indian rosewood fretboard. These tonewoods provide an articulate, versatile and powerful sound making it ideal for those who want a guitar they can perform with regardless of playing style. A beautiful travel acoustic that will make an ideal travel partner. If you want something a little bigger, but still very portable the Martin Dreadnought Junior Electro Acoustic Guitar is a great option that features a dreadnought shape just in a smaller 24" scale length.
5. Eastcoast MKOA Koa Acoustic Guitar, Natural
Finally, we have the Eastcoast MKOA Koa Acoustic Guitar, Natural. Usually, the words ‘budget’ and ‘guitar’ will send musicians running away screaming in the opposite direction, but the team at Eastcoast have managed to create a gig-worthy powerhouse of tone for those on the strictest of budgets. The Eastcoast MKOA Koa Acoustic Guitar pictured here in Natural manages to include a variety of impressive tonewoods and professional-grade appointments without costing you a fortune.
The solid Koa top and Koa back and sides combination is often reserved for guitars 2 or 3 times the price of this one, so for under £200 you get a beautifully rich and versatile travel guitar that even includes a rosewood bridge, and rosewood fretboard for superior playability and tone. Chrome Grover tuners and a Satin finish the guitar off nicely, making it an impressive looking and sounding travel guitar. Also available as an electro-acoustic version here.
7. Alvarez LJ2E Little Jumbo Electro Acoustic Travel Guitar
The Alvarez LJ2E Little Jumbo Electro Acoustic Travel Guitar is an incredibly powerful acoustic that provides a big sound.
This is small and lightweight enough for you to take out on the road with you, but loud enough to gig and record with. The addition of a Solid A+ Sitka Spruce Top with curved Mahogany back and sides provides a warm, yet articulate tone that will keep tone snobs happy.
The SYS250 Pickup and Preamp system also picks up all the subtle nuances of your playing and accurately represents the quality of the tonewoods. It sounds great plugged in or played acoustically.
Alvarez creates performance-ready guitars that are a joy to play and we thoroughly recommend trying one out.
8. Martin Backpacker GBPC Travel Acoustic Guitar
The Martin Backpacker GBPC Travel Acoustic Guitar is one of the most sought after travel guitars on the market as it features a unique slimline design that is very portable.
Despite its unique, slimline design the guitar provides a massive sound that is both resonant and articulate - ideal for players of all genres. The hand-rubbed finish has also been designed so it can withstand years of hardcore touring.
A solid Spruce top and top bracing pattern that is unique to this Backpacker guitar ensures your chords ring out clearly.
This is ideal if you have limited room and are looking for a travel-sized acoustic that will fit nicely alongside your backpack.
9. Alvarez DeltaDeLiteE Mini Blues Electro Acoustic Guitar
If you love the sound of the Delta Blues, the Alvarez DeltaDeLiteE Mini Blues Electro Acoustic Guitar is the perfect travel guitar for you.
This bright and articulate acoustic guitar features a comfortable Mahogany neck that encourages a positive playing experience - perfect for those long jam sessions.
A built-in SYS100 pickup and preamp really shines when plugged into an amplifier. The Solid A+ Sitka Spruce top piece, with a Mahogany back and sides combined with the FST2 Forward Shifted X-Brace system, makes sure your guitar offers a crisp projection that you can really hear.
At under £300, it's also incredible value for money.
10. Martin LX1KE Custom Koa Electro-Acoustic Guitar
We had to talk about the Martin LX1KE Custom Koa Electro-Acoustic Guitar as this is a new offering from the 'mini Martin series' that has blown us away. The introduction of Koa as a tonewood has completely changed the game when it comes to acoustic guitars - offering a completely fresh sonic quality that players of all levels have come to love.
This particular model with Koa back and sides is exclusive to PMT so you can't get this guitar anywhere else.
The Martin LX1KE Custom Koa Electro-Acoustic Guitar is also packed with Fishman Sonitone electronics and a discreet set of controls found in the sound hole to change volume and tone to your liking.
This is your chance to get hold of an exclusive Martin mini acoustic that will only sound better with age.