The Ultimate Guide to Real Travel Guitar

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The holidays are approaching and you are looking for a guitar that has a more convenient format to carry? Or are you just looking for a smaller guitar to play at the beach, in the car, or at a field fire party? A travel guitar is a small guitar that responds primarily to the needs of traveling guitarists but also to guitarists who wants a compact instrument.

Thanks to its small size and low weight a travel guitar are easy to carry anywhere and anytime. It takes up less space in your backpack or the car. Many models even respect the formats of hand luggage in aircraft. Besides, good guitar travel costs much less expensive than a standard guitar. So do not necessarily take your good standard guitar everywhere and be afraid to lose it or break if you have a guitar trip.

Some manufacturers call their guitars “travel guitar” and it is especially those that you find when looking for guitar travel on the internet. Yet, this is not the only type of guitar that should be considered for travelers. There are also other types of guitars that can qualify as a good companion for the next vacation. Let’s look at each type in detail with its advantages and disadvantages from a traveler’s point of view.

The real travel guitar

These are guitars that are considered as true travel guitars. Such guitars have a shorter neck and a reduced body to a minimum. Nevertheless, the width of the handle remains normally the same as that of his big brother which facilitates the game.

Acoustic Guitar Travel

For those who do not want to spend this amount on a travel guitar, I propose to watch the Rover Washburn guitar as an alternative. It looks a lot like Martin’s model but only costs around € 180. Watch the video below and see for yourself. A good example of a folk travel guitar is Martin’s Backpacker guitar  which is really optimized for traveling. Its sound is also extraordinary for this small size. Seeing that Martin is an upscale guitar maker his little travel guitar is a good deal for anyone looking for a second guitar for the outings that is much cheaper than his big brother brand. It is available for about 450 €.

Electric Guitar Travel

Looking for a high-quality travel electric guitar that meets the needs of a professional musician? The Tour Bus of luthier Sébastien Gavet is really optimized in every detail at the waist without losing style.

It is not only designed for maus trips, especially for use on stage or in the studio. The guitar is entirely made in France. It is 78cm x 17cm and weighs 2.3 kg. The tuning fork is 630mm. The standard version with a gigbag is available at 990 €.

To know more consult our maintenance or directly his site. To buy it you can contact the luthier directly.

Best Guitar Type for …
This is the ideal instrument for those who already master the guitar and who are looking for a traveling folk or an electric guitar to size completely optimized for traveling.

Little Guitar

The small guitars are 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and 7/8 size guitars. The size refers to the tuning fork of the guitar (see image on the right). This means, for example, the tuning fork of a 1/2 guitar is half of that of a standard guitar. Most small guitars are designed for children but for many guitarists, they are very interesting as a guitar because there is a large choice of small guitars.

First of all, it would be necessary to ask the question of what type of guitar one wishes to have: Either a classical guitar, a folk, or an electric version. For beginners, I recommend a classical guitar because it is equipped with nylon strings that are less painful to the finger at first compared to the steel strings of folk or an electric guitar. If you are a beginner I suggest you read the article on guitars for beginners.

Classic Guitar Travel

A small classical guitar has a rather moderate sound and much less loud. On the other hand, it has a wider handle that facilitates the game for beginners. There is a large selection of small classical guitars of every size. To choose the right size you need to know what compromise you want to make between the volume of the guitar and its size. The smaller the guitar, the more moderate it’s sound.

I propose either a classical guitar size 1/4 or size 1/2 which is neither too small nor too big. The Ortega R121 is in my opinion a good 1/2 size classical guitar or the Yamaha CSG102  if you prefer a slightly larger model.

Folk Guitar Travel

A folk guitar has a more powerful and brilliant sound. There is no folk guitar of size 1/8. There are 1/4 and 1/2 size models, but these are rather entry-level guitars designed for children or beginners. If you are looking for a folk guitar travel, I recommend rather size 3/4 folks because there can be found models of very good quality aimed at travelers. For that, I propose Cort Earth Mini Traveler, Taylor Baby, Martin LX1, or Yamaha JR1. Cort or Yamaha, for example, is a guitar brand that offers good entry-level folk guitars and good sound quality. The Yamaha JR1 and  Cort Earth Mini are the cheapest 3/4 folk guitars you can find.

Baby Taylor is a very popular guitar among guitarists who are looking for a second guitar for their travels. Taylor is known for being one of the best guitar makers. His table is solid spruce. The Baby Taylor comes with a cover of very good quality. The Martin LX1 is the guitar that is often played by English singer Ed Sheeran. The Martin brand also has an excellent reputation that manufactures only high-end guitars.

If you are looking for a 3/4 size folk guitar that is not built-in mass but by a luthier in France look at the models of Mélopée. The advantage of buying a guitar from a luthier is the possibility to discuss his preferences and wishes before the construction, for example, a personalized design or the choice of an electro-acoustic amplification system. The prices for the Mélopée guitars start from 1500 €.

Small Electric Guitar

The fact that an electric guitar always requires an amplifier can discourage one or the other. Normally most amplifiers are big and heavy but there are also small amps, such as Blackstar or Vox. I tested the Blackstar Fly 3 Mini Amp and the power and the possibilities of the regalia impressed me. This mini amplifier is not only useful for your travels but also at home.

Regarding electric guitars, I frankly only a model that I would like to advise – it’s the Squier Mini Strat that has an excellent price-quality ratio. I had the opportunity to play this mini electric guitar size 3/4 and I must admit that I wanted to keep it. She is very compact and pleasant to play.

Best Guitar Type for …
A small guitar is a right choice for those who want a guitar trip that also looks like a real guitar but is just smaller and at a very good price. If you are a beginner, I recommend the classical guitar with steel strings that simplify the beginning enormously. If you already have a good level, you can consider a little folk guitar. In case you want an electric guitar, the Squier Mini Strat is probably the best choice.

Parlor Guitar

A parlor is a folk guitar with steel strings and a neck is shorter and the body is smaller. Most guitarists do not even know this type of guitar, but 70 years ago the parlor was the most popular guitar. However, the introduction of the greatest guitars has almost ended the parlors that have lost their popularity. Today this guitar is back in the world of the guitar and it is considered primarily as a  vintage guitar. There are some entry-level models, but most parlors with this style of vintage cost at least 350 € and up to 2000 €.

The Fender CP-100 offers an entry-level model that costs around € 200. The guitarists between us know that Fender makes good guitars. The Fender CP-100 is a simple but very nice parlor guitar. Check out our article on the guitar parlor if you want to know more about this type of guitar.

Best Type of Guitar for …
A parlor should not be the first choice for beginners because it has steel strings and it is also expensive for a guitar trip. It is a model for guitar lovers and the most passionate among us who love vintage style guitars.

Foldable / Demountable Guitar

The idea sounds great: Bend the neck of the guitar to the body to reduce the length of a half and in this way, we keep the same sound power as a standard guitar. On the other hand, know that a foldable system will enlarge the width (as the handle is later on the body).

Unfortunately, major guitar makers do not have collapsible or demountable guitars. There is only one American manufacturer who builds this type of guitar. Air Guitar Travel offers foldable models from 700 €. The manufacturer does not seem to be well known and established in Europe and that is why we do not really find his guitars in stores but rather on his own online store.

Best Guitar Type for …
If you do not want to compromise between size and sound power, a foldable guitar is what you are looking for. The innovative system allows you to wear a guitar size 4/4 everywhere without the need for a long cover.


If you like nylon, I propose a famous guitalélés. This is a guitar in the format of a ukulele. They are tuned higher than a normal guitar (ADGCEA, so two and a half tones higher) which gives us a sound between a guitar and a ukulele. However, it is equipped with 6 strings and that is why it is rather considered as a guitar.

The Yamaha GL-1 was the first on the move and it is a very good instrument for a very modest price. For about 80 €, you have in your hands a small perfect instrument for the holidays, to play in the car or simply in an armchair. Be aware that the size of the handle is greatly reduced and requires more dexterity. In contrast, the handle retains a normal width. At the price-quality level, suitable is the best travel guitar you can find.

There are also models from other manufacturers, for example, the very stylish Thomann suitable or the Eagletone model. But in any case, that of Yamaha is the most popular guitalélé on the market and finally, I suggest you watch the video below to discover the unique sound of this little guitar.

To know more about the guitalélés, consult our article on this small instrument.

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