7 Best Travel Guitars of 2024

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There are so many perks to owning a travel guitar. They're so lightweight and easy to transport.

Whether you're taking multiple trips to the rehearsals each week, travel to and from different cities often, or simply like the convenience of being able to play on the fly, a travel guitar is a great investment.

We recommend travel guitars for players of all levels. We included some picks for guitar students to take to and from practice, an acoustic guitar for gigs, and electric and bass guitars for rehearsals and gigs as well.

Traveling with a full-sized guitar everywhere can be a pain due to the weight, plus, you don't want to take your pricey guitars everywhere, you know?

A quality backup guitar can be a great option to bring on vacations for impromptu practice and songwriting.

Our favorite on this list has to be the Martin LX1E Little Martin. It's ideal for gigs! It has amazing playability, is lightweight (about 3 pounds), and sounds amazing.

A small, travel-friendly guitar will be your favorite investment yet. Here are 7 of the best travel guitars for everyone.

Quick Summary of the Best Travel Guitars

  1. Martin LX1E Little Martin (Best Travel Acoustic Guitar for Gigs)
  2. Martin Steel String Backpacker Travel Guitar with Bag (The Best Travel Acoustic Guitar for Practice)
  3. Fender CD-60S Solid Top Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar (Best Lightweight Dreadnought)
  4. Fender Squier by Fender (Best Lightweight Electric Guitar for Beginners)
  5. Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Electric (Best Lightweight Electric Guitar)
  6. Gibson SG Standard '61 Sideways Vibrola - Vintage Cherry (A High-End Lightweight Electric Guitar)
  7. Ibanez GSRM20-BS GIO SR MiKro Series Electric Bass Guitar (Best Travel Bass)

Best Travel Guitars

1. Best Travel Acoustic Guitar for Gigs – Martin LX1E Little Martin

SPECS

  • Weight: 3.3 lbs
  • Pickups: Fishman Isys T pickup system
  • Included Accessories: Gig bag

This is a popular guitar for travel. While it's compact and lightweight, it's still a great guitar for taking on stage. The sound quality is rich and balanced. It has a solid Stika spruce top giving it fantastic resonance and projection. The tone is warm, and you may also like using this guitar in the studio.

You'll be able to use an amplifier or sound system for gigs without external mics or pickups thanks to the Fishman Isys T pickup system.

If you're mainly looking for a lightweight guitar for comfortable playability, you're going to enjoy the fret body shape and low-profile neck. It has a short scale length that's easy to navigate.

A player said it's easy to play with arthritic hands, so if you're prioritizing comfort, you'll love this guitar.

Overall, Martin is a great guitar brand, and they're known for creating reliable instruments. This guitar checks all of our boxes, so consider this as your new favorite acoustic guitar for travel.

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2. The Best Travel Guitar for Practice – Martin Steel String Backpacker Travel Guitar

SPECS

  • Weight: 5 lbs
  • Pickups: No
  • Included Accessories: Gig bag

To no surprise, another Martin guitar made the list. This itty bitty acoustic guitar is the ultimate travel guitar. If you're serious about only taking along a practice-style guitar on the road, then this is a guitar to consider.

The Martin travel guitar features a solid spruce top, solid tonewood back and sides, a unique contour neck shape, and a 24-inch scale length and 15 frets for easy playability.

This travel guitar will fit in backpacks and carry-on luggage. It's a great guitar for college students looking to practice in their dorms, beginner guitarists, or even experienced guitarists that like having a small guitar nearby. Keep it in the living room, or bedroom, or take it just about anywhere.

Considering the size of the acoustic guitar, it definitely won't have the same volume and projection as a full-sized guitar. However, if you're just looking for something lightweight for practice and cozy casual playing, it's perfect.

Guitarists say it's louder than they expected though. It's definitely not a toy, so if you need something small for creativity, this is everything you could want in a travel guitar.

3. Best Lightweight Dreadnought Travel Guitar – Fender CD-60S Solid Top Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

SPECS

  • Weight: 5 lbs
  • Pickups: No
  • Included Accessories: Gig Bag, Tuner, Strap, Strings, Picks, and Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD

The Fender CD-60S is a solid option for a variety of reasons: it has a solid spruce top for excellent sound and projection. The dreadnought body shape also makes it versatile and sound super full. If you're looking for a balanced tonal response with lots of volume and bass, this is great. Consider it for fingerpicking and strumming.

As for playability, it's designed for those looking to prioritize comfort. The C-shaped neck profile allows for easy fretting. Overall, it's a great lightweight Fender acoustic.

Guitarists love how nice it looks in person and say you get the best bang for the buck! It's under $240, great for anyone on a budget.

It's lightweight and has a fantastic build. Fender is known for solid construction and making guitars that last long for years of touring.

4. Best Lightweight Electric Guitar for Beginners – Fender Squier by Fender

SPECS

  • Weight: 7 lbs
  • Pickups: Three single coil pickups
  • Included Accessories: Cable bundle available

Fender has a cool lightweight electric guitar for beginners to learn, but it also makes a great travel guitar for seasoned players looking to make trips hassle-free in airport security or even on the road.

The mini Strat has the Stratocaster shape we all know and love. The comfortable neck profile makes it a great pick for long rehearsals without fatigue. The shorter scale length makes it easy to navigate the fretboard, and this makes it one of the best guitars for kids and players will smaller hands.

If you're low on space or simply like the 22.75'' string scale and downsized 3/4 body, traveling with this mini guitar is a good idea.

Overall, guitarists think it's a great travel guitar and say it's a great compact and lightweight guitar for petite players.

This travel guitar comes in 4 different colors, metallic orange and surf green really stand out.

5. Best Lightweight Electric Guitar – Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Electric

SPECS

  • Weight: 3 lbs
  • Pickups: Dual-rail hum bucker pickup
  • Included Accessories: Gig bag

Looking for something truly built for travel? This is exactly what you need. Travel Guitar makes guitars for busy musicians, they know how to build guitars that make traveling less stressful for guitarists.

The portable electric guitar is small enough to fit into travel bags and overhead bins on planes. If you fly often, this is a good fit for your lifestyle. Even though it's small, it still has a full-scale length of a regular guitar.

A nice feature that makes it a great portable guitar is the detachable lap rest frame. It'll provide stability while playing.

Guitarists are raving about the tone and say it exceeded their expectations.

The guitar is made from sturdy materials -- it features a maple body and a maple neck. You can pick from 5 designs and pick between left and right-handed options.

6. A High-End Lightweight Electric Guitar – Gibson SG Standard '61 Sideways Vibrola

SPECS

  • Weight: 8 lbs
  • Pickups: 60s Burstbucker (neck) & 60s Burstbucker (bridge)
  • Included Accessories: No

If you're set on getting a high-end guitar for travel, look no further than the SG Standard '61. This compact guitar is lighter than most electric guitars. It's a guitar that won't make you feel fatigued during long sets.

The guitar has a comfy and fast-playing neck profile. It also has a slim-tapered neck with a smooth fretboard for easy navigation. Overall, it's the playability gets a 10/10.

The 60s Burstbucker pickups recreate the sound of the 1960s-era humbuckers. We love the tones for all genres! So whether you play blues, rock, or metal you're going to love gigging with this guitar.

The guitar is beautiful. It has a gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish and nitro finishes to look vintage.

7. Best Travel Bass – Ibanez GSRM20-BS GIO SR MiKro Series Electric Bass Guitar

SPECS

  • Weight: 7.72 lbs
  • Pickups: Ibanez Dynamix pickups
  • Included Accessories: No

The compact bass guitar has a smaller body and shorter scale length compared to standard bass guitars. This is a great bass guitar for kids, petite adults, or for traveling musicians looking for a lightweight and affordable bass guitar for the road.

Ibanez says this is a great bass guitar for beginner and intermediate players, but also think professional players will find the size great for ease of use. It features a poplar body, maple neck and jatoba fingerboard for comfort and playability.

It sounds great too, thanks to the Ibanez Dynamix pickups, which provide a range of tones suitable for various genres and playing styles. Great for deep, punchy tones or bright and articulate sounds.

Ibanez is one of the best guitar brands out there, so if you're stuck between brands when guitar shopping, just know you'll have a well-built guitar if you go with Ibanez.

Best Travel Guitar Buyer's Guide

There are many factors to consider other than size and weight. Below, we'll dive into sound quality, build quality, playability, and a few more considerations before picking out a travel guitar.

Size & Portability

You'll want to make sure your guitar has a small body shape. Think of something that can fit into a small gig bag you wouldn't mind carrying through an airport. If it sounds like it'll be a pain, it's likely not a great option for travel.

Build Quality

You want to make sure it's a durable guitar made of materials that can handle travel. A durable guitar can handle some bumps on the road, along with temperature changes in vehicles or airports. If it can handle humidity, even better.

Sound Quality

Make sure it sounds good. Solid top and decent resonance are key.

Playability

Check the neck shape and make sure it'll feel good in your hands. Features like adjustable truss rods will allow you to fine-tune the action and intonation.

Electronics

Onboard pickups and preamps are great so you can connect an amp or PA system. This is great for gigs and rehearsals!

Price

Make sure you invest in a quality travel guitar. Even though it might not be your go-to option for every gig, you want it to last and be durable. This means paying more for quality.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the ideal weight for a travel guitar?

Try to keep it under 5-10 lbs! This is a great size for travel, especially if you'll be carrying your guitar for long periods in airports or at venues.

Are travel guitars comfortable to play?

It depends on your playing stying, be sure to look at the fretboard radius and make sure it has adjustable truss rods to customize the playability to your liking.

Can travel guitars be amplified?

Yes, built-in electronics like pickups and preamps allow for amplification.

How much should I spend on a travel guitar?

You can budget for under $500 on a great travel guitar, but if you're looking for a compact guitar for gigging or recording, you may end up paying around the normal price of a guitar or high-end guitar.

Are travel guitars suitable for beginners?

Yes! They are great for beginners on the go. If you're a beginner and practice away from home often they're a great investment.

Final Thoughts

Shopping for a travel guitar can mean something different for all guitarists. For professional musicians, some want an affordable and lightweight guitar for gigging or rehearsals, for some, that means a tiny guitar small enough to fit in an airline-friendly bag.

We rounded up options for many scenarios, but if you're looking for a good lightweight acoustic to take on the road, you'll love the Martin LX1E Little Martin for gigging.

If you're a musician who can't stop writing songs, even when you're supposed to be relaxing, you need something like the Martin Steel String Backpacker Travel Guitar. Plus, you can play small gigs with it, think parks, beaches, and coffee shops.

If you want small lightweight electric guitars and bass guitars, consider the Fender Squier by Fender and the Ibanez GSRM20-BS GIO SR MiKro Series Electric Bass Guitar. Fender and Ibanez, both brands with great brand reputations! You'll get an amazing instrument, just smaller and easier to take on the road.

Photo Courtesy Amazon

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