Are you a person who travels a lot? Or a person who takes his acoustic guitar everywhere you go? If so, I bet sometimes you regret taking your acoustic guitar to some places like airports, busses, or around people who don’t care about instruments as much as you care! If that’s you, then you are in the right article, because here we will list the 6 best travel acoustic guitars for you to buy in 2020.
Maybe you are afraid to scratch or destroy your $2,000 Martin that is made out of all solid wood materials. If that’s the case, I suggest you leave it in your home. But what if I told you that nowadays you can take a full-sized dreadnought travel guitar and fold it in half and make it properly fit your travel luggage or get a smaller version of that dreadnought?
What if there is a whole market filled with instruments that are specifically made to be travel-friendly and offer you the great opportunity of taking them with you to just about anywhere?
There are so many models that you can put in your backpack and take them everywhere you go and you don’t need to worry about scratching or taking so much space of your travel bag.
Yes, there are instruments categorized as ‘travel guitars’. If you’re wondering if there’s a difference between a regular acoustic guitar and a traveler guitar, the answer to that is Yes.
Traveler guitars are almost like the regular ones but they come with a tiny almost irrelevant price to pay, they do not project a powerful sound or the booming sound that most of the regular-sized guitars can make.
Nonetheless, there are some acoustic guitars who have almost authentic sound like some robust full-sized guitars and are being currently marketed at the most affordable prices ever. So here we are going to discuss about some of the greatest traveling guitars you can get your hands on.
I promise you will be happy going all around the world and you will not need to care so much or overthink about taking or leaving your guitar since you can’t fit it somewhere to take it with you wherever you are going.
So here I say again leave your $2,000 Martin that is made out of all solid wood materials at your home and get your hands on one of guitars for travel like LXM Little Martin, Taylor BT2 or more guitars which we are going to discuss in more details in this list.
Don’t get me wrong, some travel guitars are technically full-size but are specifically designed for quick and much easier transportation, they could be as 3/4 or half of a full-sized guitar or can look like an alien design but have the sound of a real quality guitar, some may be constructed with different materials like laminate and some are all solid wood in the inside but laminated on the sides and the back.
Also, a great contributing factor in deciding which is the best travel acoustic guitar is the price. If you are someone who likes to play only for fun you don’t need to invest in a 1000$ guitar but on another note, if you are a great performer then you need a guitar which is going to help you perform as great as possible. One more thing you should look for when buying a travel guitar is the weight. The weight is the most important thing when it comes to traveling because no one wants to carry a heavy instrument with them, right?
So whether you’re traveling for one day, one week or one year you can take your acoustic guitar everywhere you go, so check out the instruments on the list for more information about traveling guitars.
Table of Contents
Which is the Best Travel Acoustic Guitar?
6. Little Martin LXM
It would be unfair to start a travel guitar list without mentioning a Martin guitar, right?
Martin maybe not one of the brands you may associate with affordable instruments. But the reason they managed to survive to this day for almost perhaps two eras was the reason because they don’t want to sacrifice quality over mass. But circumstances have evolved. And one of the most popular guitars is the Martin LXM who has a lot to offer but is so provocative at an identical time. But like I said it’s the best performing guitars that can satisfy your traveling purposes at the time.
This is the reason for all the controversy, the fact that they applied mostly artificial elements at the time they produced the Martin LXM. Rather than wood, they’ve used mahogany and spruce top is made out of High-Pressure Laminate. This is the reason why people turned around from this guitar, which we can understand.
But someway somehow Martin LXM it was all put together perfectly. If we talk about hardware we are looking at some of the traditional arrangements. There is a perfect quality bridge made of rosewood. The nut is made of Tusq which gave these elements almost like equal features as a bone. Talking about strings, guitar Martin Lxm comes with a proper set of steel strings that will not require any modification or change.
Maybe the reason why this guitar became so much famous is probably the tone, even with all High-Pressure Laminate you still get that trademark tone that Martin guitars have always been good at producing. One of the foremost reasons people fret and tend to look about travel guitars it’s the sound and the resonance. The Martin LXM is the best you can get in the market right now. Sure, it’s not as powerful as a full-sized guitar can be but it’s far from sounding like other guitars. The best part is that it’s also very lightweight, and that makes it a great traveler guitar.
Overall, Martin LXM is a great traveler guitar or a great choice for traveling purposes that is being offered at a fair rate. The mark of using High-Pressure Laminate won’t go away so easily. Maybe the price for all HPL material cant be justified but the sound may be one of the reasons for you should buy it. Definitely one of the best travel guitars out there!
For more, you should read our Little Martin LXM review.
5. Yamaha JR1 3/4
One of the most popular guitars is Yamaha JR1. Yamaha Jr1 showed us that quality doesn’t have to charge us so much money. Since the first appearance, this guitar found a way to take over the travel guitars market. Their small size is the reason why people are all over Yamaha JR1. So with little words, this guitar can be a great choice for you if you need a small guitar with yourself to travel around the places you would like to take your guitar away with you.
Yamaha reduced the size of the guitar for 3/4 and made this baby and this is mainly the reason why people like it so much. They used solid Sitka spruce for the top of the guitar and the other parts of the guitar are made of meranti wood. But what we see in this traveler guitar that others don’t, is the reason that this traveler guitar comes along with a bound top.
A characteristic that we see only on expensive models. After all, the tone is so much better and it definitely doesn’t leave any room for wondering about the amount of money it will cost you.
A traveler guitar that doesn’t cost so much sometimes can come with cloudy hardware, this is one of the ways for the companies to reduce the cost of the money they use to create one guitar. The bridge is made out of rosewood and nut its made of compact synthetic, cheap synthetics can’t come near to the real bone but they are a reasonable solution.
Instruments for travelers are known for having a low or a weaker volume and they lack the sound of the low notes, but with this guitar, there is another story, for the money you buy it has enough sound to satisfy every traveler’s needs.
For the people who don’t have so much money to invest in the definite best travel guitar, this is the greatest solution they can get, this traveler guitar is packed with some rich tone and it’s well made so this is a win-win situation.
On our Yamaha JR1 review, we also mentioned it’s Pro’s and Con’s, so make sure to check that out too!
4. Gibson Maestro 30
Experienced acoustic guitar players can understand, but beginners should know that a Maestro Gibson it’s not like a real Gibson guitar. Its a portable acoustic produced on behalf of guitar company Gibson. Still, that doesn’t mean it’s not good or it’s not fun to play with it.
There isn’t something special about this guitars design, it’s almost like a normal guitar with the color of honey burst. It’s simple and elegant, a clear design nothing else for decoration. It’s made of laminated wood, and this is a great thing.
This acoustic guitar is as cheap as it is can be, It could greatly benefit from a good setup and it can be hard for a normal guitarist to turn it into something very good. The sides of the back are made of basswood and from the top is made from spruce veneer. This guitar is so much durable in the opinions of a person who buys it.
The fingerboard has 21 frets and has a thin neck that means the guitar is easy to play.
Overall this acoustic guitar is wonderful sound wise although its appearance may not impress you so much you will rarely find any guitar that has a sound quality like this. Also, this guitar is so competent of stress that happens during your travels.
If this short introduction caught your eye, make sure you read our full review on the Gibson Maestro 30″.
3. Baby Taylor BT2
Baby Taylor was created to fill the needs of people who like to travel and to take their guitar with them wherever they go so this is the 3/4 of a full-sized guitar. Like the past ten years of Taylor, this is one of the most popular guitars to this day.
Some people say that BT2 is not a travel guitar because of the size but for many other experienced travelers, it is. Some say that the reason that it is not capable of being a traveler guitar is because of the body shape, it’s like a real full-sized guitar and maybe they are right. It’s a very lightweight model, and that’s one of the main reasons why I included it in this list.
Even though this is not a guitar made by hand you still can see the trademark quality of the Taylor being applied here. The guitar’s made out of a mahogany top and layered sapele for the whole board.
Regarding the quality, BT2 has nothing out of the common guitars. You will get a rosewood bridge implemented with a compact saddle made of nut and bone.
The guitar works fairly well if you don’t shift it out of its comfort zone.
One of the main reason people like this guitar is the sound that this guitar brings out, some people compare it with a full-sized dreadnought and given that it has a powerful projection you can see where they are coming from. Everything about this Taylor is normal, from the tone to the range of frequency, clarity and warmth. With small words, it’s a real Taylor guitar.
If you like quality over quantity I think this is a great choice, this guitar will give you wonderful performance, also I’d like to tell you that when you pull it from the case, when you buy it, you need to do some adjustments to boost it for a real performance.
This is one of the cons as we mentioned in our Taylor Baby BT2 Review.
2. Little Martin LX1
We started this list with a Martin and we are going to finish it with one.
If you have small hands or if you like to teach a child to play guitar properly the first brand that pops to the head of the people is Martin. This popular guitar is one of the best in terms of tone and sustainability of sound quality you deliver to other people while playing this Little Martin. Plus for an actual assembled in Mexico Martin is really affordable.
This small Martin is made for the traveler who enjoys his acoustic guitar and given that it is a small acoustic it is precisely what you think, a small measure of a real martin. The guitar is made from solid Sitka spruce on the top and Highly Pressured Laminate on the back and the sides.
Like many other instruments which are produced from Martin that fall into the affordable range of acoustics this guitar too features a neck that is made from rust birch laminate, which gives you a wonderful feel on the hands along with 20 frets.
As we mentioned in our Little Martin LX1E review, this guitar looks great and beautiful and feels like a quality instrument. Soundwise this martin produces a great powerful projection of sound quality and you can play it for a great amount of time and it still stays in tune.
Does this guitar sound like a full-sized martin? Not really, but it was never meant to be so, since it was specifically made for practice and small performances around your house or around your friends. It is a really great guitar you can put your hands on. If you are looking for a travel guitar which you can keep with yourself when you are traveling and also that fits properly in your hands and smaller hands like children, then this is the best you can get at this price range.
1. Fender CT-60S
The Fender CT-60s is definitely one of my favorite travel guitars, mostly because it has a mahogany body. If you’ve been following our blog for a while, then you probably know that I am a huge fan of acoustic guitars that have a mahogany body. I recommend Fender products each chance that i get, because I honestly love the value you get for the price. This is not an exception with their travel guitars.
The top of this acoustic guitar is made of solid spruce, and the rest of the body is mostly made from mahogany. This is a great thing because it allows the guitar to have great sound while also being compact at the same time. The only thing I didn’t really like about the Fender CT-60S is that it has a plastic nut, which is a huge turnoff for me. However, considering that this is a budget travel guitar, I will let this one slide.
Even though this is not a mini guitar, it’s still very easy to travel with. You can place it in the back seat of your car easily, and pick it up whenever you feel like playing it. If you travel by air, then I would recommend you take a look at some mini models, because those are easier to take with you on an airplane. Mini models are usually more lightweight, however, their playability is not as good as medium-sized ones.
Hearing the warm but balanced tone coming out of such a small mahogany body is very interesting, and I haven’t seen many other instruments in that category be able to perform as well as the Fender CT-60S. Personally, if I was shopping for my first guitar, I wouldn’t pick the CT-60S, but if you already have a high-end acoustic guitar at home and you are looking for one with a smaller mahogany body which you can travel with, then you can’t go wrong with the CT-60S by Fender.
To conclude, I would say that it’s definitely worth the price. It’s lightweight, has a mahogany body and I love the shape of this instrument. Definitely a great travel guitar for playing some easy music!
This is it. The guitars listed above are the most popular options which are rated from the people who like to travel and like to take their guitars with them everywhere they go. There we talked about different things or different pros and cons of acoustic guitars, regarding the price and their quality. Whether you decide to buy one of these guitars is all up to you, I’d advise you to see a couple of videos about each traveler guitar separately before buying it since there you can see their actual size or hear their genuine sound.
This article was meant to be an inspiration for everyone who’s ever thought of buying or has considered buying a traveling guitar. So with small words, these are the best travel guitars you can buy and you can use while you’re on the road. They are very durable and are not so prone to being breakable unless you slam it hard to the wall or throw it from a 2 story building into the ground.
Another thing you should keep in mind is the gig bag. The type of gig bag you will get for your guitar is very important because if you have a lightweight guitar, you will also need a lightweight gig bag to go with it. It’s pointless to get a heavy gig bag and use it with a light guitar.
These guitars are specifically designed to be part of your travels and allow you to produce your unique style of music everywhere you go. So we hope we gave you a glimpse of the top choices and you have gained some knowledge from this article to make a somewhat more informed decision, or just narrow down your options. So good luck with your next traveler guitar and remember to always keep your beloved instrument safe.