In addition to being a private violin teacher, Alecia started writing music-related articles 3 years ago and has been enjoying this experience greatly. Loves quilting and scrapbooking in her free time.
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Last updated: October 28, 2021
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Travel guitars have come a really long way. They’re no longer a laughing stock in the world of guitars, and they can even be played live to great effect.
In this guide, we review the best travel electric guitar models. We examined some of the most vital features, of course, this means that we explored the sound in great detail. We also looked at other features you need from this type of guitar such as durability and even the details of the portability (did it fit in our luggage when traveling abroad?). Let’s dive into those awesome electric guitars with a big sound.
In this guide, we have carefully selected and reviewed the best travel electric guitar models in the market. Check them out!
This is a fantastic model which offers some totally unique features when compared to other travel guitars. You’ll struggle to find a full-scale guitar that has the capacity to fold up, but this does exactly that.
This is the perfect guitar for someone who wants to take their instrument out and about with them, and even take it on flights without having to pay for extra luggage capacity. We didn’t think it was really possible to make a removable neck work for a guitar, but this absolutely does the job.
What stands out?
We really like the tone that this guitar creates, and it can rival some of the bigger brands on the market. The fact that it weighs just 6.8 lbs, and comes with a backpack case means it is super simple to take out with you. On top of that, it has a headless tuning system so there is no need to worry about the lack of headstock.
What cons did we manage to find?
It’s hard to find too much fault with this instrument but it can be a fiddly task to get the neck back on the guitar properly and make sure you do it in a way that doesn’t encourage any sort of fret buzz. It’s also fair to say that this is a little on the expensive side so probably better for professionals.
We were impressed by this guitar, made from one solid piece of maple. We also think it looks pretty fantastic, and makes for a great talking point.
The ULE BKM is a good model for those who want to play either standing (it has the option to connect a strap) and it is arguably the easiest of the instruments to play while sitting down. Some of these instruments can be hard to play on your lap as the smaller size makes it difficult to rest there, but this is not the case with the Traveler Guitar.
What do we love it for?
We like that this guitar comes from a brand whose focus and dedication is on creating a portable product. They have clearly thought through every aspect of the design. The fact that you can play it on your lap or with a strap on-stage is a bonus. The tone is reliable, with maple tonewood doing a great job.
What were we disappointed with?
This is an incredibly lightweight guitar, which is a good thing in many respects but also comes with its disadvantages. We wouldn’t want to drop this guitar for fear it would break. On top of this, you should definitely consider the fact that it might be tough to get a stable tone and setup out of such a light instrument.
You can see why a lot of musicians who take their guitar very seriously opt for the Steinberger. As well as being a great travel guitar it has a lot of options when it comes to pickups and a maple design.
The fretboard is made of rosewood and a maple neck give this a very professional feel in a compact design. There’s a locking tremolo, and multiple pickups which you can choose between to tailor your sound. For the serious musician who wants to create a tailored guitar tone then this is a great option, though some have advised replacing the pickups if you want the most professional sound.
What are its best features?
We liked the fact that this guitar opens up many possibilities when it comes to tone, and you can customize the setup pretty easily to get the exact sort of sound you’re looking for, including using the humbucker pickup for a rockier sound.
What could be improved?
Though there’s nothing wrong with the tone of the pickup per-se, we think that you could create a sound with a bit more bite. Many users experiment with the pickups and a slight upgrade can turn this into a next-level travel guitar, perfect for gigging.
This incredibly lightweight guitar is full scale but comes with a travel bag, and it is also great for playing on-the-go due to some little tech features adding a whole lot of convenience.
We think it makes perfect sense to use this guitar if you are the sort of person who wants an instrument for privately practicing on the go. The inbuilt headphone amp means that you can simply connect your headphones and enjoy listening in private to your own playing, which is ideal for those who are using it for lessons or just to brush up on their skills without a huge instrument.
Why did it make our list?
As well as the fact that this is lightweight but still relatively sturdy, we really like the headphone amp, which means you can practice without affecting anyone else and play on the go with absolute ease. It also comes with a convenient gig bag to protect it, and you can take this instrument on an airline, for instance.
What is not ideal about it?
We did find a couple of downsides to this instrument. The tuning stability wasn’t great, and in fact it is not as good as the other other Traveler guitars we used. Hard to explain. On top of that, we did find that it was a little bit prone to some fret buzz which can be annoying if you want to use it to perform.
There is a lot to like about this instrument, with a really fascinating design that people might think is not likely to produce a good tone, but it really does the job for a portable guitar.
This is a good model for anyone looking for durability. The Asmuse Foldable Travel Headless Electric Guitar has some really cool and inventive design features which we really like, including the fact that it is USB connectable. This shows that this is a guitar built with modern functionality and considerations. For the modern player who doesn’t mind straying a little from the traditional, this can give you an excellent option.
What are our favorite features?
Like some of the other options we really liked the fact that this product has a folding body so it is super easy to take out and about with you. It’s also got the headphone amp inbuilt, though this does need to be recharged. The headless design does a decent job of remaining in tune, also. Whether it’s silent practice or loud gigging, this guitar can handle it.
What could be better?
In spite of the actual guitar being very durable, some of the parts feel a little flimsy and may need replacing. For instance, there is a tray for holding picks that could easily become damaged or broken as it feels flimsy. Some of the switches also seem like they could get a little stuck, meaning extra maintenance.
Things to Consider
Let’s move onto the buying guide so that you can understand fully how to choose the best guitar for you. You need to understand the different design functions of different electric travel guitars and how one model can vary from the next.
How to Pick the Best Travel Electric Guitar
Choosing the ideal guitar for you can be tough at the best of times. There are so many different factors at play. Below, we’ve gone through some of the key considerations and things you need to be aware of. Different guitarists will, of course, prioritize different aspects.
Whatever type of guitar you are buying, it needs to be well-constructed and sturdy. If you are parting with your hard-earned money, you want to know that the materials are good quality. For example, the Traveler Guitar EG1B BKM is made with a mahogany body which is relatively lightweight, but still extremely durable.
Electronics & Hardware
The electronics and hardware play such a huge part in getting the sound you want. For example, the pickups of the guitar are truly vital. For instance, you need a good quality pickup system and reliable electronics.
Added hardware like a headphone amp can also be a fantastic option for these travel guitars. The Asmuse Foldable Travel Electric Guitar is a fantastic product for those who want an inbuilt amp so that you can just connect your headphones and listen to your practice. There are many different hardware options for guitars and some of these are changeable, so in the future you can even make upgrades.
Sound and Playability
What sort of sound can you get from the instrument? You need your guitar to provide you with a reliable tone, and while a lot goes into the sound of an electric guitar, it all starts with the instrument itself, including the materials it is made out of and the way the pickups are designed and positioned.
On top of that, playability is crucial. A comfortable tonewood
Trusted SourceTonewood - WikipediaAs a rough generalization it can be said that stiff-but-light softwoods (i.e. from coniferous trees) are favored for the soundboards or soundboard-like surface that transmits the vibrations of the strings to the ambient air.
being used on the fretboard is one of the things that impacts playability.
For portable guitars, a lap rest to help you play when sitting down can also be really important.
Dimensions and Weight
This isn’t usually the biggest consideration when it comes to guitars, but actually for travel guitars it is truly vital. You need to ensure that your instrument is small and compact enough. The Stewart Stow-Away Travel Guitar is an example that even has a totally foldable neck so you can ensure that the package is as small as possible, great for taking on airplanes and other forms of transport. We’ve named it the editor’s choice.
What sort of accessories are included, and if there aren’t any, what can you add and use with this product? Many of the travel electric guitars on the market come with a case. This is probably the most crucial of all accessories due to the fact that you will need to keep it safe and secure, plus you will struggle to get a case that is the right size if not made by the manufacturer of the instrument.
Of course, this comes into everyone’s thinking when it comes to buying any guitar. We’d all love to spend a lot of money on our instruments but it may not be worth it, and it may not be sensible for those who don’t have a large budget. It’s a good idea to find a product that is a sensible price for you, and that reflects how much use you will get out of it. Spending $1000 on a guitar you barely use might not be the best solution.
Yes, absolutely. A quality electric travel guitar should be suitable for use in any scenario you want. As long as you buy a guitar that is up to scratch it doesn’t matter where you use it, and that includes on stage. For some touring musicians, being able to take a guitar in their luggage on a plane and not pay extra is a real bonus. They work in the same way, so you can connect your guitar to an amp or PA system as you would any other electric guitar.
Travel acoustic guitars tend to be much bigger as they still need a soundhole to actually produce the amplification and a bigger sound. The fact that you will be amplifying your electric guitar means you don’t need to worry quite as much about this. The guitar can be smaller as a result. Of course, the tone generated is also one of the big differences between the two.
What’s the verdict on these travel electric guitars?
The Stewart Stow-Away Travel Guitar is our Editor’s Choice and though it has some unusual design features such as a folding neck, it’s a brilliant option for the more serious musician who needs their guitar to pack up into a small size. We’ve rated it 9.9/10.
Next on our list is the Traveler Guitar ULE BKM which is brilliant value for money. It’s cleverly made from one piece of tonewood and is great for playing either on your lap or standing up with a strap. It’s got a rating of 9.7/10 on our list of the best travel electric guitars.
The Steinberger GTPROBK1 is made out of more traditional tonewoods and is a good option for the traditionalist. It’s got a rating of 9.5/10 on our list and the addition of a tremolo makes it an even more expressive instrument.
Tonewood - Wikipedia
As a rough generalization it can be said that stiff-but-light softwoods (i.e. from coniferous trees) are favored for the soundboards or soundboard-like surface that transmits the vibrations of the strings to the ambient air.