Travel Guitar Guide: Pros, Cons, and What to Look For

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  May 3, 2022

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So you’re going on a trip and you want to bring your guitar, but it’s just too big and heavy. What do you do?

Travel guitars are small guitars with a full or nearly full scale-length. In contrast, a reduced scale-length is typical for guitars intended for children, which have scale-lengths of one-quarter (ukulele guitar, or guitalele), one-half, and three-quarter.

In this article, I’ll explain what a travel guitar is and what to look for when buying one.

What is a travel guitar

Understanding Travel Guitars: A Guide for Musicians on the Go

A travel guitar is a smaller version of a typical acoustic or electric guitar that is designed to be easy to carry around. It is an excellent choice for musicians who want to play while on a trip or those who want a smaller guitar for convenience. Despite its smaller size, a travel guitar is still able to produce a good sound and is playable like a regular guitar.

What to Consider When Shopping for a Travel Guitar?

When shopping for a travel guitar, it’s important to consider the following:

  • Type: Decide whether you want an acoustic or electric travel guitar.
  • Size: Consider how small you want the guitar to be and how easy it is to carry around.
  • Quality: Decide how much you want to spend and find a brand that offers a good quality instrument.
  • Wood: Consider the type of wood used in the guitar’s construction, as this can affect the sound it produces.
  • Bridge: Consider the type of bridge on the guitar, as this can affect the tuning and playability of the instrument.
  • Case: Consider whether a case is included with the guitar, as having a case is crucial for protecting the instrument during travel.

Despite the differences between a travel guitar and a typical guitar, a travel guitar can be an excellent choice for musicians who want to play on the go. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, having a travel guitar in your gear can offer convenience and a way to keep practicing even when away from your typical instrument.

Understanding the Size of Travel Guitars: Is A Travel Size Guitar 3 4?

When shopping for a travel guitar, you may come across the term “3/4 size guitar.” This refers to the length of the guitar’s scale, which is the distance between the nut and the bridge. A 3/4 size guitar typically has a scale length of around 22-24 inches, which is about 3/4 the length of a standard guitar.

Is a travel size guitar 3/4?

Not necessarily. While many travel guitars are indeed 3/4 size, this is not always the case. Some travel guitars may be slightly larger or smaller than 3/4 size, depending on the specific model and manufacturer. It’s important to check the scale length and overall dimensions of any travel guitar you’re considering to ensure it will meet your needs.

What are the benefits of a smaller guitar?

There are several benefits to having a smaller guitar, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player looking for a convenient travel instrument. Some potential advantages of a smaller guitar include:

  • Easier to play: Smaller guitars typically have a shorter neck and fewer frets, making them easier to play for beginners or players with smaller hands.
  • More convenient: Travel guitars are designed to be lightweight and easy to transport, making them a great choice for musicians on the go.
  • Simplified setup: With fewer features and a smaller body, travel guitars can be simpler to set up and maintain than larger, more complex instruments.
  • Lower price point: Travel guitars can be a more affordable option for players who don’t want to spend a lot of money on a full-size guitar.

Can You Actually Play a Travel Guitar?

Travel guitars are designed to be compact and durable, making them an ideal choice for people who want to learn how to play the guitar while on the road. One of the main differences between a travel guitar and a regular guitar is the size. Travel guitars are smaller and have a shorter scale length, which can make it easier for some players to play certain chords and notes.

Lighter and Easier to Carry

Another benefit of a travel guitar is that they are lighter and easier to carry around than a regular guitar. This makes them a great choice for travelers who want to practice their music while on the go. They are also a good option for people who have limited space in their home or apartment.

Acoustic and Electric Options

Travel guitars come in both acoustic and electric versions, so you can choose the one that best fits your style of music. Acoustic travel guitars are great for playing in a more intimate setting, while electric travel guitars are perfect for playing with a band or in a larger venue.

Are Travel Guitars Good for Beginners?

If you are just starting out as a guitar player, a travel guitar can be a great way to learn the basics. They are easier to play than a regular guitar, and the smaller size can make it more comfortable for beginners to practice for longer periods of time.

Pros and Cons of Playing a Travel Guitar


  • Lighter and easier to carry
  • Smaller size and shorter scale length can make it easier to play certain chords and notes
  • Available in both acoustic and electric versions
  • Great for beginners who want to learn the basics


  • Some guitarists may find the smaller size and shorter scale length difficult to play
  • The sound may not be as full or rich as a regular guitar
  • The limited range of available models and brands

Recommendations for Travel Guitars

If you are looking to buy a travel guitar (here are our full reviews), there are a few brands and models that are worth considering. Here are some of our top recommendations:

  • Martin Backpacker

    – This ultra-compact guitar is built for travel and has an excellent sound output.

  • Ibanez EWP14OPN

    – This guitar has a thin body and a lot of different shape options, making it a good choice for people who want a variety of styles.

  • Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light

    – This guitar is extremely lightweight and easy to carry, making it a great choice for people who are always on the go.

  • Ukulele

    – While not technically a guitar, a ukulele is a great option for travelers who want a small and easy-to-play instrument.

Are Travel Guitars a Good Choice for Beginner Guitarists?

Starting to learn how to play the guitar can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to choosing the right instrument. There are a lot of factors to consider, such as the size, the type of guitar, the number of strings, and the quality of the instrument. For beginners, it can be hard to decide which guitar is the best fit for them. One option that is worth considering is a travel guitar.

Pros and Cons of Travel Guitars

  • Portability:

    The most obvious benefit of a travel guitar is its size. It’s smaller and lighter than a standard guitar, making it easy to carry around. You can take it with you on trips, to the beach, or even on hikes.

  • Comfort:

    For players who find larger guitars difficult to play, a travel guitar can be a good option. The smaller body and shorter scale length make it more comfortable for some players to hold and play.

  • Affordability:

    Travel guitars are often more affordable than larger guitars, making them a good option for beginners or players on a budget.

  • Diverse Options:

    The travel guitar market offers a diverse selection of options, from acoustic to electric, and even hybrid models like the guitalele. This gives players the possibility to find the right instrument for their needs and preferences.

  • Lower Frets:

    Many travel guitars have fewer frets than a standard guitar, which can make it easier for beginners to learn and play. The lower frets also give the player more space for fingerpicking and chord shapes.

  • Warm Sound:

    Despite their smaller size, travel guitars can still produce a warm and appealing sound. They are also great for playing rhythm and lead parts.


  • Less Room for Error:

    The smaller size of a travel guitar leaves less room for error when playing. This can make it more difficult for players who are used to a larger instrument.

  • Difficult Tuning:

    Some travel guitars can be difficult to tune due to their smaller size and different spacing between the frets. This can be frustrating for players who are used to a standard guitar.

  • Bulky:

    While travel guitars are smaller than standard guitars, they can still be bulky compared to other travel instruments like ukuleles or harmonicas.

  • Limited Tone:

    The smaller body of a travel guitar can limit the tone and projection compared to a larger guitar. This can be a drawback for players who need a fuller sound.

  • Not Suitable for All Ages:

    Depending on the age and background of the player, a travel guitar may not be the best option. Younger players or those with larger hands may find the smaller size uncomfortable to play.

  • Transfer of Skills:

    Switching from a standard guitar to a travel guitar can be difficult due to the shift in spacing and size. This can make it challenging for players to transfer their skills from one instrument to the other.

Overall, travel guitars can be a good option for players who need a smaller, more portable instrument. They offer a diverse selection of options, are affordable, and can be more comfortable for some players to play. However, they do have some drawbacks, including limited tone and difficulty with tuning and transferring skills. It’s important to consider your needs and preferences when selecting a travel guitar to find the best option for you.

What To Consider When Choosing A Travel Guitar

When it comes to travel guitars, size and shape are crucial factors to consider. You want a guitar that is smaller and more compact than a typical guitar, but not so small that it feels like a toy. Look for a guitar that is easy to carry around and won’t take up too much space in your luggage. There are different shapes to choose from, such as the typical dreadnought shape or a smaller parlor shape. Try out different shapes to see what feels comfortable for you.

Quality and Materials

Just because a guitar is smaller doesn’t mean it should compromise on quality. Look for a travel guitar that is made of high-quality materials, such as solid wood for the body and a rosewood fretboard. Some companies offer travel guitars made of nylon, which can be a good choice if you want a softer sound. Make sure the guitar is well-constructed and can withstand the wear and tear of travel.

Tone and Sound

Despite their smaller size, travel guitars can still produce a great sound. Look for a guitar that has a good tone and sound quality, whether it’s an acoustic or electric guitar. Consider the type of strings the guitar uses, as this can significantly affect the sound. Some travel guitars even allow you to plug into an amp, which is a great benefit if you plan on playing on stage.

Convenience and Safety

One of the main reasons for having a travel guitar is convenience. Look for a guitar that is easy to pack and carry around, and comes with a case to protect it from damage. Some travel guitars even include extra features, such as a detachable neck or a built-in tuner. Safety is also important, so make sure the guitar is easy to handle and won’t cause any harm to yourself or your neighbor.

Price and Brand

Travel guitars come in a range of prices, so it’s important to decide how much you’re willing to spend. Some brands offer excellent travel guitars at a reasonable price, while others may be more expensive due to their reputation or the materials used. Do your research and try out different guitars to find the one that fits your budget and needs.

In conclusion, a travel guitar is a dream come true for guitarists who want to play music while on a trip. Despite their smaller size, travel guitars offer plenty of benefits and can be an ideal choice for different types of players. Just remember to consider the size and shape, quality and materials, tone and sound, convenience and safety, and price and brand when deciding which travel guitar to buy.


So there you have it – everything you need to know about travel guitars.  It’s a great way to practice and perfect for beginners to hone their skills, and it’s so much easier to carry around than your regular guitar!  Plus, you can always use it to impress your friends with your musical skills on your next trip!  So don’t wait any longer and get yourself a travel guitar!

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Neaera and a content marketer, dad, and love trying out new equipment with guitar at the heart of my passion, and together with my team, I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2020 to help loyal readers with recording and guitar tips.

Check me out on Youtube where I try out all of this gear:

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