Travel Guitars

Travel Guitars should be small and short and easily taken on vacation. They should fit easily in an airliner overhead compartment.

When you travel you will probably really miss playing. Bringing a full size guitar on vacation can be an issue. This page is the result of my research into travel guitars. Not all the guitars on this page are still produced but you may find one used for a great deal.

The famous Chiquita has been around for quite a while, since 1979 I believe. The first thing you’ll noticed is that most manufacturers of travel guitars do not quite understand the concept. A travel guitar must small enough to fit in an airplane’s overhead compartment. Idealy small enough to fit in a backpack. So far the concept winner is the Lapstick 

As a guide, the overall length of a Fender Strat is about 40”.

Lapstick travel guitar
Lapstick travel guitar

Lapstick use a rather clever concept. Instead of being tuned to E , the guitar is tuned to A. It’s as if you had a capo on the 5th fret. Although this is limiting, they can keep the over all length short. Most of my favorite soloing positions are here anyway.  I have seen some YouTube video’s where the player has tuned to E with excellent results. The overall length is 19.9″.

Hofner shorty is a bit long at 32.5″ This model was discontinued and recently re-issued. The least expensive of the lot.  The Hofner shorty web site

 The Palm is 26″ and weighs in at 3.4 lps.   The Chiquita is 27.5”  chiquita   These are the first travel guitars to have ever come out. You might remember Michael J Fox playing one in Back to The Future.

The lapaxe is the latest contender 20.3″ and it looks like a close competitor of the Lapstick

Washburn Maverick BTM just shy of 33″ a bit long but still compact.

Traveler    

 I like their recent model the Ultra light. It’s 28″ total lenght but it’s very compact. The list price is reasonable.

traveler ultra light travel guitar
traveler ultra light travel guitar

I have a problem with pricing in general on travel guitars. These guitars were disigned for vacation not tours or gigs. These are never your main guitars. You should not have to pay the same as a regular guitar. These manufacturers better beware because the Chinese will knock them off and out of the game soon.

There is also the Ministars and Microstars. I have them  listed between $136 to over $200. The Microstar is  25.5″ over all. The Ministar Rockstar is 32″ overall. I have seen these on EBay but with exorbitant shipping costs.

Some others that don’t focus on being “Travel Guitars” are the Lazer and Steinberger. The Steinberger SS-2F is 31.75″ a hair shorter than some of the so-called “Travel guitars”.

I recently found the Vorson models. Over is 27″ and like the Lapstik is tuned to A. Prices vary between $139 to $300 US. Do your shopping before buying one.

It appears that Epiphone had some travel models. One was named the EPI ROADIE. The headstock actually read”EPI”.

It came out in 1995. It didn’t last very long. They came out with the Pee-Wee series that appears about the same size. It is very hard to know the exact lenght but I believe it was 29″. The product sheet which came with the Pee Wee suggests that you tune to G and not E similar to the Lapstick. The Pee Wee came in different shapes, Les Paul and Flying V.
I have recently seen Epiphone Pee Wee’s on a Chinese web site. They show both the  Les Paul model and the Flying Vee. I can’t tell if this is or isn’t counterfeit.
The latest find is AnyGig
AnyGig Travel guitar
AnyGig Travel guitar
The overall length from one end to the end of the two tuners is just shy of 32″  the price is $219 US list. They are based in Hong Kong. All sales are currently direct.

Please note that the opinions I have seen on 3/4 or smaller guitars is that they are hard to tune. Consider this if you put a capo on a standard guitar you are effectively shortening the scale. This is why they advise tune in G or A.

Now that we’ve seen most of these commercial models and their prices, One may decide to try DIY. It still is a lot cheaper to buy a 3/4 guitar for $50 to $60 and chop it up a bit.
Here are some great ideas and projects. For those of you who can handle some wood working this maybe the way to go.
 The John Anthony site also has plans for many other famous guitars.
Here is another fellow who made his own travel guitar guitarfritz
 If you know of any others, please drop me a line.