Top Budget 3/4 Sized, Parlor And Travel Acoustic Guitars

The-Best-Acoustic-Travel-Guitars-600x268Last Updated Nov-20-2016. The term travel guitar covers quite a range of instruments. From smaller ¾ sized guitars that are designed for beginners, parlor style instruments from the early 20th century, to instruments specifically designed to be taken anywhere you want to go.

When picking one out you need to figure out what your needs are. Are you looking for an instrument to take to places you wouldn’t take you favorite guitar? Are you looking for something to take up as little room as possible? Or, are you looking for something just to take along that you can practice on? Maybe you need a combination of the above. We’ll show you some examples to help you figure out what’s best for you.

Top 14 Best Travel Guitars:

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Acoustic Electric
Summary
User Rating
Eastman E10P Parlor Acoustic Guitar
Eastman E10P Parlor Acoustic Guitar
Quality tonewoods and exceptional craftsmanship equals an exceptional guitar.
5 Stars
Total of 5/5
Blueridge BR-341 Historic Series Parlor Guitar
Blueridge BR-341 Historic Series Parlor Guitar
Beautifully voiced prewar style parlor.
4.9 Stars
Total of 4.9/5
Larrivee P-03 Parlor Acoustic Guitar
Larrivee P-03 Parlor Acoustic Guitar
An excellent parlor guitar, one of the best on the market.
4.9 Stars
Total of 4.9/5
Luna Trinity Parlor Guitar
Luna Trinity Parlor Guitar
Unique styling that will sweep you off your feet.
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5
Martin Steel String Backpacker Travel Guitar
Martin Steel String Backpacker Travel Guitar
Featuring a highly distinctive and compact oar-shaped body.
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5
Oscar Schmidt O315
Oscar Schmidt O315
Boasts a bright and punchy sound.
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5
Alvarez AP66SB Artist 66 Series
Alvarez AP66SB Artist 66 Series
One of our top choices for the best parlor.
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5
Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top
Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top
Highly distinctive and highly affordable guitar.
4.7 Stars
Total of 4.7/5
Fender CP-100
Fender CP-100
One of the best inexpensive travel guitars on the market.
4.7 Stars
Total of 4.7/5
Yamaha JR1
Yamaha JR1
The tone is loud and clear.
4.6 Stars
Total of 4.6/5
Baby Taylor BT2
Baby Taylor BT2
Classic dreadnought body curves in a small package.
4.5 Stars
Total of 4.5/5
Martin LXK2
Martin LXK2
A great guitar from a great builder.
4.5 Stars
Total of 4.5/5
Hohner HC03
Hohner HC03
Has a good sound that projects well.
4.3 Stars
Total of 4.3/5
Martin LXM
Martin LXM
Great travel sized guitar with a sound that is hard to beat.
4.6 Stars
Total of 4.6/5

First, let’s discuss some of the things you need to consider. Keep an eye on your budget. Any guitar that you take out of your house is going to be subject to damage or loss. How much can you afford to lose, or how much are you willing to pay to replace it? A cheap guitar is not necessarily the answer, but it is an option.

Next, the size of the guitar will matter how much space it will take up, but it also effects playability and the sound it produces. A parlor style instrument has a certain sound and vibe that may not be to your liking.

It might tick the boxes of the right price point and the right size, but you have to make a connection to the instrument. It doesn’t matter if it travels well, if you don’t like the guitar you won’t be playing it.

The guitars we have listed will answer some of these needs, but none of them answer them all. We hope to help you narrow your choices down to get the best travel guitar for you. We have links to our more in depth reviews to let you have the best information to make an educated decision.

Eastman E10P Parlor Acoustic Guitar

Eastman-E10P-Parlor-Acoustic-Guitar-300x300

Body&Neck:5 Stars
Hardware:4.9 Stars
Sound:5 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:5 Stars

Representing the high-end domain, the Eastman E10P six-string is one of the best travel guitars we have laid our hands on. Built with high quality tonewood and featuring exceptional craftsmanship, this guitar simply screams the blues. Sure, it is perfectly capable of tackling any other style from flamenco through jazz and all the way to modern pop, but it packs a great Mississippi Delta vibe. It has a solid Adirondack Spruce top with solid mahogany back and sides. The neck is also mahogany with an ebony fingerboard. The pyramid style bridge and the open tuners that adorn the slotted headstock give this guitar a real classic look and feel. Highly recommended!


Blueridge BR-341 Historic Series Parlor Guitar

Blueridge-BR-341-Historic-Series-Parlor-Guitar-300x300

Body&Neck:5 Stars
Hardware:4.8 Stars
Sound:5 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:4.9 Stars

In our humble opinion, the Blueridge BR-341 is one of the top contenders for the title of the best travel guitar on today’s market. Boasting top-level craftsmanship and high-end tonewood including an ebony fingerboard, this is a gorgeous instrument that can stand on par with any full-sized guitar in terms of sonic punch. The solid Sitka Spruce top gives plenty of sparkle to the warm tone of the solid mahogany back and sides. The wide neck makes this a guitar that fingerstyle players will feel right at home with, and has a great classic parlor style that has to be played to be believed. Check it out!


Larrivee P-03 Parlor Acoustic Guitar

Larrivee-P-03-Parlor-Acoustic-Guitar-300x300

Body&Neck:5 Stars
Hardware:4.8 Stars
Sound:4.9 Stars
Value:4.7 Stars
Average:4.9 Stars

The Larrivee P-03 is without a doubt one of the best sounding acoustic guitars on today’s market. It sports high-end components, stellar sound, and excellent build quality. If you are after clarity and rich frequencies across the entire sonic spectrum, then this is the one for you. The all solid wood construction features a Canadian Sitka Spruce top and Indian Rosewood back and sides. An ebony fingerboard is laid across a smooth and very playable mahogany neck. Ebony is also used in the bridge and for an overlay on the headstock. Modern touches on this turn-of-the-century design include enclosed chrome tuners, and the option of adding electronics.


Luna Trinity Parlor Guitar

Luna-Trinity-Parlor-Guitar-300x300

Body&Neck:4.9 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.7 Stars
Value:5 Stars
Average:4.8 Stars

The Luna Trinity has unique styling that will sweep you off your feet. It thoroughly impresses with quality tone and top craftsmanship. It produces a bright and punchy sound full of vintage charm. It has a solid spruce top and rosewood back and sides. The body has a soft cutaway giving you more access to the higher frets. The mahogany neck has a rosewood fingerboard, which is kept straight with a dual action truss rod. If you want to stand out from the crowd the Luna Trinity will help you do that with its unique Celtic Trinity soundhole and Moon phase inlays. Become part of the Luna tribe by picking up a Trinity.


Martin Steel String Backpacker Travel Guitar

Martin-Steel-String-Backpacker-Travel-Guitar-300x300

Body&Neck:5 Stars
Hardware:4.6 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:4.8 Stars

Featuring a highly distinctive oar-shaped body, the Martin Backpacker travel guitar was made to be ergonomic, convenient, and easy to hit the open road with. The Backpacker comes from the legendary builders at Martin who have been building amazing instruments for over a hundred years. The Backpacker sacrifices tone so that it can be more portable. Think of the Backpacker as a traveling fretboard to keep your fingers limber while you are away from home. There are only fifteen frets on the select hardwood neck with a scale length of 24”. Martin’s building techniques and alternate materials are used to make a more forest friendly instrument. It also comes available in a nylon string version.


Oscar Schmidt O315

Oscar-Schmidt-O315-300x300

Body&Neck:4.9 Stars
Hardware:4.8 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.8 Stars

The Oscar Schmidt O315 model from Oscar Schmidt has an amazing vintage style packed with loads of ’20s old-school charm combined with modern craftsmanship. It boasts a bright and punchy sound that is inspiring. The neck is made of mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard that is kept straight with a fully adjustable truss rod. The select spruce top is adorned with an abalone rosette to add to its charm. The classical style tuners sit atop a slotted headstock that keep the O315 in tune and ready to play. A hardshell case is included, so the O315 is packed and ready to travel. Check it out, it just might be your perfect match!


Alvarez AP66SB Artist 66 Series

Alvarez-AP66SB-Artist-66-Series-300x300

Body&Neck:4.7 Stars
Hardware:4.7 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.8 Stars

The Alvarez AP66SB from Alvarez is one of our top choices. This six-string utilizes a very sturdy mahogany construction, resulting with a booming sound and great resonance. Rosewood is used for the fingerboard, bridge, and headstock plate. The forward shifted and scalloped X bracing give the guitar plenty of sustain of its warm sound. The AP66SB adheres to the parlor conventions with the neck attaching to the body at the 12th fret, slotted headstock, and open tuners. Apart from quality sound and build, this is one sleek looking instrument, with an elegant dark burst finish everyone will love. Give it a strum and you’ll see why we really like this one.


Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top

Gretsch-G9500-Jim-Dandy-Flat-Top300x300

Body&Neck:4.7 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:4.7 Stars

A highly distinctive and affordable guitar with a characteristic mid-range punch and twang. The Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top is a steel string parlor guitar with prewar roots. The body is made from all laminate agathis, which sounds like pine without that wood’s poor aging qualities. The neck is mahogany with an 18 fret rosewood fingerboard. The tuning machines are nickel plated open-back geared tuners with white plastic buttons. It has a rosewood top-loading bridge with compensated PPS saddle. The finish and painted accents are not the best, but it has a vintage sound that truly sings when fingerpicked. Definitely worth your consideration when looking for a travel guitar.


Fender CP-100

Fender-CP-100-300x300

Body&Neck:4.8 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:4.7 Stars

The Fender CP-100 is an affordable travel guitar from a respected builder. It has a laminate spruce top with laminate mahogany back and sides. The neck is also mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard. The neck joins the body at the 14th fret, which open up a bit more access to the higher strings than most parlor sized guitars. The neck has a dual action truss rod, pearl dot inlays, 305mm (12”) radius, and 20 frets. The nut and compensated saddle are synthetic material made by Graph Tech. The bridge is made of rosewood. A great choice for the player wanting the travel sized instrument with a warmer voice and very good projection.


Yamaha JR1

Yamaha JR1

Body&Neck:4.5 Stars
Hardware:4.3 Stars
Sound:4.7 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

This travel sized masterpiece by Yamaha has a loud and clear voice. It is modeled after the company’s very successful FG series, but in a smaller package. The Yamaha JR1 is a shorter scale length folk guitar. This is a well built and durable instrument that can withstand the trials of the miles. It has a spruce top with meranti back and sides. The neck is made of nato, which has similar tonal characteristics to mahogany. The fingerboard and bridge are both made of rosewood. It is a great beginner’s instrument with its smaller size and solid construction. If you want a travel companion you could do much worse than the JR1.


Baby Taylor BT2

Baby Taylor BT2

Body&Neck:4.5 Stars
Hardware:4.3 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:4.4 Stars
Average:4.5 Stars

The BT2 is a very durable pick that will be with you for many years. The Baby Taylor offers a nice, clean, and loud sound despite its smaller size. The guitar is very responsive and it is really fun to play. The mini-dreadnaught style body of the Baby is curved to give it a special and more attractive look that will separate it from any other travel competitor. The top is tropical mahogany with sapele back and sides. The fingerboard is ebony which gives it even more style. This is a small guitar with a big sound and great playability. There is even a gig bag included with the guitar making even more ready to hit the road.


Martin LXK2

Martin LXK2

Body&Neck:4.5 Stars
Hardware:4.3 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:4.4 Stars
Average:4.5 Stars

The Martin LXK2 has a high level of craftsmanship that you would expect from Martin. It has beautiful lines and is made with Earth friendly techniques and materials. The voice of the instrument is just as pretty as it looks. The Koa laminate top is sure to get as many compliments as the tone that projects from this smaller scale guitar. The natural birch laminate neck is both rigid and very playable. The herringbone ink rosette is a touch of class on an already beautiful instrument. The chrome enclosed tuners are very solid and keep the LXK2 in tune no matter how hard you play. It is all ready to get out of the house with the included gig bag.


Hohner HC03

Hohner HC03

Body&Neck:4.2 Stars
Hardware:4.1 Stars
Sound:4.3 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.4 Stars

The Hohner HC03 is a viable solution for anyone who does not want to break the bank for a travel guitar. Hohner is a brand with a long history, and is not some flash in the pan builder. The HC03 has a loud voice to make sure that everyone will hear you playing. It is a three-quarter sized classical guitar, which means a wider neck and nylon strings. The eighteen fret nato neck joins the body at the 12th fret. The spruce top gives the sound plenty of sparkle. This sized instrument is generally made for younger players, but it also makes it travel sized. She is not a fancy guitar, but she will get the job done.


Martin LXM

Martin LXM

Body&Neck:4.3 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:4.3 Stars
Average:4.4 Stars

This is one of the best travel guitars that you can find on the market today. The difference between this one and the LKX2 are the tonewoods that were used for crafting them. The Martin LXM comes with a spruce top and mahogany side (all laminated, of course). The LXM also uses the same forest friendly materials that are the trademark of Martins in this price range. A soft gig bag is included in the price of the guitar making it even more travel worthy. This Martin seems to be more appropriate for contemporary music and blues. The LXM is a solid choice with classic looks, and she deserves your attention.


What should the best travel guitar have?

There are a few key factors that you should always consider when you are comparing different brands, models, price tags, sounds, and so on. Above all, you want a compact size. The 3/4 acoustic guitars are quite common for starters, people with small hands, and women, but they are also proven to be a great choice for an instrument to have with you on the go. Keep in mind that not all 3/4 size guitars are appropriate for traveling, and all the other adventures that you will go through with them.

Take the Art & Lutherie Ami for example, which is present in our best acoustic guitars under $500 list. This is a small sized parlor guitar that is everything, but a travel solution. It is built with quality materials, but you don’t want to subject such a beautiful instrument to harsh conditions. For a smaller amount of money you can get a durable little monster that might not sound as good as the Ami, but will survive your travels.

The next thing you want is a loud sound projecting from your guitar. Playing by the campfire, surrounded by people telling stories, laughing and enjoying the day or night might be useless if you are the only one hearing the music. Be ready to sacrifice quality for volume. The third most important factor is the price, spending anything over $300-$400 for a travel guitar makes no sense when a $100 guitar will do the job.

Conclusion

A lot of people will probably disagree with what they saw in our list, but we are standing firm behind our ratings as all of the models above are tested and proven to do a great job. There are a lot of other travel guitars that are available, and we will review more of them in the near future. But do not expect drastic changes in our top 5. Yes, we are aware that there are some outstanding parlor guitars priced over $1000, but we have no plans to review them, if you are interested in such instrument the Parlor Guitars (https://parlor.guitars/blog/roundup-best-parlor-guitars) roundup article is a great place to start.
Most of the time your travel guitar will end up damaged by the atmospheric conditions, or get miss placed. If you want to save yourself from all the trouble of constantly thinking how to protect your guitar, go with a less expensive instrument.

These are most of the important things that you should consider carefully. After reviewing your options you will have a pretty clear picture of what guitar will work best for you. Just like with every musical instrument, a different brand and type are suitable for different types of music and playing styles; travel guitars are no exception to this general rule. Play as many as possible to figure out what works best for you.