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Today for the guitar(s) of the day we are focusing on travel guitars. And since their whole purpose is to be compact, I figure we can squeeze three of them into the guitar of the day slot.
I always laughed off travel guitars as silly looking and pointless – until recently, since I have been traveling more and realizing just how hard it is to tote around a full sized guitar through the airport, past security, etc.
One of my beloved guitars is currently at my mother-in-law’s house because I just couldn’t make myself feel good about allowing it to ride under the plane in God knows what conditions and being handled aggressively by hurried baggage-stuffers.
So now, I’m looking at travel guitars with a bit more acceptance, and the more I look – the more interested I become.
Let’s face it – small is kind of cool, and (temporary) minimalism can be oddly challenging and romantic – as long as it doesn’t last too long, or become a necessity.
Compact cars are becoming more and more sexy and sporty, in New York I became accustomed to seeing fold up bikes on the subway and trains, and netbooks are everywhere (I used to laugh at those too).
Anyway, lets look at 3 fairly cool travel guitars that caught my eye.
The first is the Chiquita. This baby has been around awhile, I remember seeing it in guitar magazines back in the early 90’s.
Turns out it was created in the 70’s – by Billy Gibbons of ZZ-Top and Mark Erlewine.
It comes with one DiMarzio humbucker and one tone knob – there isn’t much real estate on this one for much more.
It’s only 23 inches in total.
This is the guitar that Marty (Michael J. Fox) Played in front of the huge amp in “Back to the Future”. An ironic pairing of a really huge amp with a really tiny guitar.
They’re hard to find now, and if you do find one, chances are you are going to pay a full sized price for it. Right now on Ebay there is only one, and its upwards of $700. You can also order one here.
Another option you have is to find a Hofner Shorty. This one is much more available, and much more cost effective. You can find them on Ebay for around $100-150 for some models. They resemble the Chiquita, and from what I have heard, the sound is equal to or better than the Chiquita.
The neck itself is a 24 and 3/4 inch scale, so it is bigger, the total length is just over 32 inches, clearly dwarfing the Chiquita.
The reviews all claim that she plays as well or better than alot of full sized guitars.
Here is a video review that showcases how incredible this guitar can be. Well worth watching.
Traveler Guitars’ Speedster is our last tiny guitar and caught my attention on looks alone. It’s quite a bit different than the other two, and sans headstock.
Coming in just between the Chiquita and the Hofner at 28 total inches, it still sports a 24 3/4 inch full size neck.
It also is right in the middle as far as price, you can get one for around $350.
As you can see, they have attempted to emulate a full guitar body with the detachable arm. It doesn’t quite get you all the way to feeling like a full sized guitar, but if the size of the other two turns you off, this might be an option.
It comes with a dual rail humbucker and volume and tone knobs, like the Hofner.
In an interesting twist, the strings wrap all the way around the body.
Here is another video, featuring the guitar with some more specs.
There are many more travel guitars that I just don’t have the space to cover here, but I am thinking with the reletively low prices, the travel guitar might be something that any guitar player might want to look into.