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Traveling with an instrument is difficult at best, even when it’s in a lightweight gig bag. There are travel-sized instruments, but with limited features sound wise and shorter scale lengths, which means it doesn’t feel and sound like a “real” instrument. Traveler Guitar figured out how to get a full-size instrument with a full-sized sound into a more travel friendly situation.
The body is not much bigger than a standard sized S-style pickguard. The Surf Green finish of our test model more or less comes in as a colored accent from the front view. Flipping it over there are some familiar hardware bits, such as a standard S-style input jack and strap buttons. The neck joint has a beveled edge, allowing for easy upper fret access. It’s very interesting to note that the tremolo block hangs out the back of the body, exposed. One might think, is this going to affect any playability? But amazingly it doesn’t. It feels like a normal 2-point S-Type bridge, with a pop in tremolo arm that can be adjusted for the tightness of its “swing.”▼ Article continues below ▼
The maple neck and fingerboard feel very nice, and are fitted with medium jumbo frets, which feels very familiar, however it’s a 3+3 tuner configuration on the headstock which brings the standard 25 ½” scale under a 34” overall length. Electronics-wise it’s quite familiar, with three ceramic magnet single coil pickups, a master volume, neck tone, middle tone, and a 5-way switch.
Picking it up it feels odd, and yet strangely familiar. Without all that extra body mass, it’s easy to get the hand into a very comfortable picking position. With the pop-in tremolo arm, the trem feels, well normal. Strapping it on, it’s nicely balanced, and in a seated position, it sits nicely where a normal guitar would go. The pickups are quite robust in all configurations, with more than enough output. Clean, Tele-style chicken pickin’ tones in positions 2 and 4 have enough warmth and quack, just like you would expect, and each pickup individually doesn’t disappoint. With a bit of grit from an overdriven amp, it delivers big (and almost unexpected) tones. Getting into more heavy drive, the usual single coil 60 cycle hum is there, but that’s no surprise. Comparing it to a full-size S-style guitar, it’s certainly not lacking tone or beefiness in any way.
Our test guitar was strung up with .09 strings, so it felt like a slinky S-type. The frets were well polished and finished, and the bone nut is a really nice touch. With this uniquely “less is more” body, and great feeling neck, it is a joy to play overall, and doesn’t feel or sound like it’s missing anything. Not what we expected at all.
Overall, for a player who does a lot of traveling this is well worth it. In its gig bag it can easily fit in the overhead compartment of an airplane with no fuss. Heck, a touring artist that might want to bring an additional electric on the road but shies away because of space issues should seriously consider one (or two) of these. There’s really no downside to one of these; they deliver a full-sized guitar in a travel sized package. Consider us impressed.
Great neck, excellent fretwork, familiar feel, great single coil tones.
Aesthetics might not appeal to everyone.