Travelling is fun, but if you’re a musician as well, you probably think you have to get used to life without your instruments. Unless you have the capability to bring your home studio along with you, chances are you’re going to have to make some sacrifices, and make do without a lot of your much treasured musical equipment while you’re out on the road.

While this may be the definition of a first world problem, I’m on something of a mission to streamline and improve my travelling, to ensure I can bring along as much musical equipment as physically possible, without becoming overloaded with luggage.

Laptops are, of course, making the world of travelling and music-making so much easier, and companies like Teenage Engineering producing portable synthesisers like the OP-Z also helps. The Ableton Push 2 – while hardly feeling ultra-portable – will also grudgingly fit in a backpack, and I’ve recently purchased this one from Sosoon that is small enough to bring on as carry-on luggage, and place under the seat in front of you, while offering a pocket large enough for the Push and another one for your laptop.

If you want to keep things acoustic, however, until recently I thought that it was pretty much tough luck – unless you’re willing to haul an awkward guitar along on your back, pay for extra seats, or trust the baggage handlers with your prized possessions.

That was until I discovered Yamaha GL1 Guitalele. Inspired by the form factor of a ukulele, this is essentially a miniature acoustic guitar – and it’s brilliant! If you’re a guitarist who doesn’t want to drag a full-size instrument with you, it’s a genuine game changer.

It’s – just about – small enough to fit neatly into a medium-sized suitcase, and there you have it – a guitar that you can take anywhere and everywhere,

The design adds adds two extra strings to a standard ukelele meaning it’s tuned like a guitar. The trade-off? It’s essentially like playing a guitar with a couple on the fifth threat, as it’s tuned to A (ADGCEA) by standard. Get your head around the obvious limitations, and you’ll be amazed by the possibilities that open up to play with this little guy, and enjoy the ability to bring a guitar with you wherever the road takes you.

You can easily get around the tuning by transposing chords, or using the handy feature on Ultimate Guitar, to transpose down by 5, which then tells you the chords to play.

This opens up a lot of great possibilities for playing. Bored waiting for your train, crack out the guitalele and make some music. Stuck in another hotel, you have a guitar ready and waiting to go.

Of course, the Guitalele won’t please everyone, but as a longterm traveller, or someone why regularly has to travel for work – you can really miss having a physcial acoustic instrument with you. Even more so – you can find that your fingers need to adapt to the strings again once you manage to get your hands on an instrument, and if you sing, that your vocals are out of practice. The Guitalele is like a training tool to keep you’re playing skills in shape while travelling.

At around £70, this is a bit of a steal in my view, and it even comes with its own cute little gig bag. Mine tends to detune quite easily, but that’s not a huge issue, and it definitely sounds fuller (and less irritating) than your typical ukulele.

If it’s a choice between this little guitar or nothing, then I’m sure that 99% of guitar players would welcome having this instrument in that suitcase, and you’ll be surprised by how playable the tiny frets are.

Get yours here, from Amazon.

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