Being able to continue your playing while not at home has always been an important continuing step in the development of all guitar players. It’s always been a challenge for me to play when on the road, especially when on the road for other reasons that don’t really involve the guitar. It’s very important to keep up your playing/practicing, and therefore your “chops” at all times, and of course, many makers have created special “traveling” guitars just with this purpose in mind.
One of my favorite little road “tricks” to keep up my playing is simply to be sure to visit music stores whenever and wherever I can. This has always been a real “lift” for me in many ways, because it usually turns into a little “performance” I give in the store, and quite often I am recognized, and before you know it, it turns into a public social event! But the main thing I gained from that experience was that I played and was much better for it!
Another thing I, and others have often done is to “sit in” with other players who are in town or from the area. I can recall several wonderful times like this, but one especially sticks in my mind from down in Fredricksburg, Virginia, where I had a very well-attended guitar clinic of my own that was sponsored by a local music store…..it seemed that this particular town was a real “hotbed” for bluegrass and other forms of music, and after my show, I was invited to not one, but actually four afterhours jam sessions, and opportunities to sit in! Needless to say, I left that town with sore fingers, and with a satisfied soul, for sure! The people were so friendly and welcoming, and I loved how such a big deal was made of the fact that I was in that town in the first place! This also brings up a lovely town called Madison, Indiana, and a store there called Crawdaddy Music, where I always stop on my way to Nashville, and invariably always end up playing some fine vintage pieces for a long time, or even take part in a little “closing time” jam with the employees! It’s a great way to have a fun experience while on the road, as well as make new friends and acquaintances, for sure!
I sure do recommend having some kind of smallish “travel” guitar as part of your collection. I can recall two trips I made to California and back on the train, can how great it was to have my little travel guitar to pass the time with, and to write songs with as I watched the incredible landscape of America go by.
I even find it hard to this day, to not stop into one of my favorite NYC shops whenever I am down there, and to have a nice play on some fine instruments! So keep this in mind as you travel around, and always be sure to take the time to play as much as you can while away. I make a point of it, and it will always be truly rewarding for you to set aside that time for your “chops” to be kept up! Happy travels!