Small Acoustic Guitars

Thomma Lyn Grindstaff
Baby Taylor guitar
Baby Taylor

Since a big dreadnought guitar isn't the perfect fit for every situation, a musician sometimes finds herself in need of a small acoustic guitar. Musicians from beginners to professionals in search of a more travel-friendly instrument will be delighted to know that the market for smaller guitars has skyrocketed in recent years. Guitar manufacturers increasingly seek to satisfy the demands of today's varied types of musicians.

Beginner Guitars for Small Hands

Adult beginning guitarists who have small hands traditionally had to turn to instruments geared toward children, which were, in years past, guitars in name only. Cheaply made and sometimes constructed of plastic parts, these early products sounded terrible, didn't stay in tune, and were little more than toys. Demand arose for higher-quality small guitars, and reputable companies began to offer diminutive instruments that are both affordable and musical.

Fender Squier MA-1 and MC-1

Fender MA-1 acoustic guitar
Fender MA-1 acoustic guitar

Both of these guitars are 3/4 size, but the MA-1 is a steel-string guitar, and the MC-1 has nylon strings. The MA-1 and MC-1 are constructed out of a tropical wood known as sapele, which enhances the tone of the guitars. Since the MC-1 has nylon strings, it is better for beginners, but the MA-1 gets high marks for durability.

Cordoba Cadete

The Cordoba Cadete is a 3/4 size variant of the Cordoba C5, which is known for its quality construction and sweet, resonant tone. With its smaller size and lighter weight, the Cadete is comfortable for people with smaller hands to play. Its top is constructed of Canadian cedar, and its sides and back are made of mahogany. Since it uses high-tension strings, it should be kept in standard tuning.

Martin LX1

Also known as the Little Martin, the Martin LX1 is a 3/4 size instrument that is an excellent guitar for serious beginners. The LX1 is celebrated for having a standout tone, with stunning richness for its petite size. The LX1's sides and back are constructed of laminate, and its top is made of solid spruce.

Antonio Hermosa AHQ-10

If you're in the market for a reasonably priced beginner's guitar that fits smaller hands, you'll want to check out the Antonio Hermosa AHQ-10. The 3/4 size guitar features a solid cedar top with a mahogany back, sides, and neck, a rosewood fretboard, and gold-plated tuning pegs. The design is based on traditional Spanish models from the 1800s. The AHQ-10 wins points for high-quality construction and a resonant sound while being easy on your budget.

Travel Guitars

Travel guitars are some of the more interesting musical instruments to hit the market in recent years. Designed by some of the biggest names in the guitar business, these clever inventions make bringing your guitar along for the ride easier than ever. Travel guitars feature either a shorter scale and a narrow body or a folding construction, either of which results in an instrument so small it easily fits in the overhead compartment on an airplane.

Martin Backpacker

Martin Backpacker guitar
Martin Backpacker guitar

The Backpacker is the model that started the travel guitar craze. This ultra-portable, durable, and very playable travel guitar from the revered Martin Guitar Company brought guitars to places they were never able to go before. The Backpacker's extremely slender, innovative shape makes it an extra lightweight travel guitar. It's a rugged little instrument that can go anywhere while still staying in tune.

Voyage-Air Transit Series

Voyage-Air offers highly distinctive guitars in their Transit Series. These guitars fold in half for easy storage and transportation during travel. They garner warm acclaim from professional musicians for how they sound like top-quality regular guitars, despite their decidedly strange construction.

Washburn Rover RO10

Washburn entered the travel guitar market with the Rover RO10, an all-in-one travel guitar package complete with an instructional DVD, a carrying case, a strap, and picks. This acoustic guitar features a narrow shape that makes it lightweight and easy to stow away while traveling.

Ami Cedar Antique Burst guitar
Ami Antique Burst guitar

Small Scale Models for the Advanced Player

Small acoustic guitars that are manufactured to very high standards are more available today than ever before. Their reduced size results in a different sound than the standard dreadnought size guitar, and this change has been embraced by many professional players.

Ami by Art and Lutherie

While the Ami is small, roughly the dimensions of a 1900s parlor guitar, it packs a real punch for its slightly larger than 3/4 size. The sound is remarkably true to a full sized acoustic. The Ami comes in nylon string and steel string versions and is celebrated for the beauty and clarity of its tone.

Baby Taylor

The Baby Taylor is a gorgeous 3/4 size instrument with top-notch construction and a superb tone. The guitar is available with either a solid spruce or solid mahogany top to meet your tonal tastes. The Baby Taylor gets kudos for its playability and pleasing sound that boasts excellent performance on the bass end. You might also want to check out related 3/4 size Taylor guitars like the Baby Mahogany and the Baby Taylor-e.

Santa Cruz OM/PW

Santa Cruz OM/PW Orchestra Model guitar
Santa Cruz OM/PW Orchestra Model guitar

The OM/PW is one of the best smaller acoustics available today. Its size is described as Orchestra Model, which is larger than 3/4 size but smaller than dreadnought. The OM/PW's sound is a captivating combination of a dreadnought's powerful bass end and a smaller guitar's ringing treble end.

More Guitar Options Than Ever

With so many high-quality instruments available today, you'll have no problem finding a small acoustic guitar for any occasion. Beginning players who have small hands can experience and enjoy how a real instrument feels, traveling musicians never have to leave home without their guitars again, and experienced players have plenty of options if they want to further explore the sonic potential of the acoustic guitar.

Small Acoustic Guitars