Home » Music » 10 BEST Small Guitars for Beginners (Acoustic & Electric) – 2023 Edition

10 BEST Small Guitars for Beginners (Acoustic & Electric) – 2023 Edition

Performer Life is supported by its readers. If you buy something with our links, we may earn a commission.

Guitars are made in different sizes for an obvious reason. If you are cracking up your brain trying to figure out what that reason could be, just think about why shoes come in different sizes. It wouldn’t exactly make sense if all guitars were the same size. 

Each individual is different from the others. Some people are taller, while some just have bigger hands.

Having a single umbrella size for all guitars will be like putting the cheetah, the tortoise, and the elephant on the same running track and asking them to race. 

This would not just be senseless, it would also be cruel and unjust. The guitar, by default, is a physically challenging instrument, especially for total beginners.

Small guitars (also known as ¾ guitars) help make the guitar a bit easier to play or learn. 

Also, this is a great choice for kids (between the ages of 8 and 12) and adults with small hands. Because these guitars are small, finger exercises, fretting, and strumming become a lot easier.

This is because you will need to cover less space when compared to a standard-sized guitar.  

So, as a general guideline, small guitars are always the best kind of guitars for the total beginner and the player with small hands.

It makes more sense to graduate from a small-sized guitar to a standard-sized one, than going vice-versa. 

In this article, we will take a look at some amazing small guitars you can lay your hands on.

It doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned pro, beginner, intermediate player or just a parent trying to shop for the best small guitar for their kid(s). Regardless, this is the article for you. 

Small Guitars vs Standard-Sized Guitars; Why You May Need A Small Guitar

Many people consider small guitars to be decoration items or toys. In reality, small-body guitars are fully functional instruments and they have even been the preferred choice of several musicians in the past. 

Artists including Bob Dylan, Marty Robbins and Larry Pattis were known to play small-body guitars as their main guitars. 

So what makes small guitars the instrument of choice for some people?

The most apparent and tangible benefit is the playability of the instrument. Being small-bodied guitars they tend to have thinner necks and smaller bellies. 

This is perfect for players that have smaller hands or those with shorter arms who have trouble reaching across the body of a full-sized guitar. 

Being able to accurately reach the string you want to play or to be able to properly press down on the frets you want to target is key to achieving the desired sound on the guitar. 

You may think that small-body guitars are not serious instruments so they would most likely be cheaper than full-body guitars. 

While this may be true for some beginner or low-quality guitars, when you look at professional-level guitars in a small body format you will find that they are priced very similarly to full-bodied versions, if not more. 

The same amount of effort is necessary and the same quality of materials are used to create a small-bodied guitar. In fact, some small-bodied guitars require more time to be manufactured. 

Moreover, there aren’t too many companies that produce professional-level small-bodied guitars, and the few ones that do certainly take their time in producing the guitars they offer. 

A small guitar is also a lot easier to carry around whether you are traveling in your own vehicle or by air. It is far more portable and much easier to use for artists who tend to travel frequently. 

It’s important to note that the scale length of small-body guitars is also considerably shorter than larger-body guitars.

This makes it much easier to play certain styles such as strumming or if you enjoy playing chords with big stretches. 

In terms of sound, small-body guitars tend to have a much brighter sound since the sound waves have a smaller space in which they resonate. 

This makes for a very unique-sounding instrument and it is a trait that many guitarists prefer over large-body guitars. 

5 Best Small Guitars – Acoustic

  1. Martin LX1E Little Martin
  2. Yamaha JR1 FG Junior
  3. Taylor GS Mini Rosewood Acoustic Guitar
  4. Fender Sonoran Mini
  5. Luna Aurora Borealis 3/4 Acoustic Guitar

5 Best Small Guitars – Electric\

  1. Fender Squier 3/4 Size Mini Strat Electric
  2. Jackson JS Series Dinky Minion JS1X
  3. Squier by Fender Mini Jazzmaster HH
  4. Ibanez 3/4 Size Mikro Electric Guitar
  5. LyxPro 36 Inch Electric Guitar and Kit

Review of 5 Best Small Guitars – Electric

Here are some details on the top 5 small electric guitars that made it to our list. 

Fender Squier ¾ Size Mini Strat Electric

Fender Squier 3/4 Size Kids Mini Strat Electric Guitar Learn-to-Play Bundle w/Amp, Cable, Tuner, Strap, Picks, Fender Play Online Lessons, and Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD – Brown Sunburst
  • 3/4-size body; 22.75″ scale length
  • Ideal size for children ages 6 to 12 years
  • “C”-shaped maple neck and 20-fret fingerboard
  • Three single-coil Stratocaster pickups with five-way switching, and vintage-style hardtail Stratocaster bridge

Just because this is a smaller version of the extremely popular Squier Strat, doesn’t mean it falls short of anything.

In fact, you get the same set of 3 single-coil pickups, a number of finishes and all the high-quality materials you would expect in a standard-sized strat. 

What makes this a very attractive option for both casual players and professional musicians is the high level of versatility it offers. 

The Strat is known for being very customizable and the overall design of the guitar makes it very easy to carry out these modifications. Some of the most common upgrades include humbuckers and a tremolo. 

Overall, this is a very versatile guitar and no matter what kind of genre you want to play, the Strat can easily keep up with your pace.

With a bit of care and the right changes, you can have a fully functional small-body guitar that can last you a lifetime. Here is a video covering all the important aspects of the Squier Mini Strat.

ProsCons
Great sound qualityHum in a high-gain setting
Very versatileNot as unique as some other guitars
Easy to modify and upgrade
Excellent for people with a smaller reach or smaller hands
Very portable yet sturdy

Jackson JS Series Dinky Minion JS1X

Jackson Dinky Minion JS1X – Black
  • Solidbody Electric Guitar with Poplar Body
  • 2 Humbucking Pickups – Black
  • Amaranth Fretboard
  • Maple Neck

This is a powerful little instrument that gives you all the things you need to express yourself through loud and brutal rock, metal, and hard rock. It features a 22.5-inch scale with full 24-frets. 

The design makes it one small-body guitar with little or no playability issues. However, the only downside is that the frets tend to get a little cramped beyond the 20th fret. 

However, given that people playing this guitar will likely have smaller hands and smaller fingers this shouldn’t be much of an issue. Just looking at this guitar you can see that it is designed for metal and lightning-fast riffs.

This axe features the classic Jackson headstock that is small and sharp. It also features a black belly in a glossy finish together with a rosewood fretboard and a black headstock. 

If black isn’t your thing, this guitar is also available in several other colour options.

However, they all have a glossy finish which does make them a bit of a dust magnet. In terms of performance, the Dinky Minion keeps things very simple but highly effective.

You get a dual humbucking pickup system along with a 3-way adjuster knob. 

This is a fantastic little axe to have if you enjoy hard rock and distortion; it can also very easily handle quality clean sounds. Here is a good review of the Jackson Dinky Minion. 

Pros Cons
Full 24-fret fretboardFretboard is a little cramped for larger hands
Solid built qualityClean tones are not quite up there with other guitars
Excellent for fans of hard rock and metalBending can detune the guitar

Squier by Fender Mini Jazzmaster HH

Squier Mini Jazzmaster Electric Guitar, with 2-Year Warranty, Surf Green, Maple Fingerboard
  • 100% Designed by Fender
  • Thin and lightweight body
  • Dual humbucking pickups
  • Sealed die-cast tuning machines

The Mini Jazzmaster is reminiscent of guitars we saw Jazz idols playing back in the ’50s and ’60s.

Squier has been producing a range of mini guitars, and a large selection of strats, but has just recently also started offering their classic Jazzmaster line in a miniature format. 

One of the most dominant features of this guitar is its shape and the colour schemes that it is available in.

This is an incredibly lightweight guitar with a very ergonomic design that makes it a great choice for people looking for something compact. 

It is also very light on your neck if you need to be jamming with the guitar on a strap during long sessions. In terms of sound, the Jazzmaster has everything you would expect from a quality Squier product. 

It features a humbucking pickup with a 3-way selector switch that gives you plenty of tonal possibilities. Moreover, while the Jazzmaster is designed to play clean sounds, it can also handle distortion quite well. 

Moreover, the Mini Jazzmaster also simplifies the control with just a single volume knob and one tone knob.

Many people think of the full-sized Jazzmaster as a complicated instrument but that is not the case with the Mini variety. Here is a video of the Fender Mini Jazzmaster HH.

Pros Cons
Amazing design and build quality Some synthetic materials used
Dual humbuckers improve performanceOnly 20 frets will be a problem for some players
Easy-to-use controls 
Lightweight and ergonomic

Ibanez ¾ Size Mikro Electric Guitar

Ibanez GRGM21BKN 3/4 Size Mikro Electric Guitar – Black Night Finish
  • The first Ibanez compact guitar
  • 22″ scale Maple neck offers low tension and small size
  • Perfect for beginners
  • Set-up like the full-size GRG models

Ibanez is a well-known name when it comes to guitars and the Mikro series from Ibanez holds up the standards of quality, playability and enjoyability that you would expect from any Ibanez product. 

In particular, the Mikro series is praised for its playability and especially for those that enjoy hard rock and metal genres. This guitar is exceptional when it comes to shredding. 

Paired with the dual-humbucking pickup combo, it creates amazing sound quality and stays extremely consistent no matter how much you fiddle around with the adjustment knobs. 

The Mikro series is also praised for its body shape and size as well as the overall neck profile.

It is an outstanding guitar for people with small hands or a limited reach while it offers the top-shelf sound you would expect from a full-scale Ibanez. 

This guitar features a 22.2-inch scale length which means you can reach for massive chords without putting in too much effort.

Combined with the 24-fret fretboard you get a lot of versatility on this instrument. Here is a comprehensive video about the Ibanez Mikro series.

Pros Cons
Can handle distortion wellPricey 
5-way selector switch Bending can detune the guitar
Very good quality construction Not as efficient with clean tones
Smooth playability

LyxPro 36 Inch Electric Guitar and Kit

Sale
LyxPro 36 Inch Electric Guitar and Kit for Kids with 3/4 Size Beginner’s Guitar, Amp, Six Strings, Two Picks, Shoulder Strap, Digital Clip On Tuner, Guitar Cable and Soft Case Gig Bag -Natural
  • BOYS & GIRLS BEGINNER GUITAR SET | Ultimate Starter Package Includes 3/4 Child’s Size Guitar & All the Parts & Equipment They Need to Rock Straight Out the Box | Perfect Choice for Novice & Intermediate Players Aged 9 to 12
  • REAL 36 INCH ELECTRIC GUITAR | Plug In Guitar Features the Same Scale & High- Quality Materials as an Adult’s Full Size Instrument Including Premium Rosewood Fingerboard, Canadian Maple Neck, Volume/Tone Knobs & More
  • 20 WATT AMPLIFIER WITH CABLE | Pack Includes 20W Amp with Built In Speaker, Headphone Jack & AUX Input for Playing Along to Music on Phone or MP3 Player | Integrated Controls Include Gain, Bass, Treble, Volume & Grind
  • DIGITAL TUNER & ACCESSORIES | Battery-Operated Mini Clip-On Tuner & Instruction Book Teaches Kids to Tune Their Guitar for Best Sound Quality | Kit Also Comes with [6] Strings, [2] Picks & Comfortable Shoulder Strap

If you prefer playing on high gain then this is a fantastic guitar to consider. It comes with one dual-humbucking pickup which makes it extremely tolerant of different styles and eliminates any kind of humming. 

While this may not be the most flexible instrument in terms of sonic capabilities, it certainly is a highly reliable and consistent performer. 

Overall, the guitar features decent build quality and brings together a variety of modification options that will make it an interesting option for many players. What makes this deal even better are all the accessories you get with the kit. 

The most notable of these is the 20W amp which offers two channels of output along with an AUX outlet as well. This one kit is enough for anyone who wants to play on their own or even for those that want to jam with their band. 

It also features some high-quality cables, a sturdy guitar bag and a clip-on guitar tuner. Here is a video to give you an overview of the instrument. 

Pros Cons
Dual humbucking pickups and a good basic guitar at an affordable priceThe gadgets in the kit are decent but not excellent. An upgrade on some components will be necessary later on
An excellent kit that features all the most necessary items Decent sound but definitely limited in its range and performance ability. For people who just want this particular kind of sound this is a good enough
Excellent price for the entire bundle

Review of 5 Best Small Guitars – Acoustic

Here is a detailed review of the top 5 small acoustic guitars that made it to our list.

Martin LX1E Little Martin

Martin LX1E Little Martin Solid Sitka Spruce/Mahogany HPL Acoustic/Electric w/Gig Bag
  • PROFESSIONAL SOUND: Martin’s Little Martin LX1E acoustic-electric guitar has a Sitka spruce top and high-pressure laminate (HPL) construction. It is Martin’s smallest guitar and while small in size, it is very big on tone, quality, and versatility. It sounds great being played around the campfire or while practicing at home.
  • SUPERIOR APPEARANCE: The Little Martin LX1R acoustic-electric guitars are made with a Sitka spruce top and mahogany high-pressure laminate (HPL) back and sides with a warm satin finish. These guitars are built with sustainable wood certified parts and a mortise and tenon neck joint, non-scalloped X-Brace, standard tapered neck, and chrome-enclosed gear tuners, making it look as captivating as it sounds.
  • Handmade from the highest-quality wood, Little Martin guitars are built to stand up to late-night jams, long studio sessions, and plenty of strumming or picking. These solid-wood, acoustic-electric guitars deliver classic designs, professional sounds, and enjoyable playing.highest-quality wood, Little Martin guitars are built to stand up to late-night jams, long studio sessions, and plenty of strumming or picking.
  • PLAYABILITY ENHANCED: In addition to Martin’s iconic tone known worldwide, our guitars deliver enhanced playability that makes playing a pleasure, no matter your experience or skill level. Whether you’re playing rock, country, folk, bluegrass, or jazz, these guitars deliver a natural playing experience that you will love.

If you are looking for a reliable little guitar that has all the features you would expect from a full-sized axe, this is a great option to explore. What makes this guitar so versatile is that everything other than the face of the body is made of synthetic wood. 

This not only keeps the cost of the instrument down but also makes it more resilient. Moreover, this guitar is an electric acoustic. You can strum on it all day just like an acoustic but if you need to get a bit more power you can easily hook it up to an amp. 

Moreover, the guitar features a few important inbuilt features including a battery, an inbuilt tuner, and a number of electronic controls to help you get the most out of your EQ. 

The neck on this guitar is slightly longer than most mini guitars at 23.5 inches as opposed to the normal 22 inches. This makes the fretboard a bit more spacious and comfortable to play on. You can still easily reach all the frets and the strings even if you have smaller hands.

Overall, the sound quality of this guitar is very bright and warm and will be a perfect choice no matter what kind of playing style you prefer. Here is a video covering the Little Martin.

Pros Cons
Great sound when amplifiedPreamp placement is not very comfortable 
Excellent sound even in acoustic modeNothing very unique about the materials or the design

Yamaha JR1 FG Junior

Yamaha JR1 FG Junior 3/4 Size Acoustic Guitar, Natural
  • The FG Junior is a 3/4 sized guitar modeled after the acclaimed Yamaha FG Series
  • The JR1 has a smaller body and shorter neck, perfect for young players or those with smaller hands
  • Yamaha craftsmanship and a spruce top give this compact guitar an authentic acoustic tone
  • Great for use as a travel guitar when space is limited

Yamaha offers a range of mini guitars in the acoustic variation yet the JR1 and the JR2 are the highest-selling ¾ products from the manufacturer. 

The JR1 is based on the full-sized FG series and uses a lot of things from its bigger brother that makes it such an incredible instrument to play. 

When you hold the JR1, the first thing that you will feel is the quality of the craftsmanship.

The fretboard is rosewood, the back is mahogany and the front of the body is laminated spruce. These quality materials have a huge influence on the sound, and the sound is excellent. 

The fretboard is very evenly spaced out and ergonomically designed making this one of the best guitars in terms of playability. People with smaller hands and those with larger hands will equally feel at home with this guitar. 

The fact that this guitar comes with a range of accessories as part of the beginner kit makes the deal that much sweeter. You get a gig bag, picks, tuners, bands and all the basics that you would need to get started.

Whether you are looking for a daily beater that you can use on your next camping trip or you need something to help you through a stage performance the JR1 will fit the bill.  Here is a video covering both the JR1 and JR2 from Yamaha. 

Pros Cons
Excellent built quality20 frets will be limiting for some players
Plenty of accessories in the kitBasic design 
Easy to playNot as loud as others

Taylor GS Mini Rosewood Acoustic Guitar 

Taylor GS Mini Rosewood Acoustic Guitar – Natural with Black Pickguard
  • 6-string Acoustic Guitar with Sitka Spruce Top
  • Ebony Fingerboard – Natural
  • Rosewood Back Sides
  • Maple Neck

If you ever need to buy a high-end acoustic guitar, you won’t go wrong with a Taylor. The GS Series is Taylor’s response to ¾ scale guitars that feature all the high-end components you would find on traditional full-sized Taylor offerings. 

The highlight of this guitar is the sound quality. One of the main reasons, other than the design, is the components used in its construction. On the sides and the back of the body, you will find some fine-quality rosewood. 

The body is sealed off using laminated spruce on the front. Altogether this creates a very smooth sound that stays consistent no matter how high or loud you go. 

The fretboard is made of real ebony, just like what Taylor offers on its full-sized guitars. Moreover, the frets are spaced out with the same scale as the larger guitars. 

Given the shorter scale of this ¾ guitar, it helps with playability a lot and just feels very smooth and natural in your hands.  

While this small guitar is very beginner friendly, there is no reason why a professional player would not want to enjoy this instrument as well. 

From the build quality to the design, this guitar has everything you need for a great-sounding and easy-playing instrument. Here is a video covering the Taylor GS Mini.

Pros Cons
Excellent sound quality High price
Great playabilityMight be too smooth for people that don’t want a very fine-quality sound

Fender Sonoran Mini

Fender Sonoran Mini Acoustic Guitar, with 2-Year Warranty, Natural, Rosewood Fingerboard, with Gig Bag
  • Fender-exclusive Sonoran Mini body shape
  • Spruce or mahogany top with scalloped “X” bracing; mahogany back and sides
  • ¾ body size; 23.3” scale length
  • Nato neck with slim-taper “C”-shaped profile; walnut fingerboard and bridge

Fender is well known for creating high-quality instruments and the Sonoran Mini is no exception. When you look at the Sonoran Mini you can tell that it is a Fender product even if you take the label off of it. 

The classic body style is reminiscent of the Fender Strat, the neck has the typical Slim-C profile and the headstock has the same design you would see on a variety of other Fender products. 

The Sonoran Mini not only looks great but also sounds quite amazing which is why it is one of the highest-selling guitars in the ¾ guitar category.

In terms of construction, this guitar features mahogany sides and a mahogany back combined with a spruce top. 

This helps to create a very bright and warm sound. An interesting feature is the walnut fretboard. It feels extremely smooth and light, yet very durable when you are playing. 

Whether you want to play some casual chords or some quick riffs, this guitar can keep up with any style. You will also notice that the body of the guitar has a slight pear shape. 

This modification in the belly design helps the guitar produce a very prominent and loud sound while compromising sound quality. Here is a video review of the Fender Sonoran Mini. 

Pros Cons
Excellent build qualityOnboard electronics aren’t the best
Loud and clear soundThe unique design can be a red flag for some

Luna Aurora Borealis 3/4 Acoustic Guitar

Luna Aurora Borealis 3/4 Acoustic Guitar, Black Pearl
  • Luna Guitars’ Aurora line offers the perfect beginner guitar, especially for young players
  • A student guitar line that pairs affordability with Luna’s characteristic easy-to-play design features
  • Sized for comfort, and the petite cutaway bodies deliver true sound
  • The necks are adorned with Luna’s signature moon phase fretmarkers

Luna is a relatively new company in the guitar manufacturing scene but they have been making progress quite quickly. 

One of the unique things about these instruments is that they are designed especially for women.

The founder is a female musician who often struggled with large and bulky items so she created an entire business simply creating instruments for ladies. 

The Aurora Borealis series is targeted more toward young children. This is apparent when you look at the different colours that this guitar is available in. However, this is not to say that it can’t be a great instrument for someone who wants a compact guitar. 

In terms of sound, this guitar is quite good and can reach decent levels in terms of dB output. The overall construction of the body is done using basswood which helps to provide a punchy yet clear sound. 

On the neck, you will find a mahogany base with a fretboard finished with rosewood. One of the unique features of this series is the moon shapes on the fretboard. 

Where there would otherwise be standard white dots as markers, the Lunar guitars have the moon in different phases spread across the fretboard. 

Overall it is a good-sounding guitar with an interesting aesthetic. Here is a quick sample of the Luna Aurora Borealis in action. 

Pros Cons
Value for moneyLimited colour choices and the design may not suit everyone
Excellent playability for beginners

Small Guitars vs Standard-Sized Guitars; Similarities and Differences

If you are still on the fence about picking a full-sized or a small guitar here is a bit about their similarities and differences that will help you make the decision.

Similarities

  • Guitars of both sizes share the same design principles and mechanics. They both have a hollow space inside them that allows them to produce sound and they are both typically made of similar materials. 
  • Both guitars are played using similar techniques; strumming or finger-picking. 
  • Both guitars have six strings that are tuned in the same way. 
  • Both guitars are equally sensitive in terms of durability. 
  • Both guitars are equally flexible in terms of what kinds of music you can play on them.

Differences

  • The most significant difference between the two is the size. Full-sized guitars tend to have an overall length of 40 inches or more whereas small guitars tend to be 36 inches or less. This has an impact on everything from the size of the belly to the length of the fretboard, the spacing of the frets, and even the number of frets on the fretboard. For people with shorter arms or smaller hands this is a big difference.
  • Due to the difference in the size of the bellies, there is also a big difference in the sound. Typically, large guitars tend to produce more bass and they have more sustain. Smaller guitars tend to be quieter than large guitars however their sound can seem brighter and more punchy than large guitars since it is bouncing off a narrow space in the belly.
  • Price is another difference. Small guitars, especially those designed for children tend to be cheaper than full-sized guitars. However, if you are getting a high-quality or professional-grade small guitar you can expect it to be priced very similarly, if not more, than regular guitars.
  • Small guitars are usually easier to play even for adults. This is because the fretboard is easier to access, the frets are packed closer together and the strings have a lower tension on them as compared to larger guitars. Moreover, the slimmer neck and shorter overall profile improve reachability and finger action on the guitar.

Conclusion

Finding the right option for you depends on a variety of things such as budget, skill level, playing needs and functional requirements. 

If you opt to go for a small guitar there are several options to choose from ranging from inexpensive toy guitars to extremely high-quality professional ones. 

You can find a lot of different options, and can even make many modifications, to each of these guitars. Ideally, you should visit a physical store where you can try out different guitars before choosing which one you want to go for.