Acoustic Guitar Sizes (Comprehensive Guide)

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Written By Gary Daws

Chief Music Officer

Acoustic guitars come in a variety of sizes and shapes, each offering a distinct sound, playing experience, and aesthetic appeal. These instruments have evolved over time, with luthiers and manufacturers constantly refining their designs to cater to the diverse needs of musicians. Understanding the differences between acoustic guitar sizes can help players select the right instrument for their personal preferences, body size, and playing style.

One of the key factors to consider when choosing an acoustic guitar is the body size, as it affects the instrument’s tonal quality, projection, and playability. Smaller-bodied guitars like parlor and concert models typically produce a more focused, intimate sound, while larger guitars like dreadnoughts and jumbos deliver increased volume and dynamic range. The diversity in guitar sizes also accommodates players with different physical dimensions, ensuring a comfortable fit and ease of handling.

In addition to body size, several other elements contribute to the overall sound and feel of an acoustic guitar, such as the choice of tonewoods, bracing patterns, and neck dimensions. As a result, each guitar model exhibits a unique combination of sonic characteristics, making it essential for players to try various sizes and shapes before settling on their ideal instrument.

Acoustic Guitar Sizes Overview

When it comes to acoustic guitar sizes, there are several shapes and styles to consider. Each size offers unique tonal characteristics and is suitable for different playing styles. In this section, we will look into some of the most common acoustic guitar sizes and their features.


The Dreadnought is one of the most popular and recognizable acoustic guitar sizes. Characterized by its large body and broad square shoulders, this shape offers a powerful and well-balanced sound suitable for various genres, including country, bluegrass, and rock. Its large size provides plenty of volume and projection, making it ideal for both strumming and fingerpicking.


Parlor guitars are smaller than Dreadnoughts, often referred to as “small-bodied” guitars. With a narrower waist and shorter scale length, these guitars deliver a distinctive tone that emphasizes the midrange and treble frequencies. Parlor guitars are ideal for fingerstyle players and those seeking a more intimate sound.


Jumbo guitars feature a large body with a rounded lower bout, providing tremendous projection and a deep, rich tone. These guitars are popular with performers, as they fill a room with sound while emphasizing the bass frequencies. Jumbo guitars are perfect for strumming and flatpicking, and many singer-songwriters prefer their powerful projection.

Grand Auditorium

Grand Auditorium guitars are well-balanced in size and tone, falling between Dreadnought and Concert sizes. These guitars feature a more rounded bout and a balanced tonality across the tonal spectrum. With comfortable playability and versatility, Grand Auditorium guitars are suitable for many playing styles, including fingerstyle, strumming, and flatpicking.


Concert guitars have a smaller body and a narrower waist compared to Dreadnought and Jumbo guitars, providing a more focused and balanced sound. With clearer midrange and treble frequencies, these guitars are great for fingerpicking and playing intricate melodies. The size of Concert guitars also makes them comfortable to hold and play for longer periods.

Orchestra Model

Orchestra Model (OM) guitars are similar to Concert guitars in terms of body size, but they have a slightly longer scale length, which gives them more projection and increased string tension. This makes them ideal for fingerpicking, as well as players who prefer a more focused and balanced tone.

0 and 00 Series

0 and 00 Series guitars are smaller-bodied instruments with shorter scale lengths, making them comfortable for beginners and younger players. The smaller size and scale length emphasize the mid and treble frequencies, giving these guitars a bright and focused tone, perfect for fingerpicking and intimate performances.

Classical Guitar

Classical guitars are distinct from other acoustic guitar sizes due to their nylon strings and wider fingerboard, which allow for intricate fingerpicking techniques. With a smaller body and unique bracing patterns, classical guitars produce a warm, mellow tone that emphasizes the bass and midrange frequencies. These guitars are favored by fingerstyle players and those who play classical, flamenco, and other traditional styles.

In conclusion, acoustic guitars come in various shapes and sizes, each offering unique tonal characteristics and playability. Understanding the differences between these sizes will help you choose the right guitar for your playing style and preferences.

Factors Influencing Guitar Size

Body Shape

The body shape of an acoustic guitar plays a significant role in defining its size. There are several common body shapes, including dreadnought, parlor, grand concert, and auditorium. Each shape contributes to the overall tone, projection, and feel of the guitar. For instance, the dreadnought body shape is known for its robust sound and projection, while the parlor shape offers comfort and ease of playability, especially for small hands (source).

Scale Length

Scale length refers to the distance between the nut and the bridge on an acoustic guitar. It can affect the overall size and playability of the instrument, as well as the tension and pitch of the strings. A typical full-size guitar has a scale length of around 25.5 inches (64.8cm), but this can vary widely across brands and guitar types (source). Smaller scale lengths, such as those found on travel or 3/4 size guitars, provide lower tension, making them easier to play for beginners or those with smaller hands.

Body Depth

The depth of an acoustic guitar’s body is another important factor in determining its size, tone, and projection. Generally, guitars with deeper bodies produce richer, fuller sounds with more bass response, while those with shallower bodies offer a brighter tone with less bass (source). Body depth also impacts the guitar’s comfort and playability, as deeper bodies may be more challenging for some players to hold and play.

Neck Dimensions

The neck dimensions of a guitar include its width (measured at the nut) and profile (shape). These factors can affect the overall size and feel of the guitar, as well as its playability for different hand sizes and playing styles. A wider neck may accommodate larger hand sizes or fingerpicking styles, while a slimmer neck profile can be more comfortable for players with small hands or those who primarily play chords.

In summary, the size of an acoustic guitar is influenced by its body shape, scale length, body depth, and neck dimensions. Each of these factors contributes to the guitar’s overall feel, playability, tone, and projection, with different combinations suiting different players and preferences.

Acoustic Guitar Brands and Models


Martin is a well-established and reputable brand known for its high-quality acoustic guitars. They are known for their rich warm tones, making them a popular choice for many guitarists. Some of their notable models include:

  • LXM Little Martin: A smaller size acoustic guitar perfect for travel or younger players.
  • Dreadnought Junior: A slightly larger than the LXM model, offering a more versatile sound.
  • 00: Also known as the grand concert model, it has a warm, present bass response suitable for fingerstyle playing and chordal strumming alike (Source: Acoustic Guitar).


Gibson is another iconic brand with a long-standing history of producing high-quality acoustic guitars. Their instruments are known for their unique sound and exceptional craftsmanship. Some popular models in their lineup include:

  • J-45: Known as “The Workhorse,” this model is their best-selling acoustic guitar and offers a warm midrange tone.
  • Hummingbird: A classic square-shoulder dreadnought with a distinctive appearance and versatile sound.


Taylor is a brand well-recognized for its modern design and innovative features. Their guitars are known for their bright and balanced tones. Some notable Taylor models include:

  • GS Mini: A smaller-sized guitar that delivers a full and rich sound despite its size.
  • 814ce: A grand auditorium-sized guitar with a versatile tone perfect for various playing styles, including finger-picking.


Fender is a renowned brand that focuses on offering a wide range of acoustic guitar options catering to different preferences and styles. Some of their popular models are:

  • FA-15: A smaller-sized model perfect for beginners or travel.
  • CD-60S: An entry-level dreadnought-style guitar with a comfortable playing feel and a well-balanced sound.

Each of these brands brings their unique expertise and craftsmanship to the world of acoustic guitars. By understanding their specific models, you can find the perfect instrument for your playing style and musical preferences.

Playing Styles and Guitar Sizes


Fingerstyle playing involves using the fingers to pluck the strings individually, creating intricate patterns and melodies. This playing style usually benefits from smaller-bodied guitars, such as parlors, OO, OOO, and OM models, which have a more balanced and responsive sound. These guitar sizes offer better resonance and clarity, allowing the individual notes to be heard more clearly The Acoustic Guitarist. Here are some examples of suitable guitar sizes for fingerstyle:

  • Parlor
  • OO
  • OOO
  • OM


Strumming is the act of playing chords by sweeping a pick or the fingers across multiple strings. This playing style often demands a larger-bodied guitar that can deliver ample volume and projection, along with a rich and full tone. Dreadnought and jumbo-sized guitars are popular choices for strumming, as they provide the necessary power and bass response to create a full and balanced sound A Guide to Identifying Common Acoustic Guitar Shapes and Sizes. Examples of suitable guitar sizes for strumming include:

  • Dreadnought
  • Jumbo


Picking focuses on playing individual notes using a pick or the fingers. This technique is used in various genres, from classical to heavy metal. The ideal guitar size for picking depends on the sound and feel the player is looking for. Medium-bodied guitars, such as OOO, OM, and Grand Concert models, are versatile and offer a good balance between comfort, sensitivity, and dynamic range Acoustic Guitar Body Sizes Explained – Sound Pure. Some suitable guitar sizes for picking are:

  • OOO
  • OM
  • Grand Concert

In summary, the right guitar size depends on the desired playing style. Smaller guitars may be better suited for fingerstyle techniques, while larger guitars are typically preferred for strumming chords. Versatile medium-bodied guitars are often recommended for picking.

Selecting the Right Acoustic Guitar Size

Genre Considerations

Different genres of music often have specific requirements in terms of guitar size and sound. For instance, fingerstyle players might prefer smaller-bodied guitars such as Parlor, Single Naught (0), or Double Naught (00) acoustics as they tend to produce a more balanced and precise sound. On the other hand, genres like rock or country often call for larger guitars like Dreadnought or Jumbo acoustics, which project a stronger and bolder sound, ideal for strumming and flat-picking.

Identify the genre you’ll be primarily playing and consider the guitar sizes commonly associated with that style before making your choice.

Body Size Comparison

There is a wide range of body sizes available when it comes to acoustic guitars, with each offering unique sound characteristics and playing comfort. Here’s a short comparison between some of the most popular shapes and sizes:

  • Parlor – Small body size, perfect for fingerpicking and a more intimate sound
  • Single Naught (0) – Slightly larger than Parlor, with a more focused and articulate tone
  • Double Naught (00) – Larger than a Single Naught, providing increased volume and bass response, suitable for a variety of playing styles
  • Triple Naught (Auditorium – 000) – A versatile shape that offers a well-balanced sound across the tonal spectrum, suitable for both strumming and fingerpicking
  • Concert – Similar in size to Triple Naught, but with a slightly more pronounced mid-range for projection and articulation
  • Dreadnought – Large body size with powerful bass and projection, great for heavy strumming and flat-picking
  • Grand Auditorium – Slightly smaller than a Jumbo but offers more bass and projection, suitable for various playing styles
  • Jumbo – The largest body size, providing a powerful and loud sound, well-suited for strumming and flat-picking

Explore your options and compare different body sizes based on your playing style and sonic preferences.

Children and Smaller Players

For children or smaller players, it is crucial to select a guitar size that offers comfort and playability. A full-sized guitar might be too challenging and discouraging for a young learner, leading to a loss of interest. Common guitar sizes suggested for children are:

  • 1/4 size – Best for ages 4-6 or players with a height of around 3’9″ to 4’3″
  • 1/2 size – Suitable for ages 6-8 or players with a height of around 4’3″ to 4’9″
  • 3/4 size – Recommended for ages 8-12 or players with a height of around 4’9″ to 5’3″

Keep in mind that these suggested age ranges and heights may vary among individual players. Always prioritize comfort and ease of playing when choosing a guitar size for a child or a smaller player.