It is not uncommon for someone to question the best size guitar when looking to buy. A full-size dreadnought guitar can be intimidating to hold for new players, so it is natural to wonder if there is a smaller alternative. One of the first models people consider instead is a 3/4 size guitar, which is very common amongst students when learning.
Though 3/4 size guitars used to be referred to as ‘toy’ guitars, this is no longer the case as most brands are now offering quality instruments in this size. Some famous musicians, such as Ed Sheeran play smaller guitars exclusively and have popularised some of the smaller models for a new generation.
Table Of Contents
- Are 3/4 Size Guitars Good For Adults?
- Reason to Choose a 3/4 Size Guitar
- Reasons Not to Choose a 3/4 Size Guitar
- Are There Guitar Sizes in Between 3/4 and Full Size?
- Can You Get Steel String 3/4 Guitars or Just Nylon?
- Are 3/4 Size Guitars Better for Certain Types of Music?
- Which Brands Make 3/4 Size Guitars?
- Should I Buy a 3/4 Guitar or Full-Size Guitar?
Are 3/4 Size Guitars Good For Adults?
Yes, 3/4 Size guitars can be great for adults. For many beginners, or smaller size adults they can be easier to hold when first learning, though you will make some sacrifices in terms of sound volume and quality with a smaller guitar.
The best guitar for you specifically will depend on a variety of factors including your size, your skill levels and how and when you plan to play the guitar, but you can be very well served by a 3/4 sie guitar.
Though 3/4 size guitars are recommended for kids it doesn’t mean you can’t use them as an adult, as long as you find the right size for you. In fact, many adults have been starting to convert to these smaller guitars due to some of the benefits outlined below.
Reason to Choose a 3/4 Size Guitar
Easier to Hold
3/4 size guitars are both short in length, and shallower so can be much easier to hold for a smaller, or first-time player. The scale (distance between guitar bridge and nite) for a 3/4 size guitar is 36 inches, compared to 41 inches of a typical full-size acoustic dreadnought guitar.
Easier To Store
The smaller size of course means it is smaller to put away and will be able to place in places a full-size guitar will not.
Easier to Transport
3/4 size guitars are sometimes referred to as ‘travel’ guitars because they are much easier to take with you on trips and holidays, and many people even use them as a second guitar to have at their place of work or secondary location.
Because the 3/4 guitars have a shorter neck, the required string tension on the neck to have them in tune is much lower than a standard-sized guitar. This lower string tension means it is easier to push the strings against the fretboard which beginners and smaller people sometimes find beneficial.
Typically, a 3/4 guitar will be cheaper than its full-size counterpart, as there is less material involved in its construction.
Reasons Not to Choose a 3/4 Size Guitar
The main downside of a 3/4 guitar is sound quality. Because the 3/4 is smaller the sound it produces will be weaker and thinner, making it less desirable for experienced guitarists. Though artists like Ed Sheeran have made a career from the sounds of a 3/4 size guitar, in general, most people find the sound from a full-size dreadnought, much richer, louder and ultimately preferable.
So if you think you are likely to be playing for people, or in situations where you need as much acoustic volume as possible, then this may a reason to opt for a full-size guitar.
Are There Guitar Sizes in Between 3/4 and Full Size?
If you do find that the full-size dreadnought guitars are just too big to hold comfortably, there are a range of other guitar sizes you can consider that are smaller than the dreadnought, but bigger than a 3/4 size guitar.
The next size down from a 41-inch dreadnought is a 40 inch OM (orchestra model) style guitar. They are smaller but still have a good size body to maintain as much of the tone as possible.
Smaller than an OM size guitar is a series of guitars known as Parlor guitars, these typically have a scale of around 39 inches but still have decent tone. These are very popular for those needing extra portability but still also want to hold on to as much of the tone as possible that you can lose by going down to the smaller 36-inch scale 3/4 size guitars.
Can You Get Steel String 3/4 Guitars or Just Nylon?
Yes, you can get steel string 3/4 guitars.
Most people are familiar with student classical guitars with dominate the schools and learning centres and tend to be nylon strong. But there are a large variety of steel string travel and 3/4 guitars now available on the market.
Are 3/4 Size Guitars Better for Certain Types of Music?
There is no definitive answer on what type of music 3/4 size guitars are better suited for, it all comes down to personal taste.
Of course, if you are playing classical music then a 3/4 classical guitar is definitely preferable but apart from that, it becomes pretty subjective. In some country and pop circles, people are drawn to the full-size dreadnought for their deep, rich voluminous sound, whereas in some other folk circles, they really enjoy the nature of the sound that comes out of a 3/4 size.
Which Brands Make 3/4 Size Guitars?
3/4 size guitars are made by all the popular brands including Fender, Zager, Martin, Taylor and more.
Should I Buy a 3/4 Guitar or Full-Size Guitar?
At the end of the day, you need to choose the guitar you think will serve you the best in the situations you plan to use it the most and you need to be comfortable. If you really can’t get comfortable then the benefits of the improved tone quality will be lost as you might be turned off from playing.
In general, my advice is to choose the biggest guitar you can feel comfortable with. I really would try and choose one bigger than 3/4 sie if you can (e.g. Parlor guitar or OM model), but the main thing is that you have a guitar you are comfortable with and that you feel so comfortable you want to play it all the time.