Acoustic Guitar Sizes

Does Guitar Size Matter?

The acoustic guitar comes in a lot of shapes and sizes.

From here comes the question: does acoustic guitar size matter?

The simple answer is, yes, the size does matter. 

Let's dive into why:

How to measure guitar size

There are two main measurements to determine your guitar size.

The first way to measure is simple, by measuring the guitar length. 

For example, a full-size guitar is, on average, 38 inches (96.5cm) long.

The second but far more accurate way to determine which guitar size you've got is by measuring scale length. 

Scale length = measuring the nut to the 12th fret, then double by 2.

Guitar Scale Length

* You shouldn't measure the guitar scale by measuring the distance between the nut and the bridge. 

The strings have different starting points, and the measuring results wouldn't be accurate.

What are the guitar sizes?

The main four guitar sizes are:

  • ¼ scale, which is also called guitalele (a combination of guitar and ukulele). The typical size of this guitar is 30 inches in overall length (which is around 76 cm) and a scale length of 19 inches (approximately 48 cm). 
    This guitar is on average 33% smaller in overall length than a full-size guitar.
  • ½ scale, also called half guitar, comes in 34 inches (about 86 cm) overall length and a scale length of 23 inches (about 58cm). 
    This guitar is on average 20% smaller in overall length than a full-size guitar, and bigger by about 11% from the ¼ guitar.
    This percentage may not sound much, but it is significant (along with this post, you will understand why).
  • ¾ scaleguitar usually measured 36 inches (about 90cm) overall length and 23 inches (about 58cm) of scale length.
    This guitar is on average 11% smaller in overall length than a full-size guitar, and bigger by about 7% from the ½ guitar.
  • The full-size guitar is the standard guitar size. This guitar size comes with many different body shapes such as jumbo, dreadnought, parlor, and more. 
    This guitar size is on average 40 inches (about 100 cm) overall length, and scale length of 26 inches (about 70 cm)

Ukulele
A smaller size than a ¼ guitar is a ukulele with four strings and not six.

Why Does Acoustic Guitar Size Matter?

Acoustic guitar size does matter, As I mentioned before.

And after you discovered the main dimensions, and how to measure them, the reasons for why size matter is:

For kids and adults with small hands, a large guitar would be a nightmare. All the focus and work would go to hold the guitar. Their hands have to stretch, reaching the frets, making the whole playing process very difficult.

It isn't necessarily hard for adults with large hands to play a smaller guitar, but it can feel weird to play if the guitar is too small for your body size.

Why have I been writing about scale length? That's because the shorter the scale length, the easier it is to play since there's less tension on the guitar's strings. And this is why if you have weak hands, it's easier with the shorter scale length guitars. 

Furthermore, the frets are close to each other with short-scale lengths.

So it's easier for someone with small hands to reach the chords with the hands.

In contrast, the short-scale length guitar would make it hard for adults with large fingers to fit the fingers in the frets.

The size is also a matter in the aspect of sound.

Usually, the smaller the guitar body has, the better it can produce a full sound with a light touch but harder to produce loud volume. 

And this is why smaller guitars are better for those with weaker hands.

The medium-sized guitars combine the large and small guitars by producing full sound with a lighter touch and enough loudness. And this is why medium-sized guitars are better for those stuck between the large and small size.

The large-sized guitar is the opposite of the small one.

It takes a stricter touch to get the full sound, but the volume is the highest and won't be distorted easily as the smaller ones. 

This size suits people with stronger hands who want a more extensive range from quiet to loud.

As you can understand from above its more essential for kids to play on the right size guitar

Which Guitar Size Should A Kid Play?

From what I mentioned above, the smaller the child is, the smaller the guitar needs to be for him to play comfortably.

  • ¼ size guitar is great for kids between ages 5-6 at the height of 3.5ft to 4ft (around 110cm) 
  • ½ size guitar is great for kids between ages 6-8 at the height of 4ft to 4.5ft (around 120cm)
  • ¾ size guitar is great for kids between ages 5-12 at the height of 4.5ft to 5ft (around 140cm)

As kids grow so fast, it's also a wise option to buy a larger size from what is ideal.

Which Guitar Size For An Adult?

Of course, the main answer is full-size guitar, but not always.

It would have more sense to take the ½ size or ¾ size guitar and not the full size for traveling.

Another great use of the ½ size or ¾ size guitar is for beginners who start to learn as those sizes are better to practice chord positions.

The compact sizes are also better for adults with smaller bodies and hands. 

To Summarize

The guitar size does matter from sound to playability.

After this post, you have a better idea of which guitar size you should choose.

Although it can be more crucial for kids to pick the right size, it can also affect adults.

If you need inspiration for playing guitar, here are the best guitarists of all time.

Another great way to find out the best size for you is by just trying different sizes.

There are more acoustic guitar sizes, but the difference is negligible.

The main sizes are mentioned and explained.

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