3/4 guitar – Review of Best Small Sized Guitars for Kids

Whether you're buying a guitar for a child or are an adult looking for a smaller size guitar, a 3/4 guitar may be an option. These guitars are slightly smaller than a full-size instrument, and they also make good travel guitar options. In this article, we've gathered together several 3/4 guitars in order to help you make a decision.

Our Picks For The Top 7 - 3/4 Size Guitars

Make

Model

Rating

Price

Full Review

Yamaha

FG JR1 3/4

Oscar Schmidt

OG1FYS

Cell

Ibanez

PF2MHOPN

Cell

Luna

Aurora Borealis

Cell

Taylor

BT2 Baby Taylor

Cell

Dean

FLY SPR

Cell

Dean

AXS Mini

Cell

Review of our Top Picks

Yamaha FG JR1 3/4--Best Value

Important Features

  • Laminated spruce and meranti construction is lightweight and helps keep costs down
  • Rosewood fingerboard is comfortable to play and adds some warmth to its tone
  • Dreadnought body offers full, rich sound while still remaining playable
  • All-laminate construction is less likely to be affected by climate and temperature changes

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It's one of the more affordable options on the list
  • Natural finish gives it classic good looks
  • Rosewood fingerboard and bridge aren't commonly found on many other beginner guitar options

Cons

  • All-laminate construction does not have the same tonal quality as guitars with solid tops
  • While you can't necessarily compare a 3 4 guitar to a full-size option, some buyers have said that the sound of this guitar isn't great

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

This guitar might look familiar--it's a scaled-down version of Yamaha's affordable FG Series. Yamaha is known for making excellent guitars for fair prices, and this affordable option is great for new players or for more experienced players in need of a travel guitar. This one has a spruce top, meranti back and sides, and a Nato neck.

Our Star Rating

Because it's affordable and well-built, we think this is the best value guitar on the list. We give it four out of five stars.

Oscar Schmidt OG1FYS -- Best Finish

Important Features

  • Dreadnought body offers balanced sound
  • Mahogany neck is very strong and helps add some warmth to its sound
  • Spruce and catalpa construction is lightweight and keeps costs low
  • Distinctive finish makes it a good choice for players who want to stand out

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It can be purchased with an accessory bundle and video lessons
  • It comes from a reputable manufacturer (Oscar Schmidt is made by Washburn
  • It has one of the most beautiful finishes on the list

Cons

  • All-laminate build doesn't have the same sound as a solid-top guitar
  • Some buyers have reported minor quality control issues like missing strap buttons

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

Since many smaller size acoustic guitars are designed for beginners in need of a less-expensive option, it can be hard to find them in unique colors. This Oscar Schmidt acoustic has a beautiful Flame Yellow Sunburst top, making it a true visual standout. Like many guitars on the list, it's affordable and made of all-laminated wood. The top is spruce, and the back and sides are made of catalpa, a lightweight and relatively inexpensive wood.

Our Star Rating

We think this acoustic guitar has the best finish on the list. We give it three and a half out of five stars.

Ibanez PF2MHOPN -- Best Budget Option

Important Features

  • All-mahogany build gives you a warmer, mellower sound than that of guitars with spruce tops
  • Especially given its quality build, the price of this guitar is remarkably low
  • Rosewood fingerboard and bridge and quality chrome tuners aren't always found on guitars in this price range
  • Distinctive open-pore natural finish gives it a look of understated elegance

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It comes from a reputable manufacturer of affordable acoustics for beginners
  • Mahogany gives you warm, rich sound
  • Ibanez Advantage bridge pins make restringing easy, especially for newer players

Cons

  • This guitar doesn't have a solid top
  • Some buyers have reported poorly-dressed frets or frets that stick out

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

Ibanez is known for making acoustic guitars with unique finishes (and sometimes even exotic woods). Most of their guitars are also very affordable, making them a great option for players looking for something in a more affordable price range. This dreadnought is made of laminated mahogany, which has a distinctive open-pore natural finish. It also has a rosewood bridge and fingerboard, which is impressive given its fairly low price.

Our Star Rating

This guitar offers impressive quality given its very low price. We think it's the best budget option on the list, and we give it four out of five stars.

Luna Aurora Borealis -- Best Concert-Body Acoustic

Important Features

  • Beautiful finish and distinctive inlays make it beautiful to look at
  • Basswood body is lightweight and keeps costs low
  • Mahogany neck adds some warmth to the sound and is slim and easy to play
  • It's one of the more affordable list options

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Stunning aesthetics like this aren't often found on less expensive guitars
  • Concert-style body may be easier to handle than a dreadnought for some players
  • Black walnut fretboard is comfortable to play and visually distinctive

Cons

  • All-basswood build doesn't produce particularly good tone or sustain
  • While the aesthetics may be worth it for some players, the price is a bit high considering the tonewoods used

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

Luna Guitars is another company known for visually striking instruments, and this beautiful yet affordable acoustic guitar is great for players who want something a bit different. It has moon-phase fretboard markers and a crescent-moon sound-hole inlay, both of which contrast beautifully with the black satin finish. However, this small, easy-playing guitar is made entirely of basswood, a lightweight wood that doesn't often sound great when used for acoustic guitars.

Our Star Rating

It may not be made of the best tonewoods on the list, but this beautiful guitar is great to look at and comfortable to play. We think it's the best concert-style body on the list, and we give it three and a half out of five stars.

Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor -- Best Quality

Important Features

  • Solid mahogany top gives it rich, warm sound
  • Layered sapele back and sides add some brightness while keeping costs down
  • Tusq nut and micarta saddle improve sustain and preserve tuning stability
  • Ebony fingerboard and bridge are high-end touches

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Solid top gives you more responsive, nuanced tone than laminate-top models
  • If you'd prefer a guitar with electronics, you can also find this as an acoustic-electric (it's called the BT2-E)
  • The "punchy" tone of the mahogany top makes this a good option for blues players

Cons

  • It's one of the more expensive acoustic guitar options on the list, so it may not be right for all players
  • Some buyers have said the midrange frequencies tend to drown out the bass end, but this is a common issue with many instruments smaller than a full size guitar

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

As you may have discovered by now, it can be hard to find a travel guitar or other smaller acoustic guitar with a solid top. Taylor is known for its line of high-quality smaller guitars, and this scaled-down dreadnought is great for players who love the distinctive warmth of a solid mahogany top. The BT2 also has some of the best appointments on the list--a Tusq nut, saddle, and ebony fretboard and bridge round out this beautiful guitar.

Our Star Rating

We think this is the best-quality acoustic guitar on the list. We give it five out of five stars.

Dean FLY SPR -- Best Travel Option

Important Features

  • Scaled-down dreadnought body offers balanced tone with plenty of nuance
  • Laminated body is durable and resists tone changes as a result of fluctuating humidity
  • Distinctive inlays give it a unique look that many players will find appealing
  • C-shape mahogany neck is slim and easy to play

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • In terms of price, it's one of the more affordable acoustic guitar options on the list
  • Spruce and mahogany build is a classic acoustic guitar combination
  • Unusual headstock, rosette, and fretboard inlays make it a distinctive choice

Cons

  • The laminated top isn't likely to sound as good as that of a solid-top guitar
  • Some guitar players are wary of Dean, as the factory has had some quality control issues

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

Dean is another company that makes affordable, reliable guitars for a fair price. The FLY is a smaller size guitar that is marketed as a travel guitar, and its all-laminated-wood build resists tonal changes from humidity. Most traveling players won't want to bring their higher-end full size guitar on vacation, and that's where this one comes in. It has a laminated spruce top and laminated mahogany back and sides, ad the rosewood fingerboard is adorned with Dean's special flight inlays.

Our Star Rating

Given its durable build and versatile tonewood configuration, we think this is the best travel guitar on the list. We give it three out of five stars.

Dean AXS Mini Guitar -- Best Full-Scale Mini

Important Features

  • Unlike many 3/4 guitars, this one has a full-scale neck paired with the smaller body of a traditional 3/4 guitar
  • Laminated mahogany body is durable and offers warm tone
  • Despite its smaller body, this guitar has surprisingly big tone
  • Smaller concert-style body is comfortable to play sitting or standing

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • In terms of price, this is a fairly affordable guitar
  • It combines the best of both worlds: you get a full-size neck with the body of a smaller guitar
  • Tonally, this is one of the more impressive smaller guitars we've found

Cons

  • For children or adults with shorter arms, it may be better to purchase a traditional 3/4 size guitar with a shorter neck
  • Both top and body are laminated mahogany, so it likely won't have the same sound as a solid-top acoustic guitar

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

This guitar is a somewhat unusual option. While it has a full-scale neck, its mini-size body makes it a great option for players who find larger guitar bodies harder to handle. The C-shape neck is very playable, and the all-mahogany body offers mellow, warm tone that's suitable for fingerpicking or strumming. Its rosewood fingerboard is comfortable to play, and the natural finish shows off the wood's beautiful grain.

Our Star Rating

We think the combination of a full-scale neck and a smaller body will be perfect for some players out there. We think it's the best full-scale mini on the list, and we give it four out of five stars.

Choosing a 3/4-Size Guitar: What Should You Know?

You might think of a 3/4-size guitar as being designed for children. This is somewhat true, as many kids can't comfortably play a full-size guitar. As a result, many smaller guitars are designed to be relatively inexpensive--parents usually don't want to shell out a large amount of money unless they're sure their child will stick with playing.

However, some smaller adults, and even those who are serious about guitar, feel more comfortable playing a 3/4 size instrument. Others prefer a high-quality travel instrument for situations where bringing a high-end guitar along may not be advisable.

Whatever your reason for looking for a 3/4-size acoustic may be, it's important to keep a few things in mind as you shop:

Do You Need a Solid Top?

While some players may have an all-laminate guitar they swear by, most guitarists agree that a guitar with a top made of solid wood will simply sound better than a guitar with a laminated top. Solid tops are more responsive to your playing style, and the result is a fuller, more nuanced tone.

Of course, a laminated top has its advantages, too. Laminated woods tend to be less impacted by fluctuating humidity than solid woods, so they will maintain tuning stability better than some solid-top guitars in climates where humidity frequently changes. Laminated-top guitars are perfectly fine to learn on, and they're often much less expensive than their solid-top counterparts. Just be prepared to upgrade to a solid top if you (or your child) ultimately becomes even more invested in playing guitar.

As a side note, while sound demos can help you make your decision, it's important to be realistic. A talented and experienced player can make even a dirt-cheap acoustic sound somewhat decent. If possible, listen to a few sound demos of each guitar you're considering in order to help you make your decision.

Considering Body Style

Ask almost anyone to picture an acoustic guitar, and they'll probably imagine a dreadnought. This large, deep-bodied style is the most popular acoustic shape. The large body means you hear plenty of low end, but dreadnoughts are capable of producing a very complex sound with plenty of overtones. This makes it especially desirable as a solo instrument.

For those looking for something a little less bulky, concert-body acoustics might be a good choice. These smaller, somewhat rounder-looking guitars may be more comfortable to play, especially for smaller players. Many classical guitar options are shaped similarly to concert-body, steel-string acoustics.

That said, in a 3/4-size guitar, even the dreadnought bodies tend to be smaller and easier to handle than the dreadnought bodies of full-sized guitars. If you find a full-size dreadnought too cumbersome to deal with, a 3/4-size version might be just right.

Considering Other Appointments

Tonewoods and body style are very important to the sound of an acoustic guitar. However, before buying, it's also wise to pay attention to some of the other appointments and what they mean for sound and aesthetics:

  • Nut and Saddle -- Many inexpensive guitars come with plastic nuts and saddles. Higher-quality composites can increase sustain and improve harmonic content. If you buy a guitar with a plastic saddle and/or nut, replacing them is usually fairly straightforward.
  • Tuners -- Sometimes, less-expensive guitars have tuners that don't hold tune particularly well. Die-cast tuners tend to be the best at holding tune, but you'll likely want to make sure the tuners are well-made.
  • Fingerboard -- Rosewood and ebony are classic fingerboard woods, but some guitars use walnut or even engineered wood. These aren't necessarily bad, but some players might prefer a higher-end fingerboard.

Making the Decision

There's a whole world of 3/4 guitar choices out there, and there's something for just about every price range. We think the Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor is the best option on the list, largely because of its solid top and high-end appointments. However, if you just need a knock-around guitar or are buying something for a kid who may not want to keep playing, we think the Yamaha FG JR1 is an excellent choice. This guitar has a laminated top, but it's built well and has surprisingly good sound for the price.

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