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Best 3/4 Guitar Options

Best 3/4 Guitar Options
Latest posts by Gustavo Pereira (see all)

Guitars come in all shapes and sizes. Aside from different body shapes that bring out different sounds from your instrument, there are also smaller guitar bodies that can be advantageous for several different reasons. This guide will focus on 3/4 guitars, which as the name implies, are 25% smaller than the regular size guitar bodies that you are used to seeing everywhere.

Most of the time, 3/4 guitars are marketed toward children between the ages of 8 and 12. The smaller size makes them more comfortable for them, and it makes learning how to play a much more enjoyable experience. In any case, there are also adults who might buy a 3/4 guitar simply because they are more compact, making for an excellent travel instrument.

Having a reduced size comes with a few other changes that you should be aware of if you are thinking of buying a 3/4 guitar. For instance, the string tension is substantially lower, which feels different while playing.

This also affects the overall tuning stability. The tone of a 3/4 guitar is generally not as rich and full-bodied as a regular guitar’s, but that does not mean that there aren’t any great sounding ones either.

Guitar Sizes Explained

In summary, there are 4 main guitar sizes available on the market today:

  • Full Size: 12+ years old
  • 3/4 Size: 8-12 years old
  • 1/2 Size: 5-8 years old
  • 1/4 Size: 2-5 years old

These are the general age recommendations for each guitar size. Personally, I would not buy a 1/4 or a 1/2 size for myself, but I could definitely see myself getting something like a Baby Taylor from Taylor Guitars.

It is a quality instrument in a reduced size that I would enjoy taking outside when going to the beach or the park. Taking it with me in a car or even an overhead bin on an airplane would also be far easier than with a regular sized guitar.

Even professional musicians use 3/4 guitars sometimes. One of the most famous examples is Ed Sheeran, who uses a 3/4 guitar most of the time he is playing. He says that he prefers the tone of the smaller body and thinks it suits his songs better than a normal guitar.

girl playing guitar

Main Features and Properties of 3/4 Guitars

Size

Obviously, the biggest difference between a 3/4 and a regular guitar is their size. A fully sized guitar will measure around 40×15 inches, while a 3/4 guitar measures 36×13 inches. These measurements make these guitars perfect for kids between the ages of 8 and 12 to start learning how to play the guitar, or they make for an excellent travel instrument due to the compact dimensions.

Scale Length

The scale length has to be shorter in a 3/4 guitar too, to compensate for the smaller body. They are usually anywhere between 20″ and 24″ while regular sized guitars have longer scale lengths, like 24.75″ or 25.5″.

String Tension

The smaller body and shorter scale length account for a lower string tension than what you have on a normal sized guitar. This makes playing feel different. Strings are bent more easily, and you might end up doing that accidentally if you are used to regular guitars.

There are even special string sets made for 3/4 guitars, which you should buy if you have one of these instruments.

Tone

A combination of different properties like the ones we have just discussed produces a significantly different tone than what you generally get out of a normal guitar.

You can expect 3/4 guitars to sound a little bit thinner due to their smaller body, and they might not be as loud as a regular sized guitar. In general, people tend to prefer guitars that have a fuller sound, more harmonic content and volume, and these are not traits that you frequently find on 3/4 guitars. However, if they are well built with quality materials, you will still have a great instrument to play.

Ed Sheeran is famous worldwide and he almost only plays on 3/4 guitars because he likes their tone better, which comes to show that everything is subjective.

Price

While this doesn’t apply to every single 3/4 guitar that you might find when you are browsing the web, it is safe to say that they are frequently cheaper than their full-sized counterparts.

However, there are also higher end models that use better woods, construction methods, and better quality control than the average brand. A couple of good examples would be the Taylor Baby Taylor and the Martin Little Martin guitars.

What Are the Advantages of Using a 3/4 Guitar?

Having a 3/4 guitar can come in handy in a variety of situations. Aside from being the perfect size for children aged 8 to 12 years old to learn how to play, they are extremely portable and easy to play for adults as well.

If you like to take your guitar with you when you go to the beach, the park, or a friend’s house, a 3/4 is a great option, since it will easily fit inside any car’s trunk or in the back seats. They are also a lot easier to carry into an airplane, should you need to fly with a guitar.

Since the string tension is lower on a 3/4 guitar, you will quickly notice that it is easier on your fingers, and that you do not need to apply as much pressure on the frets to be able to play. If you find that you struggle when playing a normal guitar for extended periods of time, maybe a 3/4 instrument would be an interesting purchase for you.

Also, the shorter scale length means that the guitar’s frets are closer to each other than on a regular sized guitar. The shorter distance between frets makes it easier to play some complicated runs or tricky chord voicings.

This combination of unique properties makes 3/4 guitars an interesting choice for a lot of players, regardless of their age. The next time you drop by your local music store, you might want to try one out and see if it would be a good addition to your guitar collection!

Musical Instrument Brands that Manufacture 3/4 Guitars

Nowadays, there are several brands that decided to enter the 3/4 guitar market, offering instruments that are marketed for young learners as well as experienced players, depending on your budget.

Here are a few examples of musical instrument brands that manufacture at least one 3/4 guitar model.

Taylor

Taylor is one of the leading brands in acoustic guitars today. Their acoustic guitars can be seen on stages and studios around the world, and many professional guitarists swear by their sound, consistency and quality.

Their most famous 3/4 sized guitar is the Baby Taylor, which many people buy as a practice guitar to have around the house or to carry to the park, beach, or any other place to hang and jam with friends.

Taylor Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar Natural

Martin

Martin is among the most highly-regarded musical instrument brands in the world, and they have had a fantastic reputation for decades. Their pre-war guitars are worth thousands of dollars, but fortunately, they have also got something for those of us with smaller budgets, looking for a compact instrument that sounds great and doesn’t feel like a toy. I’m talking mainly about the Little Martin, which you should definitely try out if you have the chance.

Martin LX1 Little Martin Acoustic Guitar Natural

Luna

Luna Guitars is a fairly recent brand that offers a great range of affordable instruments that look great and sound very good for their price. Some of their instruments feature amazing designs that are achieved by combining several different exotic kinds of wood together to create unique artwork. Even their best instruments are below the $1000 mark, so you should definitely be able to find a nice guitar for a low price.

Luna Aurora Borealis Size Acoustic Guitar Teal Sparkle

Yamaha

Yamaha has been around for a very long time, and they build all kinds of instruments, like guitars, pianos, basses, and more. Their guitars are great from a price/quality standpoint, and you should definitely check them out if you want to get a nice instrument at an affordable price. Some of their models feature a thin neck which further improves the comfort that a 3/4 guitar offers when playing, among other interesting features.

Yamaha JR2 Scale Folk Guitar Tobacco Sunburst

Takamine

Takamine is a respected Japanese brand that focuses on building acoustic guitars. They have some expensive premium instruments, but their entry-level guitars are also worth checking out if your budget isn’t very large.

Depending on the series, they manufacture their instruments in China, Korea and Japan. Some of their 3/4 models have great features such as a solid top and a preamp system, which isn’t found on many guitars of this size.

Takamine

Ortega

Ortega Guitars was founded in 1994 in Germany, and manufactures acoustic guitars with nylon and steel strings, and ukeleles. Their 3/4 range is split into the Student Series and Family Series.

Even though their guitars are not very expensive, they still manage to include some features that are typically only found in high end instruments, such as the 12 hole bridge. Make sure to try one out the next time you visit one of their dealers and you will be surprised.

Ortega Family Series

Ibanez

Ibanez is famous for making musical instruments, pedals, amplifiers and other products for a very long time. They have guitars aimed at rock and metal players, jazz players, and pretty much any kind of sound that you might be going for.

They are known for having a good price/quality ratio on their instruments, and their 3/4 guitar models are not an exception. Here are a couple of interesting guitars you might want to check out:

Ibanez PF2MHOPN Mini Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar Open Pore Natural

3/4 Guitars: My Favorite Picks

In this section, I will show you some of the most interesting 3/4 guitars that you can currently find on the market. This is of course subjective, since each guitarist has a different taste, but these suggestions might be a good starting point if you are interested in acquiring a 3/4 guitar for yourself.

Luna Safari Tattoo

Luna Safari Tattoo

The Luna Safari Tattoo in the 3/4 size might be smaller, but it is a real attention grabber due to its unique design, which draws inspiration from traditional Hawaiian art. The etchings on the body contain references to the island’s unique characteristics such as the waves, sun, birds, and others.

It features an all mahogany construction which looks amazing. It has a satin finish that feels smooth and comfortable, and a rosewood fretboard that complements the guitar perfectly both tonally and aesthetically.

Main Features

  • Body Type: Dreadnought
  • Body Wood: Mahogany body, back and sides
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Neck Shape: C Shape
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Scale Length: 22″
  • Frets: 19
  • Others: Gig bag included

Pros

  • Design: the unique artwork found on the guitar’s top is a great touch that you don’t find often on other acoustic guitars.
  • Included gig bag: at this price point, it is really great that you get a gig bag for the guitar when you purchase it.

Cons

  • Saddle and nut: these two are made from plastic, which was probably a decision made to keep the cost of the instrument lower.

Price

You can find the Luna Safari Tattoo 3/4 for a price of around $200.

Luna Safari Solid Koa

Luna Safari Solid Koa Top

The Luna Safari Solid Koa is an excellent option for those looking for a 3/4 acoustic guitar. Aside from the amazing looks granted by the exotic koa wood, it even has a preamp system by Fishman, should you need to plug it in, and an included travel case.

Other interesting features include its pearloid moon phase inlays and the abalone soundhole ring design, which give this guitar a unique and distinct look.

Main Features

  • Body Type: Dreadnought
  • Body Wood: Solid koa top, mahogany back and sides
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Neck Shape: C Shape
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Scale Length: 22″
  • Pickup: Fishman preamp
  • Frets: 19
  • Others: Pearloid moon phase inlays

Pros

  • Solid top: at this price, having a solid koa top is a great feature. It looks amazing and contributes to this guitar’s rich tone.
  • Preamp: apart from sounding good, the Fishman preamp system found on this guitar is very discreet, having its controls on the soundhole.

Cons

  • No cutaway: while this might not be a disadvantage at all to some players, it would be interesting to see this guitar’s body with a cutaway design to allow for better upper fret access.

Price

This gorgeous Luna Safari 3/4 with a solid koa top is sold for around $350, making it an excellent option in this price range.

Yamaha APXT2 3/4 Thinline

Yamaha APXT2 Thinline

The APXT2 is a scaled-down version of one of Yamaha’s most popular guitars, the APX500II. It has a body designed for comfort, a great neck, and other features that give this guitar great value for its price.

It includes a gig bag, a preamp that allows you to plug your guitar into an amplifier or PA system, and an onboard tuner.

Main Features

  • Body Type: Thinline
  • Body Wood: Spruce top, meranti back and sides
  • Neck: Nato
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Scale Length: 22″
  • Frets: 21
  • Pickup: System 68 Preamp
  • Others: Gig bag included

Pros

  • Comfort: the thinline design on this Yamaha guitar makes for a very comfortable playing experience, perfect if you usually play for consecutive hours.
  • Cutaway: the cutaway on this guitar is a great feature for those who appreciate having easy access to the higher frets.

Cons

  • Preamp: while it is great that this guitar features a preamp, it could be improved upon with better EQ possibilities.

Price

The Yamaha APXT2 3/4 can generally be found with a price tag of around $200, which makes it one of Yamaha’s most affordable options for those looking for a smaller, compact guitar.

Ibanez PF2MHOPN Mini Dreadnought

Ibanez PF2MHOPN Mini Dreadnought

This 3/4 guitar is part of the Performance series by Ibanez. It comes at a very affordable price, but it still has numerous interesting features, such as an all mahogany construction, rosewood bridge and fingerboard, and an included gig bag.

Main Features

  • Body Type: Dreadnought
  • Body Wood: Mahogany top, back and sides
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Scale Length: 22.8″
  • Frets: 20
  • Pickup: None
  • Others: Gig bag included

Pros

  • Quality/price ratio: this guitar is one of the best options on the market regarding 3/4 guitars under $200. The all-mahogany construction and open pore finish are two noteworthy features.
  • Included gig bag: it is impressive that they include a gig bag at this price point, increasing the instrument’s value even more.

Cons

  • None: even though this is still an entry-level guitar which obviously doesn’t sound like others that cost several times as much, there aren’t any major flaws to be pointed out.

Price

The Ibanez PF2MHOPN 3/4 is sold for a price of around $150. It even comes with an included gig bag, which is a steal for this amount of money.

Takamine GX18CENS

Takamine GX18CENS

The GX18CENS is a smaller version of the NEX body style, one of Takamine’s most popular designs, which takes after the classic Jumbo shape. It features a solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides, and a rosewood fretboard.

Unfortunately it does not come with a case, but it would probably cost more than $500 if it did. It also features a proprietary preamp with an onboard tuner.

Main Features

  • Body Type: Takamine NEX body
  • Body Wood: Solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Laurel
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Frets: 21
  • Pickup: Takamine TP4T Preamp
  • Others: Natural finish

Pros

  • Body: the NEX body, designed by Takamine, is an excellent take on the well-known Jumbo, offering comfort and a rich sound.
  • Preamp: the TP4T is a very capable preamp system that also features a tuner.

Cons

  • No case: at this price point, it would be nice to see an included case or gig bag with the guitar.

Price

You can usually find the Takamine GX18CENS 3/4 for a price of around $440.

Ortega Family Series R121G

Ortega Family Series R121G

The Ortega Family Series R121G is a serious option to be considered if you are in the market for a 3/4 nylon string guitar. It is quite inexpensive, but it comes packed with great features. Among them you can find a 12 hole bridge made from walnut, a mahogany neck with a satin finish and a beautiful maple binding.

It makes for a great beginner‘s guitar for a child, but experienced musicians will definitely appreciate having this instrument around as well.

Main Features

  • Body Type: Classical
  • Body Wood: Spruce top, mahogany back and sides
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Walnut
  • Bridge: Walnut
  • Scale Length: 23.23″
  • Frets: 19
  • Pickup: None
  • Others: Fan bracing pattern

Pros

  • Bridge: the 12 hole bridge design has several advantages, such as a clearer sound, and easier string changes.
  • Gig bag: Ortega sells this guitar with a deluxe gig bag, which is great considering the final price.

Cons

  • Volume: even though it is expected of 3/4 guitars to sound a little quieter than a full-sized instrument, this one would sound better with a little more volume.

Price

The Ortega Family Series R121G 3/4 can be found for around $220 at authorized dealers of this brand.

Cort AD Mini OP Standard

Cort AD Mini OP Standard

Cort has been a well-known brand for a long time due to making quality instruments at an affordable price point. The AD Mini OP Standard goes for around $200, but offers a lot of bang for your buck.

Its got a great construction quality, with a dovetail neck joint and advanced x-bracing. It has a spruce top, and uses mahogany for the back, sides and neck. It even includes a gig bag, which further increases its value.

Main Features

  • Body Type: Dreadnought
  • Body Wood: Spruce top, mahogany back and sides
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Merbau
  • Bridge: Merbau
  • Scale Length: 22.8″
  • Frets: 19
  • Pickup: None
  • Others: Gigbag included

Pros

  • Tone: the combination of spruce and mahogany gives this guitar a balanced, rich tone that should fit perfectly into a wide range of genres and playing styles.
  • Included gig bag: even though this guitar is inexpensive, it still comes with an included gig bag.

Cons

  • Fretboard and bridge: this guitar would be a little more appealing if it featured a better wood choice for these two parts, such as rosewood.

Price

You can find the Cort AD Mini OP Standard 3/4 with a price tag in the $200 range.

Ibanez AW54JR-OPN

Ibanez AW54JR-OPN Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar Natural

The Ibanez AW54JR-OPN has a beautiful design, counting with features such as forearm contour that improves comfort, black binding and an all sapele body.

One of its most interesting characteristics is the open pore finish, which allows the wood to breathe much better, which will improve its resonance and sound over the years.

It has a mahogany neck with a satin finish that gives it an excellent feel while playing. It comes with D’Addario EXP strings.

Main Features

  • Body Type: Dreadnought
  • Body Wood: Sapele top, back and sides
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Scale Length: 22.75″
  • Frets: 20
  • Pickup: None
  • Others: Satin finish

Pros

  • Open pore finish: this kind of finish allows the guitar’s wood to age more gracefully, which will improve its tonal properties in the long term.
  • Comfort: the contoured body looks great and provides additional comfort while playing.

Cons

  • No preamp: it would have been great if Ibanez added a preamp system to this guitar, making it even more versatile.

Price

The Ibanez AW54JR-OPN generally costs around $330, a great price for a guitar packed with interesting features and attractive looks.

Taylor Baby Taylor

Taylor Baby Taylor

The Baby Taylor is an excellent 3/4 guitar that every guitar player will enjoy, regardless of their age and skill level. It is great as a travel guitar too, due to its compact size and high quality gig bag made by Taylor.

It has a solid mahogany top, and layered sapele back and sides. Other noteworthy features include an ebony fretboard and bridge, and a matte finish that looks and feels great.

Main Features

  • Body Type: Dreadnought
  • Body Wood: Mahogany top, sapele back and sides
  • Neck: Sapele
  • Neck Shape: Taylor standard baby profile
  • Fretboard: Ebony
  • Bridge: Ebony
  • Scale Length: 22.75″
  • Frets: 19
  • Pickup: None
  • Others: NuBone saddle and nut

Pros

  • Solid top: the solid mahogany top accounts for a big part of this guitar’s rich, full sound, even though it is only a 3/4 size instrument.
  • Gigbag: Taylor designed a gigbag specifically for this guitar, which looks great, provides excellent protection and even has extra storage for accessories.

Cons

  • No preamp: if this guitar could be plugged into an amplifier or PA system, it would make it even more versatile, but if you use it as a practice or travel instrument, you probably won’t miss this feature a lot.

Price

The Taylor Baby Taylor is generally sold for around $400. While it is slightly more expensive than most of the aforementioned guitars, it has an excellent quality/price ratio and it comes with a really nice gig bag, making it an excellent candidate for a 3/4 guitar.

Martin LX1 Little Martin

Martin LX1 Little Martin Acoustic Guitar

The Little Martin is Martin’s 3/4 guitar model, taking the same approach as Taylor with the Baby Taylor. It is made in Mexico, it has a solid sitka spruce top, and mahogany back and sides.

The neck is made from laminated birch, and it has a richlite fretboard. This guitar is great to travel with, compose musical ideas on the road, and many other things. It also comes with an included gig bag.

Main Features

  • Body Type: Concert
  • Body Wood: Spruce sitka top, mahogany back and sides
  • Neck: Birch
  • Fretboard: Richlite
  • Bridge: Richlite
  • Scale Length: 23″
  • Frets: 20
  • Pickup: None
  • Others: Gigbag included

Pros

  • Tone: as is to be expected from Martin, this guitar sounds rich, balanced and powerful, despite having reduced dimensions.
  • Value: Martin guitars are usually expensive, and this one is one of the most affordable options if you want to own one. Despite the lower price tag, it still provides excellent value.

Cons

  • Fretboard: Martin could have gone with a more appealing wood for the fretboard such as rosewood or maybe even ebony.

Price

The Martin LX1 Little Martin can usually be found at authorized dealers for a price of around $400. Like the Baby Taylor, this guitar is one of the best options in this price range, and you should definitely consider it in case it is within your budget.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions About 3/4 Guitars

Question: What are the main differences between a 3/4 guitar and a regular sized guitar?

Answer: The main differences between a regular guitar and a 3/4 guitar are:

• Body Size
• Scale Length
• String Tension
• Overall Tone

As the name implies, they are about 25% smaller than a regular guitar. The scale length also needs to be shorter. In 3/4 guitars, it generally isn’t longer than 24″. These two properties cause the string tension to be lower than usual, which makes for a different feeling when playing the guitar.

All of this contributes to a characteristic tone that is generally not as rich and full as normal sized guitars have, but this isn’t true for every single 3/4 guitar out there.

Question: Are 3/4 guitars easier to play?

Answer: In short, 3/4 guitars are easier to play than regular sized guitars, and it is not just because of their reduced size. The distance between frets is slightly smaller due to the shorter scale length, and the string tension is also lower. This lower tension is the reason why you don’t need to apply as much pressure on the strings in order to get sound out of them. It might be slightly tricky to adapt if you’ve been playing regular guitars all the time, but it is certainly less demanding.
Question: What ages are 3/4 guitars recommended for?

Answer: Even though adults can play 3/4 guitars comfortably, they are usually marketed toward children between the ages of 8 and 12. The smaller dimensions of these guitars make them the perfect choice for someone a little shorter and with smaller hands. If you are an adult and you are looking for a compact guitar to take outside in all kinds of situations, then a 3/4 guitar might be the right choice for you as well.

Question: What are the best 3/4 guitars available today?

Answer: There are many great choices on the market nowadays for anyone who is looking for a 3/4 guitar. Some brands have developed excellent instruments in this category that will grab the attention of seasoned players anywhere.

Take a look at a few examples of interesting 3/4 guitars that you may want to try out when you get the chance:
Martin LX1 Little Martin Acoustic Guitar Natural
Taylor Baby Taylor Mahogany Acoustic Guitar Natural
Ibanez AW54JR-OPN Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar Natural
Takamine GX18CENS 3/4 Size Travel Acoustic-Electric Guitar Natural
Luna Safari Solid Koa Top 3/4 Size Acoustic/Electric Guitar Satin Natural

Closing Considerations About 3/4 Guitars

As you can see, 3/4 guitars can be a great addition to anyone’s instrument collection. They are not just a “kid’s instrument” because they are smaller. It is true that they are recommended for children, but adults can use them as practice instruments, travel guitars, and more. There are several price ranges that come with distinct features, making them appropriate for beginner students and experienced players.

Some of the advantages of using a 3/4 guitar are requiring less pressure on the strings in order to play, increased portability, and frets that are closer to each other, which can be helpful when playing some tricky chord voicings or intricate melodies. You should try a quality 3/4 guitar and see for yourself why it would be a great fit in your collection.