what is a short scale acoustic guitar

What Is A Short Scale Acoustic guitar? Short Scale Easy To Play?

You might be considering a short scale acoustic guitar. Perhaps you’re looking for a guitar that is easier to play, better for small hands, or you want something a little more portable.

All of this will lead you to search for short scale acoustic guitars.

Short scale guitars are great for people with small hands, as they will be able to reach the frets on a short scale guitar easier.

for kids, a shorter scale of guitar will be an ideal size for them to start on.

If you want to travel but don’t want to lug around a full sized guitar, short scale guitars such as a 3/4 scale (three quarter scale) or 1/2 scale (one half scale) will be much easier to transport.

What is a short scale acoustic guitar?

A short scale acoustic guitar refers to a smaller version of a typical guitar. Short scale guitars are commonly either “one half” 1/2 or “three quarters” 3/4 of a normal sized guitar.

The advantage of having a smaller guitar is if the player has smaller hands or want to travel with their guitar with ease.

This make short scale guitar common among schools wanting musical instruments that children can easily play, and traveling musicians that want a portable option, like buskers.

What does scale length mean on guitar

“short scale” means that everything has the same proportions as a full sized guitar, but just shortened. For instance, if the neck on an acoustic guitar is 2 feet long, the same model made as a short scale would have a neck that is 1 foot (1/2 scale) or 1.5 feet (3/4 scale).

Having played many different short scale guitar, it is fairly easy to get used to the different size as all the proportions are the same.

After only a few minutes of playing you’ll be used to a smaller scale and vice versa. transitioning between normal and short scale guitars isn’t much of a headache, just a little bit of getting used to the guitar.

Here’s a video explaining short scale electric guitar,  the idea is the same with acoustic and electric

Do short scale guitars have higher action

No, a short scale guitar should not have higher action, just because it is a short scale guitar.

Unfortunately, some half scale guitar are made as toys rather than instruments which means poor workmanship results in a high action.

If you purchase a short scale guitar, ensure that you stick to known guitar manufacturing brands. All major brands offer short scale ranges of their guitars.

It isn’t rare to see a short scale guitar with high action, but if you check the brand, it will likely be made by a toy maker, and not a reputable guitar brand.

Are short scale guitars good

Yes, short scale guitar are a good choice in some instances, or personal preference.

There are many musicians that simply like the feel and size of short scale guitars. Ed Sheeran famously plays a mini Martin guitar.

There isn’t much compromise in terms of sound quality due to the length of scale on your guitar.

It is hard to say one size of guitar is better than others because it is so subjective.

A full sized guitar may be easier for people with large hands, and a short scale will be easier for small hands.

If you opt to get a short scale guitar from a known guitar maker, you will undoubtedly get a good guitar, regardless of scale.

Is a shorter scale guitar easier to play

are short scale guitars easier to play

Yes, shorter scale guitars are easier to play for people with smaller hands. It also takes slightly (likely unnoticeably) less pressure to ret the strings on a shorter guitar.

The shorter the length of a guitar the lower the tension will need to be to make pitch, resulting in less resistance to the player fretting the string.

This is minimal and should not be a selling point, however.

Alternatively, if you have larger hands, a small scale guitar will be more difficult for you to play as you’ll have less space to work with.

The main Idea with short scale guitar is to better match the size of the guitar to the size of the musician.

Is short scale guitar better for small hands

Yes, short scale acoustic guitars are better for players with smaller hands. While experienced players won’t have much trouble playing any scale of guitar, small hands tend to prefer a shortened scale.

Are short scale guitars for kids

Yes, short scale guitars are targeted towards kids and smaller guitarists.

One consideration for getting a small scale guitar for kids is that they may of course “outgrow” their guitar.

While even a full grown adult can play a half scale guitar, it is usually more comfortable to play on a guitar that fits your size.

Long Vs Short scale acoustic guitars

There isn’t a clear winner here, it is totally personal preferences, but iI will go over the pros and cons for each.

Short scale guitars:


  • fits smaller hands
  • Ideal for traveling
  • easier for kids to hold and play
  • easier storage


  • guitarist may grow out of it
  • less selection to choose from
  • not as loud as full size

Full size guitars:


  • standard size 
  • endless models and cases to choose from
  • won’t grow out of it
  • Louder than small scale


  • can be intimidating for small players
  • takes up more space/ less ideal for travel
  • one size fits all may not be true.

Of course there are many more that could be said for each of the categories, but this is just a quick list.

Short scale acoustic guitars certainly have their place in the world of guitars.

They are not looked down upon by any musicians, nor should they be. Short scale doesn’t mean it is less of a guitar, just a modified version of the traditional size.

I can remember hold a full size guitar at 12 and it took a little while to get used to holding it properly. At that age I’m glad I didn’t size down, but there are barriers to overcome with whatever option you go with.

Short scale acoustic guitars are a great option if you have smaller hands or want something portable.

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