How to Measure a Guitar: Your Guide to Measuring an Acoustic Guitar

Published Categorized as Buying Guides, Guitar selection

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There are several different ways you can measure the size of an acoustic guitar.

I mean, when you look at a guitar it’s a pretty complex shape – and they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.


Table of Contents

Why Would You Want to Measure Your Guitar?

There are a couple of reasons you might want to measure your acoustic.

Firstly, you may want to know the size of your guitar to learn what the best size is for you. If you are a smaller player or buying for a kid, you may want to get a smaller bodied guitar and/or a guitar with a shorter neck.

But the most common reason to measure your guitar is to find the best fitting case for it.


Refer to the diagram below if you aren’t sure what any of the parts of the guitar mentioned in this post are.

Parts of the acoustic guitar diagram jpeg

How to Take Different Measurements of Acoustic Guitars

You may need some or all of the following measurements. All you’ll need to measure your guitar is a tape measure.

Body Length

The body length doesn’t include the neck and head of the guitar.

To measure the body length of a guitar, measure from the top of the body where the neck meets the soundboard right down to the bottom – not including the strap pin.


Upper Bout Width

Measure across the width of the guitar at the widest point of the upper bout. This will be roughly just above the soundhole (if you have the guitar standing upright).

Lower Bout Width

Measure across the width of the guitar at the widest point of the lower bout. This will be below the bridge of the guitar (if you have the guitar standing upright). This will be the widest part of the acoustic guitar.

Length of the Neck

Measure the neck from where it intersects with the body of the guitar and up to the nut.


Scale Length

Measure scale length by taking the distance from the nut to the 12th fret and then multiplying that by 2.

Check out the link below for more on a guitar’s scale length and why you might want to measure this.

Bout Depth

With the guitar lying flat measure the height of the sides of the guitar. This measurement shouldn’t include the bridge. Measure this at both the lower bout and upper bout.

Full Depth

Measure the full depth of the guitar as per bout depth, but including the bridge.

Full length

Measure the entire length of the guitar from the top of the head to the bottom of the body.

Body Waist Width

Measure the width of the narrowest part of the body. This will be the point in between the upper and lower bouts.


Neck Width (Both at Nut and at Body)

Measure the width across the fretboard (fingerboard) both where the neck intersects at the body (usually at the 14th fret but sometimes at the 12th fret) and at the nut.

Neck’s Distance off the Ground

With your guitar on a flat surface measure the distance from the surface to the bottom of the neck. Measure at both the 12th fret and at the nut.

Headstock From Surface

To get the guitar size, also measure form the surface to the bottom of the headstock.

Final Thoughts

Different shaped guitars will fit within certain measurements but there are often slight variations.

For an overview of the most common shape variations check out the links below.

I hope this post has given you more info on what parts of the guitar you might need to measure and how to measure them, in order to gauge acoustic guitar sizes.

How to Measure a Guitar FAQs

How can I tell what size my guitar is?

You can do so by measuring the overall guitar length (bottom of the body to the top of the headstock) and the scale length (distance between the top of the neck, near the headstock – aka the nut – and the part where the strings rest on the bridge – aka the saddle). Once you have the measurements, you can compare them with standard sizes to identify the type of guitar you have.

How do I measure my guitar for a case?

Measure the overall length (the length of a guitar from the bottom of the body to the top of the headstock), the body width (the widest part of the body, around the lower bout of the guitar), the body depth (from the back of the body to the highest point of the arch or curve), the lower bout width (at the widest point of the lower bout, aka the rounded portion of the body below the guitar’s waist), the upper bout width (the widest point of the upper bout, aka the rounded portion of the body above the guitar’s waist), the headstock width (at its widest point), and finally, the scale length (the distance between the nut and the saddle).

By Nate Pallesen

Nate is just your average (above average) guitar player. He's no Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page - wait this site is about acoustic guitars (sorry) He's no Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins, or Michael Hedges, wait? who!? He's no Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton or Ben Harper - more familiar? Anyway you get the point :-)


  1. Hello,
    I’m trying to buy a case for my guitar and I’m looking online. A couple I’m interested in state their length is 40″. If I measure the length of my guitar from end to end on the FRONT, it mearsures 41″. If I measure the length on the back, it measures 40″. This difference is due to the angle of the neck. Which is the right measurement to decide on a case? Thanks!

    1. Hi Cindy

      I think you should look at cases that have a length of 41″ or more. I think you would have issues fitting your guitar into a case that is 40″ if your guitar measures 41″ on the front.

      Hope this helps

      1. Hi I don?t know what size my Johnson acoustic guitar is because it was given to me and by D string has broken I don?t know what size to get or what to look for please help

    1. Hi Bryan

      The Pro-1 is a scaled down dreadnought. I haven’t played it and can’t find any info on the exact sizes.

      I have heard that Roadrunner make a case that fits it, but I’m not sure of which model – but you could take some measurements and compare it to these – – to see if it sounds like it would fit in those specs.

      This one – – also claims to be for the Pro 1.

      Hope this helps

  2. I have really never picked up a guitar before, but I acquired a “freebie” acoustic and it seems very small. I was hoping your webpage would actually have example sizes for all the popular guitar types (concert, dreadnaught, etc.)

    How do I know what I have? The model is First Act M2G-410. Thank you.

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