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Not everyone is well versed in the different types and sizes of acoustic guitars that are available. So when they set out to buy one, they end up buying the wrong fit.
The most important things to note when looking at different sizes are the playability and sound qualities.
While smaller guitars are easier to travel around with, bigger acoustic guitars, are louder with different tonal characteristics.
Acoustic Guitar Sizes Chart:
There are some other more bizarre sizes and shapes but these are the most common ones.
Note that it’s hard to categorize guitar sizes and shapes into tight categories because each brand’s sizes and shapes are subtly different. This post is mostly focused on Martin and Taylor shapes – most other shapes mimic these shapes.
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These Half- and 3/4-size guitars are designed specifically for children so they’re very small. They’re quieter and less full sounding than full-sized guitars but also cheaper. They’re perfect for children beginning to learn to play guitar.
They can also be good as travel guitars if you’re looking for a more traditionally shaped travel guitar.
Our Top Pick Mini Guitar
These are the smallest and cheapest acoustic guitars available, ideal for those players who travel around a lot and need to play in different places. Travel guitars weigh around 3 pounds and have a thin sound.
If you don’t need volume and a full tone and just want something to hack around on that’s easy to travel with then a travel guitar might be an option.
Our Top Pick Travel Guitar
Also known as a Spanish guitar and used mostly to play classical music and Spanish-style guitar. This guitar uses nylon strings as opposed to the steel strings used on electric and acoustic guitars and is a smaller size.
The sound quality of these guitars is soft and warm. They are generally smaller than concert guitars and larger than mini-guitars but there are some different types and sizes of classical guitars.
But only go with a classical guitar if that’s the sound you’re looking for or because you like the feel of how it plays.
Our Top Pick Classical Guitar
The parlor-sized guitar is the smallest steel-string guitar size apart from Travel and Mini guitars. This is an old-style size/shape but it’s gained somewhat of a cult following/resurgence in recent times with some guitarists looking for a traditional sound or a unique sound.
Parlor’s are usually 12-fret models (the neck of the guitar joins the body at the 12th fret). If you’re unsure about these types of guitars, visit our what is a 12 fret guitar and why get one article!
Our Top Pick Parlor Guitar
Concert Guitar (0)
A concert guitar is part of the 6-string family of acoustic guitars with steel strings. While the nylon strings of classical guitars give them a soft sound quality, the steel strings in this guitar give a brighter, louder sound.
In Martin’s nomenclature, a concert guitar is usually a 0, depending on the length of the guitar and its thickness. (The rule is that the bigger the guitar, the more 0’s are used to represent it. A 00 is smaller than 000 but larger than an 0).
Grand Concert (00)
An 00 guitar (Martin Sizes), or Grand Concert (Taylor Sizes) – style acoustic guitar is larger than the concert guitar and typically more expensive. These guitars are louder than their concert cousins due to their size.
They don’t take as much oomph as louder guitars to get good volume though. For example, if you play softly on a Grand Concert/00, then it will be louder than if you played softly on one of the larger-bodied guitars. But if you try to play loudly, there is a lower volume ceiling – so you will only be able to play so loud no matter how hard you strum.
This size guitar is most suited to finger-style playing. You definitely still can strum and flat-pick but it’s better for the player who would play finger-style more than half the time.
Grand Concerts (00) these days often have the option of coming in a 12-fret or a standard 14-fret model.
Auditorium (000/Grand Performance)
These Auditorium (or 000) guitars have a similar shape to Grand Concert guitars but are bigger in size. Martin’s Grand Performance shape could also fit into this size category
These guitars have a thinner body and a more defined waist than the likes of the dreadnought.
Grand Auditorium (0000/M)
These sized guitars tend to have a shape similar to the previous couple of shapes (though, again, shapes and sizes differ between manufacturers).
These guitars are around the same size (or slightly bigger) as a dreadnought in terms of lower bout width and body length but the shape is different with a narrower waist. The more boxy dreadnought has a wider waist so a bigger top (soundboard) overall.
The Grand Auditorium/0000 size is a great all-rounder. They have a big enough sound in terms of being able to play quite loud but they also respond pretty well to a softer touch. They have a balanced tone in terms of emphasis on highs, lows, and mids. They are great if you like to strum, flat-pick and finger-pick.
This is Taylor’s second-largest shape, in terms of lower bout width, and is slightly larger than the Grand Auditorium.
Dreadnoughts are the most common types of guitar (though for Taylor the Grand Auditorium is actually their most popular shape), with a large body that gives deep, strong bass notes. A large size, a D in Martin’s system, dreadnoughts are quite loud and not ideal for smaller people.
They favor players who prefer to strum and flat-pick and are less suitable for finger-style. These guitars are great for playing bluegrass.
They have a high volume ceiling so you can play them hard and they will play loud – but if you play with a soft touch it’s harder to get a good sound out of them, than if you were playing a smaller size like a Grand Concert (00).
This is Taylor’s largest-sized guitar. It has a lower bout width of 16 3/4″. It has a balanced sound for a large guitar though and the guitar has been braced in such a way that you still get a good response from a light touch. So you can play it like a Grand Concert and get good volume from a light touch or you can give it more and the volume ceiling is also high.
Jumbos are larger of all guitar sizes. They have a very loud, powerful sound and are ideal for players with a strong strumming style. Due to their large size, a Jumbo acoustic guitar may have a 17″ lower bout width, they tend to be more expensive.
They have more of a concert/auditorium style shape with a more defined waist but are considerably larger.
Related: Guitar Reviews by Body Shape/Size
What Is the Size Chart of a Full-Size Guitar?
As you may already know, there are numerous sizes of guitars available on the market. The size of your guitar will mostly depend on your age and height. Children are more likely to play the guitar of a smaller size as this will make the instrument a lot more comfortable to play.
If you’re an adult, a full-size guitar is the best option for you. The size of a full-size guitar is between 36 to 40 inches. This measurement is to be taken from the bottom of the guitar, all the way up its neck to the highest point of the instrument.
There is no standard size set in stone for full-sized guitars so keep that in mind if you’re looking to get one. Depending on the brand of guitar, the total length of the instrument will vary. If you’re unsure which length guitar to get, go into the store to see what is comfortable for you.
What’s the Chart for Different Sizes of Guitars?
Guitar sizes vary wildly. You can choose tiny guitars such as guitarleles which are like ukuleles but slightly bigger or gigantic, with jumbo acoustics. It is usually a choice of personal preference, body or hand size, and skill that determines which is best for an individual.
The smallest-sized guitar is a ukulele which is perfect for those who find normal-sized guitars a little too big such as children or those with smaller fingers. Unlike ukuleles, a guitarlele has the usual six strings you get with most guitars.
These combine the portability of the uke with the versatility of typical full size guitars. Next is the half-sized guitar which is half the size of a standard guitar. Then you have the three-quarter-sized guitar which is a favorite among 8 to 12-year-olds.
Next in size are the larger parlor guitars, the auditorium guitars, the classic shaped dreadnoughts guitars, and finally, the jumbo type. Electric guitars don’t have as many size variants with most being in the half-size, three-quarter-size, and full-size range.
What Size Guitar Does a Child Need?
When they’re first learning to play the guitar, it’s important to have an instrument that i’s the appropriate size for your child’s height, otherwise they may struggle more than they have to as the guitar could be too small or too big for them to comfortably hold.
As anyone with kids will understand, their attention span is difficult to maintain as it is, so making it as easy for them as possible will mean they’re less likely to give up.
Here are some size guides to help you find the right size guitar for your child:
|Age||Height (cm)||Recommended Size|
|5 – 8||80 – 100||1/2 Size|
|8 – 12||100 – 125||3/4 Size|
|Age||Height (cm)||Recommended Size|
|5 – 12||100 – 120||3/4 Size|
|12 – 15||120 – 165||Small Body|
|Age||Height (cm)||Recommended Size|
|2 – 5||75 – 100||1/4 Size|
|5 – 8||100 – 125||1/2 Size|
|8 – 12||125 – 165||3/4 Size|
The shape and size of the guitar that you should choose will depend on a number of factors including your physical characteristics and the style of music you like to play.
Finally, visit our how to choose the size of an acoustic guitar help you to decide what type of guitar is best for you depending on your style, ability, and physical size.