best 3/4 acoustic guitar

10 Best 3/4 Acoustic Guitar – Small Body Options For 2021

Looking to introduce your little ones to the acoustic guitar experience? Look no further than the 3/4 size acoustic. It’s basically an acoustic guitar shrunk to 75 percent of the standard body volume. This, combined with an overall length of 36 inches, makes 3/4 guitars ideal for the diminutive frames of young learners.

Quick Links To My Best 3/4 Acoustic Guitar Recommendations

A 36-incher can also be a great investment as a travel guitar, you know. It’ll save you from having to bring along your bulky, unwieldy, and likely-to-break full-size ax on every trip. On that note, why not let us help you find the best 3/4 acoustic guitar for your needs?

My Top 3/4 Acoustic Guitars Reviews

Yamaha JR2TBS

Oh boy, isn’t this a pretty thing! With a flame-orange top demarcated by a glossy black edging, the Yamaha JR2TBS looks like it fell off a painting. It’s not the kind of look we’re used to seeing on sub-$200 guitars. But then again, Yamaha’s FG Series of acoustic guitars — upon which the JR2 is modeled — has always been a cut above the rest.

The JR2 doesn’t just look like a chip from the old block — it sounds the part too. Strum a chord on the steel strings and you’re met with a warm acoustic tone with sweet mids and crisp highs. It’s not quite the level of a standard FG, but the sound is surprisingly hefty given the JR2’s shrunken footprint. The laminate bowl still delivers thanks to Yamaha’s use of solid spruce for the top.

Specs

  • Downsized “FG-Style” Body
  • 21.25 inch scale; 20 frets with Dot Inlays
  • 6 Steel Strings
  • Rosewood Bridge
  • Open Chrome Tuners

Not everyone will be pleased with Yamaha’s efforts to keep the footprint compact. The neck, for instance, hardly provides any room for fingerstyle. But then again, no one buys a 3/4-sized acoustic for the versatility. The Yamaha JR2 is meant for your road trips, campfire sing-alongs, and anywhere else you might want to relish playing an acoustic.

Pros:

  • Full-size tonal range
  • Effortless playability
  • Perfect for beginners

Cons:

  • String spacing might not be ideal for someone with wider fingers or big hands.
Our Rating -
4.5/5

Yamaha JR1 FG Junior

The name suggests that this is yet another Yamaha FG sub-species. Indeed, the JR1 FG Junior has a great deal in common with its sibling above. It’s a steel-stringed dreadnought downsized to 75% volume, sporting the same spruce top and with the scale shrunk to 21.25 inches.

Unlike its stablemate, though, the JR1 utilizes Meranti for its back/sides. This gives it a more robust feel, albeit at the cost of diminished resonance. The soundboard doesn’t vibrate as freely, and the tone is notably lacking in volume as a result. But the overall sound is nonetheless pretty good for a 3/4-size guitar. The mid-range is solid, trebles are crisp-clean, and the bass still has enough weight to register in your ears.

Specs

  • Mini Dreadnought Body
  • 21.25″ Scale
  • Rosewood Fingerboard; 20 Frets marked by Dot Inlays
  • 6 light-gauge Steel Strings
  • Rosewood Bridge; Urea Nut & Saddle
  • Open Chrome Tuning Machines

Overall, you can’t go wrong with the Yamaha JR1 FG Junior if you’re looking for an introductory unit. It’s very easy-going in terms of handling, but still sounds and feels like a grown-up guitar.

Pros:

  • High-quality, beginner-friendly.
  • Convenient to carry and store.

Cons:

  • Not as loud or robust as a full size acoustic guitar may be desired.
Our Rating -
4.5/5

Oscar Schmidt OG1FYS 3/4 Size

Washburn’s subsidiary Oscar Schmidt has always been a favorite among aspiring guitarists. The OG1FYS, featuring a dreadnought body scaled down to 75 percent, is perfectly suited for younger learners and those who want a travel-friendly ax.

The body’s comprised of a laminate spruce top that sits on a bowl crafted from layered catalpa. Though not the most exotic combination, it still looks terrific in the yellow sunburst finish. Other color options include black, red, blue and natural. Attached to the body is a mahogany neck topped with a rosewood fingerboard. Both are proportioned to provide a comfortable grip which, combined with the shortened scale, makes the unit very easy to handle.

Specs

  • Three-quarter-sized Dreadnought body; Standard X-Bracing
  • 23.3″ Scale; 18 frets with Dot Inlays
  • 6 Standard Steel Strings
  • Rosewood bridge
  • Chrome Die-cast Tuners

Sound output is even better. The guitar has a lively tone punctuated by pithy basses and crisp trebles. It’s not as plangent as a full-sized ‘nought, but it doesn’t feel watered-down either. The unit still sounds like a proper acoustic.

Pros:

  • Accessible, introductory size.
  • Beautiful finish that stays in tune well.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t sound as full as larger models.
Our Rating -
4.5/5

Yamaha APXT2

It’s your favorite electro-acoustic condensed into three-fourths of the usual size. The APXT2 is inspired by Yamaha’s bestselling APX500II. It brings the hybrid experience on a smaller platter — one that’s perfectly-suited for diminutive players and constant travelers.

The APXT2 has a similar physique to its elder sibling, albeit with a few changes on the tonewood recipe. The lower body is now made of meranti as opposed to mahogany; probably one of the changes needed to keep the price low. Not to say that the sound feels watered-down, though — the APXT2 still pumps out a solid tone even when unplugged.

Specs

  • “APX Thinline” Body Shape
  • 22.835 inch scale; 21 Frets; Dot Fingerboard Inlays
  • Steel Strings (6)
  • Rosewood Bridge; Plastic Nut/Saddle
  • Covered Tuning Machines
  • Electronics: System 68 contact Pickup with ART-based preamp

On paper, the onboard electronics package might seem like an unwarranted accessory on a unit that’s designed to go off the grid. You’ll nonetheless appreciate the ability to plug in whenever the opportunity presents itself; at your local coffeehouse, for instance.

Pros:

  • This guitar is great for the price point.
  • The solid spruce top offers a good sound and durability.
  • The light mahogany back and sides give the guitar a nice touch.

Cons:

  • String height is high on this guitar, and might not be best for beginners.
Our Rating -
4/5

Fender FA-15

From Eric Johnson to Eric Clapton, Fender Guitars have graced the hands of some of the world’s best guitarists. But the company also makes great acoustics for those who’re just learning the ropes.

The FA-15 sports a downsized dreadnought body that yields a meaty, well-rounded sound. You can’t even tell that the entire bowl is made of laminate (Agathis for the top & Sapele for back/sides). The C-shaped Nato neck offers comfortable handling for small palms, and is topped with a 20-fret rosewood fingerboard. Although string action feels a little high out of the box, you should be able to fix that easily with a quick rub on the bridge.

Specs

  • Non-cutaway 3/4 Dreadnought Body with X-Bracing
  • 23.3-inch Scale; 18 frets with White Dot Inlays
  • Fender Dura-Tone 880L Coated Bronze Strings (6)
  • Rosewood Bridge; Synthetic Bone Nut
  • Chrome Die-Cast Tuners

Now, the omission of an onboard pickup means the FA-15 will be limited to solo practices and small venues. But that’s just what makes it ideal for learners; you get to see how exactly the guitar responds and fine-tune your technique accordingly. And because it’s a Fender, you can be sure that it’ll hold up to the unseasoned touch.

Pros:

  • Solid top.
  • Comfortable neck and larger fingerboard makes it easier for beginners to play chords and scales on the upper part of the neck, without having to move their hand far.
  • Smaller body (3/4 size) is perfect for children or adults with smaller hands.


Cons:

  • Fret board is not as large as a full size guitar (many people say this is a pro because it’s more comfortable).
Our Rating -
4/5

Cordoba C1M

We move on to Cordoba’s latest addition to their Protege Line of high-quality budget-range guitars. The C1M eschews the mini-dread shape in favor of a compact classical body finished in matte polyurethane. The top is a fan-braced laminate spruce piece, while back and sides are made of veneer mahogany.

Conventional wisdom dictates that laminate tonewoods on a petite bowl would lead to a subpar sound. But the C1M still somehow manages to deliver the goods. It sings with the mellow warmth of a full-size classical with all notes clearly-defined.

Specs

  • 3/4 size Classical Body
  • 24.2″ Scale; 19 frets
  • 6 Savarez Cristal Corum High-Tension Strings (Nylon)
  • Rosewood Bridge; Composite Nut
  • Tuners: Cordoba Classical Gold with Pearloid Buttons

This unit has yet another trick up its sleeve; the ability to shape your tone within individual notes. You do this by varying the position of your playing hand and the “angle of attack” on the strings. Again, this is part of what you’d expect from a good classical guitar. But that the Cordoba C1M does it for a fraction of the price is impressive nonetheless.

Pros:

  • Lightweight, perfect for traveling.
  • Spruce top and mahogany back and sides.
  • Mahogany neck with a rosewood fretboard.

Cons:

  • Some people don’t like the gloss finish that it has.
Our Rating -
4/5

Donner 36” Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar 3/4 Size

Donner’s 36-inch version of their Dreadnought Acoustic model seems perfectly suited for absolute beginners guitar. It comes with a gig bag, strap, tuner, capo, 4 picks, an extra set of strings, and a polishing cloth to keep the satin finish smooth and splendid.

Specs

  • 3/4 size Dreadnought Body with Scalloped Bracing
  • Scale Length: Unspecified
  • Ebony Fretboard; 20 Frets with Dot Inlays
  • 6 Strings (Bronze)
  • Die Cast Steel Tuning Machines

Moving on to the guitar itself, Donner have stuck to the usual laminate on the main body. Spruce makes up the top, while back and sides are wrapped in veneer mahogany. So don’t expect much in terms of resonance here — although, you can’t complain too much given the price tag. Not for your after-class practice sessions anyway.

On that note, we should reiterate that this unit comes with a bunch of accessories that will prove incredibly useful along your learning journey. And with its C-shaped maple neck topped with an ebony fretboard, the Donner 36-inch Acoustic Guitar should be a joy to handle.

Pros:

  • This 3/4 size acoustic guitar is solidly built and has a high quality sound.
  • This guitar comes with a strap, picks, and additional strings for free which could be a huge money saver if you need to replace any of these items.
  • It only weighs 4 pounds which can make it easier to drag around or hold for an extended period of time.

Cons:

  • The strings are very hard to tune and take a lot of time which could be frustrating if you struggle with this task.
Our Rating -
4/5

Stagg 3/4 Size Dreadnought Acoustic

While most people know them for their accessories, Stagg also have what it takes to put together a solid acoustic guitar. This becomes apparent once you take a look at the downsized version of their dreadnought acoustic. Featuring a basswood top paired with basswood back/sides, the Stagg 3/4 Size immediately makes it clear that it means business.

The sound is impressively balanced. It’s a crisp, mellow tone with strong basses accentuated by hefty mids and bright, sharp trebles. And while you might expect the sound to be a little diminished given the lack of body depth, this guitar sounds more or less like its grown-up cousins. If there’re any deficiencies, it will take a well-trained ear to pick them out.

Specs

  • Three-quarter size Dreadnought body
  • Nato neck, Poplar Fingerboard
  • 6 Steel Strings
  • Poplar Bridge, Hardtail Bridge System
  • Open Gear Nickel Hardware

Given Stagg’s choice of steel strings, this guitar might feel a little stiff for unseasoned hands. But that also translates to the ability to stay in tune for longer — which is crucial for learners and those who want to carry along the unit on their travels. Either way, the Stagg 3/4 Size Dreadnought Acoustic should be a sound investment.

Pros:

  • Great for children.
  • Good sound quality.
  • Nice shape and design.

Cons:

  • Smaller size may not suit some people’s preferences or expectations of a full size guitar.
Our Rating -
4/5

Dean FLY SPR Flight Series 3/4 Size

Travel guitars don’t come any better than Dean’s Flight Series. Unlike most three-quarter-sized models, these guitars feel and sound properly-built from the ground up. You know, as opposed to feeling like a full-size unit that went through the wash and got shrunk in the process.

Each model in the range sports a mahogany bowl, and you get to choose your favorite wood for the top. Bubinga’s your best bet if you want to make the most of the FLY SPR’s flat top. It has a lot more sustain to offer compared to spruce, being significantly denser. A bubinga top will further maximize resonance from the set-in mahogany neck, yielding a fuller, richer tone across the entire spectrum.

Specs

  • 3/4 size Dreadnought-style Body (Bracing Pattern Unspecified)
  • 22-inch scale; 19 frets with White Mother-of-Pearl “Flight” Inlays
  • 6 Steel Strings
  • Rosewood Bridge; Graph Tech BC6115 Nut
  • Seal Die Cast Tuning Machines

While you’d expect the mahogany build to be significantly heftier, the Dean FLY SPR doesn’t weigh you down at all. It’s just a feather north of 5 pounds when tucked into the provided gig bag.

Pros:

  • The natural finish is easy to maintain.
  • The guitar’s compact size makes it easier for beginners to develop good playing technique.
  • The neck is nice and fretted, making it easy to play chords with minimal buzzing.

Cons:

  • The strings are a bit high off the fretboard, so you may struggle with barre chords.
Our Rating -
4/5

Luna Safari Series Muse Mahogany

Hmmmm… A 3/4-sized acoustic with an all-mahogany body? That should be interesting…

It’s not often that you come across a mini-acoustic that can make a presence. But the Safari Series Muse from Luna will do that without breaking a sweat. Thanks to the pairing of mahogany bowl and mahogany neck, the downsized body has barely sacrificed any resonance. You still get the full-bodied dreadnought tone, more or less.

Specs

  • 3/4 Size Dreadnought Travel-style Body (Bracing Pattern Unspecified)
  • 22.5″ Scale; 19 Frets with Mother-of-Pearl Moon Phases Inlays
  • D’Addario .012-.053 Steel Strings
  • Walnut Bridge, Plastic Nut & Saddle
  • Sealed Die-cast Chrome Tuners

Mahogany construction has also allowed for a lightweight build that’s still sturdy enough to withstand a few knocks. There’re no delicate electronics to be worried about, and the satin finish will help maintain the wood’s natural allure. So you’re basically free to carry the guitar with you everywhere — the manufacturer offers a free gig bag to that end.

Even with its stellar sound, the Luna Safari Series Muse still handles like a mini should. It’s amiable enough to accommodate players of all statures and skill levels.

Pros:

  • Luna’s Safari Series are made with mahogany back and sides, which helps to create the Luna sound.
  • The fingerboard is made of rosewood, which provides a richer sound.

Cons:

  • Fingerboard may be sticky for some players due to the guitar being made of mahogany.
Our Rating -
4/5

How Big Is A 3/4 Size Guitar?

The size of a 3/4 guitar is not standard, but is typically smaller than the full-size guitar – basically 3/4 scale. It is typically played by a younger player. Listed below are a few measurements of an average 3/4 size guitar, including: length, width, and height.

  • Total length: 36″ (body 17.5″ and neck 18.5″)
  • Scale length – 22.8″

How To Choose A 3/4 Sized Acoustic Guitar

If you are looking for a good 3/4 sized acoustic guitar, I would recommend the following advice.

  1. Consider the sound of the guitar. Some guitars are more bright or have a lot of bass sound, while others produce a mellower sound that is less likely to be heard in rock music.
  2. Think about how you plan on using the guitar and if you will need to change tuning often. Acoustic guitars can only be tuned one way and will not stay in tune well if it is used for multiple tunings.
  3. You can typically find inexpensive acoustic guitars, but if you are seriously considering purchasing one, it is a good idea to look for a higher quality guitar. The best guitars will be made out of better wood and with better craftsmanship. If the guitar is made out of wood that has a mahogany or walnut tone, then it will be more likely to sound better.
  4. You do not necessarily have to get a 3/4 sized guitar either, although some people prefer them for their smaller size and portability. You also may not want to get a 3/4 guitar if you are a beginner, as small guitars can be hard to play.
  5. If you are thinking about playing the guitar at some point and would like to but do not have the money, you could consider purchasing used models. You just have to watch out for damage and make sure that any instruments you purchase are in proper working order.
  6. Finally, it is important to make sure that the guitar is set up correctly for your playing style.

Wrapping Up

Gone are the days when downsized acoustic guitars were nothing more than learning tools. As you’ve just seen, the best 3/4-sized models on the market today are as well-built as their “adult” counterparts. While the tighter frame does sacrifice a bit of volume, it’s a small price to pay for the enhanced portability.

Speaking of prices, it’s clear that you don’t have to part with a king’s ransom for a decent 36-incher. So, pretty much, all that’s left is to figure out your needs and find your ideal fit from our list. Good luck shopping!

Looking for more small acoustic choices:

About The Author - Dan Harper
About The Author - Dan Harper

My name is Dan and I have been playing guitar for about 35 years. Over the years, I have taught guitar, played in a number of bands and owned and played a ton of gear.
When not playing guitar, I like to travel with my family, grill good food and go to concerts!

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