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 Top 3/4 Acoustic Guitars Recommendations
- Yamaha JR2TBS – My favorite and top choice!
- Yamaha JR1 FG Junior – The runner up!
- Oscar Schmidt OG1FYS 3/4 Size
- Yamaha APXT2
- Fender FA-15
- Cordoba C1M
- Donner 36” Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar 3/4 Size
- Stagg 3/4 Size Dreadnought Acoustic
- Dean FLY SPR Flight Series 3/4 Size
- Luna Safari Series Muse Mahogany
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?
- Quick Links To My Top 3/4 Acoustic Guitars Recommendations
- My Best 3/4 Acoustics Reviews
- Wrapping Up
My Best 3/4 Acoustics Reviews
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- “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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
Luna Safari Series Muse Mahogany
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.
- 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.
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!
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