If you are new to the world of guitars, and in the market for an acoustic guitar, you may be wondering which style is best for you, and which size. Yes, acoustic guitars come in a variety of different sizes, and believe it or not, the size of the guitar can affect someone’s ability to play the instrument properly. It can be quite difficult to choose the best size for a guitar that will be used by a beginner. But, it is very important in order for them to have something that they are comfortable learning on and playing.
Today we are going to discuss the various sizes of acoustic guitars, which sizes are better for beginners, and more. Let’s get started.
Standard Guitar Sizes
There are several different size variations for guitars, but the most common guitars are available in three sizes: 4/4, 1/2, and1/4. Knowing about the sizes can be a big asset when it comes to choosing the best guitar for anyone, no matter what their age is. Let’s take a look at these four sizes, and learn more about them.
The term “full size” when talking about guitars can be a bit confusing. After all, most guitars are made in different sizes, and each is considered standard. Also, various brands create guitars that differ slightly in size. Typically, a 4/4 or full-size guitar is approximately 38 inches in length, and has a scale length of about 25.5 inches. Again, this can vary, depending on the brand and the type of guitar.
If you already have a guitar and you aren’t sure what size it is, the first thing to look at would be the scale length. If this length is about 25 inches or longer, chances are you have a full-size guitar. But, this rule doesn’t always apply to all full-size guitars.
A guitar could be longer or shorter than 38 inches. As long as the scale length is 25 inches or longer, you have a full-size guitar. If the scale length is less than 25 inches, it is scaled down to a lower size. Many musicians use scaled down guitars for a variety of reasons. For instance, some scaled down guitars are made specifically for traveling musicians. This is because it is smaller and easier to travel with. These guitars have a full scale length, but they are smaller overall. Other times, guitars are scaled down so they are easier for children or people with small hands to play.
What we are trying to say is that there is no absolute set standard that makes a guitar full-size. A Les Paul electric guitar and an acoustic guitar are two totally different things, and different sizes, yet both are considered to be full-size.
If the guitar is going to be for a young child, a 1/2 size guitar is a great option. These are quite popular with younger students (5 to 8 years old). Often, you will see these guitars advertised as 34-inch guitars. Not only are 1/2 size guitars popular for children, they are also often used by traveling musicians because they are easier to transport.
A half-size guitar is about 33 or 34 inches in length, while a full-size guitar is about five to eight inches longer, and heavier. One thing to keep in mind is that because these guitars are much smaller than full-size guitars, they also have a much lower volume. Of course, if you have a child who is just learning how to play, this could be a good thing for everyone else in the household who doesn’t want to hear someone practicing the guitar all the time.
These guitars are tuned in the same way as a full-size guitar, and they are available in both classical (with nylon strings) and acoustic versions (with steel strings). You can also get half-size electric guitars, but these aren’t usually recommended.
Here is another guitar size that is popular for smaller children. It tends to be a good choice for 8 to 12 year olds, and just like the 1/2 size guitar, it is available in classical, acoustic, and electric styles. This guitar has standard tuning, and measures 36 inches in length. So, it is basically a bit larger than a 1/2 size guitar, and a bit smaller than a full-size guitar.
When it comes to beginner guitars, the classical style is often the best choice, because they nylon strings are easier to play. But, others will say that it is better to start out with a steel string guitar, if only to get the fingers toughened up and used to playing on steel strings. This is also going to prepare students for playing on a full-size guitar.
There are actually many adults who prefer a guitar of this size. Take Ed Sheeran for example. He is well-known for using 3/4 size guitars.
Measuring a Guitar
There are two measurements to consider when it comes to the size of any guitar. First, there is the overall length of the guitar, from the top of the head to the bottom of the guitar body. Then, there is the measurement of the scale length. It is more important to know the scale length as opposed to the overall size of the guitar itself.
Before we get into the ins and outs of measuring a guitar, we should talk about which parts need to be measured. The three main parts that need to be measured are the headstock, the neck, and the body. All guitars, no matter what their size or shape, have these parts. There is one exception to this rule, and that is the odd electric guitar that has no headstock, which is referred to as a “headless guitar”.
The headstock is at the very top of the guitar, and it is where you will find the machine heads or tuning pegs. The neck and body are self-explanatory.
Measuring the Total Length
In order to measure the total length of any guitar, it has to be measured from the very top of the headstock to the very bottom of the guitar body. Get a tape measure, and line it up with the strings to ensure that you are measuring in a straight line.
Because there are many different body shapes, even standard size guitars will have a variety of lengths. If you are looking for a full-size guitar, it should measure anywhere from 36 to over 40 inches in overall length. Unfortunately, there is no standard due to the various types of guitars available, but this will give you a general idea of what to look for.
While it is important to know the size of your guitar, the total length isn’t always the best way to judge the size. After all, some have longer headstocks than others, and even though there is no difference in playability, this does bring about a difference in the overall length.
Measuring the Scale Length
The best way to measure a guitar is to measure the scale length. This is very important, because scale length affects how the guitar feels while you are playing If you have been playing on one size, having one that is even a slightly different scale length could end up throwing you off because it feels so different.
To measure the scale length, you will need to measure from the bridge to the nut. Measure the distance between the front part of the nut, where it rests against the end of the fingerboard, to the middle of the 12th fret (octave). Double this number, and you have the scale length.
What Size should You Buy?
The size of the guitar you choose will depend on who is going to be playing it. For example, if the guitar is for a child aged 5 to 7 years old, a 1/2 size guitar is likely the best option, because their small arms and hands won’t be able to handle a larger guitar. Children 8 to 12 years old tend to prefer using a 3/4 length guitar or a full-size guitar, but there are many who can handle a full-size guitar, and this is definitely the better option.
If the guitar is going to be played by an adult, a full-size guitar is the best choice. Of course, this all depends on the size of the adult. If they are smaller, and have small hands or short arms, a smaller guitar may be the best choice.
You can measure a guitar all you want, but the only way to know if a guitar is the right size for you or whoever it is for is to actually sit down and try to play it. If it is comfortable to play, then it is a good choice. This is one reason why it is recommended that guitars be purchased in music stores rather than online. When shopping online, there is no way to try them out. Of course, another option is to try various guitars out in the store, choose the one you want, and then order online if you find a lower price.