Acoustic Guitar Sizes | Complete Guide 2022

Unless you are an experienced player, a lot of the different acoustic guitar sizes and shapes available might surprise you.

The acoustic guitar is an ancient instrument which has a history that goes back almost 4000 years! So you would think there might be a few different options on the market, right?

All jokes aside, this design has a large selection of options available! This makes it very hard to know whats right for you and your style!

So in this article, we are going to take a look at the different body shapes and sizes.

Acoustic Guitar Sizes

If you are new to playing, perhaps its a good idea to know what is available to you so you end up with the right fit for you.

Table of Contents

How Do I Choose an Acoustic Guitar Size?

There are many reasons why you should be familiar with the different sizes and shapes available as the style of a player might be quite complex.

Whether you are a business person who is on the road a lot and needs a travel guitar to fit in play time. Or a performer looking for the right fit and sound for your music!

To choose the right acoustic guitar, you first begin by knowing your options. Understanding the sizes available and knowing who they are made to fit. Once you understand the shapes, you will begin to know where to look for your acoustic.

And if you are a beginner learning to play, starting out with the right fit for you is one of the biggest considerations in selecting a guitar!

While bodies and shapes differ between some manufacturers, we are going to just try and keep to the industry standard sizes.

And maybe throw in a few tidbits as we go, because the more you know the better!

What are the different acoustic guitar sizes?

Well we are glad you asked! We have a great article here for you that should clear up the question!

And maybe even give you a better understanding of what you need!

Acoustic guitar sizes and shapes are something that really need to be considered for the best experience!

And because the range varies so widely, its best to do some research and learn about the options available. And on top of all that, each player varies in size, weight, hand, and skill to name a few.

Acoustic Guitar Body Width and Depth

For more experienced players, the sound produced by the guitar is very important. A full deep bass might be a necessary requirement. In this case it is important to know how each size and shape will respond to the string vibration.

It probably comes as no surprise that a bigger and deeper body shape will produce more low end frequency. The trouble is, not everyone can play a large acoustic comfortably.

The dreadnought is a common selection because its bold full sound is desirable and it is still reasonably comfortable. But as you begin to play smaller acoustic body shapes and sizes, you will find more of a strong mid range presence and a lack of bass content.

For some this is no big deal, and so its best to also keep this in mind when selecting a model. One suggestion is to find out what type of guitars were used in some of your favorite songs. The artists that play them are probably quite similar to you and expect the same types of sounds.

Lets look at the different sizes and shapes.

Travel Acoustic Guitar

Acoustic Travel Guitar

There are a few different travel guitars on the market, some are silent, some are not. Some offer some decent sound for their size and some do not!

Certainly just something you use to practice with but don’t sound very good or at all!

This is the type of thing that you throw in your back pack and take with you when you travel. Obviously with minimum expectations, but the price tag is small too.

Some of these even fold up for even extra convenience. To be able to throw one in the suitcase becomes even easier!

Martin makes a travel guitar called the back packer which sounds pretty good for its size. The price tag is small and so having it around for those business trips works out great!

They tune well and sound decent and will do very well for travel.

Now, while we make mention of the travel guitar, lets talk about what it is not. This is not a good way to get started if your just beginning.

While it is cheap, it will not offer you the sound or comfort you need to get started.

The strings on some of these models are a very light gauge because of the less rigid bodies. They wouldn’t be able to handle regular steel strings.

So just make sure you are aware of the drawbacks of trying to use one when getting started as a beginner or recording.

You will be very disappointed and there are better options available in regular size acoustics for a great price.

Mini Acoustic Guitar

Taylor GS Mini Koa

The mini acoustic guitar while smaller then a full size, should not be considered a toy by any means.

The mini models are roughly half and 3/4 the size of a dreadnought, for example, but still sound and play great.

These are mainly made for children and people who do not find regular size acoustics very comfortable.

The mini is made by some of the top manufacturers in the world and use body shapes and materials that create big balanced sounds.

In fact, some of them are so full that even if you can fit a larger guitar, these are a wonderful selection!

The price on the mini varies by manufacturer and the options built into them. But, depending on what you are looking for there is plenty to choose from.

The mini acoustics are also a great choice for travel as they are still quite small but offer great sound and volume. Bass content may be less than a larger dreadnought.

However, depending on the guitar it is usually quite nice.

We have reviewed a couple of the Taylor GS Mini acoustics and we were quite impressed with what they had to offer.

Some also come with electronics and other options that really provide a great experience and versatility.

The GS mini is a smaller version of the grand symphony body style produced by Taylor. The grand symphony is a larger auditorium essentially and offers a wider waist and lower bout.

You can take a look at the Taylor GS Mini Koa review, it truly is an excellent acoustic guitar!

Parlor Guitar

Parlor Guitar

The parlor guitar was quite popular in the 19th century up until the 1950s. This model was the common choice of entertainment and in wealthier homes would be found in the parlor room.

The parlor being smaller then a size No. 0 (set by C.F. Martin & Co.), also had a softer, mid range sound and would be the perfect choice for guest entertainment.

While normally referred to as a travel instrument today, it was really the only choice back in the 1800s. Usually loaded with gut strings (yes, real guts) these instruments were in demand!

Today we have many different options including the mini acoustics which are slightly smaller then the parlor guitar.

The longer body then the mini and a standard size nut. In some cases however the mini has more frets.

Today, it also comes in many different shapes. While the long and narrow depth is standard, you can also find them with a cut away and wider bouts. Perhaps even a body resembling more of a mini acoustic shape but slightly larger.

Who is a Parlor Guitar For?

So who would best fit the parlor guitar? Well i would think that the parlor serves many needs.

Anyone who can play a normal dreadnought and is looking for a travel instrument but prefers a standard neck size.

Or even someone who needs a more traditional sound with a softer tone without the oomph of a larger guitar. I mean the parlor does have a vibe of its own, even when compared to the mini models.

So when looking at acoustic guitar sizes and shapes, you might consider the parlor. Because if you need something smaller, this might be the one. I mean its no Ukulele but may be a better fit for you in size and sound!

Concert Acoustic Guitar (O)​

Concert Guitar Size

As we continue to climb the acoustic guitar ladder, we run into the Concert body also called “O” size (C.F. Martin & Co.).

The Concert is thinner then the larger models and slightly smaller overall which would make it comfortable if your a smaller musician.

They are more distinct as they have stronger middle and upper range sound to them. The overall volume isn’t quite as pronounced but the concert body is very articulate!

The Concert style guitars usually have lower string tension and as a result are a great pick for finger picking.

Their well balanced tone also work real well for vocal accompaniment or sound great at full strum.

The Concert acoustic body is a popular choice if you don’t need the deep bass of a dreadnought. But don’t worry, thanks to the larger lower bout of the concert style, there is plenty of bass.​

Grand Concert Acoustic Guitar (OO)​

Grand Concert Guitar Body

The grand concert (OO) is larger and as a result is louder and offers more benefits.

The grand concert was introduced in 1984 to meet the needs of finger style players who wanted more comfort and a more pronounced version.

The body is still smaller then the dreadnought style guitars and string tension lower. The tapered waist and wider neck are a finger pickers dream.

The grand concert doesn’t have a boomy sound but is fine tuned to keep the overtones in check. This is all thanks to the tapered waist.

The Grand concert is an excellent consideration when there are a lot of other instruments in the mix. Environments might be things such as performance or recording.

So when looking at acoustic sizes and shapes, you may consider this guitar.​

Grand Auditorium Acoustic Guitar (OM)​

Grand Auditorium

The grand (OM) or sometimes referred to as Auditorium (OOO) is a mid-sized acoustic guitar. It was designed to be well balanced in sound.

This model falls between a dreadnought and a grand concert for body size. Primarily designed to be a pretty versatile instrument.

This is where a finger picker and a flat picker can come together and meet in the middle.

Introduced in 1994 by Taylor acoustic guitars, it quickly became a popular design for its versatility and sound.

Musicians have embraced the smaller body shape and well balanced sound. Consequently making this a great performance guitar for players normally on the road.

The grand auditorium body shape can cover many different types of playing styles. It can also hold up well in many different genres of music.

The Grand Auditorium also sports some great features like electronics on board and even the option of a cut away. These options alone really make this a versatile acoustic!

Grand Symphony Acoustic Guitar​

Grand Symphony

Introduced in 2006 by Taylor acoustic guitars, the grand symphony body shape delivers a rich and powerful sound!

The dimensions of the model overall are larger then that of the grand auditorium giving this model a boost in sound and volume.

This is where we begin to get into larger acoustics that now begin to deliver a deeper meaty bass yet staying balanced!

The grand symphony was considered such a powerful guitar that the mini series from Taylor were modeled after this body style.

The lower bout is a bit larger then the auditorium body shape as well as a wider waist expanding the bass and lower mids.

The string tension is tighter and so a driving attack will produce fullness, volume and great sustain making this popular for strummers, but responsive enough for fast picking runs as well!

Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar​

Dreadnought Body

The dreadnought acoustic guitar was developed by C.F. Martin & Co. in 1916 and is the most common style.

The robust low end, incredibly responsive mid range and shimmering treble have caught the attention of musicians all around the globe.

With a wider waist and larger body shape, the dreadnought will sit higher in your lap and may be big for smaller musicians.

However, the powerful tone and loudness offered when playing is often reason enough to overlook the size. Especially the 12 string models!

Added option like on board electronics and a cut away in the body begin to serve players evolving needs making the dreadnought an even more powerful tool in the chest.

Over the years, manufacturers have refined the shape to make it more sleek and comfortable making it easy to get into a dreadnought.

This dreadnought body shape is recommended for musicians who need a workhorse of a guitar that meets most demands no matter what the situation.

From recording to touring to campfires and travel, this well rounded model style is the most common for a reason.

So when considering acoustic guitar sizes and shapes, this might be the one.

Jumbo Acoustic Guitar​

Taylor Grand Orchestra

While the Dreadnought guitar body is very popular for its volume and well balanced sound, there are some that crave even more horsepower from their tone!

This leads us to our last type, the Jumbo acoustic.

This body has a larger lower bout and more pronounced waist and is produced with small differences depending on the manufacturer.

Taylor’s biggest acoustic is called the Grand orchestra and has a larger body then the dreadnought and can get some pretty good volume with its bigger lower bout and size.

The jumbo form can still get some good response from light touch but the real volume is created when you give it more!

If your a smaller musician, it may be a challenge to play the jumbo guitars, reaching over the larger waist and getting comfort with the larger bout could prove difficult.

But if you can swing it and want that extra punch from your instrument, the jumbo is where its at!

Classical Acoustic Guitar Size

The one guitar type we couldn’t leave out is the classical acoustic. This model was influenced by earlier instruments such as the Lute and Baroque. This type plays a large role in the evolution of the type and is still very popular today.

One of the main things about the classical is that it uses nylon strings. This changes the build requirement of the instrument as it doesn’t have to deal with the tension of steel strings and is somewhat lighter.

But because of the need for a full bodied sound from a classical, they are built to be as big as concert body acoustics. There are many different sizes, but primarily this is what you will find.

Things To Consider When Choosing An Acoustic Body

200 Years ago there was really only one body. So acoustic guitar sizes and shapes were pretty easy. The instrument could fit any player and the sound was pretty good.

However, today musicians have evolved and the needs are so much different then they once were.

Luckily, we have those options, now the only thing left to do is pick the one that is right for you. So when your selecting an acoustic, begin with where you are at as a player.

Are you just starting out, been playing for a year or just play at home? Then you probably don’t need a jumbo or even a dreadnought.

Narrow Down Your Guitar Size

Do you travel a lot? Or maybe your a smaller musician? Then perhaps a mini might be a better fit for you!

Always approach acoustic guitar sizes and shapes by where you are at as a player. Always look at what your needs really are.

Most of the body styles we have looked at have some amazing sounding models available. All of them made by world class manufacturers. So tone wise, your probably going to be great!

And when you look at it from a budget point of view, there also many great sounding acoustics. They are pretty good for the price, just try and be more selective in your choice if its budget based.

What is the Standard Size for Acoustic Guitars?

The standard or most common acoustic guitar is the dreadnought body size. Even though this guitar can feel big and clunky to some players, it is the easiest to adapt to. Even a smaller person can get used to this model the more they use it. There are more dreadnought acoustics in music stores and so players normally gravitate to them by default.

They play nice and sound good with their full big bass response. People don’t normally complain about the acoustic guitar size until they have had a chance ti try a different model of a smaller form. And because you can get them with and without electronics, they are also very versatile.

How to Measure an Acoustic Guitar

Now that you know the most common acoustic guitar sizes, you may have one that can be measured. Most people are not sure what size they have and so figuring this out can be very beneficial. Perhaps you have been playing something too big for a long time now. Maybe it has been affecting your play style poorly and so figuring this out can be a great help!

The main way to measure your guitar is from end to end in length. Simply take a measuring tape, begin at the end of the head stock and measure right down to the end of the body. This will give you the size of the model you have been playing for a while. Has it been comfortable? If not, then you may want to start exploring different models.

If your guitar is too big, find something smaller and try it out. If too small, then something larger. Which ever way it goes, make sure to end up with something that is easy and comfortable to play. You will be rewarded with improved skill and performance at the very least!

Our Favorite Guitars

We have put together some reviews on our top picks in the under $500 and $1000 dollar range.

These models are high quality, will serve most musicians and wont break the bank.

We hope you enjoyed looking at the different models with us and hope it brought you value. The acoustic guitar sizes and shapes can be tough to settle on!

But we hope you have narrowed one down!

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