The range of different acoustic guitar sizes and shapes available might surprise you. The acoustic guitar is an ancient instrument that has a history that goes back almost 4000 years! So it’s no surprise that there are so many styles.
With such a large selection of options available, this can make it hard to know what’s right for you and your style! If you are new to playing, perhaps it’s a good idea to know what is available, so you end up with the right fit.
So in this article, we are going to take a look at the different acoustic guitars and see how they compare.
Acoustic Guitar Sizes
Acoustic guitar sizes and shapes need to be considered for the best experience! Because the range varies, it’s best to do some research and learn about the options available.
Each guitar size will provide different responses, sounds, and comfort levels. And on top of all that, each player varies in size, weight, and skill to name a few.
Let’s look at the different sizes and shapes.
There are a few different travel guitars on the market, some are silent, and some are not. Some offer decent sound for their size and others do not.
This is the type of instrument that you throw in your backpack and take with you when you travel. Obviously with minimum expectations, but the price tag is just right. Some of them fold up for even more convenience. To be able to throw one in a suitcase becomes even easier!
Martin makes a travel guitar called the backpacker, 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 are great for travel. The sizes are:
- 33″ Length
- 7.25″ Width
- 1.95″ Deep
Travel Size Disadvantages
Now, while we make mention of the travel guitar, let’s talk about what it’s not. This is not a good way to get started if you are just beginning. While it’s cheap, it will not offer you the sound or comfort you need to get started.
The strings on some of these models are very light 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. There are better options available in regular-size acoustic guitars for a great price.
The parlor guitar was quite popular in the 19th century up until the 1950s. This was the common choice of entertainment. In wealthier homes, it would be found in the parlor room.
The parlor, being smaller than a size 0, also had a softer, mid-range sound. It’s the perfect choice for entertaining guests.
While normally referred to as a travel instrument today, it was the only choice back in the 1800s. Usually loaded with gut strings, these instruments were in demand! Today we have many options including mini acoustic guitars. They are slightly smaller than the parlor model.
A longer body than the mini and a standard-size nut. In some cases, however, the mini has more frets and a smaller scale length.
Today, it also comes in many shapes. While the long and narrow depth is standard, you can also find them with a cutaway and wider bouts. Perhaps even a body resembling mini acoustic guitars in shape but slightly larger.
A popular model is the Breedlove Pursuit, it has dimensions of:
- 36″ Length
- 13.5″ Width
- 4″ Deep
Who is a Parlor Guitar For?
So who would best fit the parlor guitar? The parlor serves many needs. Anyone who can play a normal dreadnought and is looking for a travel instrument. Or someone who 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. 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 smaller body guitars, this might be the one. It’s no Ukulele, but might be a better fit for you in size and sound!
Mini Acoustic Guitar
Mini acoustic guitars, while smaller than 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. They still sound and play great. They also have a smaller scale length.
Mainly for children and people who do not find regular-size acoustics very comfortable. The mini is made by some top manufacturers in the world. They 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 of 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 acoustic guitars are also a great choice for travel. They are quite small and offer great sound and volume projection. However, bass content will be less than a larger dreadnought.
We have looked at a couple of the Taylor GS Mini acoustic guitar bodies. I was quite impressed with what they had to offer.
The size of this style is normally:
- 36.6″ Length
- 14.35″ Width
- 4.45″ Deep
Some also come with electronics and other options that provide a great experience. The GS mini is a smaller version of the grand symphony body style produced by Taylor. The grand symphony is a larger auditorium and offers a wider waist and lower bout.
Concert Size (O)
As we continue to look at the different acoustics, we run into the Concert guitars. The Concert is thinner than larger models and slightly smaller. This would make it comfortable if you are a smaller musician. You can normally retain the same scale length too.
They are more distinct and have stronger middle and upper-range sounds to them. The volume isn’t quite as pronounced, but the concert body is very articulate! The Concert guitars usually have lower string tension as well. They are a great choice for finger-picking.
Their well-balanced tone also works well for vocal accompaniment. The Concert body is a popular choice if you don’t need the deep bass of a full-size dreadnought guitar. But thanks to the larger lower bout of the concert style, there is plenty of low-end.
The more common dimensions of this shape:
- 36.5″ Length
- 13.45″ Width
- 4.35″ Deep
Grand Concert (OO)
The grand concert (OO) is larger and, as a result, is louder and offers more benefits. They were introduced in 1984 to meet the needs of finger-style players. They are perfect for anyone who wanted more comfort and a more pronounced version.
The body is still smaller than the dreadnought-style guitars. They have lower string tension and a slightly smaller scale length. The tapered waist and wider neck are a finger-picker’s dream. The grand concert doesn’t have a huge bass 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 choice when there are a lot of other instruments in a mix. It’s a perfect fit for performances or recordings. So when looking at acoustic sizes and shapes, you may consider this guitar.
Measurements of this shape are roughly:
- 40.2″ Length
- 15.45″ Width
- 4.75″ Deep
Grand Auditorium (OM)
The grand (OM), sometimes referred to as Auditorium, 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, and a flat picker, can come together and meet in the middle. Introduced in 1994 by Taylor acoustic guitars, it became popular for its versatility. 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’s body shape can cover many types of playing styles. It can also hold up well in many genres of music.
The Grand Auditorium has some great features like electronics on board and a cutaway. These options alone make this a versatile acoustic with a comfortable scale length!
The grand auditorium dimensions:
- 39.2″ Length
- 15.1″ Width
- 4.4″ Deep
Introduced in 2006, the grand symphony body style delivers a rich and powerful sound. It’s pretty much a full-sized guitar! The dimensions of the guitar are larger than that of the grand auditorium. This gives it a boost in sound and volume.
This is where we begin to get into larger acoustic guitars. Models that begin to deliver a deeper, meaty bass while staying balanced. The grand symphony is a powerful guitar that the miniseries were modeled after.
The lower bout is a bit larger than the auditorium body style. It also has a wider waist, expanding the bass and lower mid-range.
The string tension is tighter. A driving pick attack will produce fullness, volume, and sustain. This makes it popular for strummers, but responsive enough for fast picking runs as well!
Grand symphony dimensions:
- 42.2″ Length
- 16.25″ Width
- 4.55″ Deep
The dreadnought acoustic guitar was developed by C.F. Martin & Co. in 1916 and is the most common style. The deep low-end, mid-range, and articulate treble, have caught the attention of musicians.
With a wider waist and larger body style, the dreadnought will sit higher in your lap. But might be big for smaller musicians. Yet, the powerful tone and loudness are often reason enough to overlook the size.
Options like onboard electronics and a cutaway begin to serve the player’s needs. This makes the dreadnought an even more powerful tool. Over the years, manufacturers have refined the shape to make it more comfortable. Making it easy for anyone to get into a dreadnought.
The dreadnought body style is recommended for musicians who need a workhorse of a guitar. One that meets most demands no matter what the situation. From recording to touring or campfires and travel, this is a well-rounded model. It’s the most common for a reason in the full-sized guitar category.
So when considering an acoustic guitar body size, this might be the one for you.
- 40.5″ Length
- 15.75″ Width
- 4.75″ Deep
The Dreadnought guitar body is very popular for its volume and well-balanced sound. But there are some that crave even more from its tone! This leads us to our last type, the Jumbo acoustic.
This body style has a larger lower bout and a more pronounced waist. It’s produced with small differences depending on the manufacturer. Taylor’s biggest acoustic is called the Grand orchestra. It has a larger body than the dreadnought and can get some pretty good volume with its bigger lower bout and size.
The jumbo can still get some good response from a light touch, but the real volume is created when you give it more!
If you are a smaller musician, it may be a challenge to play the jumbo guitar. Reaching over the larger waist and getting comfortable could be difficult. Even though the scale length is similar to a dreadnought
But if you can swing it and want that extra punch from your instrument, the jumbo is where it’s at as a full-sized guitar!
Jumbo style dimensions:
- 41.5″ Length
- 17.25″ Width
- 5.12″ Deep
How To Choose a Guitar Size
There are many reasons why you should be familiar with the different sizes and shapes. The style of a guitarist 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 playtime. Or a performer looking for the right fit and sound for your music!
To choose the right acoustic guitar body style, 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 is one of the biggest considerations!
Bodies and shapes differ between some manufacturers. But we are going to try and keep to the industry standards. And maybe throw in a few tidbits as we go, because the more you know the better!
Things To Consider
200 Years ago, there was really only one body style. So acoustic guitar sizes and shapes were pretty easy. The instrument could fit any player and the sound was pretty good. Yet, today, musicians have evolved and their needs are so much different from what 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 you are selecting an acoustic, begin with where you are at as a player. Are you just starting out, playing for a year, or playing at home? Then you don’t need a jumbo or even a dreadnought.
Do you travel a lot? Or you are a smaller musician? Then 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 are made by world-class manufacturers. So tone-wise, you are going to be great!
When you look at it from a budget point of view, there are also many great-sounding acoustic guitar bodies. They are pretty good for the price, just try and be more selective in your choice if it’s budget based.
Acoustic Guitar Sizes for Adults
While most adults think they need a full-sized, the truth is, you can play any guitar just fine. There are plenty of mini guitars made for travel that an adult can play that won’t create any issues. These guitars are normally made for travel, but are used by many players, great and small.
If you are a very small adult, then the size will matter, as a large acoustic will be harder to play. But for most people, the size will be determined by the sound you need. If you want a loud acoustic with a bold bass response, then a larger guitar will be best.
Acoustic guitar bodies provide certain tones, and this is where the size plays a large role.
Guitar Size Chart
While your age doesn’t matter when it comes to the guitar size you play, your stature might. The chart below will help give you an idea of the guitar size that will be best for you.
You may find that some bigger acoustic guitars are comfortable for performances. But this chart is aimed more at regular practice.
It’s always best to try an acoustic out before you buy it to make sure you like it. Our chart is a rough estimate as everyone is so different. If you are between 5 and 6 feet tall, a dreadnought is a pretty safe bet. But a jumbo might be more uncomfortable for some to learn on.
|Player Height||Recommended Guitar Size|
|4 feet||3/4 Size Guitars, Mini Acoustics, Parlor, Travel|
|5 Feet||3/4 Size, and Dreadnought|
|5.5 Feet||Dreadnought, and Jumbo|
|6+ Feet||All Full Size Guitars|
Body Width and Depth
For more experienced players, the sound produced by the guitar is very important. A full deep bass might be a requirement. It’s essential to know how each size will respond to the string vibration.
It probably comes as no surprise that bigger and deeper body styles will produce more low-end. The trouble is, not everyone can play a large acoustic comfortably.
The dreadnought is a common selection because its bold, full sound is desirable. But it’s still pretty comfortable. As you begin to play smaller acoustic bodies, you will find a strong mid-range presence. But also a lack of bass content.
For some, this is no big deal, so it’s 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 enjoy the same types of sounds.
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, 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, and so figuring this out can be a great help!
The main way to measure your acoustic guitar is from end to end in length. Simply take a measuring tape, begin at the end of the headstock, 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. Make sure to end up with something that is comfortable to play. You will be rewarded with improved skill and performance at the very least!
These models are high quality, will serve most musicians, and won’t 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, even if they are mini guitars!
What is the Standard Size for Acoustic Guitars?
The standard size or most common acoustic guitar is the dreadnought. Even though this model can feel big and clunky to some players, it’s the easiest to adapt to.
Even a smaller person can get used to this model the more they use it. There are more dreadnought acoustic guitars in music stores than any other. So players 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 body. Not until they have had a chance to try a different model or a smaller form. And because you can get them with and without electronics, they are also very versatile.
Are 3/4 guitars for adults?
Yes, adults can play 3/4-sized guitars and are encouraged to when full-size is not comfortable. Not everyone is the same, and so some adults might prefer the smaller size. The one thing that you might notice is that the sound of a smaller guitar is not quite as bold.
But even jumbo acoustic guitars might be a bit too loud for some circumstances. So explore the different sizes until you find the ones that fit you best.
What is the best size acoustic guitar for beginners?
For an adult that is getting started, a dreadnought will tend to be the best acoustic guitar size. Yet, this depends on their stature and hand size. For a child that is beginning to learn, normally a 3/4 size guitar is a better fit. But this depends on their age and height.