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3/4 acoustic guitars are a practical alternative to full-sized models. They’re ideal for guitarists who travel extensively with their instrument, or for those who find full-sized acoustic guitars too bulky for their hand size.
Although there are fewer smaller-sized acoustic guitars manufactured than full-sized models, guitarists still have a wide range to choose from. These include nylon-stringed 3/4 acoustic guitars, steel-stringed options, and many different body types.
In this guide, we’ll present the best 3/4 acoustic guitars available. You’ll find options to suit your playing style and budget.
In a Rush Roundup
How We Tested
When we put these 3/4 acoustic guitars to the test, we began by comparing the quality of their tone across the frequency range. Then, we tested their projection and volume, before comparing the durability and quality of their components.
Furthermore, we assessed the acoustic guitars based on the playing comfort, and whether they were designed for one specific style or could be used for many. These tests allowed us to single out the six guitars featured in the reviews below.
Best 3/4 Acoustic Guitar Reviews
The Cordoba Cadete is constructed from a blend of high-quality tonewoods, including a cedar top and mahogany back and sides. With its classical, nylon-stringed design, it is perfect for fingerstyle playing techniques.
Cordoba has built a reputation for being one of the most consistent producers of classical guitars, and this Cordoba Cadete 3/4 scale guitar is a fine example of this. It produces a sweet sound in the midrange and higher frequencies, with tight bass.
Considering the reduced size of this classical guitar, it has a fairly strong projection, making it well suited to playing songs to a small audience. The 1.88-inch nut width makes it easy to form chord shapes without having to stretch your fingers too much.
The neck of the Cadete is made from smooth African mahogany, which when combined with the body tonewoods results in a refined sound across the frequency range.
A pau ferro fingerboard completes the tonewood blend and makes transitioning between notes effortless.
- Pau Ferro fingerboard
- Mahogany back and sides
- No cutaway body style
- Ideal for classical guitar styles
- Smooth-sounding midrange
- High build quality and construction
- Nylon strings may not be suited to all styles
The Ibanez PF2MH Acoustic Guitar is a great choice for guitarists who are looking for an affordable instrument that looks and sounds great. With its solid construction, this guitar is likely to last for many years.
For the top, back, and sides of the PF2MH, Ibanez has oped for Sapele. This tonewood is known for its warm, resonant tone, with an especially prominent upper midrange. Consequently, it produces full chords.
With its mini dreadnought body shape, this steel-stringed acoustic guitar is highly comfortable to play. It is lightweight and mobile, making it a good choice for guitarists who want to travel with their instruments.
Chrome die-cast tuners add a distinguished touch to the guitar’s appearance and help to improve tuning stability. The neck is made from nyatoh, which is a durable tonewood known for its refined feel.
The fingerboard consists of 20 frets, with a scale length of 22.93 inches. This component is made from nandu, and further improves the payability of this 3/4 acoustic guitar.
- Mini dreadnought body style
- Sapele body
- Nandu fingerboard
- Comfortable design and size
- Good low-end sustain and power
- Solid tuning stability
- Slightly dampened midrange
Yamaha’s range of acoustic guitars includes options for players of all skill and experience levels. The CHS103A is designed for beginners who want to develop their skills on a highly playable instrument.
A nylon-stringed classical guitar, the Yamaha CHS103A looks like a genuine flamenco instrument from the early 1900s. It has a scale length of just under 23 inches, making it the perfect choice for small-handed players.
Although nylon strings don’t reach the volume of steel strings, this classical guitar projects its sound with impressive clarity and power. The bass notes sound crisp and clear, and the twangy midrange is ideal for playing chords.
Nato has been used by Yamaha for the guitar’s neck and back and sides, while the top is made of solid spruce. These tonewoods have a positive impact on tone, dynamics, and the robustness of the guitar.
The fingerboard is made from high-quality rosewood, which makes it feel smooth and responsive underhand. Overall, this is a great choice for inexperienced guitarists who want to learn the basics.
- Rosewood fingerboard
- Spruce neck
- No cutaway design
- Well suited to fingerpicking styles
- Warm, powerful midrange
- Lightweight and practically sized
- Not suitable for loud acoustic guitar playing
The APXT2 by Yamaha is essentially a more compact version of the highly popular APX500 full-sized acoustic guitar. It’s a fun instrument to play, thanks to its reduced scale size and full-bodied sound.
This guitar has a 3/4 sized Thinline body shape, which makes it more comfortable to play for long periods. This style of the body also makes it very easy to reach the upper frets of the guitar.
The onboard electronics system allows you to plug the APX500 into an amplifier, P.A system, or recording device. It consists of a System 68 pickup and an active preamp, which combine to amplify the guitar’s tone with accuracy and clarity.
In addition to the onboard electronics, Yamaha has also installed a tuner onto the APX2, so you don’t need to worry about carrying a tuner pedal around with you when you perform, rehearse or record.
Yamaha has constructed the guitar using spruce for the top, with a rosewood fingerboard. The bridge is also made from rosewood, which enhances the sustain of the guitar considerably.
- Based on the popular APX500
- ART-based preamp
- Rosewood fingerboard
- Sounds great amplified or unplugged
- Loud, balanced projection
- Durable build quality
- Cutaway design is uncommon in acoustic guitars
The Fender FA-15 steel-string acoustic guitar is an affordable option with a striking appearance and solid tonal qualities. It’s perfect for traveling guitarists, or those who have smaller-than-average hands and fingers.
One of the common issues with reduced-sized acoustic guitars is that the low-end and lower midrange is often weakened due to the lack of space inside the body for the vibrations to resonate.
However, Fender has combatted this with their deliberate choice of tonewoods. This includes a laminated top made from Agathis, and laminated back and sides made from Sapele.
These two wood types are well equipped to ensure that the lower frequencies of the guitar don’t get lost amongst the prominent upper mids and treble frequencies.
Moreover, the neck is made from nato, which is extremely durable and resistant to warping. It is shaped in the classic “C” profile style, which makes it easy to form chord shapes with your fretting hand.
The fingerboard is made from walnut and consists of 18 frets of the Vintage Tall variety. Finally, this guitar comes with a gig bag to keep it protected when in transit.
- 3/4 dreadnought body type
- Walnut fingerboard
- Nato neck
- Ideal for traveling guitarists
- Sounds great when fingerpicking or using a pick
- Resonant midrange
- Most suitable for small-handed players
Luna’s range of affordable acoustic guitars has made them a popular choice amongst musicians of all styles. The Aurora Borealis acoustic guitar features the manufacturer’s signature components and produces a balanced, bright tone.
For such an affordably priced ¾ sized guitar acoustic guitar, the Aurora Borealis boasts an impressive tonewood combination. Firstly, the top, back, and sides are made from basswood, which is often used on high-end guitars.
Basswood is great for promoting a clear, powerful acoustic tone. This is evident when you play chords in the lower registers of this guitar.
The neck is also made from high-quality tonewood – mahogany. Again, you wouldn’t usually expect to find a mahogany neck on a budget guitar, but this illustrates Luna’s commitment to making their instruments to a high standard.
The fingerboard and bridge of the Aurora Borealis are made from black walnut. This material feels smooth and immersive when you play chords or riffs, and makes it difficult to put this guitar down once you begin playing!
Visually, this acoustic guitar is stunning. It has the classic Luna crescent-shaped soundhole, along with moon patterns on the fingerboard inlays.
- C profile mahogany neck
- Black walnut fingerboard
- 22.5-inch scale length
- Perfect for young guitarists
- Sweet sounding high-end
- Defined bass frequencies
- Compact fret spacings
3/4 Acoustic Guitars Buyer's Guide
Full-sized acoustic guitars may be louder than their ¾-sized alternatives, but for some guitarists, they’re not as practical. Whether you prefer a smaller instrument for the playability or the mobility benefits, ¾ acoustic guitars are a great option.
Smaller acoustic guitar body size doesn’t necessarily mean a compromise in tonal quality. Many guitarists prefer the tight dynamics and clear projection that these ¾ acoustic guitars produce over full-sized models.
As is the case with full-sized acoustic guitars, the designs and specific qualities of each ¾ guitar vary depending on the manufacturer and the instrument’s primary purpose.
The following information will help you to choose the ideal ¾ acoustic guitar for your requirements and playing style.
Things To Consider When Buying
Consider the tonewoods
3/4 size acoustic guitars can be constructed using many different tonewoods for the back and sides, top, neck, and fingerboard. The materials used have a significant impact on the tone, dynamics, and feel of the instrument.
Think about onboard electronics
For some guitarists, having the option to plug into an amplifier is essential. Others may not require onboard electronics if they intend to use the 3/4 acoustic solely for practicing or performing unplugged.
Decide on the string type
These compact acoustic guitars come in two main varieties – nylon string and steel string. The former is excellent for classical flamenco styles, while the latter is better for genres like folk-rock which require more projection.
Consider the body style
The most common body type used for 3/4 acoustic guitars is the mini dreadnought. However, some manufacturers modify their design by adding cutaways to provide easier access to the highest frets.
Essential Qualities of 3/4 Acoustic Guitars
The 25 percent reduction in the size of a 3/4 acoustic guitar makes these instruments feel, sound, and look significantly different from full-sized models. Due to the decreased body size, there is less space for the sound to vibrate when it enters the guitar’s soundhole.
This reduction in overall volume makes the other attributes of a 3/4 acoustic guitar even more critical.
One of the first things you need to assess is whether the instrument is suitable for how you play acoustic guitar. If you’re a beginner, consider the cover songs you’d like to learn, and take note of their style.
Certain 3/4 acoustic guitars are best suited to flamenco, and fingerstyle playing, while others will perform better for strumming with a plectrum.
These guitars are perfect for smaller-handed musicians, but you should still check the specific neck shape and dimensions as they can vary regardless of the body size.
The tonewoods used to construct an acoustic guitar are essential regardless of the instrument’s size, but this aspect is extra impactful on a 3/4-sized model.
Unlike an electric guitar, which has many different components and factors that equate to the whole sound of the instrument, a 3/4 acoustic guitar relies heavily on the materials it is made from and its build quality.
Here are some of the most common tonewoods used for the bodies of ¾ acoustic guitars:
Each of these tonewoods has a different impact on how a 3/4 acoustic guitar sounds. For example, mahogany, one of the most popular body materials, is a hardwood that sounds warm and full-bodied.
By comparison, the African tonewood Sapele delivers more pronounced bass frequencies with less emphasis on the high-end.
Rosewood is one of the most frequently used materials for acoustic guitars, particularly the fingerboard, back, and sides. This material has long been considered one of the best-sounding tonewoods due to its balance and clarity.
Due to rosewood being less efficiently sourceable than other wood types like mahogany, you can expect to pay extra for a 3/4 acoustic guitar made from this material.
Do You Need Amplification?
If you want to use a 3/4 acoustic guitar for live performances that require more volume than can be unplugged, you’ll need some onboard electronics.
Some acoustic guitars come with installed active pickups, which work similarly to those in electronic guitars. You plug an instrument cable into the pickup and the other end into an amplifier or P.A speaker.
There is another solution if the 3/4-sized guitar you want to use doesn’t have any onboard electronics.
You can get a soundhole pickup that temporarily slots into the guitar’s body and is fixed in place. The pickup has a jack cable that is permanently attached, and you can then plug your guitar into an amp even if it doesn’t have electronics installed.
3/4 Acoustic Guitars FAQs
What Age is a 3/4 Acoustic Guitar Suitable For?
3/4-sized acoustic guitars are suitable for all ages, but they’re especially useful for those in their early teenage years who struggle to play on full-sized guitars.
Nevertheless, adult guitarists may also feel more comfortable playing a reduced-sized guitar due to its compact design and lighter weight. They’re great for people with smaller-sized hands or those who want to build finger strength.
Are Parlor Guitars the Same as 3/4 Guitars?
Parlor guitars are different from 3/4-sized guitars because they are made from parts that are the same size as a full-sized model. The only difference is that parlor guitars have different body shapes.
Sonically, parlor and 3/4 sized guitars share some qualities. They sound softer than full-sized models and are slightly less resonant.
What Scale Length do 3/4 Guitars Have?
The scale length on a 3/4 guitar is always below 24 inches. This results in less tension on the strings, making them more susceptible to going out of tune than a full-sized acoustic guitar.