The 9 Best 3/4 Acoustic Guitars (With Buying Guide) 2024

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Sometimes a full-sized guitar is too much guitar for a beginner. There are lots of inherent challenges that come with the standard guitar, such as:

  • Increased string tension that makes it painful on the fingers
  • A large body that is uncomfortable to hold
  • Bulky necks that make playing chords hard

When you begin playing guitar, the last thing you want is to be discouraged because you have the wrong instrument for your skill level. A 3/4 sized guitar might be precisely the instrument you need to get you going and growing.

I’ve been a guitarist for over 25 years, and I want others to enjoy and stick with this wonderful hobby. So I’ve used my experience and hours of research to decide on the best 3/4 acoustic guitars for every use case.

Even if you are an experienced player, there are options on here to add to your guitar collection if you are looking for something to travel with.

So let’s dive in!

Great 3/4 acoustic guitars at a glance

Editor's Choice
Taylor BT2
Taylor BT2
  • Excellent acoustic guitar for travelers
  • A perfect choice for beginners and children
  • The neck has a buttery playability
  • Taylor guitars are built to last a lifetime
For Gigging
Martin LX1E Little Martin
Martin LX1E Little Martin
  • An outstanding guitar for gigging singer-songwriters and fingerstyle players
  • It's got a high-quality build that will last for years
  • Fishman Sonicore pickups sound great
  • Be able to take your music with you wherever you go
For Bonfires
Fender Sonoran Mini
Fender Sonoran Mini
  • Awesome and inspiring vintage look
  • Comes with a choice of spruce or mahogany top
  • Durable and well-built
  • Comes with a gig bag for easy traveling
Editor's Choice
Taylor BT2

The Taylor BT2 is my pick for the best 3/4 acoustic guitar. It's perfect for anyone who wants an expertly-crafted, smaller guitar that still has excellent sound.

The Mahogany top gives the BT2 a warm, intimate sound perfect for those nights around a campfire.

Whether you're a beginner, child, or small-handed player, the Taylor BT2 is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a great-sounding and easy-playing 3/4-sized guitar.

The Taylor BT2, in my opinion, is the best 3/4 acoustic guitar on the market. It’s the perfect instrument for travelers, guitar players with small hands, beginners, children, and those who want an excellent office guitar.

The Taylor BT2 is a 3/4 sized acoustic guitar with a solid wood tropical mahogany top, laminated Sapele back and sides, and a bolt-on maple neck with an ebony fingerboard.

I love the sound of solid Mahogany topped acoustic guitars. It has a natural compression that makes each note ring clear and balanced. Also, Mahogany produces earthy organic tones that feel warm and intimate.

The neck of the Taylor BT2 also has buttery playability. The shorter-scale length of this guitar also has less string tension, making the strings less painful to play, which is great for beginner guitar players.

While the Taylor BT2 is an excellent acoustic guitar, it does have its downsides. First, this guitar is expensive. You could buy an excellent full-sized guitar for less than $500 that will produce a fuller tone and be more versatile. Also, the BT2 doesn’t come with electronics for playing live. You can purchase the BT2e, but it does increase the cost quite a bit.

It’s worth mentioning that Taylor Guitars is one of the world’s leading acoustic guitar manufacturers (I consider it the best guitar brand in the market). They aim for a high standard of quality in each guitar they construct through careful design and use of computers, lasers, and other high-tech equipment.

In other words, when you purchase a Taylor, you know you’re getting an instrument that will play great, sound great, and last a lifetime.

Suppose you are in the market for a great travel guitar to play around a campfire or want something you can easily lounge with as a couch guitar. In that case, the Taylor BT2 will not let you down. Check it out today!

  • Comes with a premium gig bag
  • The bolt-on neck makes neck adjustments cheap, fast, and easy
  • High-quality and consistent build
  • Smooth and very easy to play
  • It's expensive for someone's first guitar
  • Have to pay extra for electronics
Best Steel String Acoustic for Beginners
Yamaha JR1

The Yamaha JR1 is an excellent and affordable beginner's steel-string acoustic. This is a solid choice for someone who wants a versatile instrument that can play a wide range of genres.

The Yamaha JR1 is an excellent first guitar because it's easy to learn and has a smaller scale that makes it comfortable to play. With its all-laminate construction, the JR1 is also durable and resilient.

Bottom line, the JR1 is great for beginner players looking to learn the basics of playing an acoustic guitar.

The Yamaha JR1 is an excellent first guitar for young kids, people who live in small shared spaces, and hobbyists who want a guitar they can easily travel with.

The JR1 isn’t a flashy guitar and takes after its big brother and legendary full-sized beginner guitar, the Yamaha Folk Guitar.

The classic dreadnought guitar features an all-laminate construction with a spruce top and meranti back and sides. The guitar’s nato neck feels solid when playing, but it doesn’t have the effortless glide like the Taylor.

Laminated guitars are durable and often more affordable than solid wood guitars. So you won’t have to worry much about dents, warping, and cracks, as the Yamaha JR1 is quite resilient.

However, the downside of an all-laminate constructed acoustic guitar is that it produces a dull sound that lacks depth and richness.

Also, suppose you are an adult looking to purchase an excellent traveling guitar. In that case, the Yamaha JR1 might not be the best choice because the neck feels cramped due to the short scale length (21.25”).

While you might associate Yamaha as a motorcycle manufacturer, Yamaha acoustic guitars have been produced since 1940. Yamaha guitars are well known for producing some of the best beginner guitars that are well made and affordable.

So if you are looking for a great beginner kids guitar or an affordable beater guitar, you can’t go wrong with the Yamaha JR1.

  • This guitar is durable and long-lasting
  • Classic look and feel
  • It's an excellent choice for children and players with small hands
  • Yamaha guitars are well made and affordable beginner guitars
  • The neck will feel cramped for players with larger hands
  • The tone lacks depth
Best Nylon String Acoustic for Beginners
Yamaha CGS103a

The Yamaha CGS103a is the perfect first guitar for young kids.

Nylon stringed guitars are gentle on the fingers and quieter than steel-string guitars. So if you don't want to be a nuisance to your family or neighbors, this is an excellent guitar to purchase.

The Yamaha CGS103a is an excellent first guitar for young kids.

This 3/4-sized nylon-string classical guitar features an all-laminate construction, making it durable and affordable. A spruce top paired with a nato back and sides give the guitar a classic, non-flashy look.

One of the great things about nylon-string acoustic guitars is that they are less painful on the fingers than steel-string guitars. It can be crucial for keeping you or your kid playing often.

Another benefit of nylon-string acoustic guitars is that they are much quieter than steel-string guitars. So if you live in a small shared space, the Yamaha CGS103a won’t disrupt your roommates or family members.

However, nylon-string guitars are not for modern players who want to rock out and aren’t versatile in the sound they produce.

Also, the Yamaha CGS103a doesn’t come with a gig bag. So if you want to properly store your guitar, you will need to purchase this separately.

If you’re searching for the best 3/4-sized acoustic guitar for a beginner child that is affordable, then look no further than the Yamaha CGS103a.

  • Nylon strings are less painful on the fingers compared to steel strings
  • It's a quiet guitar that won't disturb parents, roommates, and neighbors
  • It's durable and affordable
  • It's an excellent choice for someone's first guitar
  • It doesn't come with a gig bag
  • There isn't a guitar strap attachment
Best Steel String Acoustic for Advanced Players
Taylor GS Mini Rosewood

Are you looking for a 3/4 acoustic guitar that doesn't compromise on sound, construction, or playability? Then look no further than the Taylor GS Mini.

This acoustic guitar is an excellent choice for advanced players looking for an easy guitar to bring on an airplane or take long road trips. It's also a great guitar to relax on the sofa with.

So if you're looking for a guitar that will let you express yourself in a whole new way, the GS Mini is a perfect choice.

Suppose you’re an intermediate to advanced guitarist constantly on the go and want an acoustic guitar that can keep up. In that case, the Taylor GS Mini Rosewood is for you.

This 3/4-sized steel-string acoustic guitar features an all-solid construction with a Sitka spruce top and laminate Indian rosewood back and sides. The lightweight and compact body make it comfortable and easy to take on the road or airplane.

The ebony fingerboard, with a bolt-on maple neck, has the classic silky feel that Taylor is known for.

But what sets this guitar apart is its rich-sounding tone. This depth of sound makes this guitar more than a “kids” guitar and will let you express yourself in a way you never thought possible with other 3/4-sized acoustic guitars on this list.

One of the biggest challenges with this guitar is that it is not equipped with a pickup. So if you want to use it as your gigging guitar, you’ll need to purchase an external pickup or spend extra for the acoustic-electric version.

However, the Taylor GS Mini is hard to beat for an advanced player looking for a premium 3/4-sized guitar that is great to travel with or comfortably lounge on the couch and play. It truly redefines what is possible with a 3/4 acoustic guitar!

Check it out today!

  • The best sounding guitar on this list
  • It's a great guitar for players with small hands and those who want the perfect travel guitar
  • This guitar plays like a dream
  • The bolt-on neck makes adjustments easy and affordable
  • It's expensive
  • You'll have to pay extra for electronics
Best Nylon String Acoustic for Advanced Players
Cordoba Cadete

The Cordoba Cadete is a well-built 3/4-size nylon string guitar that intermediate and advanced classical players will love.

With its all-solid cedar top construction, excellent playability, and beautiful sound, it's hard to beat this guitar for the money.

This guitar would be a fantastic choice for any experienced player looking to add a new 3/4-size nylon string guitar to their collection.

The Cordoba Cadete is a 3/4-sized nylon string classical guitar perfect for intermediate and advanced fingerstyle players, songwriters, and classical guitarists.

The scale length is 24.2″, shorter than most full-size classical guitars. This makes the Cordoba Cadete more comfortable for smaller players or those with shorter fingers.

The benefits of the tonewood combination (solid cedar and Mahogany) are that it responds well to light playing and has a warm, mellow sound. This makes it perfect for intimate recordings and performances where you want the delicate nuances of your playing to really shine.

One of the significant challenges with the Cordoba Cadete is that the cedar top is a softwood that can easily be susceptible to humidity and crack changes. So it’s essential to properly store this acoustic guitar with a humidifier.

The Cordoba Cadete is an excellent choice for any intermediate or advanced fingerstyle player looking for a 3/4-sized nylon string acoustic guitar perfect for intimate performances and recordings. Don’t sleep on this brand!

  • Responds well to a delicate touch
  • A perfect match for fingerstyle players
  • Produces a warm, intimate tone
  • High-quality construction
  • Cedar-topped guitars aren't great for heavy strummers
  • It's expensive for a 3/4 sized classical guitar
Best for Electric Guitar Players
Yamaha APXT2

The Yamaha APXT2 is the perfect 3/4 acoustic guitar for electric guitar players with small hands.

It has a slim neck and short scale length that makes it easy to play, and its built-in pickup lets you plug it right into your amp or pedalboard.

Whether you are a beginner guitar player looking for an acoustic and electric guitar setup in one package, or want something to travel with, the Yamaha APXT2 is a worthy addition to your small-guitar collection.

The Yamaha APXT2 is a 3/4-sized acoustic-electric guitar perfect for electric guitarists with small hands who want a similar feel to their acoustic.

The spruce top and thin line body make the Yamaha APXT2 a smooth action and easy playability guitar with great plugged-in tones. The cutaway also makes accessing upper frets easy, perfect for soloing.

The built-in tuner is an excellent feature for those who want to keep their guitar in tune on the go and do not need to remember an additional piece of equipment. The onboard ART-based preamp and System 68 contact pickup make this acoustic guitar perfect for gigging electric guitarists who need a reliable acoustic-electric guitar for the occasional song.

One of the significant challenges with the Yamaha APXT2 is the unplugged tone, which is thin and weak. However, this guitar was designed to be played plugged in, so it’s not a huge issue as long as you understand that this isn’t your traditional 3/4-sized acoustic guitar.

The Yamaha APXT2 is the best 3/4-sized acoustic-electric guitar for players with small hands. It’s perfect for those who need an acoustic for gigs but don’t want to lug around a full-size guitar. Go check it out!

  • The cutaway makes accessing the upper frets easy
  • The thin line body makes this acoustic hold more like an electric
  • It's a great choice for plugged-in tones
  • Has a built-in tuner
  • The pure acoustic tone is weak
  • Too small if you have big hands
Best for Gigging
Martin LX1E Little Martin

Looking for an acoustic guitar that is perfect for gigging? Then you need to check out the Martin LX1E Little Martin.

Whether you're playing folk, country, rock, or any other style of music, the LX1E will translate your tone easily at your next gig.

Suppose you're in the market for a great all-around small acoustic guitar. In that case, the Martin LX1E Little Martin is definitely worth considering.

The Martin LX1E is a 3/4 acoustic-electric guitar made famous by Ed Shereen, and it isn’t hard to see why.

First off, Martin Guitars is iconic and has made high-quality acoustic instruments since 1833. Since then, Martin has brought innovative design elements to their acoustics that are now industry-standard, and their guitars have some of the best tones on the market.

The Martin LX1E Little Martin is a perfect small acoustic-electric guitar for gigging musicians.

With its solid Sitka spruce top, built-in Fishman Sonicore pickups, and high-quality construction, this 3/4-sized guitar sounds exceptional plugged in. The lightweight construction makes it easy to travel with.

However, because of the smaller body design, the Little Martin guitar’s unplugged tone may be lacking compared to other acoustic guitars on the market. And at a higher price point than many other 3/4-sized acoustic guitars, this guitar may not be within everyone’s budget.

Still, suppose you’re looking for a professional-grade 3/4 sized acoustic guitar that will sound great on stage and is made by one of the most reputable brands in the industry. In that case, the Martin LX1E is the best choice for you. Check it out today!

  • The Fishman Sonicore pickups sound excellent plugged in
  • Has a solid Sitka spruce top, which will sound better with age
  • High-quality construction
  • Very lightweight and easy to travel with
  • It's expensive
  • The unplugged tone doesn't have that classic Martin richness and depth
Best for Beginners on a Budget
J&Z Beginner Classical Guitar

Looking for a great starter acoustic guitar on a budget? While The J&Z Beginner Classical Guitar won't become your forever guitar, it is a suitable first guitar for kids!

This guitar has a nylon-stringed classical design that delivers a gentle and mellow sound. Plus, it's easy on the fingers, making it a perfect first guitar for those who want to learn guitar. 

The J&Z Beginner Acoustic is one of the best 3/4-sized acoustic guitars for those who don’t want to spend a ton of money.

This classical guitar is gentle on the fingers because of the nylon strings. Also, the included accessories make it a great value.

However, because this is an extremely budget brand, and J&Z is basically a no-name brand, you are getting what you pay for.

However, If you’re on the fence about dropping money on something your kid might not actually enjoy and continue doing, the J&Z is a no-brainer. You could spend more money on a date night than this guitar costs, so why wait? Go check out the J&Z Beginner Acoustic today!

  • Comes as a beginner pack with lots of accessories
  • It's very affordable
  • It's an excellent guitar for those who aren't sure if they will like playing guitar
  • The nylon strings are gentle on the fingers
  • It's a cheap guitar
  • Accessories are also cheap quality
Best for Camping & Bonfires
Fender Sonoran Mini

Ready to take your music outdoors? The Fender Sonoran Mini is the perfect acoustic guitar for bonfires, barbecues, and camping trips.

Its smaller size makes it easy to transport, while its warm tones, versatile sound, and retro look make it perfect for any occasion.

The Sonoran Mini is sure to be your new favorite guitar for summertime fun.

The Fender guitar brand is synonymous with American surf culture. Do a quick Google search for “iconic Fender surf ad” and see what I mean.

What Fender Guitars did with their acoustic guitar collection, the California Series, is bring all that retro-beach aesthetic into a very affordable and playable guitar.

The Fender Sonoran Mini is the 3/4 acoustic guitar in this collection.

It’s visually stunning with the Stratocaster headstock and pear-shaped body. It also comes in either a spruce top or mahogany top for your tonal preference.

The Mahogany looks more vintage and will produce a warm tone with a balanced sound. While the spruce will have a better dynamic range and have a little more sparkle.

The Sonoran is a great travel guitar that is very durable thanks to the all-laminate construction. Also, to make traveling to your next beach or camping trip easier, Fender has included a gig bag.

The guitar does have a big sound, similar to full-size guitars. Still, the all-laminate construction and small body size slightly affect the sound quality. I instantly noticed a lack of bass in the tone and a lack of depth and resonance.

At the end of the day, if you’re playing guitar often in outdoor environments and want something that oozes cool, the Fender Sonoran Mini is an excellent option. It’s a well-built 3/4 acoustic guitar that will serve you well for years to come.

Check it out!

  • Has great projection for a small guitar
  • Comes with either a mahogany top or spruce top
  • Has an iconic and classic look
  • Easy to travel with and comes with a gig bag
  • Doesn't come with electronics
  • Because of the all laminate construction, the tone doesn't have depth

The Ultimate 3/4 Guitar Buying Guide

With so many mini guitars on the market, it can be challenging to know which one is the right purchase for you.

There are a lot of nuances to each guitar, and it can be hard to sort through your choices. If you use my guide to help your purchasing decision, you will get a guitar that you are happy with.

However, I understand that more research might be needed. So I created the following buying guide to help you in your journey to finding the best 3/4 acoustic guitar that’s right for you.

Cutaway vs. Non-Cutaway

A cutaway is when the guitar’s body is scooped out to allow for easier access to the upper frets.

Cutaways help players who want to reach those upper registers. However, most beginner players won’t be playing that far up on the guitar neck.

A non-cutaway often has a slightly fuller sound and is generally more straightforward for a manufacturer to make. This will usually make a non-cutaway guitar more affordable.

It will be a preference for what you want out of your guitar, but often with 3/4 acoustic guitars, you will find more non-cutaways than cutaways.

Cutaway Acoustic Guitar Example
No Cutaway Acoustic Guitar Example

The Construction

There are many ways to build a guitar, and as you get into more expensive guitars, the construction can get complex.

However, there are only a few things you should consider for a smaller guitar.

Solid wood vs. laminate construction

Solid wood guitars are the gold standard in guitar making. A solid wood guitar has a rich sound that gets better as the wood ages. However, solid wood guitars are more fragile and prone to cracks, dents, and warping.

Guitars built with laminated wood are much stronger than solid wood guitars. They can take more of a beating and won’t be as quick to dent and warp. This makes them great options for children who might not properly care for the guitar and travelers.

However, laminated guitars will never sound as good as a solid wood guitar. Many affordable guitars will use a solid top and laminate back and sides to give you the best of both worlds.

If you’re looking at a guitar’s spec sheet, it will say it’s solid wood. For example, if it just says “Mahogany Body,” it means it is laminate.

The guitar’s top wood

You will most often encounter three types of top woods when shopping for a 3/4 size guitar.

  1. Spruce
  2. Mahogany
  3. Cedar
Spruce wood
Spruce Tonewood

Solid Spruce top is the most common top wood for steel-string acoustics. It has a wide dynamic range and good bass and treble response. Spruce is a good option if you’re looking to play modern country and pop.

Mahogany Tonewood
Mahogany Tonewood

Mahogany is another popular option and is known for its rich dark color. Mahogany has less high-end response and a robust mid-range emphasis, creating a more organic tone. This is an excellent option for players who want something more vintage and worn-in.

Cedar Wood
Cedar Tonewood

Cedar is a typical top wood for a classical guitar. It’s a softwood that is very resonant and responds to a light touch. It doesn’t have much dynamic range, so it isn’t suitable for heavy strummers.


Acoustic-electric guitars are great for those who want to take their show on the road.

However, it’s challenging to find a 3/4 acoustic-electric guitar for an affordable beginner’s price. Some guitars, like the Taylor BT2, have the option to add in electronics so you can plug into any amplifier or PA system. However, this can increase the price of the guitar by $100.

You should consider your ambitions and future needs as a guitarist and make a purchasing decision that will help you grow into that kind of player.

Acoustic Guitar vs. Electric Guitar vs. Classical Guitar

When shopping for the best 3/4 guitar, you will have to decide what kind of guitar you want to purchase.

A classical guitar is often the easiest guitar to learn with. Classical guitars come with nylon strings which are very gentle and forgiving for a hand that hasn’t built up callouses. The downside to a classical guitar is that it isn’t versatile in the genres it can play.

If you’re a musician who wants to play rock music, pop, or country, then a different guitar style would be a better route to go.

Acoustic guitars with steel strings will be more challenging to learn how to play guitar but offer more flexibility in genres and playing styles. Also, you can always put guitar strings on the guitar that are a lower gauge to make playing easier.

A 3/4 electric guitar may be easier to learn playing guitar on than an acoustic one with steel strings. However, you will need to purchase additional equipment like an amplifier and cables, which will make it the most costly option.

However, there are some great electric guitar starter kits that will get you everything you need to get up and running quickly.

Adjustability & Maintenance

Purchasing a guitar that will be easy to maintain is something to consider when looking for the best 3/4 acoustic guitar to buy.

Over time, your guitar’s neck can warp and bend, creating intonation issues and problems with the guitar’s action (height the strings sit off the fingerboard).

There will be an adjustable truss rod that can be easily adjusted with an Allen wrench in most modern steel-string acoustics.

However, guitars with nylon strings often don’t come with a truss rod because the tension isn’t significant enough to warrant one. However, when you want to adjust the action or fix intonation issues, the fix might require a professional luthier to sort out.


You most often asked questions answered.

What’s the difference between a 3/4 guitar and a full-length acoustic guitar?

A 3/4 size acoustic guitar is typically recommended for children, females, or people with smaller frames, as it’s easier to handle and play. It has a shorter scale length (the distance from the nut to the bridge), making it slightly more forgiving when fretting chords.

Suppose you’re an experienced guitarist looking for an instrument with more volume and resonance. In that case, a full-sized acoustic guitar is probably the right choice for you, unless you want something that will be easy to travel with.

Are 3/4 guitars only for kids?

No. 3/4 guitars have a variety of purposes beyond being an excellent option for kids.

Another famous use case for a 3/4 guitar is for traveling. Because of the condensed size, often you can store these guitars in overhead bins of an airplane, and they take up less room in a car for road trips.

Also, 3/4 guitars can be a great option for players with small hands.

Do 3/4 guitars record well?

Yes. 3/4 acoustic guitars can be excellent for recording.

One of the biggest complaints about small guitars is the sound quality. This is attributed to the lack of low-end a 3/4 guitar has.

However, you often remove the low-end acoustic guitars in recording, so this “flaw” becomes an asset.

Is a 3/4 guitar good for a beginner?

Yes. A 3/4-sized guitar is an excellent option for beginners, especially if they are children around 8-12 years old.*

The shorter scale length creates less string tension, making fretting less painful on the hands. This is crucial, especially for a guitar with steel strings, to ensure that learning to play is as comfortable and painless as possible.

Also, the small body size is often more comfortable for beginners than a standard acoustic guitar or electric guitar.

*There are also 1/2 sized guitars that could be good for younger children

The Bottom Line

Suppose you’re a beginner looking for your first guitar or an experienced player who wants something more portable and comfortable to play. In that case, I recommend checking out a 3/4-sized guitar.

The Taylor BT2 represents the best value for your money and is an excellent choice for any up-and-coming guitarist.

Check it out today!

Editor's Choice
Taylor BT2
Taylor BT2
  • Excellent acoustic guitar for travelers
  • A perfect choice for beginners and children
  • The neck has a buttery playability
  • Taylor guitars are built to last a lifetime
For Gigging
Martin LX1E Little Martin
Martin LX1E Little Martin
  • An outstanding guitar for gigging singer-songwriters and fingerstyle players
  • It's got a high-quality build that will last for years
  • Fishman Sonicore pickups sound great
  • Be able to take your music with you wherever you go
For Bonfires
Fender Sonoran Mini
Fender Sonoran Mini
  • Awesome and inspiring vintage look
  • Comes with a choice of spruce or mahogany top
  • Durable and well-built
  • Comes with a gig bag for easy traveling
A picture of Brad Johnson (Owner & Writer of Song Production Pros) playing and testing a guitar at the Sam Ash Westminster Store. The guitar being played is a Taylor 814ce.

Why you can trust our content

Brad Johnson, the creator of Song Production Pros, researches and writes these reviews.

He's been playing music since he was nine and has played, used, and owned many instruments and pro audio gear. His reviews are based on hands-on experience, user-generated reviews, and subject matter expert reviews.

Please refer to our page, Our Review Process, for more details on how we approach writing our review articles.

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Brad Johnson
Brad is the creator of Song Production Pros. He writes songs and surfs on the weekends when he's not too busy with family or this website. He writes music under the moniker FJ Isles, and can be heard on all streaming services.