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Your New 3/4 Guitar | The Best For Travel, Kids & Small Hands In 2021

There are many reasons why you may want to find the best 3/4 guitar instead of a full-size guitar. The most common of these reasons being for travel, for kids, and for small hands. We have personal experience with all of these so have covered all the bases in this article to help you find the best 3/4 guitar to suit your needs. Our top picks actually cover all these bases in one but are a little costly. There are a few budget-friendly options to check out too.

 

A Quick Look At The Best 3/4 Size Guitars
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There are some considerations to make before we dive into the reviews. One such thing we must look into is the type of guitar you want.

Beginners often go for an acoustic guitar as their first choice. These make good travel guitars too as they don't need to be plugged into an amplifier. Acoustics can come as a nylon string or steel string guitar.

Steel strings sound better for pop and rock music as they are the type most commonly used in those genres. Nylon strings can be better for children. There's more on this in the FAQ :).

Electric guitars need to be plugged in so that can kind of detract from the benefit of 3/4 guitars portability. Lugging an amp on a plane is not exactly economical. However, the smaller frets make for a lot of fun when playing a short scale electric.

We touch on each of these types of guitars in this article but have more detailed reviews for each type as well. Take a look and see what tickles your fancy.

The Best 3/4 Acoustic Guitars

3/4 size acoustics are the perfect travel guitar. They don't need to be plugged in and you can usually take them as carry-on luggage. Although you should check with your airline first, you don't want to put a guitar in a gigbag as undercarriage luggage ever.

You could also opt for a small acoustic electric guitar if you plan to play gigs while you travel. The ability to plug into a PA is great for venues where it is impossible to mic up your guitar.

We would recommend going for one of these suggestions rather than something dirt cheap if you're an adult. Even if you are a beginner guitarist. Having a nice guitar will make you more inclined to practice and not lose motivation.

Taylor GSMini-e

Pros
  • Range of tonewoods
  • Curved back
  • Sounds fantastic
Cons
  • Some models don't have a built-in tuner

I own one of these guitars myself and it has been my working guitar for about 4 years when I am overseas. I have never had any trouble with it and it sounds great plugged in or acoustic. This is proof they are a perfect traveler guitar for a serious musician.

This Taylor guitar has a curved back that sits comfortably in your lap and creates more natural volume without compromising tone. Being loud enough to play unplugged around a campfire or even in quieter busking spots makes this guitar among the best for making money on the road.

These guitars can be built from a number of different woods including, mahogany, spruce, koa, and a range of limited edition woods. All of them sound great but have specific tonal qualities so make your choice wisely.

The tonewood varieties give you complete control over your sound. If you like a brighter tone you could go for a spruce top guitar. If you prefer a warmer sound you could get a mahogany one. If you want the coolest looking guitar that sounds great, the grain in then koa guitars is beautiful.

These guitars come with a padded bag that is perfect for use as carry-on luggage and is much higher quality than an average gig bag.

Taylor GSmini-e Rosewood Product Image

Fender Malibu Classic

Pros
  • Solid top, back, and sides
  • C shaped neck
  • Fender/Fishman pickup system
Cons
  • Not available in a natural finish

This guitar has an all solid wood design with a spruce top and mahogany back and sides. This type of construction is a pretty unique feature for a sub $1000 guitar. It is also rare in 3/4 size guitars at all.

Its sturdy build also allows for an amazing tone. It has Fender and Fishman electronics so you can be sure it will sound great when plugged in too.

This travel acoustic guitar plays like an electric so if you primarily play electric at home but want an acoustic to jet-set with this is a great choice for you.

It is available in blue or red but isn't available in any natural finishes so you may have to look elsewhere if that's what you're after. This really is a hot contender for the top spot. It only missed out because of my personal preference (I think painted acoustics are ugly).

In terms of playability and sound, this is a true rival to the GS-Mini, and one of the only mass-produced 3/4 guitars that are. If you love Fender instruments and don't mind the finish this should be your first choice.

Fender Malibu Classic Product Image

Takamine Taka-Mini Series

Pros
  • Solid top
  • Good pickup
  • Range of woods
Cons
  • Tacky finish on spruce models

You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who has owned a Takamine acoustic guitar and hasn't been impressed with the quality to cost ratio. They are a Japanese manufacturer that has extreme quality protocols.

Taka-mini guitars are available in mahogany or spruce top . They are solid top guitars which is amazing considering their cost.

The body of the mahogany Taka-minis is a parlor shape while the spruce tops lie somewhere between a dreadnought and orchestra shape. This means the mahogany version is a little smaller which may make it easier to take as carry-on luggage for some sticker airlines.

Aside from the benefit of being a little smaller the hardwood models also have a mahogany neck and headstock. Giving a premium aesthetic that makes these guitars look much more expensive than they actually are.

They have a full sound and the electric internals are great for gigging with too. They play fast and easy and sit comfortably or are just as happy being used with a strap.

In my opinion, these are the best smaller sized guitars for their price. To find something else of this quality you would have to spend another 30% from most other brands.

Takamini Spruce - Product Image

Nylon String

Stay away from super-budget nylon string guitars. They come out of tune easily, have terrible action that is very difficult to adjust, and sometimes even have plastic parts instead of wood. Using plastic increases potential tuning issues and negatively impacts the tone of the guitar.

Yamaha CGS103A

Pros
  • Yamaha reliablitly
  • Great quality to cost
  • Nylon strings are softer for fingers
Cons
  • No truss rod

The first few weeks of playing guitar are often the hardest. This is due to the pain you experience while forming callouses on your fingers. Nylon string guitars are easier on the fingertips of beginners as the strings are a little softer.

If you would prefer nylon strings, Yamaha has a few excellent entry-level options. Our favorite of these is the CGS103A. If you have read some of my other reviews before you would know that Yamaha is one of my favorite brands for entry to mid-level gear. Their stuff is always reliable and has a great quality to cost ratio

These guitars have a spruce top coupled with a nato neck and rosewood fretboard. With this combination, you get a bright and full sound without having to pay through the nose. Sure it would be nicer to have a maple neck but you could always spend a little more on a more expensive model if you so desire.

Yamaha CGS103A

The Best Electric 3/4 Guitars

We have a full article for the best 3/4 electric guitars that you can find here for a more in-depth look.

For Beginners - Fender Squier Mini Stratocaster

Pros
  • Trusted brand
  • Range of colors
  • Tone control and pickup switching
Cons
  • Less suitable for heavy music

Stratocaster guitars offer a range of tones and are easy to play. This makes them one of the best 3/4 size electric guitars for beginners.

Squier guitars are not as their full size guitar companions from Fender but are fine for beginners.

There is room for growth with these guitars as you can use them at a gig without any problems.

As with many 3/4 guitars, these are known to knock out of tune sometimes so make sure you are tuning up regularly.

These are available in a range of colors and as part of many packages so you should be able to find one that suits you.

Fender Squire Mini - Product Image

Ibanez Mikro

Pros
  • Humbucking pickups
  • Good for heavier music
  • Tone control and pickup switching
Cons
  • Less versatile than a Strat

This guitar comes with humbucking pickups. This means it is better for heavier styles of music or any other high gain applications. Imagine being able to reach twice as far while you are shredding! Perfect for a metal guitar player.

These guitars are built solidly and are instantly recognizable as Ibanez guitars because of their styling. Their cost can vary depending on what inclusions you want such as the type of inlay. The classic Ibanez tooth inlay is more expensive than plain dots.

They are available in a range of colors, tonewoods, and finishes and they have bass guitar models as well.

Ibanez Mikro Product Image

The Best 3/4 Guitars for Kids

These are budget options for guitars if you are not sure your child will stick with it. There is no reason why a child couldn't play a guitar from any other subcategory in this post. If you are confident they are committed to learning, it is worth getting a more expensive guitar from one of those categories. These are not a smaller guitar than any other choice by any means.

The Best ¾ Electric Guitar For Kids

Lyxpro 30”

Lyxpro 34 Strat - Product Image
Pros
  • Versatile sound
  • Good inclusions
  • Decent sized amp
Cons
  • Dodgy when compared a Squire Stratocaster

There are acceptable electric guitars aimed at children that are cheaper than this one. Yet, the Lyxpro has some features that are missing from those options. Such features include tone and volume control knobs and decent tuners.

This guitar also has fair woods for its construction with a Canadian maple neck and rosewood fingerboard. The neck also has an adjustable truss rod to keep the action set to a playable position.

For cheaper guitars, a strat shape is the safest bet. It is the most common design so there is less room for error. This guitar is a nice middle ground if you can't justify the cost of a Squire for your kid.

All the accessories you need are included with this guitar. It even has a 20w amp which should be loud enough to compete with other instruments excluding a drum kit.

The Best ¾ Nylon String Acoustic Guitar For Kids

Pyle Beginner 36” Classical Guitar

Pyle Beginner Pack - Product Image
Pros
  • Excellent price
  • Nice inclusions
Cons
  • Not great wood
  • Does not sound as good as a more expensive guitar
  • Tuning issues

This is the best budget option for a kid's 3/4 classical guitar. It's also the cheapest of all of our picks. For just over $50 you can get a decent guitar to learn on.

You sacrifice having nicer tonewoods for the low cost of this guitar. It has a birch headstock with a linden wood body. It still sounds good though and is fine to practice with at home.

There are enough accessories included, sweetening the deal too. A gig bag to transport the guitar to lessons or school, picks, a strap, and a clip-on tuner.

The Best ¾ Steel-string Acoustic Guitar For Kids

Yamaha FG JR1

Yamaha FG JR Product Image
Pros
  • Bang for buck
  • Lush, open sound
Cons
  • No pickup

It is hard to recommend the truly budget options for a 3/4 steel-string acoustic guitar. This Yamaha guitar is only a little more expensive with so much more to offer.

Yamaha is a quality brand for musical instruments and this travel guitar is a smaller version of their sought-after FG series of guitars.

It has a spruce top with Indonesian wood back and sides which create a bright tone and impressive volume for its size. It also has a rosewood fingerboard with a nato neck.

A pickup could be added to this guitar and used for gigs later down the track if your kid decides to stick with learning guitar. It is a kids guitar that will last their entire youth and even used into adulthood if taken care of.

3/4 Guitar FAQ

 

How Much Will I Have To Spend?

3/4 size guitars can range from as low as $20 and all the way up to $1000+. We recommend staying away from those ultra-cheap guitars. They have parts that are not good enough to last or even work properly when you get the guitar.

Ultra cheap guitars often come with dodgy tuners (machine heads) that come out of tune as soon as you strum the guitar. They could also have necks that warp easily making it extremely difficult to play, especially for a beginner.

The more you spend the better guitar you will get. The hardware improves, the tonewoods are better, and the overall construction will be more sturdy than a budget guitar.

For a child or an absolute beginner, we recommend spending $100+ on a steel string acoustic or an electric guitar and $50+ on a nylon string guitar. Use these as a rough starting point if you plan to shop outside of our recommendations. Doing so will help to avoid common problems associated with poorly built guitars.

If you plan to use the guitar to travel and gig with we would suggest spending a little more to get a guitar with a decent built-in pickup. It is also beneficial to get a guitar that has better tonewoods and a robust build if the guitar is going to be carried around and played in front of people. For these reasons, we would recommend spending at least $200 for a steel-string acoustic and sticking to a trusted brand.

 

Nylon Vs Steel String Acoustic

If you're buying your first guitar or one for a child you may be wondering which type of acoustic guitar would be best for them.

There is no right or wrong answer here but let's run through a few facts to help you make an informed decision.

Nylon strings are more forgiving for soft hands. This is great when you are first learning as you won't have any callouses on your fingers yet. Steel strings dig in a lot more but this also means callouses will form quicker.

The strings on nylon classical guitars are often further apart than on a steel string. This is good to help avoid pressing on the wrong strings when you are learning to form chords. This does require more reach though which may not be perfect for small hands.

Budget nylon guitars are usually of a higher standard than a steel-string guitar. If you don't have a lot of money to spend a $50 nylon string guitar will hold its tune better than a $50 steel string.

Most modern musical styles such as pop, rock, and country use steel string guitars. To get a similar sound to the artist you will need to have a steel string too.

 

Should I Get A Guitar Package ?

If there is a package available and it doesn't cost much extra than the standalone guitar it is worth it.

That being said, most of the inclusions in a package can be found cheaply on Amazon so you should not let the package be a deciding factor.

Some parts of an acoustic guitar package aren't necessary such as a clip-on tuner. It is easier to use this kind of tuner but there are plenty of free apps for your phone too.

Straps are also great to have but most of the time as a beginner you be sitting down to practice so it's a little redundant.

If you are looking to buy an electric guitar you will need an amplifier so if you don't have one already a package might be an option. The amplifiers included in electric guitar packs are substandard and you will need to upgrade to jam with others or play gigs but are fine for starting out. If you decide to buy an amp separately to practice with we suggest the Spark by Positive Grid .

 

Should I Just Get A Larger Guitar?

3/4 sized guitars are better for travel and smaller people. A larger acoustic will resonate more and therefore sound better. All types of guitars will also have better string tension and tuning stability if they're a full size too.

The guitar size you choose really depends on your needs. If you're an adult and not traveling a lot, a standard size acoustic guitar is probably a better choice. Unless you want to rock out, in which case go for a standard size electric.

Whatever you decide on, just make sure it is a quality guitar. There is nothing worse than an unreliable, terrible sounding, and hard to play guitar.

 

What about 1/2 size guitars?

These guitars are often not much smaller than 3/4 guitars when it comes to scale length. They, therefore, don't actually save a lot of room when traveling. There are a lot of nice 1/2 size guitars too though that are worth checking out. These are especially useful for small children as it allows them to more easily reach over the body of the guitar while they are learning.

 

Final Word

Picking out your very first guitar is an exciting time. You don't necessarily have to opt for a beginner guitar and going for something a little more expensive will always get you something better. This is the case regardless of the size and type of guitar you are shopping for. Consider whether or not spending little more is worth that peace of mind.

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About The Author

Hi, I'm Duncan, the owner, creator, and head writer for InciteMusic.com 
I have been a touring cover musician and a teacher for the last 10 years and take helping people to achieve their musical goals very seriously.
On this website, we try to provide the best reviews possible by actual working musicians so you can find gear, lessons, and software to help you perfect your craft.
Check out the link to our about page in the footer if you would like to know more.

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