The guitar is the most expressive instrument; a single piece allows you to create different tunes using different amps and pedals. To create iconic tunes, you have to start somewhere. Right? The short scale electric guitars are the thing to start out with.
The size of the instrument and its neck is one of the biggest issues for beginners, especially younger ones. Luckily, short-necked guitars are available in the market.
You may have seen smaller-scale guitars; that doesn’t even sound like Ukulele in our favorite Ed Sheeran’s hand. Don’t you?
However, today in this article, we’ll look at the best short scale guitars available, and also discuss what makes the best, and all the reasons why you should have a short scale guitar.
What are Short Scale Guitars?
The short-scale guitars are a bit smaller than full-sized guitars and basically marketed for beginners, players with small hands, and children.
The short-scale guitars generally come equipped with a 22” to 24.75” scale length, though it doesn’t have any definitive measure; it depends on the makers and models. On the other hand, the 25.5-inches scale length guitars are known as full-sized guitars.
Right now, you may have been thinking; that it’s only about an inch or two inches length difference, but this scale length difference massively affects the playability. The beginners or targeted customers feel truly comfortable gripping such short guitars in hand. Besides comfort, the advanced players also adore such short-scale guitars for their unique tones.
BEST SHORT SCALE ELECTRIC GUITAR REVIEW
1. Ibanez GRGM 6 String Solid-Body Electric Guitar
You may think, why do I place the Ibanez GRGM over any Fender items? Obviously, I’m impressed with its construction quality, comfortable playability, and price tag.
But this is not the reason; why I placed this Ibanez short scale guitar in the first position. Like you, I also used to wander around here and there; checked several reviews against a range of products, but a real user of this Ibanez GRGM guitar surprised me with his words.
He gave up playing for years after losing his index finger, but this tiny electric guitar helped him fight back against his misfortune. Surprised? Me too! Just think how smooth and comfortable playing this guitar is.
It has a perfect size for children, beginners, and adults with such physical difficulties. The comfortable C-shaped neck and the smooth fret ends to add extra stars in the consideration point ‘Easy Playability’.
Overall, it has decent quality construction and good electronics. The pickup works really well. A minor setup is needed; if you upgrade some components it will compete equally with other premium options, though this best short scale electric guitar comes within only $150 bucks.
2. Cordoba Mini II M - BEST 1/2 size SHORT SCALE ELECTRIC guitar
This specially designed travel-size nylon string guitar has come to simplify jam sessions. It is pretty small but not like a Uke. The body is similar to the others 3/4 scale electric guitar, but the new scale length is very close to a full-width neck, which suits Standard E tuning.
Moreover, it has a special cutaway designed body; that eases reaching the uppermost frets. Generally, you’ll find such cutaway in standard steel-string acoustic guitars.
The guitar is meant for use with nylon strings, so I suggest not putting steel strings on it. The steel strings have higher tension, so they could pull the bridge off or damage the instrument.
Another stand-out feature is it comes equipped with a Córdoba pickup with an onboard tuner that you can’t even expect from others for the price; of only $110.
In addition, the Mahogany construction creates a uniquely soft and balanced tone; that sounds like a Spanish classical guitar. After receiving the guitar, I felt like - the exotic look and beautiful voice complement each other.
3. SQUIER MINI STRATOCASTER - BEST BUDGET SHORT SCALE ELECTRIC GUITAR
Are you a Fender lover? Always wanted to see a Fender in your hand? As of now, you don’t have to push yourself back from fulfilling your wish only for the sake of a low budget.
Look at the affordable version of the Fender mini Stratocaster by Squier. The Squier guitars look the same and sound nearly similar to the Fender guitars. The Squier Mini Stratocaster is not an exception.
This small-scale electric guitar has come equipped with a slim and comfortable C-shaped neck; that gives you easy playability. The vintage-style Hardtail guitar bridge improves tuning stability; keeps the guitar in tune for long times, making it suitable for beginners.
Not only it’s a good guitar for beginners, but it also helps the owner to learn guitar quickly from the online videos; you just need to register the guitar on Fender play, making it one of the best 3/4 electric guitars for the students.
It seriously sounds great after doing some tweaking or customary adjustments, like – adjustment in string height, dialing in the intonation, and filing off sharp fret ends. If you can’t do it yourself, you could take assistance from the online videos available in the Fender play or take it to your guide, but don’t get discouraged; it’s really an awesome-sounding guitar.
4. Squier by Fender Classic Vibe 60's Electric Guitar
If you have ever wished about getting the vintage Fender Mustang guitar, this low-priced Mustang by Squier could make your dream come true without breaking the bank.
This classic model of Squier gives you the elegant vibe of the 60’s-era; when Fender’s model just rocked the market. This 24 inch scale electric guitar looks and sounds nearly similar to the Fender.
You’ll be surprised checking the quality of pickups, making the guitar one of the best-sounding small guitars. The smooth volume and tone knobs are an extra addition to creating a unique tune.
The body is evenly weighted, whereas the finishing touch of the vintage-tint gloss at the neck makes it more attractive. The C-shaped neck and 9.5” radius of the fingerboard makes the guitar easy to play.
You can buy this guitar for you and your young children, who are passionate about guitars. You both will be surprised listening to this guitar or doing an experiment with tones.
5. Jackson Dinky Minion JS1X Short scale Guitar
Here, I’ll be starting with the style of Jackson Dinky minion guitar, as I loved its aesthetic and cutaway design the most. The 22.5” scale length solid poplar body with modified Super Strat body shape is comfortable enough for the kids. The slim and narrow profile makes it very easy to get around for the small hands and easy to reach all frets, whether sitting or standing.
As for hardware and electronics, I can say that the Minion has come equipped with price-worthy electronics and stock components; that help keep the price reasonable and perform reasonably well.
The two high-output Jackson humbucking pickups have proved versatile and appropriate enough for the beginners by keeping things simple. The lack of a whammy bar could make this guitar-less preferable for the advanced players, but the set of chrome tuners compensate for the shortcoming and offer overall good tuning stability.
The guitar sounds pretty well enough for the small size and less price. It is one of the best mini electric guitars you can buy for kids.
6. Fender Duo-Sonic Short scale Guitar
Looking for a compact electric guitar from a renowned company? If yes, then, this fender short scale electric guitar should definitely be on your radar.
It’s a modern and affordable remake of a classic vintage Fender guitar of the 90’s era; that offers superb sound supported by its great pickup configuration and exceptional playability.
The perfectly sized and C-shaped 24 scale guitar neck guitar with a smooth satin finish will be exceptionally friendly in your hand. The three-way pickup is the biggest star of this guitar; that provides all the grit and rumble you might need to ensure amazing sound.
The guitar will be another ultimate worthwhile investment for you; that will help you create and cover a wide range of tones and options.
7. Fender Mustang 24 inch scale guitar
After reviewing the affordable alternative option of Mustang by Squier; finally, we have the original Fender Mustang.
The fender mustang scale length is the most popular among the individuals with large hands, as well as small, as the slim C-shaped neck and comfortable cutaway designed body with satin-smooth finish lets the hands easily glide between frets.
It produces top-quality sound, whereas the bridge system helps you generate a wide variation in note pitch. You can explore several tones through the three-way pickup switch. The quality and uniqueness of the set of electronics set the guitar apart from other brands and models.
If you ask, is it performance worthy? Some Fender models may not be perfect sometimes, but it is one of the most recommendable brands on the market when it comes to quality construction and reliability.
8. Fender Mustang 90 Short-scale Guitar
Look at this 3/4 electric guitar of Fender, its profile and color options; all are just meant to complement every age group of people in terms of style, portability, and playability comfort.
I’m in love with the seafoam green and burgundy mist metallic color variants, whereas the mature player would like the natural wooden color with a glossy finish.
Besides a comfortable body profile, the Hardtail Strat bridge system, humbucking pickups, and powerful tone and volume controls let you excel in any musical genre you choose and help you feel comfortable with any style of play.
No matter; if you have small hands or large hands, you’re purchasing this one for you, your young child, or your grandma; all will find the guitar easy to play. I didn’t mention kids; because I don’t think a 24” scale length will be a good choice for their tiny hands.
9. Sterling 6 String Electric Short scale Guitar
This compact offset electric guitar with an ergonomic C-shaped narrow neck will perfectly fit inside your hands. In addition, it has a lot of highs, like – improved pickups that ensure impressive sound, making it one of the best short scale electric guitars.
The guitar is built to last. Besides solid wooden construction, the oversized headstock sustains more than a small headstock. So, if you’re willing to invest in quality, this MusicMan guitar (CT30SSS-CFR-R1) will be a great choice to buy.
10. Squier 3/4 Size Mini Strat Electric Guitar
Everything about this 3/4 electric guitar of kids screams; they are ready for anything. The bundle includes Tuner, Amplifier, Instrument Cable, Strap, and Picks, making the guitar ready to gig at any time.
The kids generally struggle with the standard-sized instruments due to their smaller hands, but this downsized guitar will help them enhance their creative possibilities.
Considering the key features you may agree with me that this guitar is not the thing that provides only fun. The clip-on tuner really works well and eases the tuning process. Every electronics element are superb in quality; pretty expected from the big-name brands like Squiers and Fender
BUYERS GUIDE: BEST SHORT SCALE electric GUITAR
I’ve already mentioned that the shorter-scale guitars have short-scale necks around 22 to 24.75-inches. The adult beginners could go with the 24.75-inches guitar scale neck, but if you’re searching for a guitar for your children, it would be better to choose the tiny electric guitar of 22” scale length.
The string tension is another crucial factor; that defines the sound quality and the easy playability. Short length between bridge and nut means it requires less pressure to keep the guitar in tune. So, the guitar will be easier on the fingers, making the 3/4 electric guitars suitable for beginners and younger players.
The lesser string tension requires less force for strumming or picking the strings also delivers a warmer tone. It emphasizes the low and middle frequencies. If you set your action at too low, the diminished string tension will generate a slight buzzing tone; that you can fix by adjusting your action. The good thing about this sensitivity is - it helps the beginners learn guitars, who make thousands of mistakes at the initial stage.
The 3/4 size electric guitars are meant not to be expensive, as their targeted customers are mainly students or children. Generally, the less expensive models come equipped with fewer features and cheaper materials; that doesn’t mean they are cheap in quality.
A few premium versions are also available in the market with their unique tonal quality. Their price is nearly the same as the full-sized models.
The weight and size of the guitars are one of the main considerations for traveling music; who travel around the world for stage performances. The lightweight guitars with shorter scale lengths are easy to store inside travel cases and airline luggage cabin bags.
The wood type of the neck affects the weight and price; like – the rosewood makes the neck heavy and overall expensive but durable enough to withstand years of rough use; similarly, the Maple neck is less expensive but heavy enough for children.
Hereafter, you may have seen that most small electric guitars have basswood construction, which is an exceptionally lightweight and affordable material. On the other hand, the rosewood fretboard is good for producing warm and rich tones.
Once you’re done with the potential short-scale guitars list, check the advantages and disadvantages of the wood; used in your chosen guitars.
The neck profile of a guitar doesn’t affect the sound quality, but it defines whether you’ll get easy playability or not. The comfortable oval shape of the most common C-shaped neck suits the most playing style.
After that, check if the diameter of the neck comfortably fits in your hand or not. Generally, the 3/4 scale electric guitars come equipped with less than 43 mm neck width.
1. How to Measure Guitar Scale Length?
In the guitar world, the scale length of a guitar refers to the distance between the nut and bridge. A few manufacturers calculate the scale length by doubling the distance between the nut and 12th fret to determine the vibrating length, tone, and tension of the strings.
2. How do short-scale guitars differ from full-scale guitars?
If you consider a 24-inch scale guitar neck on the side of the short-scale guitar, the length difference comes around only an inch; it will still offer some noticeable differences, especially in playability.
The short-scale Vs full-scale guitar is a prolonged discussion topic. In short, many people, especially beginners, find the narrow neck more comfortable and easier to play for their smaller fret spacing and less force action.
The lower tension strings bend easily and ensure relaxed playability, reducing getting cramped or sore fingers. In addition, the small guitars generate a more punchy and warm tone than a full-sized guitar.
3. Does scale length affect playability?
The short-scale guitar neck is easy to control, making the guitar lightweight, portable, and travel-friendly. The narrow necks let you easily reach every chord and note.
4. Are short-scale guitars only for kids and young students?
There are two categories of short-scale guitars. The first one is the cost-effective starter guitar segment, which is easy to play, made of lightweight and less expensive materials, and just meant for beginners and children.
The second category of guitars belongs to the big-name brands like Fender with the advanced specification. The advanced players prefer such advanced short-scale fender guitars for their impressive looks, tone, and super comfortable playability.
If you’re here, checking reviews of the best short-scale guitars for your young child, the Fender mustang scale length (around 22-inches scale length) never goes wrong as their first electric guitar, or on the budget side, you can pick one from the short-scale Stratocaster series or Ibanez. For you, the short-scale Ibanez guitars could be a good option, which is much more preferable for adult beginners.
Hopefully, you’ve liked my recommendation and find the reviews helpful for making the best purchasing decision. However, if you come across any better models, share with us by commenting below. After all, sharing is caring. So, if you truly liked my reviews, share the article with your friends.
Hey all, I’m Elise, I love to play music with the most lovely tuning instruments. I tried many of the musical instruments that I wished to play. Like me, many might have been seeking for good musical instruments. For those, I would like to provide a good list of instruments that I tried playing. This may help your search progress! Move ahead and read the articles.