Small Hands – Children are not the only fans of small guitars.
As an adult male standing at only 5’4″, I have always found it difficult to play a regular-size dreadnought acoustic guitar. I’ve always found it equally as uncomfortable to play a full-size bass. But back when I was first starting out, I didn’t know the existence of short scale instruments. I assumed that all guitars that were created small were only meant for kids. Until I walked into a vintage guitar store in 1994 and discovered a Fender MusicMaster bass for sale. With a 30″ scale, this bass was the ultimate in comfort for my small stature. I purchased it immediately. And today I love it as much as ever. It remains a force in my arsenal of axes.
The scale of a guitar is the measurement from the nut to the saddle. Here are some common full-length scales.
Fender Electric Guitars: 25.5 inches
Gibson Les Paul: 24.75 inches
Classical Guitar: 26 inches
Acoustic Guitars: 24.6 inches to 25.4 inches
Fender Precision Bass: 34 inches
And here are the short-scale lengths of my guitars.
Short-Scale Acoustic: 24.25 inches
Fender MusicMaster Bass: 30 inches
Check out some short-scale basses below.
I have no problems with the full-length scale on electric guitars. It is only the bass and acoustic guitars that cause me problems. Another issue to consider when it comes to a small person trying to play a regular-size dreadnought acoustic guitar is the depth of the body. This is actually more of an issue for me than the scale length. If the body is too deep, my arm rests on the edge of the body at an uncomfortable angle. It feels as if the edge is digging into my arm… not preferred. There are many companies that make quality shallow-body acoustics guitar. One is Applause by Ovation. They have a large number of rounded, shallow-body models to choose from. Another is Fender. They make the Stratacoustic and Telecoustic. And while the tone of these Fenders is a bit thin for some players, the playability makes them great choices for an electric guitarist who only seldomly needs an acoustic. And some equalization can help to fatten out the tone. Check out these two brands below. Both are full-length scale, but with a much more comfortable body.
More info on Fender Stratacoustic/Telecoustic guitars.