My heart goes pitter patter for the small body acoustic guitar.
There’s something about its more diminutive body. Easier to hold. Easier to travel with, but still so wonderful sounding.
Over the last year or two it seems like every artist I talk to is singing the praises of a small body acoustic that they have found indispensable.
Perhaps it’s time you added one to your arsenal. Here are a few to consider. And remember, small is beautiful!
Recording King's Dirty 30's Harmonella guitars are a throwback to the dry, throaty sounding department-store instruments that have become favorites of blues players and songwriters everywhere.
The Harmonella is the first of the Dirty 30's Series with tailpieces. Though they're based on vintage instruments, their tone benefits from some modern building techniques.
Historically, tailpieces were used on guitars whose tops were reinforced using ladder bracing. These tops delivered a dry sound with very few overtones. Harmonella models are built using traditional x-bracing on the solid spruce top, which, when paired with the tailpiece delivers vibrant gutbucket blues sound with enhanced overtones.
The original models were made with steel reinforced necks, but today's Harmonellas are built with traditional truss rods for easy neck adjustments.
The classic aesthetics are just as much a part of their appeal as their sound, and Harmonella guitars follow vintage tradition from the classic-style fretboard markers to the old-school bound soundhole and matte sunburst finish.
Whether you're a songwriter who wants vintage blues sound, or a first-time player who wants something a little cooler, get the benefits of modern construction while still delivering tons of vintage vibe with the Recording King Dirty 30's Harmonella.
Price: $199 Street Price
The WP11SNS is based on designs Washburn used over 100 years ago.
It features mahogany back and sides for a slightly more focused, articulate tone and has pearl dot fingerboard inlays.
It has a 24.75” scale and features a natural stain finish, solid cedar top supported by quarter sawn scalloped sitka spruce bracing, abalone rosette and standard Washburn rosewood bridge.
The mahogany neck features a rosewood fingerboard with 44mm nut and gold open gear tuners. These specs produce a nicely balanced tone perfect for fingerpicking and singer/song writers. The clarity of the parlor sized body is especially suited to recording and mic’d performance.
Price: $299 Street Price
The Luna Henna Oasis acoustic-electric guitar is built on a folk body design that’s great for those who prefer playing a smaller-sized guitar.
The mahogany body and solid spruce top create noticeably rich tone, with presence & character to match, particularly when playing chords. The 25-1/2" scale, C-shape neck design, and 1-5/8" nutwidth add comfort for performing intricate progressions on the rosewood fretboard.
The included B-Band preamp with built-in tuner and low z output faithfully recreates the amplified sound of the Henna Oasis.
It’s laser etched henna-like design is so unique. Henna Artist Alex Morgan shared this about her artwork for the Henna Oasis, "The design of the Oasis Henna guitar draws its inspiration from the flowers and forests of Ottoman art. A wild rose, with additional blooms of tulips and violets, tumble across the front of the instrument."
- Price: $399
The Epiphone EL-00 PRO Acoustic/Electric guitar is a direct descendent of Epiphone’s original line of flattop guitars designed during the golden age of acoustic guitars in the 1930s.
Players love this smaller sized "parlour" or "blues box" style guitar for its focused, woody tonal quality, short scale, and comfortable weight which makes it ideal for both fingerpicking or the bark of a bottle neck slide.
The EL-00 PRO’s beautiful tone comes from a Solid Spruce top, select Mahogany sides, and a Mahogany neck with a comfortable SlimTaper™ D profile.
And now, the EL-00 PRO features the state-of-the-art Fishman™ Sonitone™ soundhole preamp and a Fishman™ Sonicore™ under-saddle pickup for superior acoustic tone through any amp or PA system. The Fishman™ Sonitone™ preamp has a built-in easy access Master Volume and Tone controls.
The EL-00 also features Grover™ mini-button tuners with 14:1 ratio machine heads for easy and reliable tuning. The Epiphone EL-00 PRO comes in a Vintage Sunburst color finish and is strung at the Epiphone factory with D'Addario Phospher (12-53) strings.
Like all Epiphones, the EL-00 PRO comes with a Limited Lifetime Warranty and 365/24/7 Gibson Customer Service.
Price: $499 U.S. MSRP, $299 Estimated U.S. Street Price
Parlor guitars have a compact shape and a gorgeous sound distinctly different from their larger acoustic cousins.
The Ron Emory “Loyalty” Parlor model is designed by the acclaimed T.S.O.L. guitarist to offer the look, sound and extremely cool vibe of a finely crafted parlor guitar in an affordably priced instrument.
Great for anyone who wants a sweet sounding, fun-to-play guitar for practice, songwriting and intimate performances, the “Loyalty” Parlor is equally at home with traditional blues, alt-country, folk ballads and more.
Available in two equally cool versions: an all-ash guitar with a Butterscotch finish (inspired by Emory’s 1952 Telecaster®) and a sumptuous spruce top/mahogany body model with a vintage-style sunburst finish.
PRICE: $299.99 MSRP
Shipping July 2015, the JR2S is a solid top version of the popular Yamaha ¾-size steel string folk guitar that will be shown at the 2015 Summer NAMM Show in Nashville.
Joining the market-leading JR1 and JR2 small body guitars, the new JR2S is perfect for travel, for students as well as people who find conventional neck profiles to be challenging to play.
The JR2S features a beautiful fit and finish, Rosewood fingerboard and bridge, Mahogany back and sides and a Nato neck. The solid Spruce top on the instrument delivers superior tone and sound projection, which will improve as the guitar ages.
A durable, attractive backpack-style soft case is also included that has a spacious compartment for lesson books and tablet computers.
Price: $300 MSRP
The Loar's LH-204 Brownstone has tone as dark and meaty as the turned earth you can see from your front porch.
You want the blues? The LH-204's got 'em.
Based on the award winning LH-200, the Brownstone has a solid Sitka spruce top, mahogany back, sides and neck and a rosewood fretboard in a classic pre-war body style. Vintage vibe is delivered via the brown satin finish and classic-style bound soundhole. The low-key headstock design is a simple gold logo decal that gives a nod to the guitar's rootsy heritage.
With a 1-11/16” bone nut, 25.4” scale and comfortable C profile neck, the tone and appearance of the LH-204 drip with the blues style that many consider to be the foundation of all guitar music since.
The Brownstone is available in brown satin finish with an ivoroid bound soundhole.
Price: $449 Street Price
The LÂG Tramontane Stage Range begins with the T100 models, featuring a deep gloss finish, Dark Mahogany back and sides, and a solid Red Cedar top for a sweet, deep, and exacting tone.
The T100 Series offers a comfortable slim-line cutaway electric model.
Price: $700 MSRP, $499.99 MAP
Here's Martin Guitar's new 00-14 fret, non-cutaway, acoustic electric model.
It features a Sitka spruce top and high-pressure laminate (HPL) mahogany-grained back and sides.
The 00X1AE is equipped with SP Lifespan strings and Fishman Sonitone electronics with USB.
The 00X1AE is the perfect guitar for players of all levels and playing style. #XMarksTheSpot
Price: $749 MSRP
The PRS SE Alex Lifeson Thinline acoustic is a road-worthy guitar for players in need of a stage- and studio-ready instrument.
Carrying over its unique appointments from the Private Stock Alex Lifeson acoustic, this model features a thinner body depth than PRS’s standard Angelus model and the “Birds in Flight” inlay design.
"I was very pleased when PRS presented me with my SE Angelus acoustic, a beautiful guitar of stunning quality. It was in response to the challenge of building a guitar that shared the integrity and attention to detail that the Alex Lifeson Private Stock Angelus possesses in a package more broadly accessible. The SE Alex Lifeson Thinline is that model. Carefully selected materials, expert craftsmanship and a smart approach to concept resulted in a guitar that is beautiful to look at and rewarding to play," says Alex Lifeson
As with all SE Series guitars, the Alex Lifeson Thinline acoustic is a quality instrument and a great value.
The guitar’s thinner body provides an added level of comfort for players and boasts PRS’s Hybrid X/Classical bracing pattern, which gives this guitar a resonance and warmth not found in some thinline models.
The addition of an undersaddle pickup with both volume and tone controls gives this guitar a warm acoustic tone when amplified.
Price: $799 MAP
Released in the Spring and available now, the Guild Guitars M-140E is part of its Westerly Collection.
With its comfortable body and distinctive voice, the M-140E provides excellent balance and a delicate tone.
Featuring a solid Sitka spruce top and solid African mahogany back and sides, the M-140E’s 24 3/4” scale length, vintage shaped Guild neck, and 1 3/4” nut width make this concert size guitar easy to play.
The Fishman Sonitone pickup allows for expert amplification of this small-bodied guitar’s incredibly rich sound.
Additional features include an Indian rosewood fingerboard and bridge, NuBone nut and saddle, and period-correct tortoiseshell pickguard. A mother-of-pearl rosette and Guild’s iconic Chesterfield headstock emblem reminiscent of 1960s models complete the package.
The M-140E includes Guild’s new lightweight polyfoam case and is available in Natural gloss finish.
Price: $1,075 MSRP, $849.99 Street Price
Perhaps not a small body, but for sure a smaller body, the D’Angelico Gramercy’s younger brother has tricks of his own.
The Mercer Grand Auditorium (SG-100) boasts the duo of a slim, mahogany neck and a rosewood fingerboard with block mother-of-pearl inlays, creating subtle elegance and supreme playability.
Sapele back and sides work in tandem with a solid Sitka spruce top to give the Mercer its bright clarity. Prepared to project, the Mercer comes with the Fishman INK-4 onboard preamp, pickup system and built-in tuner. Offered at an attractive price, the Mercer will prove itself steadfast to any player.
The Cordoba C10 Parlor is ideal for the player looking for the feel, comfort, and ease of playability that a smaller instrument provides, while retaining the sweet, warm tone created by all-solid wood construction.
Built with either a solid Canadian cedar or solid European spruce top with solid Indian rosewood back and sides, the C10 Parlor features a 7/8 body size, 50mm nut width, and the fan bracing pattern found on most Cordoba guitars.
The C10 Parlor is built with Spanish heel construction, where the top of the guitar is attached to the neck, the sides are added next, and the guitar’s body is sealed by the installation of the back. This construction technique allows the entire instrument to vibrate as one unified piece.
Aesthetic touches like the mother-of-pearl weave rosette inspired by a 1920’s Domingo Esteso guitar add a touch of vintage elegance to this best-seller. Other premium features include an ebony fingerboard, rosewood bridge, high gloss finish, and Savarez Cristal Corum strings.
The C10 Parlor includes Cordoba’s lightweight polyfoam case.
Price: $1,380 MSRP, $1,059.99 Street Price
There is a special magic found only in the Pacific Northwest, and this magic inspired a series of instruments unlike any other. For the Breedlove Oregon Series the company merged the science of sound, flawless craftsmanship, and striking local woods to create a series of instruments that expresses the deepest parts of who Breedlove is as a company.
New to the series the Breedlove Oregon Parlor LTD has used myrtlewood in a new way. Primarily used as a back wood, for the Oregon Parlor LTD, they’ve also used it as a top wood, adding to the parlor’s knack for being a bold, lively instrument despite its smaller size. Beautiful to look upon as well as hear, the first parlor in the series draws its sonic power and clarity from the Pacific Northwest-grown myrtlewood top, back and sides.
The Breedlove Oregon Parlor LTD also includes an Eastern hardrock maple neck, ebony fretboard and an LR Baggs EAS VTC pickup. Also available in a Concert body.
Price: $2,399 MSRP, $1,499 MAP
Bedell Blackbird Vegan Parlor guitar is the ultimate forest stewardship guitar in addition to its vegan friendly construction.
Inspired by the beauty and wonder of the American landscape: the streams and deserts, swamps and forests, beaches and valleys, and all the magnificent animals that grace this vast and diverse country, from shore to shore.
The Blackbird Vegan models aren’t just sustainable, they’re also built using only American harvested woods: a salvaged Sitka spruce soundboard, Western bigleaf maple back and sides, an Eastern hard rock maple neck, and a walnut fretboard, bridge and peghead overlay.
Bedell craftsmen have achieved unparalleled tone and projection from these plentiful American woods for a truly planet-friendly guitar made from ethically harvested trees. The Blackbird features a translucent black burst and is available in dreadnought, orchestra and parlor body shapes. All Blackbird models include a workshop-installed K&K Pure Mini pickup and a Bedell deluxe hardshell case.
Price: $2,490 MAP
On Taylor’s 12-fret Grand Concert models, the neck meets the body at the 12th fret rather than the 14th, and the bridge position is closer to the center of the lower bout. The result is a splash of extra tonal depth.
The classic pairing of rosewood and spruce yields a full-range acoustic voice, while the smaller body keeps the overtones in check and fits nicely in a mix with other instruments.
A short-scale 24-7/8-inch neck adds comfort to the playing experience. A Vintage Sunburst top and neck, grained Ivoroid binding and rosette, and grained Ivoroid Heritage Diamond fretboard inlays evoke an old-soul persona.
Stage-friendly Taylor Expression System® 2 acoustic electronics translate the acoustic dynamics and tonal detail into exceptional amplified tone.
Price: $3,898 MSRP