Best 3/4 acoustic guitars 2024: smaller bodied options from Taylor, Martin, Fender and more

Small-body acoustic guitars are proving incredibly popular with guitarists both new and established thanks to a convenient body size that can still retain a rich, natural sound. The best 3/4 acoustic guitars can do almost everything their full-sized counterparts can, and humongous artists like Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift, who perform with these diminutive guitars, are demonstrating that 3/4 acoustics can hold their own among the giants of the music world.

Out of the global spotlight, 3/4 acoustic guitars will suit a variety of different players. If you’ve been looking for a portable travel companion, are hankering after a couch guitar that doesn’t take up too much room, or perhaps are smaller in stature and need a guitar to match, a 3/4 acoustic guitar isn’t just a viable option, it’s the ideal option. 

This option becomes even more appealing when you consider the cornucopia of choice currently available on the market. Guitar brands have recognized the small body demand and supplied the guitars to match. From Martin to Taylor, Yamaha to Fender, the option has never been greater. 

That’s where we come in. We’ve selected 10 options for all budgets and from various brands to suit your 3/4 acoustic guitar needs. There is also some handy buying advice further down the page to help you along the way.

Guitar World author Matt McCracken
Matt McCracken

Matt is a Junior Deals Writer at Guitar World and has been playing guitar as his main instrument for well over 20 years. He also plays drums, bass, and keys producing out of his home studio in Manchester, UK. He has previously worked for Dawsons Music, Northwest Guitars, and freelanced for various magazines and blogs, writing reviews, how-to's, and features.

Best 3/4 acoustic guitars: Quick list

Want to get to the good stuff without reading walls of text? Well, here you'll find a roundup of our top choices for the best 3/4 acoustic guitars with links to read a more detailed review if you'd like.

The best 3/4 acoustic guitars available today

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Best 3/4 acoustic guitar overall

Best 3/4 acoustic guitars: Taylor BT1 Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar

(Image credit: Taylor)

1. Taylor BT1 Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar

The best 3/4 acoustic guitar money can buy

Specifications

Type: 3/4
Top: Sitka Spruce
Back and sides: Layered Walnut
Neck: Tropical Mahogany
Scale: 22-3/4" (558mm)
Fingerboard: Ebony
Frets: 19
Tuners: Die-Cast Chrome
Electronics: N/A
Left-handed: Yes
Finish: Natural

Reasons to buy

+
Broad dynamic range and versatile tonality
+
Ridiculously comfortable to play

Reasons to avoid

-
No built-in electronics
-
Might be too pricey for beginners

Taylor Guitars has a reputation as one of the premier acoustic guitar manufacturers in the world, so it’s no surprise to find a Taylor sitting at the top of our list. In our experience, the affectionately named ‘Baby Taylor’ delivers a surprisingly large sound considering its small dimensions.

The Taylor BT1 gives you a beautifully comfortable playing experience, with low string action and a small neck heel allowing you great access to the upper registers. Whether you’re playing fingerstyle or using a guitar pick, it reacts brilliantly to the dynamics of your playing.

Make no mistake this is a proper Taylor guitar, so the sound is just as full of richness and depth as any of the full-size Taylor models. A tight low end with clear mids and crispness in the highs is matched with great projection, making for one of the best 3/4-sized acoustic guitars money can buy.

Best for live performance

Best 3/4 acoustic guitars: Martin LX1 Little Martin Acoustic Guitar

(Image credit: Martin)
A small acoustic guitar for those who like things traditional

Specifications

Type: 3/4
Top: Solid Sitka Spruce
Back and sides: High Pressure Laminate
Neck: Rust Birch Laminate
Scale: 23” (584mm)
Fingerboard: FSC Certified Richlite
Frets: 20
Tuners: Chrome Enclosed Gear
Electronics: N/A
Left-handed: Yes
Finish: Natural

Reasons to buy

+
Big sound considering the size
+
Fantastic tone when amplified

Reasons to avoid

-
Preamp placement takes some getting used to
-
Suffers a little in the low end

Initially made famous by Ed Sheeran, the Martin LX1E ‘Little Martin’ is one of the most popular 3/4 acoustic guitars ever made. Having made acoustics for over 180 years, with Martin Guitars comes a time-tested adherence to quality, so you know you’re getting a guitar of the highest order when you purchase.

Although the LX1E has a short scale length, the fretboard width is roughly the same as a full-size acoustic, meaning it will feel familiar to those who own or have owned bigger guitars. That width doesn’t take away from the sleek feel of the neck, however, and it will still feel cozy enough for old and younger players alike.

The Martin LX1E is louder than a lot of other 3/4 acoustic guitars, with a clear and defined tone. However, thanks to the Fishman Sonitone pickup, it’s when you plug it in that this guitar really shines. The smaller, boxy tone sometimes associated with a 3/4 size acoustic is merely a distant concern when amplified, and the LX1E could have you surprised by rivaling its bigger-bodied brethren. 

Read the full Martin LX1E review

Best for beginners

Best 3/4 acoustic guitars: Yamaha JR1

(Image credit: Yamaha)

3. Yamaha JR1 FG 3/4 Acoustic Guitar

A 3/4 acoustic that's just as good for beginners as it is seasoned pros

Specifications

Type: 3/4
Top: Solid Sitka Spruce
Back and sides: High Pressure Laminate
Neck: Rust Birch Laminate
Scale: 23” (584mm)
Fingerboard: FSC Certified Richlite
Frets: 20
Tuners: Chrome Enclosed Gear
Electronics: N/A
Left-handed: Yes
Finish: Natural

Reasons to buy

+
Great tone
+
Comes with accessories

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as loud as a full size
-
Not the most aesthetically appealing

The JR1 is one of Yamaha’s best-selling 3/4 acoustic guitars thanks to its great specifications and easy playability. Coming with a bunch of accessories it’s a perfect acoustic guitar for beginners as you get everything you need in one box (including a gigbag!).

The short scale gives the neck of this guitar inherently fast playability, being easy enough for beginners to handle without potentially putting off more seasoned players. The rosewood fingerboard feels super smooth and it's a joy to fret chords and play riffs on.

The JR1 is based upon Yamaha’s full-size FG range guitars, so you get a laminated spruce top with a Mahogany back and sides that deliver a fantastic tone. It’s a bright sound that has plenty of projection thanks to the dreadnought-shaped body.

Best value 3/4 acoustic guitar

Best 3/4 acoustic guitars: Faith Nomad Mini-Neptune

(Image credit: Faith)

4. Faith Nomad Mini-Neptune

Faith launching us to the stars with this mini-offering

Specifications

Type: 3/4
Top: Solid mahogany
Back and sides: Solid mahogany
Neck: Mahogany
Scale: 590mm
Fingerboard: Indonesian ebony
Frets: 18
Tuners: Precision chrome
Electronics: Fishman Sonicore Pickup and Isys T preamp
Left-handed: No
Finish: Mahogany

Reasons to buy

+
Mini-jumbo shape packs a punch
+
Rich, warm tone
+
Very robust hardware

Reasons to avoid

-
No spruce version 

While not the biggest name on the market, Faith has earned itself an interstellar reputation for producing exceptional quality instruments. The brainchild of renowned luthier Patrick James Eggle, Faith isn’t afraid to explore new frontiers and create unique instruments using lesser-known yet high-quality materials. Although modeled from traditional acoustic body styles, Faith’s body shape naming system is taken from our solar system, hence all the space age references.

Inspired by their jumbo body style, the Neptune, this 3/4 electro-acoustic is a fully solid mahogany guitar that delivers a rich, woody tone. Picking up a fully solid acoustic for under $500 is incredibly great value, something Faith’s main competitors haven’t done in a long time. A top-notch quality gig bag is a testament to the company's exceedingly good value for money. 

However, it doesn’t stop there. The Neptune-mini has a Fishman Sonicore preamp and Isys T pickup, meaning its dynamic, warm timbre is translated incredibly accurately when amplified. Rounding off an impressive display is its hardware. The precision chrome tuners offer just that, precise tuning accuracy and stability. Although the Faith Nomad Mini-Neptune is an all-star guitar, the scale length may just be too short for some players to get along with. Something to bear in mind if your arms are particularly long.

Best for playability

Best 3/4 acoustic guitars: Yamaha APXT2

(Image credit: Future)

5. Yamaha APXT2 3/4-Size Acoustic-Electric Guitar

For guitarists who want a fast-playing neck

Specifications

Type: 3/4
Top: Spruce
Back and sides: Meranti
Neck: Nato/Mahogany
Scale: 22.8" (580mm)
Fingerboard: Rosewood
Frets: 21
Tuners: Covered Tuners
Electronics: System 68 (Contact Pickup)
Left-handed: No
Finish: Natural, Old Violin Sunburst, Dark Red Burst, Black

Reasons to buy

+
Super comfortable and fast playing neck
+
Great plugged in sound

Reasons to avoid

-
Not great for large hands
-
Slightly ‘boxy’ unplugged sound

Yamaha has a fantastic reputation in the beginner’s market, having given us the now-classic CS range of nylon-strung acoustic guitars. Since then they’ve been a constant in schools and other educational institutions, with many guitarists cutting their teeth on a Yamaha acoustic.

The fretboard of the APXT2 feels slightly wider than that which you’d typically find on a 3/4 acoustic guitar, meaning it will suit players used to a full-sized instrument. It’s still easy to play for beginners though thanks to its slim neck profile that encourages fast playing.

The body shape is nice and slim too, with a cutaway that gives you easy access to the upper frets of the guitar. It sounds less ‘boomy’ than some full-size acoustics thanks to its size and delivers crisp and clear tones. It's got a great acoustic guitar pickup installed, so when plugged in it really takes on a life of its own, sounding nigh on indistinguishable from a full-size acoustic guitar.

Best for a bright tone

Best 3/4 acoustic guitars: Taylor GS Mini Rosewood

(Image credit: Future)
A pint-sized acoustic that packs a punch

Specifications

Type: 3/4
Top: Sitka Spruce
Back and sides: Layered Rosewood
Neck: Tropical Mahogany
Scale: 23-1/2" (622mm)
Fingerboard: Ebony
Frets: 20
Tuners: Die-Cast Chrome
Electronics: N/A
Left-handed: Yes
Finish: Natural

Reasons to buy

+
Effortless playability
+
Bright and articulate sound

Reasons to avoid

-
A little on the quiet side
-
Might be too pricey for complete beginners

The Taylor GS Mini has become something of a modern classic, finding favor with experienced guitarists whilst still being beginner-friendly. There’s no doubt it’s played a large part in the soaring popularity of smaller sized guitars.

The neck of this guitar is super-comfortable, retaining the string spacing of a larger guitar but pairing it with the 3/4 scale to brilliant effect. It’s a proper Ebony fretboard, so you’re getting the same quality wood that appears on full-sized Taylor guitars.

Soundwise it’s articulate and bright in tone, as you’d expect from a Taylor, with great natural resonance. The combination of rosewood back and sides with a spruce top gives you a silky high end that never feels too sharp.

Read the full Taylor GS Mini Mahogany review

More options...

So those are our top picks, but there are many more great options to choose from that offer something a little different in terms of features and performance. We've selected some more of our favorites below.

Best 3/4 acoustic guitars: Fender Sonoran Mini

(Image credit: Future)

7. Fender Sonoran Mini 3/4 Acoustic Guitar

For those looking for a thoroughly modern 3/4 acoustic

Specifications

Type: 3/4
Top: Spruce
Back and sides: Mahogany
Neck: Nato
Scale: 24.1" (612mm)
Fingerboard: Walnut
Frets: 18
Tuners: Vintage-Style with Aged White Plastic Buttons
Electronics: N/A
Left-handed: No
Finish: Natural

Reasons to buy

+
Full Fender quality and durability
+
Looks set it apart from other 3/4 guitars

Reasons to avoid

-
Modern looks might put some players off
-
Onboard preamp isn’t the loudest

The Fender Sonoran Mini is one of the most popular small body acoustics the big F offers and you know when you buy a guitar with the Fender name on the headstock, you’re getting a guarantee of quality, durability, and brilliant sound.

The Sonoran Mini has a classic ‘C’ shape neck profile as you’d find on many Fender guitars, complete with classic Strat-style headstock. The neck feels great whether you’re playing chords or riffing, with the Walnut fretboard offering a smooth playing experience.

The body is slightly pear-shaped, helping it deliver a big unplugged sound that will satisfy veteran players without compromising on the playing comfort required by beginners. It has mahogany back and sides and a spruce top to give you plenty of warmth of tone, with crisp and clear clarity.

Best 3/4 acoustic guitars: Cordoba Cadete

(Image credit: Cordoba)

8. Cordoba Cadete 3/4 Classical Acoustic Guitar

A great classical guitar for new players

Specifications

Price: $340/£260
Type: 3/4 Classical
Top: Solid Western Red Cedar
Back and sides: Mahogany
Neck: Mahogany
Scale: 24.2" (615mm)
Fingerboard: Rosewood
Frets: 19
Tuners: Cordoba Gold Tuning Machines
Electronics: N/A
Left-handed: No
Finish: Natural

Reasons to buy

+
Solid cedar top has a rich sound with depth
+
Sturdy tuners give great stability

Reasons to avoid

-
Might be too pricey for complete beginners
-
Not as loud as the full-size Cordoba classical guitars

Cordoba is a relatively new guitar brand but quickly gaining a great reputation for solidly built and beautiful sounding guitars. The Cordoba Cadete is a beginner classical guitar with soft nylon strings that are great for newer players.

With a mahogany neck, this guitar feels really solid, and the flat radius of the fretboard makes it great for students of classical, being very well suited to fingerstyle playing. The neck is more than comfortable enough for new players, whilst still retaining enough heft that it won’t put off the more experienced guitarists looking for a living room or travel guitar.

To come in with a solid top at this price point is really impressive, and it ensures the Cordoba Cadete sounds seriously good. The sound is easily comparable with guitars that are both larger in size and higher in price tag, making this guitar a great investment for new and veteran players alike.

Best 3/4 acoustic guitars: Luna Aurora Borealis 3/4

(Image credit: Luna)

9. Luna Aurora Borealis 3/4 Classical Acoustic Guitar

A beautiful guitar designed with beginners in mind

Specifications

Type: 3/4
Top: Basswood
Back and sides: Basswood
Neck: Mahogany
Scale: 22.5" (572mm)
Fingerboard: Black Walnut
Frets: 19
Tuners: Sealed Die Cast
Electronics: N/A
Left-handed: No
Finish: White Sparkle, Black Pearl, Pink Pearl, Teal Sparkle

Reasons to buy

+
Perfect for any beginner guitar player
+
Excellent value for money

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacking a bit of projection
-
Aesthetics not for everyone

Another newcomer to the world of acoustic guitar, Luna Guitars came about as a result of female musicians’ struggle with large and heavy instruments. Whilst these guitars are uniquely tailored to female bodies and hands, many men have been picking them up too thanks to their distinctive looks and great playability.

A 19-fret mahogany neck with a rosewood fretboard provides a fantastically comfortable playing experience that’s perfect for smaller hands. The moon inlay fret markers serve the dual purpose of guiding your playing, whilst adding some serious aesthetic allure.

An all-basswood body delivers a bright and warm tone that never sounds tinny despite its small size. The various finishes available are sure to entice beginner guitar players too, with sparkly finishes and a crescent moon rosette that really stand out from the crowd.

Best 3/4 acoustic guitars: Yamaha CS40II

(Image credit: Yamaha)

10. Yamaha CS40 II 3/4 Classical Acoustic Guitar

The most popular beginner guitar in the world

Specifications

Type: 3/4 Classical
Top: Spruce
Back and sides: Locally Sourced Tonewood
Neck: Locally Sourced Tonewood
Scale: 22-13/16" (580mm)
Fingerboard: Rosewood
Frets: 18
Tuners: Chrome
Electronics: N/A
Left-handed: No
Finish: Natural

Reasons to buy

+
Great playability that’s affordable
+
Perfect for beginner guitar players

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks fretboard markers
-
Not the most aesthetically exciting

The Yamaha CS40 II has been a staple in music rooms the world over for decades now. So many guitarists got their start on one of these and it’s spawned countless imitations over the years.

A rosewood fingerboard provides a great platform for beginners to make their first forays into chords and scales, with the shorter scale proving supremely comfortable. The lack of fretboard markers may hamper players initially, but offers a great fretboard lesson for the long term.

The spruce top provides plenty of brightness to the CS40 II’s overall sound and once you put a decent set of strings on it really sizzles sound-wise. It’s very tonally balanced and will suit a variety of styles, not just classical.

Best 3/4 acoustic guitars: Buying advice

Close-up of a Taylor GS Mini acoustic guitar

(Image credit: Future)

Why would you want a 3/4 acoustic guitar?

The 3/4 acoustic guitar was originally created for students with more diminutive dimensions, enabling them to play chords and scales more easily when first picking up the instrument. Yet in recent times more and more guitarists have been moving to these smaller-scale instruments for a variety of different reasons. 

Firstly, the smaller stature of a 3/4 acoustic guitar is incredibly appealing for those looking for comfort. We all love the sound of a large, boomy dreadnought, nothing quite beats it. However, if you’re looking to play a few chords on the couch, this purity of tone may not be quite as important as comfort. Also, for those who are a little smaller in stature, a large dreadnought acoustic may be out of the question already, making the appeal of a 3/4 acoustic even greater. 

This leads to our next point, playability. For some, a longer scale length isn’t the most natural thing to play and there are those out there who find a shorter scale length much easier to grab chords and reach notes, particularly beginners. If this helps you learn, we say go for it! 

Lastly, 3/4 acoustic guitars are tremendously portable. If you’ve been considering taking your guitar to a holiday home, on a road trip, or just around to your partner's house to annoy them with your version of 'Wonderwall' then it’ll be easiest with a 3/4 acoustic. Also, most manufacturers will supply a gig bag with a 3/4 acoustic guitar, making this type the perfect choice for traveling. 

What's different about a 3/4 guitar?

Apart from the obvious size difference, there is little else differentiating a 3/4 acoustic guitar from its full-sized counterpart. No matter the size, the two most important components of an acoustic guitar are its top wood and neck profile. 

To put this in simple terms, the top wood affects how the acoustic guitar sounds, whilst the neck profile affects how the guitar plays.

Close up of the Taylor baby taylor

(Image credit: Future)

What else should I know about the best 3/4 acoustic guitars?

The top wood is arguably the most important aspect of how a 3/4 acoustic guitar generates its sound, with different wood types imparting their tonal personality. Sitka spruce is one of the most commonly found top woods, thanks to its bright and crisp tonality. A more dense wood, such as Mahogany will have more bass response, giving you a warmer overall sound when you play.

The neck profile is crucial to you feeling comfortable on your choice of 3/4 acoustic guitar and is arguably one of the most important aspects when choosing to buy any type of guitar. Neck profiles are usually denoted by letters C, D, V, and U, referring to the shape of the back of the neck. C and D profiles tend to be easier for smaller or inexperienced hands to get to grips with, whereas V and U shapes have a much chunkier feel in the hand.

If at all possible, playing a few of these guitars before you decide to buy will stand you in great stead, but with such high-quality names on the list as Taylor, Martin, Fender, and Yamaha, you’re pretty much guaranteed a great experience no matter which 3/4 acoustic guitar you go for.

Can adults play 3/4 acoustic guitars?

Absolutely! 3/4 acoustic guitars are suitable for people of all shapes and sizes, not just for smaller children. Although these guitars were originally created for beginners, today the humble 3/4 acoustic has started to appeal to a slightly different target audience, that being adults and intermediate to professional players. 

This is largely thanks to brands like Taylor, Martin and Faith, who are creating high-quality, great-sounding 3/4 acoustic guitars. These instruments, like the Martin LX1E, are designed for more experienced players looking for the benefits a smaller guitar can bring but not wanting to skimp on the quality. After all, if Ed Sheeran can headline Wembley with a 3/4 acoustic, then you’ll be able to play a few chords in the living room with one. 

How we choose products

A collection of 3/4 acoustic guitars on a blue background

(Image credit: Future)

Here at Guitar World, we are experts in our field, with many years of playing and product testing between us. We live and breathe everything guitar-related, and we draw on this knowledge and experience of using products in live, recording and rehearsal scenarios when selecting the products for our guides.

When choosing what we believe to be the best 3/4 acoustic guitars available right now, we combine our hands-on experience, user reviews and testimonies and engage in lengthy discussions with our editorial colleagues to reach a consensus about the top products in any given category.

First and foremost, we are guitarists, and we want other players to find the right product for them. So we take into careful consideration everything from budget to feature set, ease of use and durability to come up with a list of what we can safely say are the best 3/4 acoustic guitars on the market right now.

Read more about our rating system, how we choose the gear we feature, and exactly how we test each product.

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