- Fender Player Duo-Sonic HS
- Ibanez MiKro GRGm21 Short-Scale Guitar
- Fender Mustang 90 Short-Scale Guitar
- Jackson Dinky Minion JS1X
- Sterling By Music Man Cutlass Short Scale
- Squier Mini Stratocaster
- Cordoba Mini II
- Oscar Schmidt OS-30
- So, What Are Short-Scale Guitars?
- How To Choose A Short-Scale Guitar
- Size Doesn’t Matter
Ready to rock out, but can’t handle a full-sized guitar? Don’t worry! With the music world becoming more inclusive, short-scale guitars are making a big impression. They’re perfect for musicians like you who are seeking easier playability and comfort. Whether you’re a beginner or a skilled guitarist looking to diversify your sound, a short-scale guitar could be just what you need to enhance your musical experience. In this article, we’re going to explore the best short-scale guitars making a splash this year.
We’ll look at their unique features, pricing, pros and cons, helping you find the perfect guitar to let you shred like a pro. So, let’s tighten those straps and tune those strings as we set off on a rhythmic journey to find the guitar that’ll resonate with your musical dreams.
The Fender Player Duo-Sonic HS is a compact electric guitar that exudes a great reputation and immense character. Being a modern rendition of a vintage guitar initially unveiled in 1956, it offers exceptional playability coupled with a superb sound that is supported by its impressive pickup configuration.
This guitar is essentially a 24-inch scale reiteration of the original Fender Duo-Sonic, which was a simple but efficient ¾ size guitar fitted with two vintage-style single-coil pickups. Initially marketed as a student guitar, the Duo-Sonic gradually gained traction among professional players as well.
The Fender Duo-Sonic HS is designed with a beautiful and traditional thin waist and solid body. Its maple neck is C-shaped with a silky satin finish, thus feeling incredibly friendly in the hands owing to its ergonomic proportions.
- Compact size is suitable for players with smaller hands, junior players, female guitarists, or anyone who prefers a smaller instrument for more freedom of movement and experimentation.
- Exceptional playability due to its ergonomic proportions.
- Beautiful and traditional design that feels friendly in the hands.
- A broad range of tonal possibilities due to the combination of the single-coil and humbucker pickups.
- High-quality materials and reliable performance.
The Fender Duo-Sonic HS is budgeted in the mid-range category, making it a good investment for those looking for a top-quality instrument.
From a personal perspective, the Fender Duo-Sonic HS boasts a plethora of pros. Its compact and ergonomic design is a definite plus, making it a joy to play. The versatility of the guitar is impressive, with a myriad of tonal possibilities on offer due to the pickup setup. Furthermore, the Fender brand’s reputation and history add a layer of trust and respectability to the instrument.
However, there are a few drawbacks. The limited choice of color variations could be a disappointment for those looking for more personalization. The price, while reasonable considering the quality, is higher compared to some budget-friendly options which may deter beginners or budget-conscious musicians. Another potential downside is the absence of a tremolo system.
The Ibanez MiKro GRGm21 is a compact electric guitar that’s well-suited for both young budding musicians and adults seeking a portable instrument. This small, double-cutaway guitar sports a solid body construction, enhancing access to the higher frets. With a scale length of 22.2 inches, it’s significantly smaller than full-sized guitars, making it a comfortable fit for novices and players with smaller hands. The basswood body ensures a balanced tone with great sustain, while the maple neck and rosewood fretboard contribute to a smooth playing experience.
- Compact Size: The shorter scale length is ideal for young learners or those with smaller hands.
- Versatile Sound: The MiKro GRGm21’s dual Ibanez Infinity R humbucking pickups deliver a potent and versatile sound.
- Aesthetics: The guitar features a candy apple red paint job and a black three-ply pickguard, lending it a striking appearance.
- Playability: With a thin neck and low string tension, the MiKro GRGm21 is easy to play. The double-cutaway design enhances access to the higher frets.
- Tuning Stability: The guitar features a fixed bridge, providing stable tuning and easy string changes.
The pricing for the Ibanez MiKro GRGm21 may vary based on the retailer and location. We currently have it priced at roughly $170 USD.
From the perspective of those who’ve tried the MiKro GRGm21, there are several aspects that resonate positively. Its compact size and easy playability are highly appreciated, particularly for beginners or those with smaller hands. The guitar’s solid body construction, coupled with a maple neck and rosewood fingerboard, offers a smooth and comfortable playing experience. The dual Ibanez Infinity R humbucking pickups are praised for delivering a versatile and powerful sound.
However, the MiKro GRGm21 has been reported as sounding slightly fuzzy when used with distortion. The stock humbucker pickups may generate a muddy sound that may not appeal to seasoned players. Additionally, some players have found the frets below the 15th fret to be difficult to reach, especially those with larger fingers. Minor finish and build issues have also been noted, suggesting that the guitar might require a setup or adjustments upon purchase.
Despite these minor shortcomings, the MiKro GRGm21 is deemed a great option for those seeking a compact, comfortable electric guitar that doesn’t compromise on sound and playability.
The Fender Mustang 90 is part of Fender’s Player Series. This series is known for its focus on modern specs and designs. The Mustang 90 retains the classic Mustang body shape with an offset design, making it comfortable to hold and play. The guitar comes equipped with two Mustang MP-90 pickups, offering a rich and dynamic tone. Its 24″ scale length and C-shaped maple neck provide a comfortable play experience. The guitar is available in several attractive finishes, including Aged Natural and Seafoam Green.
- MP-90 pickups: Providing a mid-rich sound, versatile enough for vintage honk as well as biting punk tones.
- Comfortable Playability: With its short-scale length, narrow nut width, and C-neck shape, playing the Mustang 90 is a comfortable experience.
- Six-Saddle String-Through-Body Strat Bridge: Enhances sustain and tuning stability.
- Quality Construction: High-quality build with a gloss polyester finish and no noticeable flaws.
- Versatility: Suitable for various genres including rock, punk, indie, or alternative music.
The Fender Mustang 90 is considered a great value, priced at roughly $799 USD. It offers a unique sound and stylish design, making it a suitable choice for beginners and intermediate players.
The Mustang 90 is seen as a versatile guitar suitable for a variety of music styles. The solid alder body provides a balanced tone, while the MP-90 pickups offer a variety of tonal options. This guitar is praised for its ability to handle everything from clean and crisp tones to gritty and overdriven sounds. The unique aesthetics and the vintage-style synchronized tremolo system add to the overall appeal of the guitar.
However, some issues have been noted with the out-of-the-box setup of the Fender Mustang 90. It may require some adjustments for optimal tuning stability, particularly related to the placement of the string tree. Some have suggested that adding a metal ring to raise the strings and lubricating the nut could mitigate these issues.
Despite these minor issues, the Fender Mustang 90 is often highly recommended due to its unique blend of vintage and modern tones, high-quality construction, and comfortable playability. Its standout features and impressive sound make it a popular choice, particularly for those looking for a guitar with a more rebellious spirit.
The Jackson Dinky Minion JS1X is a compact, yet powerful electric guitar, specifically designed to cater to the needs of younger players or those with smaller hands due to its 2/3 scale length of 22.5 inches. It’s not only perfect for kids, but its comfort, playability, and sound also make it attractive to adult players. This guitar boasts a solid poplar body in a modified super strat body shape and a reinforced bolt-on maple neck which continues its robust construction.
- The guitar features a comfortable slim and narrow profile neck, which makes it easy for small hands to navigate.
- The rosewood fretboard comes with 24 jumbo frets and Jackson’s pearloid sharkfin inlays, enhancing the playability and aesthetics of the instrument.
- The Jackson Dinky Minion JS1X is equipped with two high-output Jackson humbucking pickups, a three-way selector switch, and a single volume and tone control, allowing for a variety of tones.
- The fixed bridge ensures tuning stability.
- Despite its compact size, the guitar delivers a warm and clear tone for clean playing and a chunky, full tone when played with distortion.
The Jackson Dinky Minion JS1X is priced under $200, making it an affordable option for beginners and young players who are keen to explore the world of electric guitars without having to invest heavily.
From a personal perspective, the Jackson Dinky Minion JS1X is definitely a guitar worth considering. It offers a unique combination of compact size and high-quality sound, making it easier to play and handle. The solid poplar body of the guitar ensures a balanced tone and good sustain, adding to the sound quality. Furthermore, the bolt-on maple neck with a graphite reinforcement provides stability and durability to the instrument.
The inclusion of high-output humbucking pickups is worth noting as they deliver a powerful and versatile tone. This, coupled with the three-way toggle switch and the master volume and tone knobs, provide a variety of sound shaping options that could cater to a broad spectrum of music genres.
One notable feature is the adjustable bridge with a string-through-body design, which enhances the sustain and resonance of the instrument, adding to the overall sound quality.
However, potential buyers should be aware of the California Proposition 65 warning due to potential cancer and reproductive harm associated with the guitar.
Overall, the Jackson Dinky Minion JS1X is available in a range of finishes such as Metallic Blue Burst, Neon Green, Pavo Purple, and Satin Black. This, along with its stylish design, comfortable playing experience, versatile tone options, and affordable pricing, makes it an attractive option for both beginners and experienced players alike.
The Cutlass Short Scale is an excellent guitar model designed by the renowned manufacturer, Music Man. It is popular for its compact 24″ short-scale neck, which enhances its playability, making it an attractive choice for players with smaller hands or those who prefer a shorter scale length. With a body made from solid alder, it offers a balanced and resonant tone. The guitar also boasts a maple neck and a smooth rosewood fretboard. Equipped with three single-coil pickups, the Cutlass Short Scale provides a versatile range of tones and can accommodate a variety of musical styles.
- A shorter scale length of 24 inches for enhanced playability
- Solid alder body for balanced and resonant tone
- Maple neck with a rosewood fretboard for a smooth playing experience
- Equipped with three single-coil pickups for a versatile tonal range
- Vintage-style tremolo bridge for expressive pitch bending and vibrato effects
The Cutlass Short Scale offers a competitive edge in pricing, being 62% cheaper than its average competitors in the same category, making it an affordable choice for budget-conscious musicians without sacrificing quality and performance.
Playing the Cutlass Short Scale, one thing that stands out is the shorter scale length of 24 inches. The compact design makes it more comfortable to play, especially for people with smaller hands or those who prefer a shorter scale. However, this feature could result in a slightly more “bassy” tone, and there might be a limited ability to lower the action.
The solid alder body provides a balanced and resonant tone that is pleasing to the ears. The maple neck coupled with the smooth rosewood fretboard offers a seamless playing experience. The three single-coil pickups are a great feature, delivering a versatile range of tones that can accommodate a wide array of musical styles.
The vintage-style tremolo bridge is a nice nostalgic touch, allowing for expressive pitch bending and vibrato effects. The sleek and stylish design is another pro, with a comfortable and ergonomic body shape and available in classic colors like black, white, and sunburst.
On the downside, although the guitar is generally well-received for its excellent build quality and attention to detail, some minor adjustments might be necessary out of the box. For instance, the tuners might need to be swapped for locking versions, and the string height and intonation may require some tweaks.
Overall, the Cutlass Short Scale offers great playability, tone, and versatility. While it might present a few minor setbacks, it still stands as a reliable and well-crafted instrument that offers value for money.
The Squier Mini Stratocaster is a 3/4-sized electric guitar that is designed for beginners, kids, or individuals with small hands, making it a great option for those seeking a smaller-sized electric guitar. It is equipped with three Standard Single-Coil Strat pickups that provide bright, sparkling tones. The guitar has a solid poplar body and a maple neck with a 22.75″ scale length, making it comfortable and easy to play. Its overall quality and affordability make it a worthy choice for guitar enthusiasts.
- A 3/4-sized instrument for easy handling and playability.
- Comfortable “C”-shaped maple neck.
- Equipped with three single-coil pickups for bright, sparkling tones.
- Versatile 5-way pickup switch allowing for a variety of tone possibilities.
- Iconic Stratocaster look that comes in various color options.
- Good overall quality for its price range.
The Squier Mini Stratocaster offers a high-quality instrument at an affordable price, making it an excellent choice for beginners or those on a budget.
As a scaled-down version of the iconic Fender Stratocaster, the Squier Mini Stratocaster offers comfortable playability due to its shorter scale length of 22.75 inches. Its double-cutaway design allows for easy access to the upper frets. Equipped with three single-coil pickups and a five-way pickup selector, the guitar can produce bright and clear tones. The vintage-style synchronized tremolo bridge allows for the addition of subtle vibrato effects, adding another layer to your playing.
Additionally, the guitar is designed with a “C”-shaped maple neck, known for its smooth playability. With its range of finishes, from classic colors like black, sunburst, and white, to vibrant options like pink and blue, the guitar can cater to personal preferences.
However, despite its many pros, the Squier Mini Stratocaster is not without its cons. It may not be the best option for heavy metal due to its slightly fuzzy tone with distortion. There may also be some occasional finish and build issues, including fret sharpness, fret buzz, and poor setup. The guitar generally stays in tune well, but some owners have reported stability issues. However, these issues might not be widespread and can be fixed.
Overall, despite a few setbacks, the Squier Mini Stratocaster is a great instrument for beginners, young players, or anyone looking for a smaller and more affordable version of a classic guitar. It provides an accessible and comfortable playing experience, offering a classic design and versatile tone in a smaller, more compact package.
The Cordoba Mini II is a compact, nylon-string guitar that’s highly regarded for its playability and affordability. As the next iteration of the popular Cordoba Mini, this instrument boasts an enlarged body and a lengthier neck. The Mini II comes in three versions: the MH, FMH, and EB-CE. Each model has its unique attributes, such as the well-rounded tone of the MH, the mellow and balanced sound of the FMH, and the amplification capability of the EB-CE, thanks to its onboard electronics.
- Compact size for easy portability
- Affordable pricing, making it accessible for beginners
- Multiple versions to suit different preferences
- Comfortable to play because of the small body and neck
- Onboard electronics for amplification on the EB-CE model
- A versatile instrument for learners and experienced players
The price for the Cordoba Mini II begins at $129 for the MH version. Given the quality and the range of features it offers, it is considered excellent value for its price.
The Cordoba Mini II is akin to a ukulele in size and playability, making it a fun and portable instrument, ideal for travel. The short-scale length and the hard tension strings give it a uke-like soft feel, which makes it a good stepping stone to a regular guitar. It’s also easy to adjust to and play right out of the box with an action of 3.5mm on the low-E string and 3mm on the high-E string at the 12th fret.
However, while the Mini II offers good acoustic sound, it’s important to note that the pickup sound quality isn’t as impressive as with other guitars. The build quality is average for its price range with no standout features. Moreover, this guitar should never be strung with steel strings as it could cause damage.
In terms of sound, the all-laminate MH version may not deliver as well on chords as the solid-top EB-CE version, but it still performs admirably for single-string tones. This guitar offers flexibility, as it is small enough to be played in a car but still similar enough to a full-sized guitar for practice purposes. In fact, it’s cheap enough to not cause too much distress if lost during travel.
The Mini II also comes with a built-in tuner, which although convenient, doesn’t offer the best pickup sound. Regardless of these minor setbacks, the Cordoba Mini II continues to be a popular choice, appreciated for its affordability, versatility, and portability.
The Oscar Schmidt OS-30 is a 3/4 size electric guitar perfect for young players with smaller hands. The traditional leader in folk music since 1871, Oscar Schmidt has crafted this instrument with a professional look and identity featuring distinctive headstock, bridge, and pickguard designs. This guitar is a solid-body electric guitar, made with premium wood and quality hardware, offering exceptional value for its modest price. It features a tobacco sunburst color and a white pickguard. The body material is made of maple and it has an adjustable truss rod. The hardware of the guitar is chrome which includes a standard fulcrum tremolo bridge and die-cast tuners.
- 3/4 size making it perfect for young players or people with smaller hands
- It has a solid body, made of quality materials ensuring durability and good sound.
- Adjustable truss rod allows for easy adjustment of the neck’s curvature.
- Professional look and identity with distinctive headstock, bridge, and pickguard designs.
- Available in a beautiful tobacco sunburst color that stands out.
- Reliable brand – Oscar Schmidt has a long history of producing quality instruments.
The Oscar Schmidt OS-30 is priced at $229.93. There are also options to add a protection plan for 3 or 4 years, provided by Asurion, LLC. The protection plan covers repairs, including parts, labor, and shipping, with no additional cost to the customer.
I can say that the Oscar Schmidt OS-30 is a fantastic entry-level guitar. The size is perfect for those of us with smaller hands or for children just beginning to learn. Its solid maple body and quality hardware ensure a clear, bright sound that you wouldn’t expect at such a reasonable price point.
One of the standout features of this guitar is its distinctive design—there’s no mistaking it for a generic instrument. The tobacco sunburst color is both classic and appealing, and the white pickguard gives it a professional look.
However, despite its many benefits, the OS-30 is not without its flaws. For instance, some folks might find the color received was slightly different from what they expected. Also, the guitar may require some adjustment or setup when it first arrives. But with a little bit of time and patience, it’s easy to get it sounding just as you’d like.
All things considered, though, the Oscar Schmidt OS-30 is an excellent and affordable option for anyone looking to start their musical journey. It’s reliable, has a great sound, and most importantly, it’s a whole lot of fun to play.
Short-scale guitars, as you might guess from the name, are simply guitars with a shorter neck length compared to their standard-scale counterparts. The term ‘scale length’ when we’re talking about guitars, refers to the distance between the nut (where the strings first touch the neck) and the bridge of the guitar (where the strings are anchored). For a short-scale guitar, this distance is usually 24 inches or less. On the other hand, standard scale guitars typically have a scale length of 25.5 inches or more.
The smaller scale length of these guitars makes them a favorite for players with smaller hands or those who find a shorter neck more comfortable to play. They’re also a popular pick for beginners or children who are just starting to learn the guitar. The reduced tension on the strings of a short-scale guitar, thanks to their shorter length, makes them easier to play and bend, which is a big plus for beginner guitarists.
But the shortened scale length affects more than just how easy it is to play. It can also change the overall sound production. Short-scale guitars are known to produce a warmer and mellower tone compared to standard-scale guitars. When you’re choosing a short-scale guitar, it’s important to think about your playing style and the tone you want from your instrument. Also, the quality of the guitar, from the wood used for the body to the hardware like tuners and bridge, plays a big part in the overall performance and sound of the guitar.
Choosing a short-scale guitar is all about recognizing how the scale length influences the guitar’s playability and sound. Short-scale guitars are defined by a shorter distance between the nut and the bridge, which affects the string tension, fret spacing, and overall tone of the instrument. These guitars have lower string tension and closer fret spacing, making them more comfortable and easier to play, especially if you’ve got smaller hands or shorter arms.
Short-scale guitars typically have a warmer and fuller tone than their longer-scale counterparts. But remember, the scale length’s effect on tone isn’t as significant as other factors like the type of wood used and the body style. That said, the shorter scale does give a slightly different sound because of the closer frequencies of the overtones produced. That’s why you’ll find many indie rockers favoring short-scale guitars – they offer a unique aesthetic that sets them apart.
When you’re picking out a short-scale guitar, your personal preference is key. But it’s a good idea to go for a model with a solid top and the right type of wood. You’ll also want to think about the type of wood used for the body and neck, the neck shape, and the overall design of the guitar. High-quality short-scale guitars aren’t just for beginners or kids; they’re also a great choice for experienced players looking for a different playing experience. The best short-scale guitar is the one that feels right in your hands, suits your playing style and preferences, and adds a spark to your musical journey.
Short-scale guitars are compact, easy to handle, and possess a unique, warm tonal character that gives them an edge. Whether you’re playing a Fender, an Ibanez, a Jackson, or a Squier, your choice of a short-scale guitar can be as diverse and unique as you are. What unites all these guitars is the shared experience of how a shorter scale can offer a different, more comfortable playing experience, particularly for beginners, youngsters, or those with smaller hands.
While a shorter scale length does mean that the frets are closer together, making it easier for those with smaller hands, it’s also crucial to remember that this can affect the tone of the instrument. The lower string tension on a short-scale guitar can result in a warmer, mellow sound, and the effect on playability can be significant, especially if you’re a new guitarist.
Regardless of your skill level or hand size, the truth is that the best guitar for you is the one you love to play – a model that fits your style, your hands, and your budget. From the affordability of the Oscar Schmidt OS-30 and the Jackson Dinky Minion JS1X, to the distinctive sound of the Fender Mustang 90 and the elegance of the Music Man Cutlass Short Scale, there’s a short-scale guitar out there for every player.
Ultimately, your choice of guitar is a personal one. This guide aims to make short-scale guitars a bit less mysterious.