3/4 Guitar: A Beginner’s Guide (Everything You Need To Know)

3/4 Guitars

Often overshadowed by their full-sized counterparts, 3/4 electric guitars are a gem in the guitar world, offering versatility, comfort, and quality in a compact package.

And, no, they’re not just for kids and beginners either. EVH even used one, it was called “The Little Guitar” and if it’s good enough for Van Halen, it’s good enough for mere mortals like you and me.

Let’s dive in and find out what makes these types of guitar so very, very special…

3/4 Electric Guitars: The Basics

Guitar Size Comparison Chart

Feature3/4 GuitarFull-Size Guitar
Total LengthApproximately 36 inches (91 cm)Approximately 40 to 41 inches (102 to 104 cm)
Scale LengthAround 23 inches (58 cm)Around 25.5 inches (65 cm)
Body SizeSmaller, making it ideal for younger players or those with a smaller frameLarger, providing a fuller sound
Sound ProjectionLess volume and projection due to smaller bodyGreater volume and sound projection
PortabilityMore portable and easier to handleLess portable compared to 3/4 size
String TensionLower tension, easier on the fingersHigher tension, can be more challenging for beginners
VersatilityWell-suited for travel and young beginnersPreferred by professional musicians for its fuller sound

At the core, a 3/4 electric guitar is a smaller version of a standard electric guitar, typically measuring about 75% of the size.

But don’t let the size fool you – these guitars pack a punch.

They are designed to produce sound qualities and tones comparable to full-sized guitars, making them more than just a novelty item for young players or those with smaller hands.

Their reduced scale offers a unique playing experience that doesn’t compromise on the richness and depth of music.

Importance in the Guitar World

In the guitar community, 3/4 electric guitars hold a special place. They bridge the gap for players who find traditional guitars too bulky or unwieldy, without sacrificing the essence of what makes electric guitar playing so appealing.

They’re not just for beginners; even seasoned guitarists often turn to 3/4 models for their ease of play and portability.

As we delve deeper into this guide, we’ll uncover the myriad reasons why a 3/4 electric guitar might just be the perfect addition to your musical journey, whether you’re just starting out or looking to add a new dimension to your playing style.

The Appeal of the Size: Compact Design, Big Impact

When it comes to 3/4 electric guitars, size truly matters, but not in the way you might think.

These instruments challenge the notion that bigger is better, bringing a host of advantages through their smaller stature.

Let’s delve into why the size of these guitars is so appealing, and who stands to benefit the most from this compact design.

Advantages of the Smaller Size

  1. Ergonomic Comfort: The reduced scale of a 3/4 electric guitar makes it significantly more comfortable to play, especially for lengthy sessions. Its lightweight nature reduces strain on the shoulders and arms, making it a preferred choice for continuous play.
  2. Easier Fret Access: The shorter neck and closer frets of these guitars are ideal for players with smaller hands. This design allows for easier reach across the fretboard, facilitating complex chord progressions and solos that might be challenging on a full-sized guitar.
  3. Enhanced Playability: For beginners, the smaller size can make the initial learning process less intimidating. The compact design makes it easier to master basic chords and techniques, paving the way for a smoother learning curve.
  4. Ideal for Young Musicians: Children starting their musical journey will find these guitars more manageable and less cumbersome compared to standard electric guitars. This accessibility can foster a more positive and encouraging learning experience.

Target Audience

  • Children and Young Musicians: The 3/4 electric guitar is an excellent choice for children and young musicians. Its size is proportionate to their smaller body frames, making it easier for them to handle and play comfortably.
  • Players with Smaller Hands: Adults or teenagers with smaller hands often struggle with the wide neck and extended reach required by full-sized guitars. The 3/4 model presents a practical solution, offering a comfortable alternative that doesn’t compromise on the quality of play.
  • Traveling Musicians: Musicians on the move will appreciate the portability of these guitars. Their smaller size makes them ideal for travel, easily fitting in overhead compartments on planes or in compact vehicle spaces.

In essence, the 3/4 electric guitar is not just a downsized version of a standard guitar; it’s a thoughtfully designed instrument that caters to specific needs and preferences. Whether for comfort, ease of learning, or convenience, the appeal of its size resonates with a diverse range of players.

Key Features and Benefits: Unpacking the Sound of 3/4 Electric Guitars

Fender American Performer Stratocaster

The essence of any guitar, regardless of its size, lies in its sound quality and performance.

Let’s explore how 3/4 electric guitars stand up against their full-sized counterparts in these aspects and their suitability across different music genres.

Sound Quality and Performance

Matching Up to Full-Sized Guitars in Tone and Volume:

  1. Tone Quality: Despite their smaller size, 3/4 electric guitars are engineered to produce a rich and full tone. Many models come equipped with the same quality pickups and electronics found in full-sized guitars, ensuring that the tonal quality is not compromised.
  2. Volume and Projection: When it comes to volume, these guitars can hold their own. They are capable of achieving a sound projection that belies their size, thanks in part to advances in guitar design and technology. Whether plugged into an amp or used with effect pedals, they deliver a powerful sonic output.
  3. Versatility in Sound: Manufacturers often incorporate versatile pickup configurations in 3/4 guitars, enabling them to cater to a variety of sounds, from crisp and clean to warm and distorted. This makes them suitable for a wide range of musical styles.

Suitability for Various Music Genres:

  1. Rock and Pop: With their ability to produce distorted and overdriven sounds, 3/4 electric guitars are well-suited for rock and pop genres. They can handle power chords and lead solos effectively, making them a great choice for aspiring rockstars.
  2. Blues and Jazz: For genres like blues and jazz that often require a cleaner, more nuanced tone, these guitars can be adjusted to deliver. Their sound clarity and tonal warmth make them fitting for these genres.
  3. Country and Folk: The acoustic-like qualities of some 3/4 electric guitar models make them ideal for country and folk music. They can produce a twangy, bright sound characteristic of these genres.
  4. Learning and Experimentation: For beginners exploring various genres, the versatility of these guitars makes them an excellent tool for experimentation. They offer a wide range of sounds to explore, from heavy metal riffs to delicate fingerpicking styles.

3/4 electric guitars are not just a compact alternative to standard guitars; they’re as good as – and in some cases – superior alternate option, whether in the studio, playing live, or just jamming at home.

You get impressive tone, volume, and suitability for a range of genres. And because they’re smaller, it is easier to get to grips with the fretboard, figuratively and literally, which means they’re a great option for Donald Trump and beginner players.

Styles and Brands: Discovering Your Perfect 3/4 Electric Guitar

what is Fender Telecaster Thinline

Choosing the right 3/4 electric guitar involves understanding the different styles available and the unique features offered by popular brands. Here’s a look at what the market offers:

Classic vs. Modern Styles

Portability and Travel-Friendliness: The Traveling Musician’s Companion

The compact size of 3/4 electric guitars brings significant benefits for musicians on the move:

Benefits for Traveling Musicians

  • Easy to Carry: The smaller body and neck make these guitars incredibly easy to carry around, whether you’re hopping from gig to gig or simply moving between practice sessions.
  • Less Space, More Music: Due to their compact size, they occupy less space, a huge plus for musicians with limited storage options or those who frequently travel.

Ease of Storage and Transport

  • Fits Almost Anywhere: These guitars can fit in smaller cases and often meet airline carry-on size requirements, making them an ideal travel companion.
  • Hassle-Free Transportation: Whether you’re traveling by car, train, or plane, the hassle of transporting a full-sized guitar is significantly reduced with a 3/4 model.

Practical Insights for Buyers: Making an Informed Decision

parts of an electric guitar

When considering a 3/4 electric guitar, two crucial aspects come into play: the price and its suitability for beginners. Let’s break these down to help you make a well-informed choice.

Price Considerations

Suitability for Beginners

Durability and Build: Ensuring Long-Lasting Quality

When investing in a 3/4 electric guitar, understanding its durability and construction quality is essential. These aspects determine not just the instrument’s longevity but also its ability to withstand regular use and wear.

Construction Quality

Longevity and Wear

Accessories and Customization: Personalizing Your Playing Experience

Baritone Guitar Tuning

Along with the guitar itself, the right accessories and customization options can significantly enhance your playing experience.

Essential Accessories

Customization Options

Additional Considerations: Choosing Between Full-Sized and 3/4 Guitars

Making an informed decision about whether to choose a full-sized or a 3/4 electric guitar involves understanding the situational preferences, pros, and cons of each.

A little 3/4 guitar is fine but there’s a reason they’re not played by everyone, all the time. Most players – like 99.9% – prefer full size guitars for obvious reasons (tonal range, and they look better).

But that doesn’t mean a 3/4 guitar shouldn’t have a place in your collection.

And if you’re a complete beginner, looking to buy your first guitar here’s a breakdown of how a 3/4 guitar is different to a full-size guitar.

Full-Sized vs. 3/4 Guitars: Situational Preferences

Pros and Cons

Resale Value and Upgradability: Considering Long-Term Aspects

For many guitarists, understanding the resale value and upgradability of their instrument is crucial. This knowledge not only helps in making an initial purchase decision but also in planning for future upgrades or changes.

Resale Value

The resale value of a guitar, whether a 3/4 or a full-sized model, largely depends on factors like brand recognition, condition, and market demand.

A classic Gibson or Fender guitar is ALWAYS going to hold its value, whereas a mass produced Harley Benton or Squier is not. This is just a fact.

Having said that, out of all the things I have bought and owned over the years guitars are one of the best at retaining their value, so long as you look after them properly.


When considering upgradability, guitarists often evaluate how the initial investment in a 3/4 guitar will serve them in the long run.

Wrapping Up / Final Thoughts

EVH little guitar

Remember, a 3/4 electric guitar is more than just a smaller version of a standard guitar; it’s a versatile instrument that caters to a wide range of players.

EVH played one for christ’s sake!

Its compact size, easier playability, and budget-friendly nature make it an excellent choice for beginners, younger musicians, and those with smaller hands.

Moreover, its portability is a boon for traveling musicians and those who value convenience.

However, it’s not just about the size. The sound quality, durability, and potential for customization are on par with full-sized guitars, making them a worthy addition to any musician’s collection.

Whether you’re exploring different music genres, learning the basics, or looking for a reliable secondary guitar, a 3/4 electric guitar can meet and exceed your expectations.

I have one, a beat up 70-year old Spanish guiar that was my grandads. I use it ALL the time at home. In fact, it’s one of my favorite guitars to play and I always end up finding new and novel things on it like strange chord phrasings and melodies.

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