One of the most important factors in allowing you to grow as a musician is feeling at ease with the instrument you’re playing. Every guitar player has had to make the decision between a 34 guitar and a full size guitar at some point because both can be useful at different stages of the guitar learning process.
One of the first things you’ll notice when looking for a new guitar is that they come in a variety of sizes. Even a ukulele can be considered a guitar, demonstrating how diverse the range of guitar sizes truly is.
Although a 3/4 guitar is significantly larger than a ukulele, it is still small enough that children or adults with short fingers can play it without difficulty. Our 3/4 guitar vs full size comparison will look at how these guitar types differ and help you decide which is the better option for you.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FULL SIZE & 3/4 SIZE GUITAR?
Full size guitars have an average dimension of 39 x 15 inches, while 3/4 size guitars have an average dimension of 36 x 13 inches. A full size guitar has a scale length of approximately 25 inches, whereas a 3/4 size guitar has a scale length of 24 inches or less.
Anyone who understands fractions will recognize that a 3/4 Size guitar is smaller than a Full Size guitar, but do the differences end there? Does the size of the instrument have an effect on how it sounds or plays? Yes, it turns out!
MAIN DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ¾ GUITAR VS FULL SIZE GUITAR
The primary distinctions between a full size and a 34 guitar are as follows:
- A 3/4 guitar has dimensions of 36 x 13 inches, whereas a full size guitar has dimensions of 40 x 15 inches.
- The scale length of a full size guitar is greater than 24 inches, whereas the scale length of a 1 a 3/4 guitar is between 20 and 24 inches.
- 3/4 guitars lack string tension, whereas a full size guitar maintains string tension, which keeps the instrument in tune.
- Full-size guitars can cost thousands of dollars, whereas a 34 guitar can be purchased for less than $100.
- A full-size guitar produces a rich, distinctive tone, whereas 34 guitars frequently lack the ability to replicate that sound.
Although the same string sets can be used on both full size acoustic guitars and 3/4 guitars, manufacturers such as D’Addario offer string sets designed specifically for 34 guitars, such as the EJ27N.
Despite their differences, full size and 3/4 guitars share many features, such as their components, shape, number of strings, and tuning process.
AN OVERVIEW OF THE FEATURES ¾ VS FULL SIZE GUITARS OFFER
So, let’s take a closer look at the features that 34 guitars and full size guitars have to offer.
Knowing how to read guitar chords is only the first step toward learning how to play them. A 3/4 guitar is an excellent choice for your first guitar because its small size makes finger exercises easier because you don’t have to cover as much space.
A 3/4 guitar is an excellent choice for children aged 8 to 12 who are just beginning to learn how to play the guitar because it is better suited to their height.
Adults, on the other hand, may find playing a 34 guitar more comfortable, especially if they have difficulty reaching lower tones or upper frets on standard size guitars. It is also important to understand that a 34 guitar has the same parts as a full size guitar, and that purchasing a smaller sized guitar will not affect your guitar playing experience.
- Most ¾ guitar models have a mahogany body
- The scale length varies from 20 to 24 inches
- There are 18 or fewer frets on the neck
- Necks can be made of okume, rosewood, or maple
- All ¾ guitars have a headstock that houses tuning pegs
- You can use regular 4/4 and 3/4 guitar nylon string sets
- ¾ guitars are commonly used as practice guitars
Shape and size
The actual size of a ¾ guitar varies depending on the model, but as a general rule, their length does not exceed 36 inches. The width of a ¾ guitar is usually around 13 inches, and if the body of a guitar is wider than that, it isn’t a ¾ guitar.
There are almost no differences in the appearance of the bodies of ¾ guitars and full size guitars, so unless you compare their sizes, it will be difficult to tell them apart.
The scale length on a 3/4 guitar is shorter because of the smaller overall size, and it does not exceed 24 inches. As a result, there is less tension in the strings, making it easier to press or bend them. It is important to note that scale length affects both playability and tone, so a 34 guitar will not sound as good as a full size guitar, despite being easier to play.
There is one significant disadvantage to the low string tension. Because the strings on 34 guitars are a little looser, they tend to go out of tune faster than full size guitars. As a result, novice players can bend a string even if they weren’t intending to, altering the sound of a power chord or any other chord.
So, even if they are not difficult on the fingertips, you may need to tune a 3/4 guitar as frequently as once per hour. These guitars should be used primarily for practice, as their sound is usually insufficient for live performances.
Furthermore, the gauge of your guitar strings will affect the sound of the instrument, so try out several different gauges before settling on the set that produces the best sound.
Nonetheless, a ¾ guitar can be used to play any genre of music, from classical to pop, making it an excellent choice for informal jam sessions or novice players still learning how to use this instrument.
Other noteworthy features
The body, neck, and all other parts of a ¾ guitar are identical to those found on a full size guitar. As a result, choosing a 3/4 guitar will be easier if you already know which of its parts can improve its playability.
Because you will be using it frequently, the tuning mechanism is arguably one of the most important features to consider. Consider purchasing accessories such as a capo, a tuner, or guitar picks. Also, keep in mind that 34 guitars are not long-lasting, and if not properly maintained, they will deteriorate quickly.
All major guitar manufacturers offer acoustic and electric ¾ guitars, so you can choose from Ibanez, Gibson, or Fender. Each of these brands has a long history of producing high-quality guitars, and you can’t go wrong with either of them.
A ¾-inch guitar made by one of the industry’s leading brands should be no less reliable than a full-size guitar. The lifespan of a ¾ guitar model is determined by how frequently you use it and how well you care for it.
Also, if you’re just starting out, don’t overspend on a 34 guitar because you can progress to a full-size guitar as you get better.
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FULL SIZE GUITARS
What is the standard size of a guitar is a hotly debated topic with no definitive answer. The sizes of so-called 4/4 guitars vary depending on the manufacturer, but the majority of models are around 40 inches long.
The exceptions are headless guitars, which have a built-in tuner rather than a headstock with tuning pegs. As a result, they are shorter than standard full-size guitars, but this has no effect on their sound or playability.
Choosing a full size guitar based solely on its size is difficult because there are numerous other factors to consider. So, let’s take a look at the features that will assist you in selecting a 4/4 guitar that is appropriate for your height and playing style.
- Body styles include single, double, and non-cutaway.
- The majority of models are 40 x 15 inches in size.
- The scale length exceeds 24 inches.
- There are more than 19 frets on the neck.
- The materials used to construct the neck and body vary depending on the model and manufacturer.
- The guitar’s compatibility with string gauges varies.
- Full-size guitars range in price from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
Shape and size
A classical instrument, such as the Yamaha C40, is approximately 40 inches long and 15 inches wide, making it appropriate for players taller than 5 feet. This classical full size guitar also has a 25.59-inch scale length, which ensures better string tension. 4/4 classical and acoustic guitars resemble 3/4 counterparts in appearance, as their bodies may or may not have cutaways.
These guitars’ necks have more frets, allowing for more tonal versatility, though the larger size and width of the neck can make reaching low notes more difficult for players with short fingers.
Even though these guitars produce the sound that is characteristic of all classical and acoustic guitars, their sound properties vary depending on the model, as the material used to make a full size guitar affects its sound. Full-size guitars are compatible with both nylon and steel guitar strings of varying gauges, and you must choose a guitar string set that is appropriate for your instrument.
Because full size guitars maintain string tension, they are less likely to go out of tune as quickly as 34 guitars. Even so, if you want to make the most of their sound capabilities, you must tune them on a regular basis.
Finally, the sound of a full-size guitar is determined by its type, as an electric and an acoustic 4/4 guitar sound vastly different. Yamaha and Fender are well-known for producing instruments that are used in concerts or in recording studios.
Furthermore, full-size guitars that can use nylon strings sound different than those that can use steel strings. The scale length also influences the sound of full-size guitars, but it is only one of several factors that influence the instrument’s tonal properties.
The materials used to make the top, back, and sides of the guitar’s body also have an effect on the instrument’s sound.
Other noteworthy features
Components such as the bridge, tuning mechanism, and truss rod are among the features to consider when purchasing a full-size guitar. For players who want to switch from a 34 to a 4/4 guitar, a model like the Yamaha C40 may be a good option.
Full-size electric guitars provide more sound versatility, but they must be used with an amp. 4/4 guitars can be used to play any genre of music, but features other than size determine how well your instrument will sound.
The manufacturer determines how dependable your full-size guitar will be. Affordable full-size guitars are frequently constructed from materials that cannot withstand heavy use, but it is highly unlikely that their key components will fail after a year or two.
Most guitars can last for years without breaking down, and keeping them in good condition or protecting them from physical damage will only help to extend their life.
SHOULD I GET A FULL SIZE OR 3/4 GUITAR?
If you are a beginner (especially if the guitar is intended for a child under the age of 12) looking for a low-cost, comfortable, and enjoyable instrument to learn on, a 3/4 guitar is my recommendation. However, if you are a professional guitarist who only owns full-size acoustics, I believe you will benefit from the sounds that a smaller-bodied acoustic will provide.
If, on the other hand, you are a singer-songwriter or a solo performer, you will be much happier with the fuller, resonant sound that a full-sized guitar has to offer, especially when it comes to acoustic guitars. Other than if you’re looking to buy for a child, I don’t think 34 size electrics have much to offer.
Full-size is the way to go in the world of electric guitars, especially solid-bodied instruments. The size of hollow-bodied instruments varies, but these guitars are related to acoustic guitars in that the hollowed body shape has a significant impact on the sound.
THE BEST ALTERNATIVES TO ¾ AND FULL SIZE GUITARS
Full size and ¾ guitars are not the only guitar sizes available. Even a ¾ guitar may be too large for a child learning to play this instrument. Here are some guitar sizes that may be more suitable for children, teenagers, or adults.
1. Half-Size Guitar
The so-called halfie is approximately 20 inches long and 8 inches wide, making it half the size of a 4/4 guitar. Almost all major guitar brands make half-size acoustic and electric guitars, so finding a 12 model shouldn’t be too difficult.
These guitars are an excellent choice if you want your children to begin learning to play the guitar at a young age, but as they grow half-size, the guitar will become too small for them.
That is why you should not overspend on these instruments, as they are unlikely to be used by a child for more than a few years. Most halfies have a tuning mechanism, allowing the child to learn how to tune a guitar from an early age.
2. ¼ guitar
This is the smallest size of guitar available, as these instruments are typically 28 x 10 inches in size. A 14-inch guitar is only appropriate for children under the age of five, and you can choose between electric and acoustic models.
Despite being the smallest size of a guitar, 14 inch guitars are large enough to support the use of standard cords. These guitars can be used by a child to learn basic guitar techniques, but larger guitars are required to fully develop guitar playing skills. 14 guitars sound like ukuleles because they produce a lot of treble despite being slightly larger.
3. Parlor Guitar
A jump from a ¾ guitar to a dreadnought guitar can be abrupt, so a parlor guitar may be the right solution for you if you want to gradually increase the size of a guitar you’re playing.
Parlor guitars, despite being classified as 4/4 guitars, are not as large and heavy as jumbo or dreadnought guitars. Their sound favors mid-range tones over basses, but the string gauges you choose give you plenty of leeway to fine-tune the highs and lows of these guitars.
CONCLUSION on 3/4 Guitar Vs Full Size
The player’s height is probably one of the best ways to determine which guitar size is best. If the person playing the guitar is under 5 feet tall, a 34 guitar will be easier to handle.
Full-size guitars, on the other hand, are much more comfortable for players taller than 5 feet. Nonetheless, nothing prevents you from purchasing a ¾ guitar if you enjoy playing it.
FAQ on Full Size vs 3/4 Guitar
Are 3/4 guitars easier?
The younger a child is, the smaller the guitar must be in order for them to play comfortably. Children typically use 1/2 and 3/4 sized guitars because they are far easier to play. Because of the reduced size, a young child can reach over the body and comfortably reach the fretboard.
Why does Ed Sheeran use a 3/4-size guitar?
What is the significance of Ed Sheeran’s use of a small guitar? Ed plays a 3/4 size guitar simply because he prefers them that way. He travels a lot, and the smaller guitars stay in tune better than the larger ones.
Are 3/4 size guitars good for adults?
Even though 3/4-sized guitars are recommended for children aged 8 to 12, they are also appropriate for adults. Adult players, even experienced ones, are increasingly choosing to play 3/4 size guitars due to the smaller size (especially when traveling) and the more punchy sound.
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