Perhaps you have slightly small hands, or want to introduce a child to the magical experience of learning guitar. 1/2 size guitars are the perfect alternative for people who struggle to get to grips with a standard sized neck.
This article will list the most comfortable and best sounding half scale acoustic guitars on the market, so that you can make an informed choice and select the right one for your requirements.
The 4 Best 1/2 Size Guitars
Yamaha’s CGS102AII is an affordable nylon-string half sized acoustic guitar. Built from a combination of spruce and rosewood, it provides the perfect blend of compactness and playability.
Part of Yamaha’s school series, this half-scale model is ideal for budding guitarists who want to familiarize themselves with chord shapes and the technical fundamentals of the instrument. With a traditionally contoured body, this lightweight acoustic feels effortless to play.
The best thing about the CGS102AII is how smoothly you can transition up and down the rosewood fingerboard. With narrow spacing between frets, there’s very little tension on your fingertips so you can avoid the potentially uncomfortable learning period.
I personally first learned guitar on a nylon stringed model, and this allowed me to play for longer periods without getting aches and pains in my hands. If you want a lightweight, playable guitar at a very reasonable price, the Yamaha CGS102AII 1/2 sized model is definitely worthy of consideration.
The Protégé C1M by Cordoba is a great option for younger guitarists with smaller hands. Despite its small, compact design, this half sized acoustic boasts an impressively full sound, with especially rich mid-high tones.
With mahogany back and sides, the C1M produces a decent amount of projection. Topped with real spruce, there’s no lack of power in the low end.
Playing a standard sized guitar which is too big for your hands can be a frustrating experience. Many 1/2 sized guitars sound weak in comparison to their larger counterparts, but this isn’t the case with the Protégé C1M.
The fretboard is easy on your fingers and the nylon strings make the learning period as comfortable as possible. The neck shape is designed as a C profile, further improving the guitar’s comfort and playability.
With black ABS binding and a matte polyurethane finish, the C1M looks and sounds like a much more expensive acoustic guitar.
Add in a Cordoba gold tuner with pearl buttons and this Cordoba half scale model is possibly the perfect option for students or novice guitarists wanting to take their playing to the next level.
3. Ibanez GA1
If you’re familiar with Ibanez acoustics, you’ll know that they produce some of the most playable models available today. The GA1 is their version of a half sized acoustic guitar and is aimed at the younger generation who want a solid introduction to the instrument.
With a 1/2 size classical body which is made from agathis back and sides, the GA1 produces clear tones, especially in the mid-range of the guitar. The mahogany neck is solid and soft underhand, and the rosewood fretboard is easy to navigate.
With 18 frets in total, you’re able to play the vast majority of chords on this half scale classical model. The gloss finish adds sophisticated look to the guitar, and you also get a chrome classical tuner installed on the top.
Sometimes when it comes to nylon stringed acoustics, simplicity is the best option. The design of the GA1 isn’t particularly flashy, but it pays homage to traditional flamenco guitars of decades gone by and is therefore a great introduction for young musicians.
This understated appearance is topped off with a classical mosaic designed rosette. For a 1/2 sized guitar that combines easy fret transition, a warm tonal ouput and a simplistic, elegant look, the Ibanez GA1 doesn’t disappoint.
The final 1/2 sized guitar on our list is the impressive Requinto by Cordoba. Slightly more expensive than the previous entries, this half scale acoustic is a step up in terms of sound and playing experience.
Handmade with a solid cedar top and mahogany back and sides, the Requinto produces a rich Spanish sound perfect for fingerpicking. It is designed with a 5-fan Torres style bracing to give it an authentic, traditions Spanish appearance and feel.
The only danger with this beautiful half-scale guitar is that it might be difficult to put down, especially for younger players still in their formative stages of learning the instrument.
The Requinto comes equipped with high tension Savarez guitar strings, which are ideal for playing in standard E tuning. There is a lower amount of tension than a standard sized guitar, making it easier to push down the strings when learning new chord shapes or scales.
It is possible to tune the Requinto up as high as G standard, or a minor third. Some nylon string 1/2 sized guitars don’t have the capacity to do this, so if you would like to experiment with alternate tunings then this guitar is perfect for that.
In terms of materials, the top is made from high quality, solid Canadian cedar. The back and sides are mahogany, and the binding and bridge are made from Indian rosewood. The finishing touches are added by an all natural inlaid wood mosaic rosette and a Cordoba gold tuning machine.
1/2 Sized Guitars: Nylon or Steel?
One of the dilemmas faced by aspiring guitarists is whether to learn on a nylon stringed model or a steel stringed alternative. Of course, this comes down to personal preference, but there are pros and cons of each of these string sets which should be considered especially where young guitarists are concerned.
Nylon strings are popularly used on half scale acoustics because they provide less resistance and are easier on the fingers.
There is an argument that when a guitarist is in their formative years, it’s better to learn on a steel string in order to strengthen their fingers and prepare them for transitioning onto a full-sized guitar down the road.
Here are the main characteristics of nylon and steel strings when used on 1/2 sized guitars:
- Less resistance
- Easier to play for long periods
- Generally less tuning stability
- Sweeter harmonics in the mid-highs
- Louder projection
- More power in the low end
- Causes finger fatigue
- Harder to bend notes