Half size guitars are a chronically underserved sub niches of the guitar world. Of the major manufacturers, there are very few who make guitars in this size, so shopping for them can be particularly tricky.
With that in mind, we’ve put together this KillerGuitarRigs Review to bring you a roundup of the best half size guitars on the market. In this size range, we understand that the majority of shoppers are adults looking for guitars for younger kids, so within the reviews, we’ve focused on comfort and build quality, as well as tones and playability.
If you’re in the market for a ½ size guitar for yourself or as a gift for someone else, you’re not going to want to miss this one. Keep on reading to learn about the best half size guitars on the market.
Our top pick was the Loog Pro VI Electric. It’s a fantastically made instrument, with a built in amplifier that’s perfect for kids looking to learn the electric guitar. It comes in a wide range of colors, and offers access to some of the best app based instruction you’ll find anywhere.
Savvy guitar shoppers looking for the best budget option should take a look at the Yamaha GCS102. It’s from one of the best known brands in the business, and it offers a great platform for youngsters to learn the fundamentals.
If money isn’t a concern and you’re simply looking for the very best half size guitar on the market, checkout the Cordoba Requinto. By comparison with the other models on this list it doesn’t come cheap, but this is a hand made model, built with the best materials, and also happens to be a former NAMM best in show award winner.
Best Half Size Guitar Reviews
Setting the standard for fun, kid friendly half size electric guitars.
While it may be designed for and marketed towards kids, make no mistake, this fantastic little electric guitar makes a wonderful travel companion for adults. It offers rock solid construction, and even features a built in amp.
This Loog ProVI Electric came with an ultra slim maple neck, and was topped off with a maple fretboard. It was definitely amongst the most comfortable we played during the reviews for this roundup, and we were particularly impressed with the quality of the finish on the back of the neck. The fretwork was also impressive, with nice smooth edges, which again increased the comfort factor.
The body was cut into an interesting and unique shape, which made a refreshing change. The design is fun, and will absolutely appeal to younger kids. It was made from Paulownia, which is a wood we’ve not come across before, but we’d be surprised if we don’t see more of it in the future. It’s the fastest growing of all the hardwoods, making it a super sustainable choice.
The model we received for our test was red, and as with the rest of the guitar, the finish was very nicely applied. One of the most appealing things about the Loog Pro VI is that it comes in a wide range of colors, including teal, black, white, yellow, pink, and of course, red.
One of the most appealing things about the Pro VI Electric is that it comes with a built in amp. Of course, it’s not as loud or as clean as a Fender Twin Reverb, but for young ones to practice without disturbing anybody else, it’s perfect. If you find that you’d like to plug it into an external amp, you can absolutely do so, too.
It’s equipped with one single coil pickup, as well as a volume and tone knob, all of which worked well, and produced a nice range of tones.
Verdict: The Loog Pro VI Electric was one of the most fun to play reduced size guitars we’ve had the pleasure of testing. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but yet it’s no toy. This is a quality instrument for younger players to take their first steps into learning guitar, and we highly recommend it.
An affordable half size classical built to high standards.
With this guitar you’re getting a wonderful classical guitar that’s ideal for young players just getting started. You’ll find that it is made to Yamaha’s typical high standards, and it’s so very comfortable to play.
The Yamaha GCS102 is a ½ size classical guitar that delivered in pretty much every area we expected it would. This little nylon guitar was comfortable, both to hold, and on the fingers, so new players will find that they’re able to play it longer, and hopefully progress even faster.
As with many guitars these days, especially budget models, it had a nato neck, which is a cheaper, more sustainable mahogany alternative. It had a standard classical neck profile, which was extremely flat (much like all our favorite classical guitars). This made it very easy to reach the frets in all positions, especially when playing more complex chords. Adults may find that it can become a little fatiguing as it doesn’t fill larger hands, but as this guitar is really designed for younger players, that isn’t such a huge issue.
It had a spruce top, and meranti back and sides. The top had quite a dark tint, which really gave it the classical aesthetic. The spruce did give it some brightness, but the nylon strings really mellowed out the tone, making it smooth, and quite warm.
The GCS102 wasn’t packed with features, but then again, that’s not the point of this type of guitar. Yamaha has built in the GCS102, a great, no nonsense starter classical guitar that is built to last and sounds great. As you’d expect from a Yamaha, the tuning stability was more than acceptable, especially once the strings had stretched, and we found no issues with intonation, something that can plague short scale guitars.
Verdict: The Yamaha GCS102 is a great choice for budget conscious parents looking to get their younger kids a quality guitar from a well recognized brand. It’s incredibly affordable, it looks great, and most importantly, it’s comfortable, making it unlikely that little ones will give up the instrument due to sore fingers.
A high end half size guitar with beautiful looks and tones.
If you’re looking for a high quality half size classical guitar with a solid wood top and killer projection, this could be the one for you. This is a hand made guitar, designed for children and smaller players who take classical music seriously.
The Cordoba Requinto isn’t just another nylon string beginner acoustic. On the contrary, this is a serious classical guitar, albeit with shrunken proportions. It had just about everything we could want in a reduced size instrument, including comfort, great tones, and handsome looks.
It had a mahogany neck that was a little broader than the other models on test, but if it’s Spanish or classical style guitar you’re looking to play with this, then it will perfectly set up younger players to advance on to full size versions as they develop. Regardless, we found it to be comfortable and relatively easy to play.
The fretboard and bridge were both pau ferro, which is a fairly common rosewood alternative. Despite not being actual rosewood, it still felt great and looked perfect against the darker cedar body. The fretwork was impeccable, too, with smooth edges and crowns, which made for a great playing experience.
A notable benefit of the Requinto over the other Spanish style acoustics on test was the use of a solid top, in this case, red cedar. The difference in volume and responsiveness was quite obvious; it gave us bright, percussive punchiness with hard strumming, and fantastic richness and warmth with soft fingerstyle play.
We found the tuning stability to be spot on. The performance of the open gear tuners was fantastic, and the bone nut and saddle were both well cut, which no doubt contributed to the performance of the guitar.
Verdict: The Cordoba Requinto is a beautiful little guitar, and ideal for parents looking to buy a high end guitar for their kids, or adults looking for a reliable travel sized classical style guitar. It features high end appointments, and has some of the best tones we’ve heard from any half size guitar.
A brilliant little guitar that’s great for kids, or even adults on the go.
This is a premium half size guitar with quality materials and components used in every aspect of the instrument. It looks and sounds great, and the build quality is far above average for the ½ size guitar space.
The Fender Redondo Mini is the smallest acoustic in the Fender line up, and it quickly became one of our favorites. It had a mini dreadnought style body, which gave this thing a huge voice relative to its size. The compact dimensions, of course, made it incredibly easy for us as adults to play, and kids under 12 will find it to be the perfect size as a full time guitar to learn on.
The neck was made from nato, which is an excellent mahogany substitute. It had a C profile, which was nice and slim, and felt great from top to bottom. The fretboard was walnut, which not only looked good, but felt fantastic, too, and we were really impressed with the fretwork! There were no sharp edges or burrs, and the crowns were quite nicely polished.
Primary construction materials for the body included solid spruce for the top, and mahogany on the back and sides. This is a classic combo for acoustics, and in this case, it predictably resulted in a bright, punchy tone, and as we alluded to earlier, a big voice.
There were a lot of high end appointments considering that the use cases of this guitar are likely going to be for travel or for younger kids. It had a NuBone nut and saddle, and it featured the same sealed gear tuners that fender includes on their higher end models, too. Tuning stability was superb, and the intonation was spot on.
Verdict: We really enjoyed playing the Fender Redondo Mini. The overall build quality was fantastic, this model is a genuine credit to the Fender brand. It was fun to play, it had surprising volume, and it was crisp, clear, and punchy in all situations. It would make a superb choice for a young player to learn the ropes, or an ideal travel companion if you’re an adult looking for something super compact.
A wonderful classical guitar with great tones and a modern aesthetic.
Those looking for a more modern looking classical style guitar for their young learners will love this Cordoba. It has superb tones and tons of character, and it comes from a well trusted name in the world of nylon strung acoustic guitars.
The Cordoba Protege C1M is a superb option for young players to learn the guitar. Cordoba may be a newer company, with only 25 years in the business, but in that short time they’ve proven that they know what they’re doing, and have become a household name when it comes to quality nylon string guitars.
Being a classical model, it had a concert style shape, which felt great to hold, and should be comfortable, even for the youngest players. It is built with a spruce top, together with mahogany back and sides. The spruce was left in its natural coloring, with no obvious tint, which gave it a much more modern look than the Yamaha GCS102. We found it to be quite resonant, with tons of rich warmth in the mids. Hard strumming resulted in a punchiness not often found in this price range.
The neck was mahogany, with a C shape profile, which is a little rounder than you’d typically find on a classical guitar. The neck finish was a little glossy for our liking, resulting in a sticky feeling, but this is unlikely to deter younger players. It had a rosewood fretboard, which looked and felt very nice, and most importantly, the fretwork was well executed.
Tuning stability was a strong point for the Cordoba, and we attribute that primarily to the choice of strings rather than the tuners. The tuners weren’t bad, but they did have a little bit of excess play. The strings, however, were Savarez Cristal Corum High Tension, which are some of our favorite nylon strings, and actually featured in our best nylon strings roundup.
Verdict: If you’re looking to start your kids on a classical style acoustic, the Córdoba Protege C1M is well worth your consideration. It sounds great, and feels fantastic thanks to the premium strings and strong fretwork. It offers great tones, and it’s well made, all ingredients of a solid beginner instrument.
A futuristic acoustic built with modern materials for extreme durability.
Those concerned about longevity and durability should give this guitar some real consideration. It’s made with space age carbon fiber and polycarbonate composite, making it lightweight, and extremely tough. Despite the use of artificial materials, it still sounds good, too.
The Enya Nova Go Carbon Fiber is a unique looking (and sounding) acoustic guitar that grabs the attention of whoever sees and hears it. It has a thin line body, which makes it extremely comfortable. It’s advertised as a travel guitar for adults, but in reality it would also make a great choice for younger kids, too.
Unlike a typical guitar, the body and neck are not made separately and joined, but are in fact molded as one complete piece. The entire structure is made with a carbon fiber polycarbonate composite material, which was actually one of the elements that first piqued our interest in this model. Despite having no wood in the body, the top resonated nicely, and gave us a really lively, shimmery tone. It didn’t have a lot in the lower mids and bass end, but that’s probably more likely to be attributed to the ultra thin depth of the body.
Another interesting feature was the use of a zero fret. The nut was part of the molding of the guitar, so the zero fret made a lot of sense in this case – it definitely improved the performance of the tuners. The fretwork itself was acceptable – it wasn’t quite up to the standard of our top 3 picks, but there were certainly no dangerously sharp edges.
One gripe that we had with the Nova Go was with the strings. It came delivered with pretty poor quality strings, which were already showing signs of dulling. Of course, this is an easy and inexpensive fix, but when buying a new guitar, you don’t typically want to have to change the strings on the same day.
The biggest benefit that we see from the unusual materials used in the Nova Go is the durability factor. This guitar can get wet, hot, cold, in fact, it can put up with pretty much any environmental stress without suffering any kind of damage (in theory!)
Verdict: The Enya Nova Go Carbon Fiber was completely new to us at the beginning of this roundup, but we found that it was more than able to hold its own against some pretty lofty company. It had good tones, it was incredibly light weight, and the incredible durability is likely to be a big draw for both parents shopping for kids and those looking for travel guitars.
An impressive electric guitars kit for the youngest shredders.
Parents looking to get their kids a turn key package to get started with will love this Donner Set. It features a great little guitar, an amp, a gig bag, and all the accessories necessary to start rocking right out of the box.
We found that this Donner 30 inch Electric Guitar Kit was about as simple as it gets, which in reality makes it a stellar choice for the youngest players. The kit includes a tiny Strat style guitar which really looked the part, and was comparable to the full size Donner S style models we’ve previously tested when it came to build quality.
It had a maple neck with a maple fretboard. The neck had a C shape profile, which in adult hands felt perilously thin, but for kids it would be just about perfect. For that reason we wouldn’t recommend this as a travel guitar for adults. We did find that the fret edges were nicely finished, but perhaps a little too rough on the crowns.
The body was made from poplar, a popular material, especially in low cost Strat style guitars. It did a good job of keeping the weight down while also maintaining a bright, snappy tone.
As for electronics, it had one single coil pickup in the bridge position, and a master volume control. Of course, having a tone control would be nice, but for youngsters just learning the basics, it’s unnecessary, so we understand why it was left out. The pickup was actually quite responsive and gave us some decent cleans and performed well with light overdrive. Beyond that it got a little muddy, but again, the target audience is unlikely to worry about this.
The amp included in the package was a little tinny, but this was to be expected. Regardless, it allowed for practice at reasonable volumes, and it doesn’t take up much space at all.
Tuning stability was good, but we did have to work for it, as the tuners themselves had substantial play, and the nut wasn’t too well cut. But once it was at pitch, it held quite well.
Verdict: For not a lot of money, this Donner 30 inch Electric Guitar Kit can get a child started in playing the electric guitar. The guitar itself was handsome, and was available in a number of kid friendly colors, including black, red, sunburst, and teal, giving it a wide appeal. The build quality was generally good, and we found it to be a solid beginner platform.
If you’re finding yourself unsure as to what to look for in a half size guitar, don’t be surprised. Being one of the more uncommon sizes out there, it can be tough to find information, couple that with the fact that many of the major manufacturers simply don’t make these guitars, and you have a recipe for confusion.
With that in mind, here are some tips on what separates the best half size guitars from those you should avoid.
When searching for half size guitars, you’ll find a lot of models from unheard of brands at tempting prices. It’s worth resisting the temptation to spend a little less in order to get a better quality instrument. Poorly made guitars will quickly fall apart, and are unlikely to sound good.
Well made guitars will explain exactly what materials were used in the build process, including the type of wood, and the construction method used, including the style of bracing used in the case of acoustic guitars.
Tuning stability falls hand in hand with build quality, and is affected by a number of different factors. A guitar with poor tuning stability will fall out of tune even with light use, and will ultimately sound terrible. These are the factors affecting tuning stability:
Poor quality tuning machines are prone to slipping, which effectively means they will turn on their own, even when you aren’t touching them. This results in the guitar sounding flat as the strings lose tension.
A guitar’s nut plays a huge role in the overall tuning stability as well as the tone and sustain. Cheap nuts tend to be made from low quality plastics. The issue with this, is that strings aren’t as free to move as they would be with a bone, or synthetic bone nut, which are often times impregnated with permanent lubricants.
Playability is a catch all phrase that serves as a guide to how easy and comfortable a guitar is to play. Good playability tends to imply that a guitar is easy to hold, with a comfortable neck profile. It’s also useful if the neck has a smooth satin finish to prevent it from being sticky feeling. Another factor to consider in playability is the fret finish. If the fret ends aren’t finished, not only can they be uncomfortable, but they can potentially even cause injury as you slide your hands up or down the neck.
Final Thoughts on the Best Half Size Guitars
Half size guitars might not be as abundant as full size, or even ¾ size models, but if you take the time to learn how to avoid poor quality instruments, and you know where to look for the good ones, there really are some solid options out there.
To recap our favorites from this roundup, we selected the Loog Pro VI Electric as our top pick – it’s a great all rounder that’s well made and fun to play. Our best budget choice was the Yamaha GCS102, it offers great playability at a fantastic price. If budget isn’t a concern, then our Editor’s Choice, the Cordoba Requinto is a beautifully made guitar that sounds incredible.