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If your child has expressed interest in playing the guitar, it can be quite a joyous occasion. However, many parents will take this opportunity to give their kids a toy guitar to satisfy their interests.
The good news is that there are 1/2 size acoustic guitars designed for giving children a viable learning platform. Here are some of the best 1/2 size acoustic guitars you can find on the market today.
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Cordoba Mini II CE-CB – Best Overall
If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, look no further than the Cordoba Mini II CE-CB (see price on Amazon or Sweetwater). This might be a 1/2 size guitar, but it's suitable for guitarists of any age and skill level.
The Mini II CE-CB is essentially a miniature classical guitar with a cutaway body design. Its body consists of a solid Spruce top, with laminated Striped Ebony used for the back and sides.
Cordoba has used fan bracing architecture in the body’s construction. This bracing is used in classical guitars of all caliber to achieve greatly projected sound and tonal response.
The neck is made of Mahogany and has a shortened scale length of 22.875”. Any hand will find its C-shape contour to be quite comfortable and familiar.
This guitar’s fretboard is made of a composite Richlite material, which is noted for its extreme durability. The fretboard has a flat radius with 19 frets outlined with Pearloid dot inlays.
Matching the fretboard, the Mini II CE-CB’s bridge is also made of composite Richlite. Both the saddle and nut are crafted from the synthetic material NuBone.
Despite being a modified classical guitar, the headstock is akin to traditional flat-top acoustics. As such, it has satin nickel tuning machines in a 3 x 3 configuration.
Believe it or not, the Mini II CE-CB actually has electric capabilities thanks to its Belcat Ukulele pickup. The preamp has a 2-band EQ as well as volume control and a built-in tuner.
Aesthetically, this guitar’s Spruce top has a bright natural blonde color. This is perfectly accentuated by the darker colors of the body’s sides as well as the fretboard and bridge.
Completing the guitar’s look is a decorative rosette around the soundhole and black ABS binding on the top’s edges.
What’s So Great About The Cordoba Mini II CE-CB?
Despite being a 1/2 size guitar, this is built and ready to go like a guitar of full size. This makes the guitar a viable option for all guitar players.
Looking to travel and play gigs on the road? You can be certain that the Mini II CE-CB will perform well and save space in the vehicle.
Its shortened scale length will make this guitar a breeze for young children with small hands. In fact, it is more than an ideal first guitar to be able to learn with.
If you’re concerned about the guitar’s size, you can be sure it will be proportionate to a child’s body. The entire guitar from top to bottom measures 34.37”.
In fact, the depth of the guitar at its largest measures out to 3.33”. This size will certainly feel like a toy, but definitely won’t play or sound like one!
It’s actually quite rare to see so much attention given to the craftsmanship of a half size guitar. In a way, it’s quite refreshing to see a manufacturer give this guitar the same treatment as a higher-budget instrument.
You really cannot ask for more in a small package. This guitar is primed for every situation you desire to put it through.
Guitarists who own this absolutely love its small charm and playability. It definitely fills the need where it is warranted most.
Plus, the Mini II CE-CB is very affordable and priced for nearly any budget. At this price, you really do get it all in one tiny package.
Item Weight: 2.4 pounds
Package Dimensions: 34.38 x 11.25 x 4 inches
Cordoba Requinto – Best Premium
If you’re looking to spend a little extra on a 1/2 size guitar, consider the Cordoba Requinto. This classical guitar is made by hand and is sure to feel great in your hands.
The Cordoba Requinto’s body features a top made of solid Western Red Cedar. Mahogany is used to construct the guitar’s sides and back.
Within this body is a 5-fan bracing architecture. This style of bracing helps the Requinto to achieve those savory and iconic Spanish guitar tones.
Mahogany is also used to construct the Requinto’s neck, which has a scale length of 22.8”. This sizing will be highly suitable for young children and adults with smaller hands.
Any guitarist is likely to find that the neck feels quite familiar to other guitars. This is largely in part due to the neck’s C-shaped contour.
The Requinto’s fretboard is crafted from Pau Ferro and has a flat radius. There are 19 frets in total on the Requinto’s fretboard.
Matching the fretboard, the bridge is also crafted from Pau Ferro. Both the nut and the saddle are made of real bone, which adds quite a bit of natural note sustain.
Aesthetically, Cordoba has not skimped on the materials used by any means. In fact, the Requinto is quite a beautiful guitar.
For instance, the guitar’s back center strip and tail strip are both made from Rosewood. Even the guitar’s decorative rosette is crafted purely from Rosewood.
Cordoba has added a thin binding of composite Richlite around the edges of the guitar’s top. This helps to accentuate the guitar’s overall shape in a tasteful way.
When you receive this guitar, it will be equipped with Savarez Cristal Corum High Tension nylon strings.
What’s So Great About The Cordoba Requinto?
With this offering, Cordoba has really shown that you don’t need to sacrifice quality on a 1/2 size guitar. You could say that Cordoba has outdone themselves here, and it would actually be the truth.
The materials used in this construction are simply of some of the highest grades seen in this price range. Plus, you need to account for the fact that it is completely handcrafted.
That is, in part, a large reason why the Cordoba Requinto is a little more expensive than others. With that being said, the price is still quite reasonable for most budgets to afford.
The reality is that you simply won’t find a handcrafted guitar in this price range. It really does stand out amongst other beginner-level guitars.
Every aspect of this guitar has been given a critical eye in both craftsmanship and quality. Cordoba has even included real bone in the construction of the guitar for pure authenticity.
If you have a little extra to spend, consider splurging the extra on a luxurious budget instrument like this. Your child (or even you) will enjoy the playability much more than something of lesser quality.
Sure, it might not have electronics built into the guitar, and that might be a con for some people. However, it is essentially a true classical guitar on every level aside from its size.
If you're concerned about the guitar’s size, it will be perfectly suited for a young child. From top to bottom, the Requinto measures 35.25” and has a depth of 3.5”.
Item Weight: 3 pounds
Package Dimensions: 46 x 18 x 8 inches
Yamaha CGS102A – Best Budget
On a tight budget but still looking for a half size classical guitar built for performance? The Yamaha CGS102A (see price on Amazon or Sweetwater) is a guitar that will likely check all of the boxes for you.
This offering from Yamaha features a Spruce top with the back and sides made of laminated Meranti. Classical-style bracing architecture is used to project the guitar’s warm and natural tone.
The neck on the CGS102A is made from Nato and has a shortened scale length of 21”. Anyone will appreciate the feel of this neck as it is contoured into a standard C-shape design.
The CGS102A has a Rosewood fretboard with 20 frets.
Classical guitars generally have a larger width between spaces compared to traditional flat-top acoustics. This 1/2 scale offering from Yamaha follows suit here with a 1.9” nut width.
To match the fretboard, the bridge on the CGS102A is made of Rosewood. Both the nut and saddle are made of Urea.
Aesthetically, this guitar really does emulate the classical guitar look quite well. It even has the traditional style headstock with open-gear tuners.
The guitar has a nice and darker-colored natural finish that looks as if the guitar has a vintage age. Thin black binding and an ornate rosette have been added to the guitar for a more complete look.
As you would expect with a classical guitar, this guitar has nylon strings rather than steel strings. It comes equipped with a set of Nylon Lights when coming from the factory.
You can be sure that the learning student will remain inspired when playing the CGS102A. And really, inspiration is one of the most important ingredients to a lifelong musical career.
What’s So Great About The Yamaha CGS102A?
When it comes to the Yamaha CGS102A, the best thing above all else is its low price. This guitar is priced perfectly for the newest beginner who has never really played the guitar before.
Nearly any budget can likely afford this guitar, which is a massive plus if you’re buying for a young child. If they don’t decide to stick with it, you’re not out much in terms of a sunk investment.
However, the Yamaha CGS102A makes it easy for your child to stick with it. Despite its low price, Yamaha has packed in quite a bit of value here for a beginner guitar.
Sure, there aren’t too many extra frills to be found. But for a beginner, nothing more is necessary than a guitar that plays decently well.
A young child will really benefit from the CGS102A for a couple of reasons. The first is the very shortened neck scale length.
Small hands will have no problems navigating this fretboard. Plus, the neck will not feel as if it’s too large for one’s hand.
Similarly, the guitar’s body is perfectly sized for a younger child. The guitar’s body depth measures 3.3” at its most, which should be acceptable for even the smallest arm reach.
Overall, you really can’t go wrong with the Yamaha CGS102A for a beginner guitar. Even after a child outgrows it, the guitar can still make for a great traveling companion.
Yamaha has shown once again how they consistently build worthwhile instruments for every budget level. Test one out for yourself and see what this reputation is all about.
Item Weight: 3.94 pounds
Package Dimensions: 36.9 x 16.5 x 4.5 inches
Fender Redondo Mini
All of the guitars on this list have seemed to fall more in line with a traditional body design. Are you in search of something with a bit of a hip flair?
This guitar is effectively a half size traditional flat-top acoustic with a Stratocaster-style headstock. The result is a guitar that is extremely cool and inspiring to play just by looking at it.
In the construction of this guitar, Spruce is used for the body’s top, with Mahogany for the sides and back. Scalloped X-bracing architecture is used to project the guitar’s sound.
This guitar can definitely put out some sound without any issues. The tonal fingerprint of the guitar is pretty balanced in most of the EQ ranges, providing a warm, sweet tone.
Nato is used in the construction of the Redondo Mini’s neck. This has a familiar C-shape contour and a 22.75” scale length.
The Redondo Mini’s fretboard is crafted from Walnut. There are 18 frets on this fretboard, which are outlined with white dot inlays.
In terms of string spacing, the Redondo Mini is pretty standard. It has a nut width of 1.615”.
This guitar also has a Walnut bridge, which matches the guitar’s fretboard in look and resonant characteristics.
For hardware, the Redondo Mini has a nut and saddle both made of NuBone. The tuning machines are vintage-style with white buttons.
Even better, the Redondo Mini comes with a gig bag, making it ready to be traveled with and played anywhere.
Lastly, you can choose to have this guitar in 2 different color options:
What’s So Great About The Fender Redondo Mini?
When it comes to young guitarists who are given the opportunity to explore their interests, inspiration is incredibly important.
The Fender Redondo Mini provides something that no other guitar on this list possesses. What is that one thing?
The answer is personalization. Yes, the Redondo Mini truly allows one to let their personality show by their instrument choice.
It might seem weird, but kids feel like they’re a cool person when they’re given a guitar. Give them a guitar that actually looks cool and they’ll be over the moon.
You can be certain that your child will absolutely love the Redondo Mini. This guitar is full of charm and personality.
Plus, its shortened scale measures at a length that is perfect for small hands. After the child grows, they won’t have any issues transitioning to a full-size guitar.
This scale length seems to be in the sweet spot area between “very short” and “too long”.
The Redondo Mini isn’t all aesthetics (though it is attractive at nearly any angle you look at it). This guitar is built to perform according to Fender’s specifications.
Despite its small size, the Redondo Mini will definitely be loud enough for any non-amplified setting.
Take a chance and let your child see how they feel about the Fender Redondo Mini. Chances are that they will cherish the guitar forever.
That kind of feeling towards a guitar will help ensure that the child sticks with the guitar throughout their life. There’s perhaps nothing better than knowing you did the right thing to inspire your child.
Fender doesn’t take too many chances on the designs of their guitars. However, this meeting of an acoustic body and electric headstock really paid off.
Item Weight: 4 pounds
Package Dimensions: 37.5 x 14.5 x 5.5 inches
Cordoba Protege C1M 1/2 Size
You’ve seen the range of guitars that Cordoba produces and the quality involved with each. What about if you’re looking for a basic classical guitar without any frills?
The Cordoba Protege C1M 1/2 Size (see price on Amazon or Sweetwater) will have your needs met without any question. This guitar comes from a line of models built specifically for young, entry-level students.
You’ll find that, despite its low price, Cordoba has managed to pack in quite a lot of value here. If this isn’t quite what you need, Cordoba does make a 3/4 size version of this same guitar.
The C1M 1/2 Size has a Spruce top with Mahogany used for the body’s back and sides. Traditional fan bracing architecture is used to pronounce the guitar’s classical guitar tones.
Mahogany is also used in crafting the neck of this guitar, which has a scale length of 22.8”. This length should be suitable for nearly any student of any age.
This neck also has a C-shaped contour, which is designed to feel comfortable up and down the neck. Any guitarist will likely appreciate this as most full-size guitars tend to have a similar contour.
The fretboard of this guitar is crafted from Rosewood and has a flat radius, ideal for classical playing. There are 19 frets to be found on this fretboard.
Rosewood is also used in the construction of the bridge. This helps the strings to resonate evenly across the guitar.
If you’re concerned about the string spacing, this guitar has a nut width of 1.875”. This should be more than adequate for an entry-level classical player.
Aesthetically, the guitar is fairly simple with details in the right places. Thin black ABS binding outlines the natural blonde color of the guitar’s top, with a decorative rosette in the center.
What’s So Great About The Cordoba C1M 1/2 Size?
The Cordoba C1M 1/2 Size is the perfect budget guitar for the beginning student. Its cost is not too significant in the event that they do not stick with their studies.
However, if the student is serious about their studies, this guitar can handle the rigors. All too often, budget guitars can be extremely hard to play, which in turn causes the student to lose interest.
That likely won’t be the case here. In fact, this guitar does come recommended by instructors as a worthwhile entry-level instrument for the young child.
This guitar is certainly pretty small by most accounts. It measures 35.25” from top to bottom, with a 3.5” body depth.
So, no matter how small your child might be, the C1M 1/2 Size will not be too big or awkward.
In some ways, Cordoba has provided an excellent guitar here for the purpose of transition. Certain stylings have been added that a guitarist will find on 3/4 and full-sized instruments.
These stylings (such as the C-shape contour) will make the transition to larger guitars much easier.
At the end of the day, this guitar is perfectly ideal for any young guitarist with serious ambitions. It is built to perform, and you likely won’t face any issues due to a lack of craftsmanship here.
You really can’t ask for much more than that on a no-frills budget guitar. It certainly achieves its aim of providing a fertile platform for education.
Item Weight: 3 pounds
Package Dimensions: 35.25 x 13.25 x 3.75 inches
What To Look For When Buying A 1/2 Size Acoustic Guitar
It can be a downright confusing process to buy a guitar for a young child. This is especially true if you’re a person who is not familiar with different guitars available on the market.
No parent wants to see their child give up the guitar because they don’t like the instrument itself. This can cause you to feel disappointment in yourself because of the guitar you bought.
However, by keeping the following things in mind, you can make the best-educated purchasing decision possible. This will help to ensure that you made the correct purchase for your child.
Neck Scale Length
When shopping for a young child with small hands, it's important to find a guitar with a short-scale neck. Most guitars that are half size or 3/4 size will tend to have these shortened lengths.
Shortened scales allow for there to be less space in between each fret. This, in turn, allows for smaller hands to be able to play the guitar without issues.
Despite the smaller size, these guitars still have the full range of notes found on a full-size guitar. This essentially means that a half size guitar is a booster seat of an instrument, prepping for the full-size.
For the most part, these neck scale lengths range around the 21” to 22” lengths. The shorter the length, the smaller the space between each fret.
There are some full-size guitars with shortened scale lengths. However, these range around the 23” to 24.5” measurements.
It might seem trivial, but do pay attention to the body style of the guitar you are purchasing. Each guitar is built and designed to be played in different ways.
The best way you can gauge this is to ask your child what guitarists they look up to. Kids are honest and will likely give you the answers you are looking for.
If they are inspired by classical music and classical guitarists, then a classical style guitar will be fitting.
Similarly, if they are inspired more by songwriters, then a more traditional flat-top acoustic might be more fitting.
Buy the kind of guitar that allows them to be the guitarist they wish to be. If you don’t, they will likely not connect with the instrument on an emotional level.
This kind of connection is crucial for ensuring that the child maintains their study throughout life.
Depending on the needs you or your child has, additional features can be an area of attention. Most guitars priced in this budget range tend to be no-frills guitars designed for basic play.
However, as you've seen in this list, there are certainly guitars that offer more. Some of these features include:
- Better materials
- Higher attention to detail
- Pickups for amplification
- Gig bag
These areas are definitely going to be of importance, especially in the realm of stage performance.
It’s not often that someone plays a half size guitar on stage. However, if this is going to be a possibility, it’s best if it has a pickup already installed.
Similarly, it’s always a nice addition when a guitar comes with an included gig bag. This inclusion allows you to take the guitar anywhere without a separate purchase.
Generally, convenience is always nice, especially if this instrument is for your child. Give them everything they need so they won’t be without any possibility.
Your budget is going to be the biggest factor when it comes to buying any guitar. The budget you have to work with essentially determines the guitars that are available to you.
It can be quite tempting to shell out a large sum of money for a top-dollar guitar. Any person can likely rationalize such a purchase with the right attitude.
However, it’s best to weigh certain factors to determine what your working budget should be. These factors include:
- What is the skill level of the person playing this guitar?
- How is this guitar going to be used (learning or performing)?
- What age is the person playing the guitar, and will they outgrow it?
Generally, most half size guitars are fairly affordable for even the most modest of budgets. However, even this range has its own hierarchy of quality and price.
If your child is very serious, but still at a young age, a higher quality guitar might make sense. But, if they’re growing up, this half size guitar could become like a pair of shoes that no longer fit.
These half size guitars make a great gauge to see how dedicated a child will be to the instrument. If they show consistent dedication, a more expensive instrument might be warranted.
Best Brands For 1/2 Size Acoustic Guitars
If you’re having trouble navigating the market, it can help to keep some brands in mind. These brands are well-known in the guitar community and have a solid reputation.
It’s not always best to buy the brand name, but they can certainly give you a guidepost to follow. You can be sure that guitars from the following companies will have a suitable degree of craftsmanship and playability.
Cordoba was founded in 1997 in California by Tim Miklaucic. His vision was to carry on the tradition of building classical and Spanish guitars. Today, Cordoba is highly reputed for its guitars of this background.
Believe it or not, Yamaha got its start in the 19th century by building reed organs. Today, Yamaha is one of the best-known instrument manufacturers. They specialize in providing extreme value in instruments for every budget level.
Top 1/2 Size Acoustic Guitars, Final Thoughts
Half size guitars are the perfect solution for a young child that expresses an interest in the instrument. They can also make convenient travel guitars for the well-seasoned pro.
Take some time to try some of these guitars out for yourself. Only then will you know which specific guitar speaks to you as a guitarist.