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When a child shows interest in a guitar, a responsible parent seeks out a guitar for them to play. Unfortunately, most regular guitars can be much too large for a younger child to be able to play.
This is where 1/2 size guitars enter the picture, offering full-scale playability at half the size. These guitars allow a child to learn the fundamentals without being completely dwarfed by a regular guitar.
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Cordoba Protege C1M – Best Overall
This is a classical guitar suitable for just about any young child who is interested in learning the guitar. Its body features a Spruce top with the back and sides made of Mahogany.
In keeping with tradition, Cordoba has used traditional fan bracing architecture in the body of this guitar. Because of this, the guitar is capable of that distinct classical guitar sound.
The neck is also made of Mahogany, featuring a shortened 22.8” scale length and a C-shape contour. Rosewood is used for the fretboard, which features 19 frets.
For hardware, the Protege C1M features:
- Composite nut and saddle
- Rosewood bridge
As this is a classical guitar, the strings equipped on this instrument are made of Nylon. This is perfect for young beginners as this string material is much easier to play.
The headstock has a traditional classical guitar design equipped with Cordoba tuners. This guitar’s nut has a 1.875” width for ample string spacing, but it shouldn’t be too much for a child.
Aesthetically, the Protege C1M has a very recognizable look, featuring black binding and a decorative rosette. The colors of this guitar produce a very balanced look between the bright top and the darker sides.
What’s So Great About The Cordoba Protege C1M?
The Cordoba Protege C1M is a prime choice for any young beginner. One of its biggest selling points is the overall cost of the guitar.
This guitar is reasonably affordable for just about any budget. It doesn’t cost an amount you would regret spending if the child doesn’t stick with the instrument.
Despite its affordability, this guitar is built with little difference from guitars in a higher price range. Real wood and traditional bracing are included in the guitar’s construction.
One thing to note is that the guitar doesn’t come with a gig bag. It is a recommended purchase if the guitar will be traveled with.
Outside of that, the Protege C1M is perfect for any young child to begin learning the guitar. Cordoba has truly outdone itself with this offering.
Most people who have purchased this guitar have been extremely pleased with how well it performs. You’ll likely form a similar opinion if you do decide to go with the Protege C1M.
Item Weight: 3 pounds
Package Dimensions: 35.25 x 13.25 x 3.75 inches
Kremona S51C – Best Premium
Not overly concerned with the amount of money you want to spend on a guitar? The Kremona S51C is a worthwhile guitar that is one of the very best money can buy.
This guitar’s body features a top made of solid Red Cedar, with the back and sides made of laminated Sapele. Traditional bracing is used in the S51C’s body for sufficient resonance and projection.
The neck is crated from African Mahogany to have a very short 20.07” scale length. Indian Rosewood is used for the fretboard, which has 18 frets.
For hardware, the S51C has an Indian Rosewood bridge with a nut and saddle made of polymer.
The headstock has a classical guitar design, featuring gold tuners with buttons made of Pearl.
An area where the S51C really shines bright is in its aesthetic details. This guitar features wooden binding as well as a very decorative rosette with a woven pattern.
The guitar is also given an open pore gloss polyurethane finish. This is a strong finish seen on high-scale guitars and is noted for its durability.
Again, as this is a classical guitar, the S51C comes equipped with Nylon strings.
You’ll be pleased to know that a gig bag comes with the purchase of the S51C. This gig bag has nylon construction with padded sides and a large pocket in the front.
What’s So Great About The Kremona S51C?
The Kremona S51C is quite the luxurious guitar for a beginner’s entry into learning the instrument. In fact, this guitar’s price lands roughly at the higher end of the beginner’s budget spectrum.
However, if a child has a proven desire to learn the guitar, the S51C can be the most ideal instrument. Some kids just have a smaller physique, and this guitar aims to accommodate that without sacrificing quality.
Kremona has managed to build a guitar that any learning student would have no issues with during a performance. Plus, its extremely shortened scale length can accommodate the smallest of hands.
The addition of a padded gig bag is a definite plus here. This means your child can go to lessons without having to make a separate purchase for a gig bag.
Reviews for the Kremona S51C have been overwhelmingly positive. As Kremona specializes in quality guitars, the S51C is a prime example of the company’s craftsmanship.
Item Weight: 4 pounds
Package Dimensions: 36 x 12 x 5 inches
Yamaha CGS102A – Best Budget
This guitar is a true classical guitar through and through. Its body features a Spruce top with Meranti used for the back and sides.
Yamaha has used a traditional classical guitar bracing architecture in the construction of the body. This helps the guitar to have heightened projection and resonance.
The neck is crafted from Nato to have a C-shape contour and a shortened scale length of 21”. Rosewood is used for the fretboard which has 20 frets.
Along with the fretboard, the CGS102A’s bridge is also made of Rosewood. This helps the guitar to have a balanced resonant profile.
Other hardware on the CGS102A include:
- Nut and saddle made of Urea
- Open-gear tuners
Aesthetically, the CGS102A has quite the vintage vibe going on. Its top has a darker red tint, making the guitar look as if it is much older than it is.
Additionally, the guitar has a classic black binding surrounding the edges of the guitar for a sharp look. A Spanish classical rosette decorates the sound hole and ties the guitar’s look together.
Light nylon strings are equipped on the CGS102A for excellent playability out of the box. The nut width on this guitar measures 1.9”, which small hands shouldn’t have much of an issue with.
What’s So Great About The Yamaha CGS102A?
Yamaha is known to produce quality instruments at any price point. Those on a smaller budget will be more than pleased with the CGS102A.
Despite its affordability, the CGS102A is built with materials found on more expensive guitars. You can be sure that this guitar will sound and play as you’d expect a classical guitar to perform.
The majority of those who have purchased this guitar have been ecstatic about its build quality. You’d be hard-pressed to find another guitar of this quality at a lower price.
Having a 21” scale length really does allow almost any child to be able to play this guitar with ease.
Perhaps the only con to this instrument is that it doesn’t come equipped with a gig bag. However, it is inexpensive enough that a gig bag could be purchased without necessarily blowing your ideal budget.
Many guitars at this price can be crafted with the intention of being a toy rather than a playable instrument. Yamaha does not produce guitars with that intention.
Rather, with the CGS102A, your child will receive a guitar that is worthy of the beginning stages of their journey. This is the instrument that many guitar teachers would likely recommend to you as a worthwhile student guitar.
With that being said, the CGS102A is the best 1/2 size guitar you can find on a serious budget. It provides the bare essentials without sacrificing the quality of those essentials in any way.
Plus, the guitar has a classic look that is sure to inspire your child to continue picking up the guitar. It almost appears as if the guitar has a wellspring of its own stories to tell, which is perfect for any musician.
Item Weight: 5 pounds
Package Dimensions: 36.9 x 16.5 x 4.5 inches
Cordoba Mini II
While it’s not marketed as a 1/2 size guitar, its measurements meet the criteria on every level. It is mostly thought of as a travel guitar, but its playability is worthy of any young beginner.
The Mini II’s body features a Solid Spruce top with Padauk used for the back and sides. Traditional fan bracing architecture is used to provide ample volume projection.
Mahogany is used for the neck, which has a 22.8” scale length and a standard C-shape contour. The fretboard is made of Pau Ferro, featuring 19 frets outlined by Pearloid dot inlays.
For hardware, the Mini II features:
- Nut and saddle made of NuBone
- Pau Ferro bridge
- Nylon strings
- Satin Nickel tuners
Aesthetically the Mini II sports black binding and a decorative Pearloid rosette.
Overall, this guitar has a body that is much smaller than traditional guitars are typically found. Something like this would be very appropriate for a child with a smaller physique.
Item Weight: 2.4 pounds
Package Dimensions: 34.28 x 11.25 x 3.33 inches
The R122-1/2’s body features a Cedar top with the back and sides made of Mahogany. A satin finish is applied to provide a smooth playing experience without any gummy residue.
Mahogany is also used to craft the neck, which has a 22.05” scale length. The distances between frets should be easy enough for just about anyone to manage.
Walnut is used for the fretboard, which is equipped with 18 frets. The guitar’s bridge is also made of Walnut to provide an even and consistent resonant profile.
Other hardware on the R122-1/2 include:
- Plastic nut and saddle
- Chrome-plated tuners
- Nylon strings
Aesthetically, the R122-1/2 has a lot going on for a guitar at this price range. The guitar features ABS purfling, maple binding, and a decorative rosette.
You can even opt to get this model in the colors of:
- Wine red
Sweetening the pot is the fact that the R122-1/2 comes with a padded gig bag included in the purchase. This adds quite a bit of value to the overall package.
Item Weight: 5.46 pounds
Package Dimensions: 42.5 x 20.25 x 5 inches
The RST5’s body features a top made of Spruce, with the back and sides made of Catalpa. This is able to produce a tone that should be reminiscent of any classical guitar.
Mahogany is used for the neck, which features a shortened scale length of 22.05”. Walnut is used for the fretboard, which has 18 frets in total.
For hardware, the RST5 features:
- Walnut bridge
- Plastic nut and saddle
- Open-gear tuners
- Nylon strings
Despite being relatively affordable, the RST5 does not come up short in aesthetic value. This guitar features a classy pinstripe rosette and ABS binding to give the guitar a sharp look.
The RST5 does come in several different color options, including:
- Ocean blue
Overall, the Ortega RST5 is definitely worth checking out if the person using it has serious intentions. Ortega has outdone themselves here by providing a highly playable guitar at an affordable price.
In fact, you can be sure this will be of good quality as the company does specialize in smaller guitars. These instruments prove you don’t have to sacrifice playability for affordability.
Item Weight: 3.52 pounds
Package Dimensions: 34 x 12 x 3.5 inches
Ibanez is one of the most respected name brands in the guitar industry. Many guitar virtuosos openly endorse the company’s instruments as their guitar of choice.
With a reputation like that, you can have confidence knowing that the GA1 won’t be a complete waste of money.
Meranti is used to construct the GA1’s back and sides, with Spruce being used for the top. This is able to provide a tone that is quite luscious in the lower ranges of the guitar’s sound.
Nyatoh is used to craft the GA1’s neck, which has a 20.86” scale length and a standard C-shape contour. The fretboard is crafted out of Nandu to have a flat radius and 18 frets.
For hardware, the GA1 features:
- Nandu bridge
- Nylon strings
- Nut and saddle made of Ivorex II
- Chrome tuners
Aesthetically, the GA1 has a very classic look to it. The colors of the wood look as if the guitar is vintage, no doubt accented by the classical rosette.
Overall, it’s really hard to go wrong with the Ibanez GA1, especially at this price point. This is a guitar competent enough for any student demanding performance out of their instrument.
Plus, those who have purchased this guitar have been overwhelmingly pleased with its quality. It might be a budget guitar, but it’s lightyears away from the low-quality guitars often found in this price range.
Item Weight: 6.2 pounds
Package Dimensions: 41 x 19 x 6 inches
Why Are There No Electric Guitars Included In This Article?
You have to be living under a rock not to know that guitars come in both acoustic and electric varieties. So, why aren’t there any featured in this list?
The simple answer to this is that most 1/2 size electric guitars are of extremely poor quality. These types of guitars are often built to be a toy, rather than actual playable instruments.
That isn’t to say that they are completely unplayable. However, the difference is night and day when compared to acoustic varieties of the same size.
Unfortunately, this can leave any parent in a bit of a dilemma. Chances are, your child is inspired by electric guitar players.
Generally, you would want to purchase a guitar that allows your child to chase their dreams. For many children who are so inclined, an electric guitar tends to be at the top of their wish list.
This is where you will have to really do some thoughtful decision-making. Is your child more interested in the guitar as a toy or as an actual pursuit taken seriously?
Don’t be afraid to talk with your child about what their hopes and dreams are regarding the instrument. This can give you a good idea of the kind of guitar you should purchase.
If they express a desire to actually learn the instrument, a half size acoustic is the way to go. Kindly explain to them that one of these guitars is going to be much better for them to play.
Of course, this may not please those who have an explicit desire to play the electric guitar. You could use the electric guitar as an incentive for them to take their studies seriously.
Once they grow, electric guitars can be much more accommodating. Plus, the quality of the instruments themselves increases dramatically.
What To Look For In A 1/2 Size Guitar
If you’ve never played the guitar, it can be hard to know what to look for when purchasing a guitar. It becomes even more difficult when searching for a guitar of a specific size, such as half size guitars.
Fortunately, you don’t need to be a music veteran to traverse the market landscape. Keep the following points in mind and you’ll find the right 1/2 size guitar for your child.
Neck Scale Length
Are you wondering what exactly makes a guitar into a half size guitar? While the bodies may be smaller, the length of the neck is actually the key ingredient.
The scale length is a measurement covering the distance between the guitar’s nut and bridge. Most full size guitars have a scale length in the ballpark of 25”.
On a full size scale length, the fret distances can be too much for young hands to deal with. Common chords will require a finger stretch that could actually pose to be physically impossible to do.
A shorter neck scale remedies this issue, making even those with the smallest hands able to play. These shortened scale lengths will often have just as many frets as a standard full size guitar.
For the most part, half size guitars have a scale length near 22”. Manufacturers do make 3/4 size guitars that have a slightly longer scale length.
If you’re ever in doubt, take your child on a trip to your nearest guitar shop. Your child will be able to play these guitars and you’ll see whether a certain scale length is appropriate.
Of course, if you’re buying this as a secret gift, you’re obviously going to be in a bit of a dilemma. In these cases, it’s best to take stock of your child’s age and stage of bodily development.
If they’re very young (such as 3-5), the shortest scale versions are likely the best. As they get older, the longer scales may be more appropriate.
The build quality is something else you’ll want to pay attention to concerning 1/2 size guitars. For the most part, these guitars are not often given a critical eye for detail.
Due to their nature, these are designed to be fairly cheap guitars on almost every level. However, the build quality is going to determine how well the guitar actually plays.
If your child is serious about learning the guitar, they might struggle to play a guitar that was poorly built.
Strings can be quite difficult to press down to the fretboard for any beginner. This difficulty is only increased if playing a poorly built guitar.
Make sure there isn’t too much of a large gap between the bottom of the strings and the frets themselves. This is what is referred to as action, with high action being one common area of poor quality.
Nylon stringed instruments are much easier to fret as nylon is more pliable than steel.
You won’t find too many guitars built with high-quality components in this range. However, you should still do a playtest to make sure the guitar actually has a pleasing tone.
If you’re ever in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask somebody who works at a guitar shop. They will likely have no problem giving you their honest opinions on a certain guitar model.
Keep your eye out for guitars that might come with additional features. One of the most common addition is a gig bag, allowing safe transportation of the guitar.
Some other features you might find could include:
- Guitar strap
- Guitar picks
It isn’t wholly necessary to seek out these bundle packages. However, it could save you some extra time and cash having to buy these items separately.
Unfortunately, the guitar in these bundles might not have the same quality as the one you bought individually. Don’t be afraid to ask to see and try the instruments out for a closer inspection.
Your budget is going to play a critical role in the guitar you purchase. Fortunately, most 1/2 size guitars are quite affordable.
By now, you know that superior build quality makes for an easier and more pleasant playing experience. When it comes to guitars in this range, you often do get what you pay for.
That doesn’t mean you should shell out some serious coinage for the most expensive you can find. Take into account that this is a guitar that will only serve its purpose for a short period of time.
As your child grows, playing a guitar of this size is actually going to be impractical. These guitars allow children to learn, while parents can gauge their interests.
Children are fickle in their interests. However, if they stick with their studies, you can spend your money on a better guitar of a larger size.
This will likely be the best use for your money. Don’t forget to check the used market as you could save even more money.
Most used guitars are far more inexpensive than they cost new. A guitar of better quality that was outside of your budget may be within your budget when buying used.
Best Brands For 1/2 Size Guitars
With the market being saturated with options for guitars, it can be hard to discern what is worthwhile. As with anything, certain brands have a great reputation that stands out against other products.
The following brands produce some of the best half size guitars money can buy. Seek them out when you can’t separate the wheat from the chaff.
When it comes to classical and Spanish classical guitars, Cordoba reigns supreme. They produce high-quality guitars in a traditional fashion, with their half size guitars being extremely worthwhile for any child.
Since 1994, Ortega has specialized in crafting quality guitars for students. The company makes guitars in a wide variety of sizes ranging from 1/4 size to full size.
Top 1/2 Size Guitars, Final Thoughts
Just because a child has a smaller physique certainly doesn’t mean they can’t play the guitar. Getting them a 1/2 size guitar allows them to scratch that itch of inspiration.
In fact, the right guitar can truly inspire your child to continue with the guitar as a lifelong passion. There’s perhaps nothing better for a parent than to see investment in your child’s interests blossom into such a pursuit.
Side note, do you want to learn to play guitar songs the easy way? Learn how here – results are guaranteed!