If you’re in the market for a new axe, you should know how to find the right guitar size. The correct guitar size is a function of the type of music you will be playing, your body size, and desired portability.
- Music Style—If you are planning to play mostly rock and roll, look for an electric guitar with a full-sized neck. Those extra frets (up to 24) will come in handy for wailing on those super high notes. If country is more your style, an electric or acoustic guitar with fewer frets should be sufficient. Keep in mind that you will get more sound out of an acoustic guitar with a larger body, an important feature if you have no electric amplification.
- Your Body—While most guitars are fairly standard-sized, it is important to make sure your guitar is a good fit for your personal anatomy. If you’re planning on playing your guitar standing up with a strap, make sure to try it on. Medium and higher end electric guitar bodies are subtly carved to rest comfortably against your torso. Don’t underestimate the importance of your physical comfort – it’s hard to concentrate on pleasing a crowd when your guitar is digging into your gut. If your hands are on the smaller size, you may want to consider an electric guitar, which tend to have more closely spaced frets than acoustic guitars. Finally, if this guitar is for a younger child, most guitar manufacturers make models to accommodate the smaller hands of children.
- Portability—As far as instruments go, guitars are fairly portable. However, if you plan to travel frequently and can’t be without your six-string, you should consider purchasing a travel guitar. Both electric and acoustic guitars come in travel-size, and many are good enough that you won’t have to sacrifice too much quality. As mentioned above, travel-sized acoustic guitars will lack the volume of a full-sized model, so don’t plan on playing a show without a microphone. If you buy a travel electric guitar, make sure to buy a travel amp to go with it. Travel-sized guitars are also useful for apartment-dwellers who are limited on storage space.