The 4 Best Short Scale Electric Guitars – Reviews 2023

best short scale electric guitar, best short scale guitar

Photo by Martin Taylor / CC BY

Long ago, in a place far away, a genius recognized the need for a smaller guitar. He noticed that there were exceptional players that struggled with guitars of regular size, but their love of music kept them trying . . . All jokes aside, there is certainly a well-developed market for smaller guitars, mostly oriented around travelers, children, and people with petite hands.

Buying a short-scale electric guitar is no different from buying a full-scale one – there are always some things to pay attention to and others to avoid. In our quest for the best short-scale guitars, we have considered various criteria, including sound quality, durability, reliability, value for money—essentially, everything you would expect of a full-body guitar, only on smaller scale.

Now, if you would kindly disregard the previous pathetic attempt at a pun, let’s get to know the 4 guitars that stand out from the rest and their respective advantages and disadvantages. These are the best short scale electric guitars on the market.

Squier ‘Mini’

We begin the list with the Squier Mini, an excellent starting instrument for your “minis.” Children will love practicing on this ¾-scale puppy, as it delivers a rich and strong tone while maintaining note consistency from low to high strings.

This baby is the smaller cousin of the iconic Fender Stratocaster and features most of the things its bigger sibling does – rosewood fretboard, a hard-tail bridge, master volume and tone controls, and 3 single-coil Stratocaster pickups. The fretboard nurses 20 medium jumbo frets and has a 9.5 radius; it’s all backed up with a comfortable C-curve neck with satin finish.

Talking numbers, the Squire Mini is 44.5 x 4 x 14.5 inches, and weighs 11 pounds. Not only is it perfect for kids, it will suit any small-handed players. Moreover, the Squier Mini is a perfect travel companion, whether you interpret the word “travel” literally or metaphorically.

Fender Squier Mini Strat 2015 demo by Rick Cuevas

Ibanez GRGM21MMPL miKro series 3/4 –scale Mini Electric guitar

If you’re buying the ¾ guitar for a kid, this Ibanez guitar is an especially great choice. It’s designed to be easy to play for beginners and comes with an affordable pricetag that parents will appreciate. They don’t compromise on the sound, either, just because it’s a smaller guitar. You’ll be impressed by how good this little guy can sound—even in the hands of a beginning player.

A lot of the sound from an electric guitar is produced by the pickups, so it’s especially important that those be of high quality. This guitar uses two PSND1 humbucking pickups that together give you a sound that’s both bright and resonant. It’s perfect for genres like rock and metal where you want that cutting edge on your tone but still want that warm depth to your sustained tones.

The short scale isn’t the only thing that makes this guitar great for young players. The frets are designed to be easy for small hands to play. Their medium action is low enough it won’t strain your finger muscles, but also won’t make any annoying fret noise. Given this impressive combination of value and playability, it’s a definite contender for the best short-scale electric guitar.

Ibanez Mikro Electric Guitar GRGM21MMPL

Stagg S300 ¾-Size NS Standard S 6-String Electric Guitar

Very often short-scale electric guitars feel and look like they were made for kids, with plastic parts and a flashy finish that make it look more like a toy than an instrument. The Stagg S300 is great because it’s a short-scale guitar that both looks and sounds great on-stage. The natural finish and tortoiseshell pick guard give it an elegant, professional aesthetic vibe, and that’s matched by its tone.

The Stagg S300 uses solid alder for the body, with a bolt-on maple neck and rosewood fingerboard. It uses Strat-style electronics, with three single-coil pickups and a selector switch to toggle between them. The hardware will also be familiar to Fender players, with an S-style tremolo bridge and open-gear tuners.

As far as the sound goes, you’ll find it easy to get a variety of different rock tones out of this bad boy. It’s perfect for blues and country, as well, with a bright and vibrant single-coil twang.

All of these things are great, but the build quality is still our favorite thing about the Stagg S300. It feels solid in your hands, with a smooth fretboard and consistent action across the strings. It might be priced for students but this is definitely a step up from your typical kid-oriented instrument, which makes this one of the best short scale electric guitars period.

Stagg Junior Electric Guitar

Peavey Iron Man ¾ Rockmaster

Peavey is a name known in full-size guitars for both quality and value. Their 3/4 sized model for younger players has a fun, kid-friendly design while still maintaining the quality standards they bring to their adult models. The end result is an instrument that will make musicians of all ages want to keep playing.

A lot of instrument manufacturers use lower-quality materials in the construction of children’s instruments, which can impact both their sound and their durability. Peavey uses an all solid wood construction in their ¾ Rockmaster, with a basswood body, a maple neck, and a 21-fret rosewood fingerboard. The hardware installed on it is equally high-quality, with diecast chrome tuners and custom-designed humbucker pick-ups.

The design of the instrument is equally important, especially when it comes to young players. The Peavey Rockmaster is visually appealing, with a sleek design and a choice of popular characters on the face. It’s also well-designed in terms of player comfort. In terms of playability, it’s ideal for children in the 9-13 age range; younger kids may still have some difficulty reaching the lower frets, though it depends on the child. The low price helps make it a very appealing starter guitar from the parents’ perspective, as well. This is easily one of the best short scale electric guitars for the money.

Peavey Rockmaster Marvel Iron Man Limited Edition

So . . . Which to Choose?

On a balance, the Fender Squier ‘Mini’ (see full specs) and Stagg S300 come neck to neck, albeit with one minor difference, technicality, really – the Squier Mini sits best with players that love that iconic Fender Strat vibe, while the Stagg has a more elegant look and a more versatile sound.

As far as durability and reliability are concerned, all of these fit the bill. One other criterion that comes close to these two criteria is versatility, and this is where the Stagg S300 (see full specs) really shines. We were pleasantly surprised to find this hidden gem, as we hope you will be, too.

Value for money is another important thing to keep in mind when buying…anything, really. All four of these guitars come in prices that are super-affordable for a high-quality guitar. Feel free to poke around the reviews. We’re sure you’ll find the best short scale electric guitar for your needs here. Good luck with your guitar purchase!

Written and Reviewed By

  • Micah Johnson started playing music in high school, when he taught himself the bass to join his friend’s band. He added guitar and drums during his twenties playing in local clubs, and along the way, he picked up unique, hands-on experience from hand drums to studio mixers. On Song Simian, he aims to share this knowledge from 20+ years playing and recording music. When not in gearhead mode, he enjoys photography and travel.

  • Marko is the senior editor and writer on Ultimate Guitar, the No. 1 guitar spot on the web, since early 2013. His work was also featured on a variety of other notable gear spots such as Guitar Fella, Consordini, and, of course, Song Simian. His musical journey began at a very young age, and he finally opted to pick up an instrument in his early teenage years. A fan of King Crimson. A travel enthusiast.

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