|Sizes of Classical Guitars|
Classic guitar builders have offered guitars that are 1/4 sized, 1/2 sized, 3/4 sized, and full size for players of different ages and differing physiques.
|1830 Stauffer Terz|
In the 1930’s C.F. Martin introduced the Terz guitar. It was based on the size of the Terz or Treble classical guitar. Joseph Stauffer, from whom C.F. Martin senior learned his craft, had built Terz guitars. So it would stand to reason Martin would continue the tradition.
|Martin 5-18 Terz Guitar|
The Martin Terz was a 3/4 scale guitar and offered in different styles. The 5-18 was probably the most popular. Marty Robbins used his on stage. This guitar was designed to be tuned three frets above standard pitch.
|1937 Gibson L-00|
In 1932 Gibson introduce the L-00 Flat top guitar. This was a small bodied instrument, and one of the nicer versions of the L series. By 1937, Gibson offered this model in a 3/4 sized option.
|1950 Gibson LG-2 3/4 size|
In 1933 Gibson had also introduced the very fancy LC model in a 3/4 sized version. In 1942 Gibson offered the LG-2 and by 1949 it was available in a 3/4 size version. This is the guitar that Arlo Guthrie favors.
|Arlo Guthrie LG-2|
In 2002 Gibson decided to reintroduce this very model when Arlo Guthrie contacted Gibson’s craftsmen to ask for help In reconstructing a guitar that his father Woody had given him as a present. After painstakingly rebuilding the instrument, Gibson decided to offer the same guitar to the public as the Arlo Guthrie LG-2 3/4. This list price was $2079, but they are available for much less.
Back in 1945, following the World War II, Harmony guitars of Chicago was back in business and reintroduced The Stella guitar. Stella had been a brand offered as far back as 1899 by the Oscar Schmidt Company. When the company went bankrupt in the 1930’s, Harmony guitars stepped in a acquired their assets.
|Harmony "Stella" H929|
The 3/4 sized Stella H929 was in the line up from 1945 through 1970 and was popular as a student model. The guitar was made mainly from birch and used all solid woods. It was ladder braced. Despite being 3/4 sized, it still had a 24 1/2” scale.
|Bob Taylor working on a guitar|
Schemmer Guitars and Listig Guitar did not seem to sound as marketable as Taylor Guitars. So Taylor Guitar it was. None of the men had studied Martin’s guitar making techniques, so their ideas were fresh and had a new approach. By 1983 Taylor and Listig bought out Schemmer’s stake in the company.
|1996 Baby Taylor (Baby on head stock)|
Back in 1996, at a time when most of us were interesting only in dreadnought sized guitars, the Baby Taylor made its debut and starts a new trend in guitar manufacturing.
|Baby Taylor neck|
The instruments heelless neck attaches to the guitars body by means of two screws that are flush with the fretboard and located between the 15th and 16th fret.
|Baby Taylor arched back|
The guitars top is made of solid Sitka spruce. Black matte veneer covers the headstock that bears the decal with the Taylor logo.
The guitar comes with its own gig bag.
|Taylor Swift Baby Taylor|
The Baby Taylor has a 22 3/4” scale on its diminutive 15 3/4” by 12 1/2” body. The guitar was an instant hit and notice was taken by many other guitar manufacturers. The first year offered the Baby Taylor sold over 1,000 units. Sales of the tiny guitar increased from there.
Martin guitars offered the Backpacker around 1993. Chris Martin IV had visited luthier Robert McNally’s booth at the 1993 NAMM convention where the luthier was displaying his 3 string Strumstick.
|Bob McNally with a Strumstick|
|1995 Martin Backpacker|
Although the guitar did not have the greatest tone or volume, its compact size, and durability made it successful. The Backpacker was even taken into outer space by one of the astronauts.
|Martin 5-15 & Backpacker|
The design changed in 2002 when the instruments body was enlarged to enhance the tone and make the instrument easier to hold. Martin has also offered this same instrument with nylon strings, and a mandolin, and ukulele version.
The original version was only offered as an acoustic instrument. Later on the LXME came with Fishman transducers and Mini Q electronics. The LXM models all come with a gig bag.
The Martin LX1 is the same style of guitar, but it has a solid Sitka spruce top.
|LX1E Ed Sheeran model|
Ed Sheeran began his busking career using a Little Martin and Martin guitars offers the Ed Sheeran X signature series LX size guitar with built-in Fishman Isys T electronics.
Martin also makes the LX1e electric acoustic models, which feature a solid spruce top.
|2013 Taylor GS Mini|
The top is made of solid Sitka spruce and the back and sides are sapele laminate. The body is approximately 2” larger than the Baby Taylor. The scale is 23 1/2”, and the body is an inch deeper than the Baby Taylor. Once again, it features the arched back design.
|Taylor GS Mini E|
The neck on this model, although a bolt-on featuring Taylor’s NT design, does have a heel. The action is low and feels quite good. The original models were only offered as acoustic guitars, but could be equipped with the optional ES-Go acoustic pickup.
|ES-Go Pickup System|
This unit is built exclusively for the GS Mini guitar. The ES-Go is stacked humbucking magnetic pickup which clips onto a bracket in the sound hole that is underneath the fretboard section. Once in place, the player swaps out the end pin and replace it with the one attached to the ES-Go unit. It is made to be paired with Taylor’s “V” cable, which has a volume control. The unit sells for an additional $100.
|Taylor GS Mini Mahogany-Spruce|
Since its inception, Taylor has improved this guitar, by offering it with optional body woods, such as a mahogany top or spruce top with laminated walnut back and sides. The electronics have also been updated.
|2015 Taylor GS Mini E|
This option adds $100 to the guitars price, but eliminates the need for putting on or removing the ES-Go unit.
Back in 1997, just a year after Bob Taylor introduced the Baby Taylor, Tacoma Guitars of Seattle Washington introduced The Papoose mini guitar.
|The Tacoma Factory - Frets magazine|
The lumber company's general manager, J.C. Kim persuaded Young Change to build a guitar manufacturing plant nearby, and the company started turning out some rather unique instruments. Among these was the tiny P1 Papoose guitar that was designed by luthier Terry Atkins and George Gruhn.
|1997 Tacoma Papoose|
The Tacoma P1 Papoose had a short scale neck with only a 19.1” scale, and it was built to be tuned a fourth higher that normal guitar tuning. In other words, the strings were tuned from A to A.
|Paisley Soundhole on Papoose|
|Back of 1997 Papoose|
The heelless neck on the Papoose was bolted on and secured by two screws. The bridge was uniquely shaped and had 3 unusual C-shaped cut-outs to secure the strings. Some later models came with bridge pins.
|Papoose 12 String|
Young Chang put the company up for sale in 1999 and it was sold to Fender Musical Instruments Corporation in 2004.
Sadly in 2008 Fender closed the plant and laid off the staff. Though the Papoose is no longer produced, it can still be found on auction sites at a fairly reasonable rate.
Since the Baby Taylor and the Little Martin have proved to be successful, many major guitar manufacturers, too numerous to mention, have developed and offer 3/4 sized mini acoustic guitars in their line up.
Among them Dean Guitars offers the Dean Flight that retails for around $150 USD. It is a laminated guitar with a 22” scale. The neck is mahogany, and the headstock is done in the Dean-wing style. It comes with a gig bag.
Yamaha’s product is the JR1 Mini Folk.
Luna Guitars offers a similar 3/4 sized guitar called the Muse Safari guitar.
Takamine has the GX18CE-NS, which retails around $400, but it does have a solid spruce top, rosewood fretboard and electronics with a built-in preamp.
|KLOS Mini guitar|
One of the more unique mini guitars comes from a company called Klos. Their instrument has a carbon fiber body. The neck is made of mahogany and topped with a rosewood fretboard.
|KLOS Mini guitar|