Top Five Small Body Guitars
Small size, big sounds from these quality acoustics
Acoustic guitars, as we know, come in all shapes and sizes. Traditionally, the dreadnought shape is the one we’d wager most people think about, but there’s also auditorium and jumbo sized beasts for players of certain genres.
Recently however, there’s been a real resurgence in popularity for smaller sized acoustics. Where as previously this would have meant a ‘parlour’ style guitar, now this manifests itself in shrunken versions of regular dreadnoughts. All of the big brands are doing them, so let’s take a look at our top five small body guitars and see what the fuss is about.
Taylor Baby BT1 Acoustic Guitar
This beautiful 3/4 size dreadnought acoustic guitar is a real workhorse that will comfortably travel all over the world with you. The ingenious X-bracing top reinforcement adds superior strength to the model, making it a tough guitar that is perfect for the touring musician who needs a reliable guitar thyat will sound and feel great at all times, even after years of (ab)use. The tropical American mahogany neck is comfortable to play and the layered sapele back and sides offer great projection. Although it’s a smaller model, don’t be afraid to play it lo9ud as this thing was born to sing loud! The ebony 19-fret fingerboard really makes this guitar stand out and provides the player with a smooth and comfortable playing surface. This Taylor Baby BT1 is a travel guitar that is built to last.
This is perhaps the model which catapulted small body guitars into the limelight again, on account of it being seen in the hands of one of the music world’s biggest names. Auburn troubadour Sheeran has long favoured the smaller body shape of the Martin LX series, and eventually took the base specification of that range and added a few of his own tweaks resulting in a now out of print signature model. However, even if you’re not a fan of Ed, the model on which his signature is based is well worth your attention. It features the same small body size, and price, and is a slice of genuine Martin quality at an extremely competitive price. Don’t be fooled by the small size either, the Martin LX1E can really project well and thanks to its onboard Fishman electrics it is ready to go through your amp or PA of choice.
Martin used some fancy build techniques to keep the cost down, like using high pressure laminate mahogany on the back and sides, but this doesn’t dampen the tonal qualities of this guitar. It also comes with a robust padded gig-bag, further enhancing its travel/gigging credentials.
The Farida M2E also features a smaller sized body shape, moving into parlour territory, making it easy for players who can’t get on with regular sized acoustics. The author of this blog is an owner, and honestly, believes it’s one of the best guitar related purchases he’s made. For a shade under £350 you’ll get a truly wonderful guitar which just begs to be played. This guitar means business. Build quality is genuinely superb, from the finish to the joins, and the on-board Fishman Isys electronics do a great job of amplifying the naturally warm tone.
It may not have the history of a Martin or a Taylor, but if you can look beyond a headstock logo you simply won’t be disappointed. The included Farida hard case just seals the deal.
Taylor GS Mini
As one of the traditional ‘big two’ in acoustic guitar making, Taylor’s GS Mini has naturally been one of the soaraway successes in the world of small body guitars. It eschews the usual dreadnought shape in favour of a slightly more rounded bottom half, which provides more room for the tone to reverberate and has a noticeable impact on its bass undertones. There’s a dedicated electro version too, as well as a separate pickup specific to this model which you can fit and remove as you please.
You’d expect the quality of construction to be good and the GS Mini doesn’t disappoint here either.
Fender Sonoran Mini Acoustic
As you might have guessed the Fender Sonoran Mini acoustic is a 3/4 size version of the popular Fender Sonoran. Travelling musicians will definitely benefit from the slightly smaller body, as it’s certainly easier to carry than its larger brother and fender enthusiasts will love the traditional Strat-style headstock which, admittedly, looks a bit odd on a small body acoustic but adds to the charm of this rather esoteric model.
Its thin neck and smaller scale body means it’ll instantly feel comfortable to any tourists having a break from their electrics. A free gig bag will keep it safe in transit – perfect if you’re using it at festivals or just taking it globe trotting with you.