Best Short Scale Electric Guitars of 2021 – Ultimate Round-up

| Last Updated: May 6, 2021

Some of us might find full-sized guitars quite challenging to play, either because we are just finding our way around a guitar or simply because of small hands.

If you find yourself in this situation, you definitely need to check out the following sections and our recommendations for the best short scale electric guitars!

We hope this article proves instrumental (so to speak) in your search for the guitar that is perfect for your individual needs.

What is a Short Scale Electric Guitar?

Any guitar shorter than 25.5” is considered a short-scale guitar. More specifically, the scale length refers to the distance between the saddle and the nut of the guitar. However, because of physics law, the saddle needs to be placed beyond the scale length, and the actual scale length is measured by doubling the space between the middle of the 12th fret and the nut. 

These instruments are not only used for their convenience and playability, but also because a shorter scale has an impact on the sound itself. Have a look in the next section to find out when you should use a short scale guitar. 

When Would Someone Use a Short Scale Guitar?

There are certain situations when you should use a short-scale guitar, some more obvious than others. You should consider a short-scale option if you:

Have Small Hands

One of the most obvious reasons to get a smaller instrument is if you experience difficulty playing a full-sized guitar. A short-scale one will allow you to hold the barre chords without struggling and it will be more convenient to play when either standing or sitting, considering that a short scale guitar is also significantly lighter than a full-sized one.

Are a Beginner

As a beginner, you might have issues in playing for some time without encountering pain. This might happen after 5 minutes or 20 minutes, especially if you have just started. While you wait to build up some skill and resistance, you should consider trying out a short scale guitar to help you with playability and comfort. 

Travel Often

Experienced players often consider short-scale guitars because they are easier to travel with, but also for their added advantages. For instance, you can solo much faster on a short scale guitar – up to the 20th fret! You should definitely give it a go if you enjoy playing chords. 

What Makes a Great Short Scale Electric Guitar?

Here’s a shortlist of what you need to ensure your short scale electric guitar is great:

High-Quality Design

Overall, the design of the guitar is what makes it stand out – not visually, but feature-wise. You need to pay attention to the build durability and whether the quality is consistent, but also consider the body type of the guitar itself. Solid-body guitars are the most common ones you’ll find on the market, followed by the hollow body, which is preferred by jazz players, and semi-hollow, which is great for blues, jazz, and punk rock. 

Solid Electronics and Pickup

The electronics and the pickup have a significant influence on the sound of your guitar; therefore, they need to be great in order to have a great instrument. Apart from high-quality materials, you also need to consider what types there are (single-coil, humbucker, and piezo) and what they all do. 

Piezo gives highly digital tones, acoustic or synthesized, while humbuckers are great for warm, round sounds, followed by single-coil pickups, which generate bright and crisp sounds. 

Comfortable Neck Shape

Lastly, no one wants a guitar that is uncomfortable to play. The build of the guitar and the neck shape can heavily influence how much you will enjoy practicing your skills – and we all know that practice makes perfect. 

Comparison Chart of the Best Short Scale Electric Guitars

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • High-quality sounds and tonal stability
  • Compact design with a 22” scale maple neck
  • Low tension and small-sized guitar ideal for beginners
View Latest Price →
  • Rosewood fingerboard and a maple neck
  • Comfortable C-shaped design for enhanced playability
  • Vintage design and three single-coil pickups with a 5-way switch
View Latest Price →
  • Humbuckers with coil-tapping
  • Solid hardware and electronics
  • Classic styling with mahogany body and neck
View Latest Price →
  • Versatile and easy to play with an inspired design
  • Chrome tuning keys and non-locking floating vibrato
  • Single-coil pickups, basswood body, and rosewood fretboard
View Latest Price →

Review of the Best Short Scale Electric Guitars

Now that you are in the know about what to look for when buying a short scale electric guitar, let’s peruse through some of the best options.

Best Overall:
Ibanez GRGM21BKN 3/4 size Mikro Electric Guitar

PROS

  • Ideal practice guitar for beginners
  • High-quality sound and high playability
  • Low tension, small-sized 22” maple neck
  • Loyal replica of larger-sized counterparts
  • Wide range of colors and designs available

CONS

  • Neck stability
  • Electronics are weak
  • Humbuckers are average

What Recent Buyers Report

This small-scale guitar is a close replica to its bigger-sized counterparts, which means that it maintains the high quality of sounds and features, but in a minimalistic design that enhances playability and comfort. It permits low tension on the strings, and the sound is extremely powerful when connected to an amplifier.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Ibanez Mikro is fascinating if you are chasing dark, thick sounds. The mini-size is a great benefit of the guitar, but what is truly amazing is how the sound quality goes beyond its size. It is a high-quality, affordable guitar made of solid pieces of wood. It is a great competitor to many full-sized electric guitars!

Who Will Use This Most

Short-scale guitars are often recommended to beginners, although with some professional set up, this Mikro has excellent potential for staying with you past the beginner years. It is durable, yet small and easy to play. The sound can be extremely powerful when connected to a good quality amplifier.

Bottom Line

Overall, the Ibanez Mikro is not a simple guitar; it is a true investment. Once you start playing, this guitar will grow with you and give you a great foundation for your future career and performance. It is small, thus fun to play even for long hours.

Runner-up:
Squier by Fender Mini Stratocaster Beginner Electric Guitar

Squier by Fender Mini Stratocaster Beginner Electric Guitar - Indian Laurel Fingerboard - Torino Red

PROS

  • Great, smooth, vintage finish
  • Intense, deep, full sounds
  • High-quality single-coil pickups (3)
  • Great for beginners or traveling musicians
  • Maple C-shaped neck enhances comfort and playability

CONS

  • Gets out of tune quite quickly
  • Customer service not so great
  • Model not available for left-handed players

What Recent Buyers Report

What is impressive about this instrument is its sturdy, robust build, which feels lightweight at the same time and is easy to manipulate, even by children. Although it does not maintain its tuning for a long time, it is simple to tune it back – or you can simply replace the strings for a longer tune.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This Mini Strat is one of our recommended mini-sized guitars for a clean, but bright sound. The electronics and the design are simple and easy to use; you can tune it quickly and even make replacements as necessary. The aesthetics are incomparable, and the price even more so!

Who Will Use This Most

This guitar is ideal for beginners or musicians who travel. The short-scale design is a great companion, saves space, yet it totally transforms when you plug it in. The powerful tones are shaped by the three single-coil pickups, and volume controls. It is a great instrument for any musician!

Bottom Line

Overall, this model is highly versatile and easy to control and use, yet it encompasses enough features to allow you to benefit from a complex, full experience every time you decide to strum it. Once you plug it in, you will be taken aback by its force, quality, and versatility!

3. Epiphone G-400 Pro Electric Guitar

Epiphone G-400 Pro Electric Guitar with Coil-Splitting, Right Handed, Guitar, Cherry Red

PROS

  • Stylish, classic looks
  • High-quality sounds
  • Includes Tune-o-Matic
  • Excellent humbucker pickups
  • Made of mahogany for a balanced, neutral sound

CONS

  • Mahogany build is heavy
  • Highs are quite harsh in coil-tap mode
  • D-shaped neck feels a bit low for some players

What Recent Buyers Report

The Epiphone electric guitar is the definition of versatility – from sounds to uses and playability, it scores high on every aspect. It is packed with high-quality features that deliver high value for money. You can easily adjust and tweak the sounds to your liking since each pickup has its own tone control and volume.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This classic Epiphone is a short scale guitar that comes with great features for higher control over your tones. With the stop bar tailpiece and the Locktone Tune-o-Matic, this guitar is a strong competitor to many full-sized guitars. The blend between the smart design and useful features make it stand out from the crowd.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are trying to learn guitar, rest assured – we have found you the perfect instrument to practice effortlessly and become better day by day, while having a fun and relaxing experience. This guitar is easy to use, it is convenient, and has great looks. Professionals should also take a peek!

Bottom Line

Overall, the Epiphone G-400 Pro is an excellent guitar for beginners and more experienced players. It is not sophisticated in the manner of premium-priced guitars, but it has its own features and personality, which makes it a great product on the market. Top this up with solid electronics and hardware, and you get the perfect short scale instrument.

4. Squier by Fender Vintage Modified Jaguar

Squier Vintage Modified Jazzmaster Electric Guitar - Sonic Blue

PROS

  • Basswood body
  • Highly versatile and comfortable
  • Chrome Tuning keys and single-coil pickups
  • C-shaped maple neck and rosewood fingerboard
  • Ergonomic design can be easily played both standing and sitting

CONS

  • Tuning stability
  • Strings should be replaced
  • Quality issues with finish and fretwork

What Recent Buyers Report

The first feature of this guitar that stands out is the distinct, yet quite familiar design. It offers high value for money, and it is highly popular with musicians looking for a versatile and stylish instrument. The scale is shorter than usual – 24” – which can be an advantage for some.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This product represents a modern touch on a vintage design, which includes the sharp and crystal clear Duncan Designed pickups and the modern rosewood fretboard. It is shorter than most models, with only 24”, which makes it ideal for players with small hands.

Who Will Use This Most

This instrument is highly popular with surf players, but also modern rock and other variations. The pickups sound great, the extra-small size makes it ideal for children or small-handed musicians, and it offers high value and a distinct feel compared to other options on the market.

Bottom Line

Overall, whether you fall in love with the sound or with its vintage design, you will definitely get to adore this fun-size guitar. It is highly recommended to give it a try – most players were pleasantly surprised when strumming the strings for the first time!

5. Mitchell TD100 Short-Scale Electric Guitar

PROS

  • Rich in features and very flexible
  • Solid build and quality of electronics
  • Tuning stability and great resonance
  • Neck is wide enough to feel comfortable
  • Versatile configuration with one humbucker and two single-coil pickups

CONS

  • Might sound a bit flat for some
  • Strings could be replaced with heavier gauge

What Recent Buyers Report

This guitar is a high-quality, masterfully built instrument that allows you to play any music genre you enjoy with extra ease. Although it is short-scale, the wide neck does not make it feel cramped. What is more, the bridge is quite easy to adjust, so you will definitely enjoy playing this guitar.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Mitchell TD100OR is a great, high-quality short scale electric guitar with a traditional, double-cutaway design made from solid wood. The fun size is easy to play, has a hard-tail bridge, which is easily adjustable. The guitar features longer tuning stability and an outstanding resonance.

Who Will Use This Most

This is the ideal guitar for any beginner, student, or player with a smaller hand. The higher your skill, the more you will get to appreciate this feature-packed tiny guitar, which is highly versatile and playable. The versatile pickup configuration allows you to play any music genre you desire.

Bottom Line

The Mitchell TD100OR Short-Scale electric guitar is an outstanding instrument that has to be tried at least once in a lifetime. It is not only effortless to play, but the pickup configuration of a humbucker and two single-coil pickups is definitely to die for!

Pros and Cons of Short Scale Electric Guitars

Here is a short insight into the advantages and disadvantages of short scale electric guitars:

Pros

  • Portability: the smaller size of the guitar makes it easier to store or transport with you wherever you need. 
  • Comfort: a short scale guitar is easier to play and much more comfortable – it is also lighter and can be extremely beneficial if you have small hands. 
  • Tuning: a short scale is easier to keep in tune because the length between the nut and the bridge is shorter; thus, you need less pressure to keep it tuned. 
  • Easier to fret and pick the strings; the lower tension also means that you don’t need to press as hard to play the guitar.
  • Warmer tones; the lower string tension also affects your sounds, making them warmer compared to large scale guitars.
  • Price; short scale guitars are significantly more affordable than large scale ones.

Cons

  • Larger scale offers you significantly more room to play with chord voicing.
  • If your instrument is too small, your fingers will get cramped easily.

Conclusion

Overall, if these pros appeal to you, you should definitely give this style of guitar a try and pick one of our recommended short-scale options. All in all, we did our best to clear up some confusion and misconceptions about short-scale guitars – such as, is it a toy, or is it only for children? Our recommendations are incredibly potent, durable, and, if you pair them with a good amplifier, they are ready to rock your world and awe your audience!

People Also Ask

Here’s a short section with more information about short-scale guitars, including whether they are easier, how the scale length affects a guitar’s performance, and  how scale length is measured. Check out the following FAQs:

Are Short Scale Guitars Easier?

Short scale guitars are both easier and lighter than full-scale guitars. On the one hand, they are easier to play because you don’t need as much pressure to play them, and they might be of great help if you struggle to reach some chords. Most players prefer short scale electric guitars because they are highly playable but also lightweight, which increases their playability and portability.

How Does Scale Length Affect a Guitar?

The scale length affects the guitar’s playability, but also the sounds. For instance, a short-scale guitar has a lower string tension than a long scale guitar. The low tension strings can emphasize better the middle and lower frequencies, but can also lead to some light buzz sound if you set the action too low. The sounds are also a bit warmer and rounder on a short scale. 

How Do You Measure Scale Length on an Electric Guitar?

The scale length refers to the distance between the saddle and the nut of the guitar. However, because of physics law, the saddle needs to be placed beyond the scale length, and the actual scale length is measured by doubling the space between the middle of the 12th fret and the nut.



Thalia has spent most of her life loving two things - writing and music. Thalia's passion for music saw her learning to play several instruments throughout her childhood and teen years. This passion also led to her earning two qualifications in Sound Recording Engineering, which she now uses by writing about musical instruments, studio gear, and the processes involved in making and producing music.