This buying overview presents a selection of the ideal short-scale guitars in the existing sector and addresses the frequently asked inquiries around tone, playcapacity and also scale-size.

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When Fender released the Mustang in 1946, they wanted to make a petite guitar as a component of their student series. Three years later on, the short range guitar has actually been take on by grunge artists choose Mark Arm and Kurt Cobain and also indie-rockers favor Buzz Osborne and also Damon Albarn.

The Mustang spcheck out via the underground scene in the 1990s and became a style statement. Today, the short-scale segment caters to adults in require of a workhorse and kids that struggle for comfort with typical guitars.

Fender dominates this segment through a big catalog of ¾ models varying from the Mini versions of the Jazzunderstand, Jaguar, Stratocaster alongside the Mustang and also Duo-Sonic models. The various other respectable models are expectations throughout a handful of brands like Ibanez, Jackson, and Epiphone.

The options are as substantial as conventional guitars. Yet, we’ve tried to current a varied list in terms of aesthetics, tonality, and also price. Whether you are looking for a starter guitar for your boy or a serious short-scale for performance, I’m sure you’ll uncover an instrument for your demands.

Let’s gain to it.


#1 Fender Mustang P90 – Our Top Pick#2 Fender Duo-Sonic HS – KGR Editor’s Choice#3 Ibanez MiKro GRGM21 – Best Budget Option#4 Jackson JS Dinky Minion JS1X#5 Sterling By Music Man Cutlass SSS#6 Squier by Fender Mini Strat#7 Cordoba Mini II MahoganyShort Scale Guitars Buying Guide

Our Top Picks for finest short-range guitars

Fender’s Mustang 90 is Our Top Pick for a short-scale guitar. It would be a disservice to club it with the typical ‘student guitar’ short-range models bereason it is so a lot more. The made-in Mexico Mustang 90 has actually a hip design and also grunge tone that will certainly sit well via alt-rock crusaders, garage rock buffs, and indie noiseniks. Think of it as a fashionable way to dive into crunchy and also retro-chic tones through a 22.5-inch scale length. If you desire a budget-friendly student guitar, I recommfinish the Squier by Fender Bullet Mustang HH.

Ibanez GRGM21 from the MiKro series functions a 22.2-inch scale through good build-quality and also components for the price. It isn’t developed for recording or performance, yet the electronic devices are easy, the humbuckers sound clean, and the model is available in a range of colors. At under $150, we’ve picked it as our Best Budget Plan Option. I extremely recommfinish it for kids and young players through small hands. 

From assertive bridge tones to midvariety punch to jingle-jangle, Fender Duo-Sonic HS has actually squawk and also a squall that is part-Tele and part-Stratocaster. It additionally adamantly defies the “student guitar” label through its storied history and also contemporary features. The enormous tones and modest price tag make a compelling situation to attribute it as the KGR Editor’s Pick. If the Fender logo isn’t proof sufficient, Duo-Sonic also carries a John McLaughlin and Jimi Hendrix stamp of approval.

#1 Fender Mustang P90 – Our Top Pick


After the success of the Duo-Sonic models, Fender increased its Offcollection Series with the Mustang 90. Today, it’s a longstanding garage rock icon that has actually been provided by guitarists in bands choose Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine.

It’s made with a sleek double-cutaway alder body via balance out body contours. While it might not conform to the Fender aesthetics, it has actually the top quality components and also develop that one would certainly mean from Fender. The C-shaped maple neck sporting activities a Pau Ferro fretboard with 22 medium jumbo frets and a modest 9.5-inch fingerboard radius.

The slinky neck actions 1.65-inches right listed below the man-made bone nut. A clear indication that little hands will confront no troubles while playing barre chords. The atypical electronics center roughly two P90 pickups. The EQ panel is composed of a tone knob, volume knob, and a pickup selector.

If you assumed a Fender with soap bars cannot sound great, the Mustang’s obtained news for you. The P90s are frequently defined as the love son of a chunky Les Paul humbucker and also a bappropriate Fender single-coil. The deliver a fat low-end and also have actually a penchant for distortion and also fuzz. The clean tones also reflect an focus in the midrange though there is plenty of ‘Fender twang’ to be had from the bridge position.


The Fender Mustang 90 is the the majority of prestigious short-range on sell. It’s dynamic in both looks and tone and also not simply another ‘kids’ guitar, although it could attain that also if the price doesn’t bvarious other you. The construct top quality, playability, and tone bring the Fender pedigree, and also the reality that Kurt Cobain’s owned a number of of these is a bonus.

#2 Fender Duo-Sonic HS – KGR Editor’s Choice


Fender has taken its original 60s Duo-Sonic II and repackaged it with modern-day facets and an affordable price. Thereby we have Duo-Sonic HS, which we’ll be reviewing, yet they additionally market the Player Duo-Sonic via 2 single-coil pickups. 

The Duo-Sonic HS is an excellent combicountry of indie looks via vintage cdamage to come to be our peak pick for young or old guitarists looking for a short-scale instrument. The student-turned classic Duo-Sonic HS is easily accessible in Red, Blue Sienna Sunburst.

It attributes a Player Series humbucker with coil-split capability in the bridge place and a single-coil in the neck place. The offset body is shaped to the classical specs alongside a C-shaped maple neck with a 9.5” maple fingerboard. It has 22 tool frets with dot inlays.

The fixed bridge has a six-saddle string-thru style and also die-actors tuners ensure rock-solid tuning stability. The lightweight body and also slim neck make it a compact yet extremely playable guitar for students and also adventurous adults. The develop high quality is high high quality via no fault in the fretwork, finish, and also consistency.

The versatile tone deserve to shift from sparkling clean to gritty overdrive with a few basic tweaks. The in its entirety tone is crisp through a noticeable focus in the low-mids. The notes sound articulate and also the chords sound pleasantly chewy. The clean tones, based on the settings, deserve to deliver pretty arpeggios and also jangly strumming with equal flair.


A few hrs through the Duo-Sonic HS makes it clear why musicians choose Johnny Winters and also Rory Gallagher had actually a pair of these at arm’s size. With the substantial frets, a humbucker w/ coil-break-up, and a fast-action neck, the Duo-Sonic is optimized for studio and also stage usage If you have actually diminutive proportions or want to add a high-high quality short-scale instrument to your repertoire, the Duo-Sonic HS or SS is a killer option.

#3 Ibanez MiKro GRGM21 – Best Budget Plan Option


Just as soon as you thought this is an all-Fender list, Ibanez comes knocking with a scaled-down starter-guitar for young guitarists. While there are numerous alternatives in the MiKro series, we have actually featured the GRGM21 – a well-developed instrument that sounds good and is simple on the pocket.

Ibanez is a family name in the full-size guitar segment, yet they were among the initially brands to develop a dedicated short-scale series through the launch of MiKro method back in the early 2000s. These guitars are designed through the RG series silhouette, a Nato-wood body, and also a 22.2-inch scale length.

The compact body functions a double cutamethod for top worry accessibility and also a strat-styled F106 hardtail bridge and Ibanez trapezoid tuners for secure tuning. The ultra-slim maple neck, and also Ibanez specialty, is narrowhead at the nut and also well-suited if you have little hands.

The Jatoba fretboard is 41mm (1.61-inch) at the nut and also hosts 24 tool frets through Sharktooth inlays. The Ibanez Infinity Passives dual humbuckers sound tight in the mids through a decent low-finish. At this price point, any kind of pickup that isn’t muddy is an accomplishment. Between the tone/volume knobs and pickup selector switch, the GRGM21 has sufficient tones for most students/beginners.

Among the entry-level ¾-dimension models, the Mikro guitars sell the many bang for your buck. As you progress, you can usage a thicker gauge of strings and swap the pickups to milk them for an additional year or 2.


It doesn’t gain cheaper than the Ibanez MiKro GRGm21, and also for that price, the build top quality is on par via the entry-level models of the RG series. Tright here are no fregulations in the complete, the guitar is put together well, and also it’s playable best out of the box. If you deserve to get it put up and slap on a better pair of strings (.10-.46 Slinkies), it won’t provide you any kind of reason to complain.

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#4 Jackson JS Dinky Minion JS1X


Made and also marketed as a metal axe for youngsters, JSX1 is a 2/3 range guitar for ‘shredders-in-the-rough’ and students. It has all the hallmarks of the timeless Jackson design with the reverse headstock, narrow profile, sharkfin inlays, and double-cut Super Strat body.

The JSX1 features a poplar body topped with a maple veneer and a bolt-on maple neck with a 22.5-inch range length. The Amaranth fingerboard dwellings 24 jumbo frets through Pearloid sharkfin inlays. The style couples jet-babsence hardware with bideal colors for a colorful look. It additionally attributes a contoured neck heel for top fret accessibility and a difficult tail bridge for tuning stcapability.

The stock pickups are cost-effective Jackboy humbuckers that sound fantastic for the price. The high output buckers are designed for aggressive rock and steel tones and also produce warmth clean tones on the neck pickup establishing. The manage panel has actually 2 knobs – tone and also volume. The 3-way pickup selector enables you to mess roughly with the 2 humbuckers.

Compared to various other models, the Dinky Minion has sufficient heft and also neck width for an adult to reap it. String bending is a breeze and also it can double up as an inexpensive travel guitar. The neck is perfectly-sized for the little hands, however the 12-inch neck radius on the broader side of the spectrum. The Dinky Minion is available in a vast variety of bbest colors favor Ovariety, Pink, and also Red.


While there are telltale signs of an ‘economical guitar’, the Jackkid Dinky Minion JS1X does a terrific job for the price. It’s intfinished as a ‘starter axe’ for children that are inclined in the direction of metal and also rock, and it looks and plays the component. It will certainly survive the early on stperiods of a student’s journey and also deserve to pull off a small-venue performance or a college talent display also.

#5 Sterling By Music Man Cutlass SSS


Although Music Man and Sterling (it’s subsidiary ‘budget brand’) are ideal known for making wonderful bass guitars. They have actually developed killer guitars in their JP, Majesty, Albert Lee, Valentine, and also Cutlass Series. The Cutlass series functions a commendable short-scale variation through a strat-styled guitar and also a 24-inch range length.

The Cutlass Brief Scale functions a double-cutaway poplar body through the tradenote 4+2 MM headstock style. It likewise has actually a maple neck and also laurel fingerboard. The slender neck, short scale, and narrowly-spaced frets make it suitable for kids and basic to maneuver for adults. It also happens to be the just sub-$300 model that provides a tremolo arm.

The pickups are the actual attraction in the guitar. With the HS pickup config, you acquire clarity and also smoothness without sacrificing the warmth and also fullness. The guitar sounds loud, resonant, and well-well balanced. Overall, it uses the majority of tonal versatility for a budget-version.

Despite being made-in-Indonesia, the guitar has a perfect complete and also there is no noticeable fregulation in develop quality or complete. However before, you have to contend with the 2 colors – shell pink and mint green. Both versions have a various fretboard and also we have referenced the pink one that has the poplar/laurel combicountry as opposed to the alder/rosewood in the green one


In terms of price value, the Cutlass short-scale sits between the economy models favor the Mini-Strat and also the stalwarts like the Mustang P90 and Duo-Sonic. It has actually decidedly much better top quality and also tone than the former and also is cheaper than the premium short-scale guitars. That provides it appropriate for students via a couple of added dollars to spare or adults who want to experiment via the 24-inch scale without spending also much.

#6 Squier by Fender Mini Strat


Squier by Fender Mini Strat is a vibrant mini-electrical that functions a compact neck and brief scale to accommodate the requirements of youngsters. The guitar is also easily accessible as a student bundle with instructional product, a guitar strap, clip-on tuner, picks, and cleaning fabric. It’s obtainable in a selection of classical and bbest complete options including Arctic White, Sunburst, and Trans Blue.

The 3/4-size Mini Strat is identical in architecture to the flagship Strat. It has a durable build through a basstimber body and a C-shaped maple neck via a 9.5-inch neck radius. The rosewood fretboard hosts 20 tool jumbo frets and white dot inlays.

Being a budget arm strat, it doesn’t have a tremolo arm, however that must not be a big deal for students. Instead, it sporting activities a six-saddle hardtail bridge, which is much better for maintaining the guitar in tune – something students will appreciate a lot even more than whammy bars.

At 22.75-inches, the Mini Strat’s range size makes it exceedingly playable for youngsters, even more so once they enrespond to 4-stress stretches and also barre chords. The guitar plays well out of package and does not require a setup. The electronic devices comprise of 3 single-coil Fender pickups, a 5-way pickup selector switch, and knobs to change tone and volume.

Unchoose the Duo-Sonic or Mustang, the Mini Strat doesn’t stray as well much from the Fender Strat tone. The bappropriate clean tones are a faithful replica of the iconic tone, also if a watered-down variation. Either way, the guitar has actually the requisite tonal attributes for eexceptionally beginner’s demands. 


The iconic looks and tone are a gateway drug to the unpreventable lust for Fender guitars that eincredibly guitarist will certainly enrespond to sooner or later. While tbelow is nopoint mostly spectacular around the Squier Mini Strat, it gives great value for the price. I extremely recommfinish it as a solid ‘first electric guitar’ for youngsters. If you factor in the goodies that ship through it, it is a sweet deal for certain.

#7 Cordoba Mini II Mahogany


It is fitting to end our review via an acoustic short-scale that is available with or without electronics. The Mini II is designed for take a trip, spontaneous jams, and also campfire strumming. But the narrowhead nut width, 22 7/8-inch scale length, and thin neck aid it crossover as a suitable acoustic guitar for beginners or players through tiny hands.

We’ve referenced the mahogany variation, which despite the small profile, sounds heat and well-rounded. It is additionally accessible in flamed mahogany and also a Spruce/Ebony acoustic-electrical variation. The ½ sized guitar is made via layered mahogany type of through a C-profile neck and Moracarry out fretboard.

The stain finish is faultmuch less and the construction is tidy. The neck is neither as well narrow nor also wide. It is straightforward to play barre chords and also strum open chords. The guitar doesn’t have a cutaway, as is the norm via timeless guitars.

The sustain and also projection are rather subdued and also dulcet-like. This is to be intended as a result of the guitar-style and size, but tbelow is no dearth of warmth in the tone. The individual notes additionally sound clear and also the action/intocountry is good to go best out of the box.


The Cordoba Mini II is designed to enhance the typical tuning and also sound favor the genuine deal. The tone is extremely close to a full-size timeless guitar – soft, smooth, and even. Children will reap the diminutive size as it is a more controlled different to the bulky full-sized Cordobas or other nylon-string tools. It deserve to also serve as a lightweight travel companion for adults.

Short Scale Guitars Buying Guide

What is Scale length?

In guitar jargon, range length describes the distance in between the 2 components that seat the guitar strings – the nut and bridge. Scale length is additionally identified by doubling the distance between the nut and 12th worry. It represents the vibrating size of the strings and governs the tone and stress of the strings.

What is a short range electric guitar?

Short-scale guitars, as the name says, have actually a smaller scale size. Guitars with a ‘long scale” or full scale-length guitars have actually a 25.5-inch range length, provide or take an inch. Brief scale guitars, on the various other hand also, selection from 22 to 24.75-inches depending upon the make/design of the guitar. The is no definitive measure for long or brief scale-size and also it varies slightly among manufacturers.

How execute short range guitars differ from complete scale guitars?

Short-range guitars have smaller stress spacing than usual, which is why many world discover them less complicated or even more comfortable to play. Furthermore, the low stress and also activity make it easy to fret and also bfinish strings. For those through diminutive prosections, the reduction of a pair of inches can spell the distinction between serene playing and sore or cramped fingers.

Does range size influence playability?

Short-scale guitars have actually a lightweight, compact body making it basic to control and maneuver them throughout performances. All things being equal, the strings on a short range guitars are more elastic compared to full scale-size. This low tension, merged via fairly narrow necks, make it simpler to play chords and notes. Tonally, they create an extra punchy and warm tone.

See more: ibanez acoustic guitars review

Are short range guitars just for youngsters and young students?

Short scales guitars belong to two categories. The initially is the ‘starter guitar’ segment for kids, which commonly is composed of cost-reliable models prefer the Mini Strat, Ibanez MiKro, and also Jackchild Dinky Minion. The second category has guitars from big-name brands like Fender. These guitars have actually terrific specs and are wanted by adults for their looks, tone, and also playability.

Final Thoughts

If you’re on the sector for a brief scale guitar – either for a smaller son or because you want to rip some Nirvana riffs, you really can’t go wrong through the Fender Mustang or Duo Sonic – or on the budgain side, the Ibanez. These aren’t just fun guitars or beginner guitars, they play good and sound good, and also will meet that shorter itch!

If you chosen our roundup, please stick around and inspect out some of our other articles such as our overcheck out of David Gilmore’s delays, our buyer’s overview for kids guitars, or our deep dive into the equipment behind Alice In Chains’ Dirt!

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