I'm an absolute beginner starting to learn guitar and all sources I have seen/asked so far heavily recommend to get a regular-size steel-stringed guitar. I do however have access to 1/2 size classical guitar for free.

For an adult with about average size hands and fingers how much harder would it be to learn to play the guitar on this instrument? In terms of time and effort would it require just a little bit more, or very significantly more?

  • 2
    The "1/2" size classical guitar has only 20% shorter scale length than the full size one. Adults do learn how to play the ukulele, which is much smaller. But if you want to practice on the 1/2 guitar and expect your technique to directly translate to a full size guitar without any additional getting used to, that's a different question. Jun 8, 2020 at 9:32
  • Can't answer your question but I'd like to know the answer. I have considered buying a smaller scale classical. Some of these guitars are tuned A-A. I'm worried that re-tuning them in E-E would alter the tension. I guess a smaller neck would be beneficial if one wants to play jazz or pop, but I'd like to hear different opinions.
    – Ottavio
    Jun 8, 2020 at 9:34
  • @Ottavio The tension change is not an issue if you also change to appropriate strings.
    – klutt
    Jun 8, 2020 at 11:09

2 Answers 2


Given that an average standard scale length is around 25", and a half-size is around 21", there's about a 20% reduction in everything - hardly 1/2, but there you go!

An average size adult (what's that?!) might manage, although fatter fingers may be a disadvantage, especially up at the dusty end of the fingerboard. There will also be a reduction in the width of the neck/fingerboard, whch won't help either, bringing the strings slightly closer to each other.

Personally, I'd go for a standard one, after all, that's a good reason they exist - for grown-up sized people! You may manage, but I think it would most likely be a struggle, and even put you off guitar. And if you did manage, you'd have to get some muscle memory re-learned when you did finally obtain a full-sized guitar.


There are some adults who prefer the smaller sized guitars. My wife is tall and has normal size hands but has rejected the normal size guitars at our house, preferring to play her baby Taylor. A friend of mine plays a small Washburn. If I were the one having to decide, I think I would try each guitar to determine the feel, the playability, and the sound of the instrument, and then decide which way to go. You may fall in love with the little one or you may decide there is just not enough guitar there to suit you. Either way you decide, I advise getting the action set-up before you start the learning process. It will make the learning and playing experience much more pleasant for you

  • Not easy trying out different guitars when one hasn't started to learn! One really doesn't know what to look for.
    – Tim
    Jun 8, 2020 at 15:46
  • @Tim- Good point, but I think he might still be able to get an idea of which size might suit him best, and if he can manage a chord or two, which tone characteristics he prefers. That was my thinking. Asking us to decide for him seems like a risky proposition to me. Jun 8, 2020 at 23:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.