I've already bought a basic Acoustic Guitar off Amazon, but it's uncomfortable to play. I know the correct positioning to hold the Guitar, its just instead of my right shoulder resting down in the proper position, it's angled upwards so it's causing a ton of strain trying to play it.

Here is the link:


I did a little bit of research before I bought it and the typical practice was to go based off your age/ height. I am 26 and 5'11, so I assumed I should go with the Full Size Guitar. But clearly for this particular model that's not the case.

I don't know if I should stick to the full size guitars, just a smaller version, or go the 38" 3/4 avenue that Amazon also offers for this item.

Any recommendations or ideas for which route I should go here?

I should also add if it helps that there is another Guitar in my house now that's the perfect size, arm rests in the proper spot and everything, but when I did the scale length measurement it was barely different from the Guitar above.

Update: Added a picture of both guitars side by side if that helps. The one on the left is from Amazon, the other is the one we already had. Length of Amazon is 41", ours is 40". Scale length of both is 25.5". Width of where my arm would rest is 15.5" for Amazon, and 15" for ours. So it's "slightly" smaller overall and that seems perfect for the. Guitars

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    If you're 5'11" then the guitar is not too big. Most likely what you need is a teacher to show you how to position everything most comfortably and practice to get used to it.
    – Edward
    Commented Apr 10, 2021 at 3:57
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    I think you'd be better showing a picture of yourself playing the guitar than a picture of the guitar. A guitar's a guitar but your problem seems to be unique to you. Commented Apr 10, 2021 at 4:41
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    Seeing a picture would be helpful but a full size dreadnought is close to the largest acoustic guitar body available. It’s uncomfortable for many people to play, you have to navigate your arm around a big body to get it in the right spot. They’re certainly not my favorite. Height and age are not as important as the size of your body and length of your torso and arms. It is also a matter of personal preference, if a smaller body feels better to you why fight it? Go to a music store and try out some guitars in person to see what feels good to you, don’t just buy something online sight unseen. Commented Apr 10, 2021 at 5:57
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    Comfort will depend more on whether you are seated, which leg it rests on, whether you have a strap, are standing, and how high/low that guitat is slung.
    – Tim
    Commented Apr 10, 2021 at 6:08
  • This is the first time I see guitars marketed as 41" and 38" 3/4. Anyway, there are smaller bodied acoustic guitars and stores that specialize in music instruments that might be able to help.
    – ojs
    Commented Apr 10, 2021 at 11:10

3 Answers 3


As others have said, choosing a guitar based on how it feels to you is what you should try to do. If it is not comfortable to you, you probably aren't going to play it for any appreciable amount of time over the long term. I wanted to chime in, because I haven't seen others suggest this yet: You may want to seek out what is called a "parlor" guitar.

This style of guitar features a full sized neck and fretboard, however the body of the guitar is 3/4 sized. This is a style of guitar what was very popular, oh, say, about 100+ years ago as far as I know, but they totally still make them. I have a solid-top parlor guitar, and honestly, it's my favorite one to play because it "just fits" me best. I am 5'11", 135 pounds, for reference.

Source: My university degree is in classical guitar performance

  • Out of curiosity, are you suggesting the "parlor" because it's "smaller"?
    – Clockwork
    Commented Apr 10, 2021 at 20:30
  • Parlor guitars are the smallest. I have one and love it, but I wouldn't necessarily want one for everything. Think thinner body and smaller body sizes. As long as the scale length is close to 24", that's adult-size Commented Apr 11, 2021 at 6:42
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    Parlour guitars are quite small. Mine's 36", with a scale length of 24.5", not far off full size, but small bodied. I used it all the time when I started teaching 50-odd yrs ago. Being small, it was easy to use, pick up, play, and put down. Wouldn't use it for its sound, quite quiet. But it still plays well for an 80 yr. old guitar!
    – Tim
    Commented Apr 11, 2021 at 9:29
  • Actually, @Tim that's the thing - my nylon string parlor is every bit as loud and warm as my full bodied classical. The full body was handmade by a luthier, not mass produced garbage, so I feel like it's an important note. Maybe I got lucky and it's just a crazy nice one?
    – Langecrew
    Commented Apr 11, 2021 at 21:17
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    @Clockwork, I suggest parlor guitars almost every time I encounter someone with exactly this question "which guitar is for me?" It's just a non-standard arrangement of relatively standardized parts, that doesn't get suggested by most people - even people who know that they exist. What really brought it to mind was OP's mention of the right shoulder. I have, albeit only sometimes, had the same problem with full bodied instruments. Not once with my parlor. Just my 2 cents, YMMV as always
    – Langecrew
    Commented Apr 11, 2021 at 21:21

You typically shouldn't choose the guitar based on your size - sure, if you are tiny, a huge guitar may be a challenge, or if you have massive fingers a narrow fretboard may be less than ideal - but in general you should choose them based on how they feel to you (with additional criteria being tone, looks and so on.)

A full size guitar is typically louder - the fuller body has a bigger resonant cavity, but the thickness of the guitar also affects where your picking arm sits, so you need to look at how long the strap is to place your arm in a position that works for you.

The thing we always recommend to beginners is to try a few in the shop first, and have a competent tutor guide you on technique. That will be much more important than simply buying based on size.

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    I figured out what the difference is! The Amazon Guitar is a Dreadnought style, whereas the other old one we had laying around the house is a Concert style. I also read about the differences between the two and why some may favor one over the other, and Concert fits my needs as well. Thats what I need to get.
    – James
    Commented Apr 10, 2021 at 14:57
  • @James - try it first. And if it isn't ideal, there are many other styles as well. Some have rounded cutaways, which can also help.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Commented Apr 10, 2021 at 15:01

The "smaller" of the two looks to be a smaller body, like an "Auditorium" sized compared to the "Dreadnought" you bought. The Dread was created to start fighting the volume wars against banjos and violins. I'm a big guy and find them annoying to reach around myself, so I totally get it being a problem for smaller people.

Of course, this is long past the age of the battleship, and the volume wars are fought with amplification, not with body size. My go-to acoustic is a parlor guitar these days; I liken it to a lap dog. There's a difference between scale length and total length, and as long as you approach 24 inches with scale length, you're in "full size" territory and should be fine. I think other metrics like body depth should be looked at for comfort.

I would normally suggest going to a guitar store and picking up instruments until one feels right, but I know, plague year. If you're going forward with your new instrument, I would use a strap and play standing, which should allow you to wear it in a more comfortable position.

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