A guitar comes in many different forms, but how long are they exactly? The answer to this question largely depends on the type of guitar since not all guitar lengths are the same.
A typical full-size guitar is around 38 in/96.5 cm long, having a scale length of about 25.5 in/64.7cm. For other types and sizes of guitars, the length can vary greatly. There are several different types of guitars, and each has a different length.
Let’s take a general look at the typical lengths of the most common types of guitars on the market today. This way, you can be sure that you’re choosing the right guitar length according to your needs!
What Is the Length of a Guitar?
As said above, determining the length of a guitar depends on several factors: the type and size of the guitar. With this in mind, let’s look at these factors to better understand how long different guitars are.
According to Guitar Type
Different types of guitars have different styles of body and neck. This means that their overall lengths can vary quite a bit. With that said, you can determine how long a guitar is by considering its type.
A standard steel-string acoustic guitar (the most common type) is 38 inches long. They may still be slightly shorter or longer, but that’s generally the ballpark for this guitar type.
The shortest travel guitars are around 30 inches long. These are truly travel-sized, which means that they are easy to bring along with you on your travels. They’re also usually marketed for kids or those who want to learn guitar on the go.
Parlor guitars make a great first instrument for children or beginners learning to play the guitar, measuring 36 to 38 inches in length. They’re also ideal for adults who need something small to fit onto a crowded train or bus.
If you’re looking at classical guitars (sometimes called “nylon string guitars”), they’ll usually be around 38 to 40 inches long. This size makes them just slightly smaller than the average steel-string acoustic guitar.
A concert body acoustic guitar has rounder proportions and a deeper waist taper than a dreadnought-style acoustic guitar. Concert guitars are either 39 or 40 inches long from the tip of the head to the butt of the instrument.
The dreadnought has a bigger body with a sharper curve. Its length is roughly 41 inches, making it one of the largest acoustic guitars out there.
The average electric guitar measures about 39 inches in length. Of course, there are many different models and styles of electric guitars, so this number can vary widely, depending on what type of electric you own.
A baritone generally has a longer scale length, a larger body, and heavier internal bracing. Its scale length is usually around 27 inches.
The average length of a bass guitar is 34 inches. Although most bass guitars are 34 inches, models with a scale length of 30 to 32 inches are also available.
Scale length is different from the total length. Scale length is the distance between the bridge and the nut (where your fingers press down on the strings). Total length is the entire distance between the tip of the headstock to the end of the body.
According to Guitar Size
If you’re wondering how long a guitar is, the answer can also depend on the guitar size. These sizes are often measured in fractional numbers (1/2 size, 3/4 size, etc.).
The most common guitar sizes:
- 1/8 Guitar: This is the smallest guitar size, and it’s usually recommended for children under four years old. It has a total length of around 29 inches.
- 1/4 Guitar: Slightly larger than 1/8, this size is better for children between ages 3 to 5 and some adults with very small hands. It has a total length of 28 ⅞ to 31 ½ inches.
- 1/2 Guitar: The next step up, this size is ideal for kids aged 6 to 8. Its total length is 32 to 35 inches.
- 3/4 Guitar: A step up from 1/2 and best suited for kids aged 8 to 10. This guitar has a total length of 34 to 37 ¼ inches, and this is often called a “youth” or “travel” guitar.
- 7/8 Guitar: Sometimes called “junior,” this guitar size measures 36 ¾ to 38 inches long. It’s popular with preteens because it’s comfortable enough to play while standing up but not too big as they grow taller. This size is also often used by teenagers and adults with smaller hands.
- 4/4 or Full-Size Guitar: The standard size guitar is called a “full size” or “4/4”. It’s 38 to 40 inches in length.
As you probably figured out by now, the actual length of a guitar is not a constant, and it all depends on the size and type of the guitar.
While a standard full-size guitar usually measures around 38 inches long, other types can be shorter or longer. Remember that all guitars are unique, with different body shapes and scale lengths. Not to mention, guitar manufacturers can have their own sizes and measurements for each model.
Frequently Asked Questions
The standard full-size guitar is about 30 inches long from top to bottom, though there are other sizes. For instance, classical guitars are generally larger than their counterparts, measuring up to 40 inches.
Most guitars are about 1 meter long, including the body and neck of the instrument. There are exceptions – for example, travel guitars, but you can generally expect full-size acoustic and electric guitars to be around this length.
To get a more specific measurement for your guitar, run a measuring tape along the base of the head (where the tuning pegs are) to the end of the body. From there, you can easily convert it to your preferred units. Remember that 1 inch is equal to 2.54 centimeters, and 1 foot is equal to 30.48 centimeters.