8 Best Short Scale Guitars of 2024

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Learning guitar is difficult enough. And if you have smaller hands, playing full-sized guitars can seem downright impossible.

If you suspect your guitar-playing experience could be improved by switching to an instrument that's a little easier to wrap your hands around, a short scale guitar could be in the cards for you.

In this article, we'll explore some short scale guitar options that will get you shredding the way you should be in no time—without breaking the bank.

Our number one slot goes to the Fender Player Duo Sonic for its unbeatable combination of classic Fender style and incredible playability, not to mention that pristine clean single coil tone Fender is famous for.

Whether you're shopping for a younger player, need something for your smaller hands, or just like playing a smaller instrument, we've got picks for players of all styles and experience levels, from legendary Fender models to shorter-scale metal axes and more.

Now, let's take a closer look at the 8 best short scale electric guitars of 2024.

Quick Summary of the Best Short Scale Guitars

  1. Fender Player Duo Sonic (Best Overall)
  2. Squier Mini Strat (Best for Kids)
  3. Fender Player Mustang 90 (Best Value)
  4. Squier Classic Vibe '70s Jaguar (Best for Versatility)
  5. Jackson JS Series RR Minion JS1X (Best for Heavy Metal)
  6. Sterling by Music Man Cutlass (Best for Beginners)
  7. Ibanez miKro GRGM21 (Best Budget Short Scale Guitar)
  8. Epiphone SG Special Satin E1 (Best for Classic Rock)

Best Short Scale Guitars

1. Best Overall – Fender Player Duo Sonic

Fender Player Duo Sonic


  • Body: Alder
  • Neck: Maple
  • Scale Length: 24"
  • Fingerboard: Maple
  • Frets: 22, Medium Jumbo
  • Pickups: 2x Duo Sonic Single-coil
  • Controls: 1 x master volume, 1 x master tone, 3-way toggle pickup switch

The Fender Player Duo-Sonic is perfect for players seeking a compact and comfortable instrument with a classic Fender vibe. And with its short 24-inch scale length, it's ideal for players with smaller hands or those who prefer a shorter reach between frets.

The dual single-coil pickups deliver that iconic Fender tone with bright and clear highs, making it great for genres like surf rock, punk, and indie rock. The C-shaped maple neck provides a comfortable playing experience, and the 22 medium-jumbo frets allow for easy bending and lead playing.

Whether you're a beginner looking for your first Fender or a gigging musician in need of a reliable and versatile backup guitar, the Fender Player Duo-Sonic is a fantastic choice that won't break the bank. It's a true Fender gem that offers both style and performance in a compact package.

2. Best for Kids – Squier Mini Strat

Squier Mini Strat


  • Body: Laminated Hardwood
  • Neck: Maple
  • Scale Length: 22.75"
  • Fingerboard: Indian Laurel
  • Frets: 20, Medium
  • Pickups: 3x Standard Strat Single-coil
  • Controls: 5-way blade pickup switch

The Squier Mini Strat is the perfect choice for kids, or really anyone in search of a compact and affordable electric mini guitar.

With its shorter scale length of 22.75 inches and slim C-shaped neck, it's designed for comfort and easy playability, making it perfect for beginners and younger players.

But despite its smaller size, this guitar still delivers a genuine Stratocaster experience, offering the full range of familiar Strat tones.

Equipped with three Standard Strat single-coil pickups, the Squier Mini Strat provides the classic Strat sound—clear and bright highs, creamy lows, and plenty of punch.

Whether you're shopping for a little one just starting out on their guitar journey or need a travel-friendly instrument for yourself, the Squier Mini Strat offers excellent bang for your buck with a genuine Fender-inspired experience in a smaller package that plays great and sounds even better.

Find your signature sound with the best Strat-style guitars, each one carefully selected to deliver a unique and expressive playing experience.

Explore new sonic realms with versatile Strat pickups! Expand your musical palette.

3. Best Value – Fender Player Mustang 90

Fender Player Mustang 90


  • Body: Alder
  • Neck: Maple
  • Scale Length: 24"
  • Fingerboard: Pau Ferro
  • Frets: 22, Medium Jumbo
  • Pickups: 2x Mustang P90 Single-coil
  • Controls: 1 x Master Volume, 1 x Master Tone Control, 3-way Toggle Pickup Switch

With the Mustang image made famous by some of the all-time great indie rock icons including Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth and Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine, with the extra grit afforded by the P90 pickups, the Fender Player Mustang 90 is truly any indie rocker or shoegazer's dream come true.

The two Mustang P90 pickups get you the best of both worlds—a single-coil jangle with an added higher-output midrange oomph for pushing your amp a bit further.

The 24" scale length gives you a slinkier feel on the classic Fender Player Series C-shaped maple neck, while also making the 22 medium jumbo frets a bit easier to navigate.

With its shorter scale length of 24" and two P90 pickups, it's not a stretch to say the Fender Player Mustang 90 is a Fender for Gibson lovers.

To be sure, there is a lot to love here for players of either Fender or Gibson camps—a classic Fender offset shape, with some features that wouldn't be out of place on a Les Paul.

4. Best for Versatility – Squier Classic Vibe '70s Jaguar

Squier Classic Vibe '70s Jaguar


  • Body: Poplar body
  • Neck: Maple
  • Scale Length: 24"
  • Fingerboard: Indian Laurel
  • Frets: 22, Narrow Tall
  • Pickups: 2x Fender Alnico Single-coil
  • Controls: 1 x Volume, 1 x Tone, 2-way slide (rhythm/lead), 3 x on/off pickup switch, 1 x tone circuit switch

The Squier Classic Vibe 70s Jaguar boasts vintage-inspired looks and tones without the vintage price.

Its legendary offset body shape, distinctive pickguard, and vintage-style hardware make it a real head-turner, and its array of classic finish options and period-correct appointments give it that retro charm that vintage lovers will flip for.

Equipped with two single-coil Fender Alnico pickups, the Jaguar is a tonal chameleon capable of everything from jangly cleans to gritty overdrive. Plus, the dual-circuit design allows you to switch between lead and rhythm circuits, making drastically different tones available at the flip of a switch.

Whether you're into surf rock, indie, or alternative music, if you're looking for a budget-friendly option that captures the essence of vintage Fender style and sound, with unmatched versatility to boot, the Squier Classic Vibe 70s Jaguar is a superb choice that won't disappoint.

5. Best for Heavy Metal – Jackson JS Series RR Minion JS1X

Jackson JS Series RR Minion JS1X


  • Body: Poplar
  • Neck: Maple
  • Scale Length: 22.5"
  • Fingerboard: Amaranth
  • Frets: 24, Jumbo
  • Pickups: 2x Jackson High-Output Humbucker
  • Controls: 1 x Master Volume, 1 x Master Tone, 3-way Toggle Pickup Switch

The Jackson JS Series RR Minion JS1X is a compact and fierce-looking electric guitar designed for metal and hard rock enthusiasts.

Its distinctive V-shaped Poplar body enhances access to the higher frets, and the 22.5-inch scale length and speed neck ensure ease of playability, making it a surefire shredder for players of all skill levels.

Equipped with two high-output Jackson humbucker pickups, the JS1X delivers heavy and punchy tones, perfect for achieving aggressive metal and hard rock tones.

The simplified controls provide straightforward tone shaping, perfect for beginners to focus on their playing without too many distracting options.

Whether you're a beginner looking for an entry into the world of shredding or an experienced player seeking a compact and ferocious axe for on-the-go jams, the Jackson JS Series RR Minion JS1X is a powerful and super affordable choice that's ready to rock.

6. Best for Beginners – Sterling by Music Man Cutlass

Sterling by Music Man Cutlass


  • Body: Poplar
  • Neck: Maple
  • Scale Length: 24"
  • Fingerboard: Laurel
  • Frets: 22
  • Pickups: 1x Sterling by Music Man Single Coil (Neck position), 1 x Sterling by Music Man Humbucker (Bridge position)
  • Controls: 1 x Master Volume, 1 x Master Tone, 5-Way Blade Pickup Switch

The Sterling by Music Man Cutlass offers an appealing blend of vintage aesthetics and modern performance. With its classic double-cutaway body shape, the Cutlass exudes timeless style, while its comfortable maple neck and 24" scale length ensure outstanding playability.

Featuring one single coil pickup in the neck position and a humbucker in the bridge, this guitar is capable of delivering a wide range of tones, from crisp and clean to punchy and articulate.

The five-way pickup makes it easy to dial in your preferred sound, and the tremolo bar gives you even greater sonic versatility.

Seasoned players and younger beginners alike are sure to recognize the Sterling by Music Man Cutlass as a solid short-scale guitar that offers professional-level build and sound quality, great tonal versatility, and a classic look that will stand the test of time.

7. Best Budget Short Scale Guitar – Ibanez miKro GRGM21

Ibanez miKro GRGM21


  • Body: Basswood
  • Neck: Maple
  • Scale Length: 22.2"
  • Fingerboard: Jatoba
  • Frets: 24, Medium
  • Pickups: 2 x Infinity R Humbuckers
  • Controls: 1 x Master Volume, 1 x Master Tone, 5-Way Blade Pickup Switch

The Ibanez miKro GRGM21 electric guitar is perfect for beginners, younger players, or those seeking a smaller instrument for easy portability and travel.

With its scaled-down 22.2-inch short-scale neck, it's incredibly comfortable to play, making it an excellent choice for younger beginners and players with smaller hands.

Featuring two high-output Ibanez humbuckers, this axe packs a punch well beyond its size, delivering a wide range of tones suitable for heavier music like rock and metal, as well as blues, pop, etc.

And the simplified controls ensure ease of use, making it an ideal choice for those just starting their musical journey.

If you're looking for a budget-friendly electric guitar that doesn't skimp on quality and offers exceptional playability in a smaller package, the Ibanez miKro GRGM21 is a terrific option that won't disappoint.

It's a versatile and reliable choice for beginners and experienced players alike, available at a mind-blowing low price.

8. Best for Classic Rock – Epiphone SG Special Satin E1

Epiphone SG Special Satin E1


  • Body: Poplar/Mahogany Veneer
  • Neck: Okoume
  • Scale Length: 24.75"
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood fretboard
  • Frets: 22, Medium Jumbo
  • Pickups: 1 x 650R Ceramic-8 Humbucker (neck), 1 x 700T Ceramic-8 Humbucker
  • Controls: 1 x Master Tone, 1 x Master Volume, 3- Way Toggle Pickup Switch

With its sleek and lightweight satin-finished mahogany body, the Epiphone SG E1 offers both comfort and style, making it a great guitar for players who want the SG's classic rock 'n' roll look and feel on a budget.

Its shorter-but-not-too-short 24.75" scale length makes it ideal for players of all experience levels and sizes.

Equipped with two ceramic humbucking pickups, the SG Special Satin E1 delivers a powerful and versatile sonic punch.

From thick, creamy cleans to searing distortion, it's well-suited for a wide range of musical genres. The simple controls ensure ease of use, allowing you to shape your tone with precision.

The Epiphone SG Special Satin E1 pays homage to the classic SG design at a price point that's accessible to just about anyone.

So whether you're a beginner looking for an entry into the world of electric guitars or an experienced player in search of an affordable SG-style axe, the Epiphone SG Special Satin E1 is a top-notch choice.

Best Short Scale Guitars Buyer's Guide

If you think all of these options seem pretty awesome, but you're stuck on how to pick the best one for yourself or the person you're shopping for, don't fret—our handy buyer's guide is here to help.

There are a number of standard things that one should consider when shopping for a guitar that certainly applies in this case, so read on and we will lay them out for you one by one to aid you in your guitar shopping journey.

Scale Length

Since it's kind of the whole reason you are reading this article, what better place to start our buyers' guide than with scale length?

When selecting an electric guitar, scale length is always an important thing to consider. But if you are a younger beginner or just a person with smaller hands, it becomes one of the main factors you should consider when making your guitar selection.

A shorter scale length, generally from around 22" to 24", is going to give you less of a stretch between frets, a lower string tension, and all-around easier playability.

It can also affect the sound in a subtle way, so be sure to achieve the right synthesis of playability and ideal sound when selecting for this factor.

Body Style

As mentioned above, a guitar's tonal qualities can be determined by its scale length. But that's far from the only thing that will affect a guitar's tone. Other factors include tonewoods used in the neck and body material as well as the body style of the guitar.

All the guitars featured on this list are solid body guitars, mostly made from Poplar, Alder, or another of the more generally considered affordable tonewoods, so that's not much of a tonal factor here.

Generally, the different body styles of solid-body electric guitars are subject to little more than your aesthetic discretion. I.E., pick one you like the look of!

Pickups and Controls

Here's where some major sonic differences come into play.

The Fender and Squier guitars featured on this list like the Fender Player Duo Sonic and the Squier Mini Strat that feature single-coil pickups are going to give you the clean, bright sound commonly associated with single coils.

Humbucker guitars, however, like the Epiphone SG Special Satin E1 and the Ibanez miKro GRGM21, will give you a chunkier, heavier tone that's associated with hard rock and metal, as well as giving a warmer and more sustained tone.

Finally, the control knobs and switching options available on the guitar will determine the tonal range or versatility you're able to attain.

Most of the guitars featured here are more beginner-oriented and as such feature stripped-down controls. But if it's versatility you want, we definitely suggest looking into the Squier Classic Vibe '70s Jaguar.


This is arguably the most important factor when making your guitar selection. After all, you can't buy a guitar you can't afford!

That being said, you should select a guitar in a price range you're comfortable with. If you're a newer player and unsure of your commitment to learning and sticking with the instrument, perhaps you should consider a lower price range.

Likewise, if you're already a committed player and have made significant investments in playing guitar as either a hobby or career, you might be able to justify spending a bit more on an instrument.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a short-scale guitar?

Short-scale electric guitars have a shorter neck length than standard-scale guitars, making them more compact and potentially easier to play, especially for beginners or players with smaller hands.

The scale length refers to the distance between the nut (the part of the neck near the headstock where the strings begin) and the bridge (where the strings anchor to the body).

Short-scale guitars typically have a scale length that ranges from about 22 to 24 inches, whereas standard-scale guitars typically have a scale length of approximately 24.75 to 25.5 inches.

How does the scale length affect playability and tone?

Short-scale guitars are generally easier to play due to reduced string tension, which makes them ideal for beginners and other people with smaller and/or less-strong hands. The strings have a slightly slinkier feel, which makes for easier chording and bending.

Short-scale electric guitars may also produce a slightly different tone compared to standard-scale guitars due to the reduced string tension.

They can have a warmer and mellower sound, which is favored in certain musical genres like blues and jazz, but that by no means limits them to these genres, as there are many other tonal factors at play.

Do short-scale guitars have limited range or versatility?

Playability-wise, just because the neck is shorter doesn't necessarily mean you have fewer frets on shorter-scale guitars than on a full-scale guitar. If you do, it is only a discrepancy of one or two measly little frets and as such isn't going to impose a major handicap on your playing abilities.

Tonally, sure—an argument could be made that you get less twang or a less aggressive-sounding attack on short-scale electric guitars, as well as a slightly bassier and warmer tone.

These tonal factors can be made up for, however, by adjusting your string gauge (watch out for fret buzz) and upgrading to aftermarket electronic components.

Curious about best Explorer style guitars? Browse our selection of the best models that are built for rock and more.


We hope this list has been helpful in your search for your new short scale guitar. These nifty little instruments are perfect for young beginners and players with smaller hands, so we hope offering these options will open the door to guitar success for a whole new batch of players!

Our number one pick, the Fender Player Duo Sonic, offers incredible classic Fender sounds and styling, and as such is a great guitar for any player looking to get their hands on a short scale.

But you don't have to take our word for it—whichever of these awesome guitars suits your style is sure to be the right choice for you. Head to Sweetwater today to make one of these amazing instruments yours!

If you're wondering what to buy as your next guitar, why not browse our list of the best Ibanez guitars in the market?

Find Your Perfect Match: Discover the best offset guitars that suit your preferences, whether you're a seasoned guitarist or just starting your musical journey.

Discover big sounds in a smaller package! Explore our top selection of the best half-sized guitars now.

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