Parent article: Best Intermediate Acoustic Guitar
QUICK HIT: This is a roundup of acoustic guitars with a thin body design, including primarily concert style acoustics, which have a slimmer waste and often a cutaway.
One of the biggest drawbacks of an acoustic guitar is that they are naturally harder to play than either electric or classical guitars, as electric and nylon strings are typically easier to play. They're also often bigger, bulkier, heavier, and have wider bodies than their electric counterparts.
That's why a lot of people prefer a thinner acoustic guitar body, making the concert style acoustic more popular than ever before.
Here's what the concert body type looks like:
A concert acoustic always has the slimmed profile but will also commonly have the following additional features:
- Less weight
- Reduced body size
- More accessible fretboard
- Thinner and smaller overall profile
This stands in stark contrast to the typical dreadnought body design, which is the bigger and bulkier of the two. It's also the more common:
While the dreadnought acoustic has its place, we're looking to avoid it in this particular roundup. We're focusing on concert style acoustic guitars with thin body designs that are easier to hold, easier to play, and more comfortable overall.
We'll also include Parlor acoustics (3/4 size) and traveler or "backpack" acoustic guitars.
Our primary criteria for including an acoustic in this list will be a width that's at or under 14 inches.
Let's get started.
Acoustic Guitars with Thin Bodies: How We Picked
Between 15 and 16 inches is a fairly typical width from the highest point of an acoustic guitar to the lowest point, which is usually the top-most point of the body's curvature, also called the upper bout. However, different manufacturers and companies measure and regard this width different ways. For that reason, it's hard to make a recommendation based on numerical width alone.
Generally speaking, we're aiming for acoustic guitars that are less than 14 inches wide.
However, we'll also look at other quality indicators like tonewood, electric features, and overall tone quality. Remember, this list isn't a ranking as much as it is a collection of acoustic guitars with a thin body, allowing you to browse from a filtered list that has already been established.
Click on guitar image to see larger version
Listed Body Width
Cordoba Mini M
Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor
Yamaha APXT2 Thinline
Cordoba Mini II
11.25" lower bout, 8.75" upper bout
Martin LXK2 Little Martin
Taylor GS Mini-e
Martin Backpacker Steel String Acoustic
Cordoba Cadete Canadian Ceder (three-quarter size acoustic)
Journey Instruments OF660M Overhead
Guild P-240 Memoir
14" Lower Bout, 10" Upper Bout
Traveler Guitar Ultra Light Acoustic
Cordoba C7-CE Cedar
14.6" lower bout, 11.5" upper bout
Cordoba Protege C1M
11.75" lower bout, 9" upper bout
Why the 14-15" cutoff?
As you can see, we've highlighted only acoustic guitars that are within or lower than a 14" width.
This is because (as I mentioned) most acoustic guitar body shapes are around 15-16 inches wide. The concert acoustics get closer to 14, though the really thin acoustics are even thinner, which is why we've only included 14 inches and - in most cases - under.
Other 14-15 inch wide acoustics
At the same time, this does not mean that we've included all acoustic guitars measuring between 14 and 15 inches wide. For one thing, this would be a lot, but it's more so an issue of the guitar size overall. If you're measuring at the lower bout, 14" isn't very thin.
Types of Acoustic Guitars and Typical Body Width
As you can see, the width of a guitar body is a bit difficult to interpret.
While some manufacturers will give you width for the lower and upper bout, most just put a generic "width" or no measurements at all. This means we have to contextualize width based on the type of guitar in question.
In most cases, we've found that there are three types of acoustic guitars that have a thinner body design:
- Concert Acoustics: 13-14 inches wide
- Parlor or 3/4 body size acoustics: 8-12 inches wide
- Traveler or backpack guitars: 4-7 inches wide
Concert Body Regular Size
A typical concert body is still considered a full-size acoustic guitar. These usually are measured at the lower bout, where the guitar "curves in" and gets thinner, around 13-14 inches.
Parlor or 3/4 Size Acoustics
There are different kinds of "small" acoustic guitars, though they are usually described as being 3/4 the size of a regular acoustic. These are also sometimes referred to as "Parlor" guitars, though that term can be used for a number of different sizes. These acoustics typically have a width in the eight to 12 inch range.
Traveler or Backpack Acoustic Guitars
Traveler guitars like the Martin Backpacker are very small, often around just five inches wide or - in the Traveler Ultra Light - with no significant body width at all.
Are they easier to play?
I would argue - from personal experience - that thinner and smaller acoustic guitars are generally more comfortable to play. Now, this doesn't mean to suggest that you'll be a "better" player when playing one, but you may find it less physically stressful, allowing you to concentrate more on what you're playing instead of how you feel while you play it.
Playing a thinner acoustic guitar has a lot of benefits and will almost certainly help your comfortability with the instrument. Not only is it easier to hold, but it will help mitigate some of the difficulty involved with playing steel strings, which are naturally heavier and less forgiving of your fingers.
These are some of the thinnest acoustics we could find from reputable brands that we trust.
They're also some of the nicer options considering a more general list of acoustic guitar quality indicators.
- Overall tone quality
- Electrics and other features
- Brand and company reputation
We've taken all of this into account to make this list. If you're looking for acoustic guitars with thin body designs, these are some of your best options and will at least give you a direction to go in.
Anything to Add?
It's possible we could have missed something.
If you know of an acoustic guitar with a thinner body design that you think deserves a spot on this list, let us know about it.
Drop a line in the comments section below. I'll check it out, and if the guitar fits the profile of this list, I'll add it to the table.
See ya there.