There are a few reasons you might want to find the best short scale electric guitar. The most common is that they are fantastic for beginners, especially younger players, with naturally smaller hands. The shorter scale length makes it easier to get around the fretboard and usually means a lighter action, too, which is good news for your fingertips! But, short scale guitars are not just for kids and beginners, nor are they just lesser quality versions of their full-size counterparts.
Short scale guitars sound just as good as full-size, and many advanced players use them as a travel guitar. The shorter scale and usually smaller body make them much easier to get around and fit into tight spaces. From Strats to Les Paul’s, you can get it all on a short scale. So whether you want a clean, bright tone or you want unapologetic metal angst, we’ve got you covered. We checked out some of the very best short scale electric guitars, so you have lots of options to consider, check them out.
- 1. Ibanez Mikro Electric Guitar
- 2. Squier by Fender Mini Strat
- 3. Fender Mustang 90 Short Scale Electric Guitar
- 4. SX Beginner Electric Guitar Bundle
- 5. Hofner Shorty Travel Guitar
- 6. Rogue Rocketeer RR50
- 7. Squire By Fender Mini Strat Bundle
- 8. Epiphone Les Paul Express Short Scale Guitar
- 9. Gibson USA SG Faded T
- 10. Ibanez Paul Gilbert Signature
As far as short scale electric guitars go, the Ibanez GRGM21BKN Mikro has it all. It has the style and power that we come to expect from an Ibanez guitar.
The Mikro has a gorgeous RG body shape and comes in a variety of colors. The body is undersized, and the sleek design makes it incredibly comfortable for smaller players. It also fits the modern sound that it produces, which is perfect for rock or metal.
Boasting a 22.2″ scale length and medium-size frets, it’s easy for small hands to get around. It comes with a slim maple neck and rosewood fingerboard with lovely shark tooth inlays.
Ibanez went with dual humbucking pickups that give this little guitar plenty of power. The humbuckers give that thick, punchy tone that most modern guitarists want. Controls are pretty standard, volume, tone, and pickup selector. From its edgy looks to its contemporary sound, the Ibanez GRGM21BKN Mikro is one of the best short scale electric guitars around.
The Squire Mini Strat is the ideal guitar for beginners who want that classic strat look in a smaller package.
The iconic Fender Strat image is perfectly captured in this 3/4 size electric guitar. It has the same body shape and the same C shaped neck (Maple), which is slightly slimmer than usual. The strat C shape neck is as playable as any, and the 22.75″ scale length is perfect for small hands.
Strats are famous for their bell-like tones and stunning, articulate highs. The Mini Strat sports the same three single-coil pickup pattern, found of full-size Stratocasters. So, it delivers a broad range of tones that have you covered for various genres. Even the chrome hardware and sturdy tuners stay in line with a full-size strat. The hardtail 6-saddle bridge that strings through-body is another feature brought from the full-size version. There is a 5-way pickup selector switch with the master tone and volume controls to shape your sound quality. Rounding off this stunning short scale guitar is a large 60’s style headstock that makes it feel more authentic.
Fender Mustang 90 showcases one of the most popular offset body styles ever. The iconic Mustang body shape doesn’t just look good; it’s lightweight and comfortable, too.
Fender Mustang comes with a 24″ scale length that keeps the string tension low and suits smaller players. However, it’s very playable for larger hands, too. The lower action makes it easy to get around different chord voicing and adds warmth to the tone.
The foundation of that tone is the two lovely MP-90 single-coil pickups. What you get with the MP-90 pickups is the bell-like, chimey tones of a strat, but with a meatier midrange and more grunt. It sounds absolutely gorgeous through a tube amp when you push it to breaking point.
Fender has kept the electronics as simple as possible here, just two knobs and a 3-way pickup selector. The focus is always on playing, which is made even easier by the medium-jumbo frets. It’s a taste of rock ‘n’ roll for the modern guitarist.
Beginners or younger players are generally the most likely to buy short scale guitars. So, it’s a good idea to consider a good bundle to kickstart your musical journey.
This SX bundle has more than enough to get you started. The bundle is built around a 3/4 size strat-like electric guitar. The downside is that this guitar is made of basswood, which isn’t what you’d find with a genuine Fender strat. But, it does have three single-coil pickups and recreates the classic strat sound very well.
The hardware is of a higher standard than expected for the price. The bridge has six adjustable saddles, and the tuners are robust and reliable. As well as the short scale guitar, the bundle includes a practice amp, gig bag, strap, guitar cable, instructional DVD, and some guitar picks.
Like most similar bundles, not everything is of the highest quality. However, when you weigh up what you get for your money and how far it can take you, it’s a no brainer.
If you aren’t already familiar with Hofner, they make some of the most beautiful instruments in the world. Some of the most iconic blues and jazz guitarists throughout history have exclusively played Hofner guitars.
The Shorty Travel Guitar isn’t much shorter than a regular size guitar. In fact, Hofner presents it as a little guitar with a full scale. It has a 24.7″ scale length, which is only an inch away from being considered long. But, the body is petite, so it’s still a fantastic guitar to get around easily.
The basswood body is lightweight, and the maple neck is incredibly smooth. It has a rosewood fingerboard, and unlike many vintage Hofners, the action on the Shorty is very comfortable to play.
Driving the vintage tone is a Hofner open humbucker pickup. From a single pickup, the Shorty offers more tonal versatility than you might expect. Whether you want crisp, clean lines or saturated, bluesy riffs, it’s all here.
The Rogue Rocketeer is one of the most straightforward guitars on our list. It isn’t flashy, and it’s not a household name, but it offers value for money in spades.
It has a simple double-cutaway basswood body in a lovely wine finish. The lightweight body is ideal for young players, and the fatter bottom end keeps it nicely balanced.
The Rocketeer sports a maple neck and rosewood fingerboard, both of which feel better than expected. It comes with a 23.25 short scale, so it’s short enough to encourage beginners but long enough to let loose, too.
The most surprising aspect of this short scale guitar might be the hardware. The string-through design bridge is rock solid, as are the die-cast tuners. As for the tone, it’s not as articulate as a strat, but it’s rocky, bluesy, and has plenty of attitude coming from a single humbucker pickup. Rogue throw in a gig bag, strap, picks, and a guitar cable.
As we already covered, the Squire Mini Strat is one of the best short scale guitars money can buy. Now, we are checking out the bundle available if you want to opt for some added accessories.
The most useful accessory for any beginners out there will be the clip-on tuner. Before you can start to learn chord or songs, you need to be in tune and get used to how being in tune sounds.
The bundle also includes an Austin Bazaar instructional DVD that’s full of useful tips and techniques. Perhaps the best part of the package is access to Fender Play, which is one of the best tutorial platforms online. The thing that Fender Play does very well is that it turns a few chords into songs quickly.
The rest of the bundle consists of a quality Fender strap, polishing cloth, and some Fender guitar picks. This bundle will help you get the most out of that excellent strat tone.
8. Epiphone Les Paul Express Short Scale Guitar
Epiphone Les Paul guitars have long been a way for many guitarists to get close to the iconic feel and sound quality without spending thousands of dollars. The Epiphone Les Paul Express offers that same experience to younger/smaller players.
This solid body short scale guitar perfectly captures the image of a full-size Les Paul guitar. It has a 22″ short scale, which is considerably shorter than full-size. The iconic Les Paul body shape has always been one of the most comfortable to play; this smaller/shorter version takes that even further.
Despite being a budget guitar, the tonewoods used in the construction of the Express are reassuringly good quality. It has a mahogany body with a hard maple neck and rosewood fingerboard. The same can be said of the hardware, like the fully-adjustable FB-601 bridge and the premium die-cast tuners.Les Paul guitars are famous for their tone, that crunchy tone that spawned so many blues-rock legends. Epiphones dual humbuckers provide plenty of crunch and can be as dirty as you can handle.
9. Gibson USA SG Faded T
Gibson’s SG Faded T is a more affordable way to own an instantly recognizable SG. The T stands for tribute, but unlike most tribute acts, this one has a striking resemblance to the original.
One of the most significant differences between this tribute and the cheaper Epiphone ones is that it’s made in the USA. Its aggressive SG body is made from mahogany and has a faded gloss finish. To make it easier to play, it has a slim-taper neck profile and a slightly shorter 24.75 short scale with 22 polished frets.
Hardware is premium here, as you’d expect from an American made Gibson guitar. The nickel-plated tune-O-matic bridge means you can easily adjust the action to get your ideal playing position. Some beautiful vintage touches have been added, like the keystone tuners and black top hat knobs.
What really matters with ann SG is the sound quality. There are 490R and 490T humbuckers, each with dedicated volume and tone control and pickup toggle switch. These pickups are designed to deliver absolutely brutal metal tones, but can easily be used for anything from blues to metal. Compared to the average PAF-style pickup, they have much more bite and mid-range sparkle.
This guitar looks like a hybrid of modern Ibanez style and vintage jazz guitars; it’s beautiful. On closer inspection, you’ll see that the F-holes are part of the paint job and not cutouts. But, it’s different, quirky, and true to the man himself. It has a 22.2″ scale that gives the guitar an incredibly light action. The entire guitar is lightweight, and the sleek body allows for the ideal playing position.
The tonewood used for the body is poplar, and along with the maple neck, it offers a ringing tone with plenty of sustain. Ibanez went with two infinity humbuckers that excel in high-gain aggression. They have a tight low-end, fast attack, and a fat mid-range. The tone packs even more punch thanks to the ceramic plate magnets.
Tuning is rock solid right up the neck, thanks to the adjustable hardtail bridge. It’s hard to fault this instrument; it’s a fantastic short scale electric guitar in every way.