14 Best Short Scale Electric Guitars in 2021

No matter how long you have been playing guitar, there’s always something new to learn about electric guitars. After all, it’s one of the most expressive instruments, enabling you to sound the way you want to using different amps and pedals. But you have to start somewhere, right?

Short Scale Electric Guitars Featured Image

One of the biggest issues beginners face, especially younger ones, is the size of the instrument and its neck. While it’s certainly not impossible to learn how to play on a full-sized electric or acoustic guitar, it can be a bit tricky.

So what’s the solution then? Fortunately for all the lovers of electric guitar, there’s an abundance of shorter scale instruments available on the market. For those not familiar, the scale length, or just “scale,” is the distance between a guitar’s nut and the bridge, presenting a fully usable length of all strings.

Scale length on its own will impact the neck and instrument size, as well as the distance between the frets. Shorter-scale electric guitars are usually intended for beginners, although they can be quite useful for experienced players who just prefer smaller instruments. Additionally, they can be a good choice as travel instruments. These guitars are often pretty cheap as well because they’re mostly marketed for beginners and younger players.

Full-sized electric guitars have scale lengths from 24.5 inches and longer. The upper limit is usually 25.5 inches, and we have so-called “baritone” guitars with scale lengths of 27 or more inches.

As far as short scale electric guitars go, everything that has a scale of 24 inches or less falls into the category. Over the years our team at Guitar Lobby has owned and tested dozens of these guitars, and in the rest of this article, we’ll be sharing the best short scale electric guitars at different price points.

Name of ProductImage of ProductDescriptionPrice RangeFull Review
1. Fender Player Duo-Sonic (Best Overall)Fender Player Duo-SonicScale length: 24 inches
Body material: Alder
$730Read Full Review Below
2. Jackson JS Series RR Minion JS1XJackson JS Series RR Minion JS1XScale length: 22.5 inches
Body material: Poplar
$170Read Full Review Below
3. Sterling by Music Man Cutlass CTSS30HSSterling by Music Man Cutlass CTSS30HSScale length: 24 inches
Body material: Poplar
$300Read Full Review Below
4. Ibanez miKro PGMM21Ibanez miKro PGMM21Scale length: 22 inches
Body material: Poplar
$200Read Full Review Below
5. Squier Classic Vibe 60's MustangSquier Classic Vibe 60's MustangScale length: 24 inches
Body material: Poplar
$430Read Full Review Below
6. Loog MiniLoog MiniScale length: 15.4 inches
Body material: Paulownia
$150Read Full Review Below
7. Squier Mini JazzmasterSquier Mini JazzmasterScale length: 22.75 inches
Body material: Poplar
$180Read Full Review Below
8. Squier Mini StratocasterSquier Mini StratocasterScale length: 22.75 inches
Body material: Poplar
$190Read Full Review Below
9. Ibanez miKro GRGM21Ibanez miKro GRGM21Scale length: 22.2 inches
Body material: Basswood
$150Read Full Review Below
10. Oscar Schmidt OS-30Oscar Schmidt OS-30Scale length: 22.5 inches
Body material: Not specified
$150Read Full Review Below
11. Starshine ¾-Size Explorer-Style Electric GuitarStarshine ¾-Size Explorer-Style Electric GuitarScale length: 22.5 inches
Body material: Mahogany
$350Read Full Review Below
12. LyxPro 30-Inch Electric GuitarLyxPro 30-Inch Electric GuitarScale length: 22.5 inches
Body material: Not specified
$150Read Full Review Below
13. Rogue Rocketeer RR50Rogue Rocketeer RR50Scale length: 23.25 inches
Body material: Basswood
$140Read Full Review Below
14. YMC 30-Inch Kids electric GuitarYMC 30-Inch Kids electric GuitarScale length: 20 inches
Body material: Basswood
$70Read Full Review Below

Here Are the Best Short Scale Electric Guitars

1. Fender Player Duo-Sonic (Best Overall)

Fender Player Duo-Sonic

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Estimated Price $730
Scale length 24 inches
Body material Alder
Neck material Maple
Frets 22, medium jumbo
Bridge type Fender 6-saddle hardtail bridge

My Review: Although it’s not made in the USA, the Fender Player Series has a lot to offer. If you need something simple, short scaled, and of high quality, the Duo-Sonic guitar is one of the easiest choices.

Bearing a Jaguar body shape (actually a recreation of the 1956 Duo-Sonic model), we have two specially designed single-coil pickups and, a 3-way switch, and two standard controls for volume and tone. The instrument also comes with a scale length of 24 inches, as well as 22 medium-jumbo frets, and a neck made entirely out of maple.

The body made of alder forms a bolt-on joint with the neck. There’s also the classic Fender heel that, along with other features, makes this instrument feel like any USA-made Fender guitar.

It’s also worth noting that the guitar comes in a few different finish options, and some of these variants come with Pau Ferro fretboards. Having this choice is pretty interesting as a lot of Fender players have specific fretboard preferences.

The guitar’s overall simplicity can also be seen with its fixed 6-saddle Fender bridge. There’s nothing too complicated about the Duo-Sonic guitar, although the instrument can cover a lot of genres.

Bottom Line: This is a pretty interesting configuration, coming with two single-coil pickups and a Jaguar-like body. There’s a nice blend of visual and functional features, making it a pretty exciting guitar.

Duo-Sonic would usually be associated with alternative rock, punk, pop-punk, and other similar genres. However, I’d easily go with this one for jazz or blues, even some hard rock when needed. Aside from the pickups and the design, the guitar’s vintage feel is rounded up with a 9.5-inch fretboard radius, just like the one on any regular Strat.

Additionally, the 24-inch scale length is right on the edge of small-sized guitars, so it can be used by a variety of players, including those who are used to full-sized guitars as well.

2. Jackson JS Series RR Minion JS1X (Best for Hard Rock and Metal)

Jackson JS Series RR Minion JS1X

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Estimated Price $170
Scale length 22.5 inches
Body material Poplar
Neck material Maple
Frets 24, jumbo
Bridge type 6-saddle hardtail, string-through design

My Review: Metal guitar players are usually the pickiest ones. But while it could be hard to satisfy their need for ergonomic and sonic qualities, a cheap and short scaled Jackson RR JS1X is like every metal guitarist’s wet dream.

Made after Randy Rhoads’ famous Jackson Rhoads prototypes, it has an asymmetrical V-shaped body made of poplar. Accompanied by a maple neck and an amaranth fretboard, we have 24 jumbo frets on it. Needless to say, the access to higher frets is made easy with the instrument’s body design. Along with a 12-inch radius, it’s a pretty potent shred-friendly guitar.

JS1X comes with two humbuckers and a 3-way toggle switch, as well as volume and tone pots. It’s as versatile as any dual-humbucker guitar, although we have high-output stock pickups on it, making every tube amp “crack” at higher volume levels.

Bottom Line: Visually, sonically, and ergonomically, this guitar screams metal. The body’s unique shape and its “shark fin” fretboard inlays look as good as on Jackson’s more expensive guitars.

And while it’s a cheaper one, it works like a charm. Sure, if you’re up for some experimentation, you could swap the pickups for something more defined. However, at this price level, you can’t find a better metal-oriented short scaled electric guitar.

3. Sterling by Music Man Cutlass CTSS30HS

Sterling by Music Man Cutlass CTSS30HS

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Estimated Price $300
Scale length 24 inches
Body material Poplar
Neck material Maple
Frets 22, narrow
Bridge type Fulcrum Tremolo

My Review: Although a subsidiary of Ernie Ball Music Man that makes budget-friendly guitars, Sterling should not be underestimated. In fact, I’m baffled at how cheap they are considering their overall qualities.

Looking at this shorter-scale category of guitars, I’d say that Sterling’s Cutlass CTSS30HS is easily the best one. You have all the necessary stuff that you need, including a double-cutaway Stratocaster-like body, a tremolo bridge, humbucker in the bridge, and a single-coil in the neck.

This is a fairly interesting combination of pickups, allowing for both heavy and soft tones if needed. It comes with a 3-way pickup selector switch and knobs for tone and volume.

The Fulcrum Tremolo bridge is a basic one, generally pretty similar to a Fender-style tremolo. As expected from a company like Sterling, the guitar stays in tune even when you use the tremolo bridge a lot.

Its poplar body is accompanied by a bolt-on maple neck. This is a neck made entirely out of maple, including the fretboard. This particular trait is usually reserved for slightly more expensive guitars. The guitar generally feels like a classic Stratocaster, although the access to higher frets is different due to a specially designed heel.

Bottom Line: I can’t help but be amazed by what Sterling has to offer within this price range. If it were a blind test, I could easily mistake it for an instrument that’s three of four times its price.

Although generally simple, it’s really easy to use it for an abundance of genres. Additionally, having a scale length of only 22 inches makes it an awesome choice for anyone who needs a smaller guitar that’s not expensive and that surpasses its price tag.

What I would call a “downside,” which is not that much of a downside, is the very specific choice of finishes. We have “Mint Green” and “Shell Pink” that look more like ice-cream colorings rather than guitar finishes. If you prefer something neutral or darker, you might not like these two.

But it’s not like this is a deal-breaker. I can’t complain much as Sterling’s Cutlass CTSS30HS really outperforms anything within this price category. Blues, jazz, metal, rock, pop, funk – you can play it all with this guitar. This is easily one of the best short scale electric guitars on the market right now.

4. Ibanez miKro PGMM21

Ibanez miKro PGMM21

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Estimated Price $200
Scale length 22 inches
Body material Poplar
Neck material Maple
Frets 24, medium
Bridge type F106 fixed bridge

My Review: Paul Gilbert is one of the most influential names in the world of guitar. His line of signature guitars, made by Ibanez, has pushed the limits. But if you need something cheaper and smaller, I’d recommend PGMM21, which is a small-sized and budget-friendly variant of his professional-level guitars.

The 22-inch scale length and a smaller body make it really comfortable to play. This is also accompanied by 24 frets and a 15.75-inch fretboard radius. With such a configuration, it’s obvious that the guitar is for lead players. Therefore, I’d recommend it to more experienced players who just prefer smaller instruments.

Other than that, the guitar is simple. We have two humbuckers, a 3-way switch, and a fixed 6-saddle hardtail bridge. What’s also interesting is that the headstock is reversed. In combination with aesthetic features, like the “F”-shaped violin-like patterns on the front of the body, it makes the instrument look really unique.

Bottom Line: We’re looking at a guitar that falls into Ibanez’s “miKro” series. These are budget-friendly guitars, mostly intended for beginners. But I can’t help but notice all of the nice qualities that come with the PGMM21 model, making it a great choice for experienced players as well.

Overall, it can be a very reliable and useful virtuoso tool. On the other hand, if you want to turn it into a really serious instrument, I’d consider bringing in a new set of pickups. The stock ones aren’t bad at all, but shredders would definitely like to have more nuanced dynamic features.

Popular Related Article: The Best Electric Guitars on the Market Right Now

5. Squier Classic Vibe 60’s Mustang

Squier Classic Vibe 60's Mustang

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Estimated Price $430
Scale length 24 inches
Body material Poplar
Neck material Maple
Frets 22, narrow
Bridge type Vintage-style floating bridge

My Review: Even after all these years, I’m still baffled at how Squier manages to make awesome guitars and keep their price at very reasonable levels. If you need a shorter scale guitar with a vintage twist, definitely check out Squier’s Classic Vibe ’60s Mustang.

Although its overall appearance is simple and goes toward vintage aesthetics, this guitar offers some interesting controls. We have the two standard single-coil pickups, both appropriately slanted so that the bottom strings have their signal picked up away from the bridge. But then we have separate controls for turning the bridge and neck pickups on and off.

Aside from volume and tone knobs, we can also find a phase switch. This one can help you diversify your sonic output, even getting some of those weird “nasally” tones.

Just like most of the cheaper guitars out there, it has a body made out of poplar. This is accompanied by a maple neck with an Indian laurel fingerboard.

One thing that really makes it stand out is the floating tremolo. This is the old-school kind of a tremolo bridge and a tailpiece, the kind you find on Jazzmasters and Jaguars, as well as old Mustangs. It has a dual-action tremolo tailpiece, allowing you to go both ways. Sure, it’s not exactly a Floyd Rose tremolo, but you can still get a lot of unique tones, the kind you get with Bigsby tremolos.

This Mustang is fairly comfortable to play. Just like the Duo-Sonic that we mentioned above, this one is also often associated with alternative rock, punk, and similar genres. But, once again, I can’t help but notice the instrument’s qualities which allow it to be used for other genres as well.

Bottom Line: With a scale length of 24 inches and a 9.5-inch fretboard radius, this one feels like it came from the 1960s. Despite being a cheaper instrument, it’s surprisingly comfortable to play, not to mention its experimental yet awesome tones.

It’s on the edge between short scale and full-scale electric guitars. But that’s just enough for anyone who likes playing smaller instruments. The guitar’s appearance is like it came from Fender’s USA-based factory, so you’ll get an awesome “full package” in every sense with this Squier Mustang variant.

6. Loog Mini

Loog Mini

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Estimated Price $150
Scale length 15.4 inches
Body material Paulownia
Neck material Maple
Frets 15
Bridge type 3-saddle hardtail bridge

My Review: Now, here’s something really cute, yet very useful. It’s well-known that guitar can be tricky for the youngest beginners, those below the age of 10. While an 8-year-old kid could learn to play on a ¾-sized guitar, what should younger kids do?

According to Loog, they should not give up on their dreams. The company has been making these awesome 3-string electric and acoustic guitars for quite some time. As far as these electric guitars go, they’re fully functional and can be used with any regular amps and effects.

We have a pretty small instrument here, with a scale length of only 15.4 inches. But what’s interesting is that this guitar not only comes with a “lipstick”-style single-coil pickup, but it also has an integrated amp in it. Of course, we’re talking about a few watts at best, but it’s still a great way to practice.

Nonetheless, you still have a regular output on it. There are also volume and gain controls, the gain control adding in some distortion on the integrated amplifier.

Bottom Line: It’s obvious that the main target group for the Loog Mini electric guitars are kids of ages 3 and up. However, this is an extremely fun instrument to play. If you need a guitar for a very young beginner, it’s definitely a go-to choice. However, it’s also a fun instrument for grown-ups who just want to mess around on a small guitar.

Although practically designed as a toy instrument, it feels really good and it can be intonated like any other electric guitar. If you plug it into a regular amp, you can get a normal electric guitar tone, just like you would with any other instrument with a pickup!

I had the chance to try this guitar on a few occasions. Believe it or not, I was blown away every single time. You can even use bottom E, A, and D strings on it, downtune it, play some metal riffs, and turn it into an incredibly fun instrument. It’s really mind-blowing what they did with it.

7. Squier Mini Jazzmaster

Squier Mini Jazzmaster

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Estimated Price $180
Scale length 22.75 inches
Body material Poplar
Neck material Maple
Frets 20
Bridge type 6-saddle hardtail bridge

My Review: I’ve already mentioned Squier’s Mini series with their Mini Stratocaster guitar. However, this isn’t the only model in this line. Squier have also made mini-sized Jazzmaster guitars, relying on the Fender’s legendary body design. But while it’s not entirely a proper copy of Jazzmasters, it’s still a pretty awesome instrument, especially within its price limits.

We’re looking at a guitar that comes with a scale length of 22.75 inches. There’s also a total of 20 frets, as well as a hardtail bridge with six individual string saddles. However, this is just one of the features that’s not typical for a Jazzmaster guitar.

Next up, we have a pair of humbuckers, along with standard controls for this classic configuration. You can do all the necessary adjustments using a volume knob, a tone knob, as well as a 3-way pickup selector switch. These are stock pickups by Squier, but they work pretty well.

Other than that, we have a nice maple neck with a maple fingerboard. Along with that, we have the classic headstock design, as well as some awesome finishing options.

Bottom Line: Those who are familiar with Jazzmasters can clearly see that this Mini Jazzmaster isn’t exactly the same. We don’t have the floating tremolo on it, nor the unconventional tone-shaping controls that they’re famous for.

Nonetheless, we have a fully functioning short scale guitar that’s actually pretty awesome. Honestly, this guitar’s neck feels like it’s made by Fender. With that said, you can play a lot of different stuff on it, but the fretboard radius of 9.5 inches makes it a great choice for any vintage-oriented player. Along with its humbuckers, I’d recommend it for blues or classic hard rock. Overall, an awesome instrument.

8. Squier Mini Stratocaster

Squier Mini Stratocaster

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Estimated Price $190
Scale length 22.75 inches
Body material Poplar
Neck material Maple
Frets 20
Bridge type 6-saddle hardtail bridge

My Review: Knowing how incredible Squier guitars can get, for their price level at least, it’s hard not to mention at least one more of their instruments. They’ve actually come up with a specially-designed short scale Strat, the so-called Mini Stratocaster. This one is produced as its own series of guitars.

Your average Squier Strat comes with a regular scale length of 25.5 inches, which is copied from Fender Stratocasters. However, this one is significantly shorter, and its scale is 22.75 inches. At the same time, we also have only 20 frets instead of standard 21.

What’s also different is that Squier’s Mini Stratocaster comes with a hardtail instead of a tremolo bridge. Nonetheless, it’s a classic Fender-style bridge with 6 individual string saddles.

It features a poplar body and a maple neck with an Indian laurel fingerboard. What’s really awesome is that the instrument is not only reliable but it also feels pretty good in your hands. There’s the classic old-school Fender fretboard radius of 9.5 inches and a C-shaped neck profile.

Along with the classic combo of 3 single-coil pickups, you pretty much get a guitar that feels a lot like Fender, aside from the shorter scale length.

Bottom Line: With every guitar model they put out, Squier keep surprising us, especially during the past decade or so. At this price level, there’s hardly any guitar model, including short scale ones, that could compare to Squier’s Mini Strat.

Sure, you don’t have a tremolo, which is a bit of a bummer. However, you get some classic Stratocaster features along with a shorter scale length and a substantially lighter weight. It’s a great choice, both for beginners and experienced players who feel like playing something smaller and lighter.

Popular Related Article: Great Electric Guitar Songs for Beginners

9. Ibanez miKro GRGM21

Ibanez miKro GRGM21

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Estimated Price $150
Scale length 22.2 inches
Body material Basswood
Neck material Maple
Frets 24, medium
Bridge type F106 Bridge

My Review: Going through Ibanez’s vast arsenal of guitars, it’s really easy to find the good stuff, even within their budget-friendly instruments. Another one from the company’s miKro series, the GRGM21 is like a smaller variant of the RG series.

It’s a pretty similar model to the aforementioned PGMM21, Paul Gilbert’s signature miKro variant. They feature basswood bodies, maple necks, and jatoba fingerboards. Although the scale length is significantly shorter, measuring only 22.2 inches, the guitar still has 24 frets.

There’s the classic “Super Strat” double-cutaway body design, as well as its easy access to higher frets. The guitar also comes with a fixed bridge, the F106 variant with individual string saddles.

Other than that, we have the standard configuration with two humbucking pickups and a simple 3-way selector switch. Of course, you also get the volume and tone controls.

Bottom Line: Although I’d like to see one with an actual tremolo bridge, possibly even a Floyd Rose one, the GRGM21 is a great model. It’s especially useful if you like faster playing and having 24 frets.

Although not a pro-level guitar, it’s still a “shred-friendly” kind of instrument, so to speak. You can implement it in a variety of genres. Additionally, it’s also not that expensive, and you can even do your modifications if you’re up for that kind of stuff. With a new set of pickups and the coil-split feature, this one could easily compete with some high-end guitars.

10. Oscar Schmidt OS-30

Oscar Schmidt OS-30

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Estimated Price $150
Scale length 22.5 inches
Body material Not specified
Neck material Maple
Frets 21
Bridge type Tremolo bridge with individual string saddles

My Review: Oscar Schmidt is actually an old company, originally founded way back in the second half of the 19th century. What’s really interesting is that German luthier Oscar Schmidt focused on making easily accessible and beginner-friendly stuff. And that’s what the company is still doing to this day, even with their OS-30 electric guitar.

Essentially, the OS-30 is a cheaper and smaller version of their OS-300 model. We’re looking at a classic cheap version of a Stratocaster, with a few features of its own. This also includes a ¾-size, which reduces the scale length down to 22.5 inches.

There’s a fairly comfortable maple neck on this guitar, along with a 6-in-line headstock. The features are a pretty standard deal for a Strat copy, featuring three decent single-coil pickups and a 5-way pickup selector switch. The only difference is that we have only one volume and one tone control.

There’s also a tremolo bridge on it, pretty much similar to those you find on Squier guitars with 6 individual string saddles.

Bottom Line: Overall, we’re looking at a pretty simple yet potent instrument. 5 different pickup combinations in the style of a regular Fender Strat. You can pretty much cover most of the genres this way.

It also feels pretty good in your hands, especially with its shorter scale length of 22.5 inches. I’d say that this is one of the perfect guitars for younger beginners. It’s a great way to get introduced to electric guitars and their potential.

11. Starshine ¾-Size Explorer-Style Electric Guitar

Starshine ¾-Size Explorer-Style Electric Guitar

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Estimated Price $350
Scale length 22.5 inches
Body material Mahogany
Neck material Mahogany
Frets 22
Bridge type Tune-o-matic with a stopbar tailpiece

My Review: Starshine is another one of those cheaper brands available through online retailers. But these are pretty decent instruments made in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. There’s actually some pretty good stuff in there, including hollow-body guitars that can compare to Epiphone and other more famous brands.

As for shorter-scale instruments, they have this pretty awesome Explorer-style guitar. There’s no specific designated model name, at least not to my knowledge. However, this is a pretty decent ¾-size guitar with all of the necessary basic features that will serve you well.

The guitar comes with two humbucker pickups and three control knobs. Then there’s also the standard tune-o-matic bridge with a stopbar tailpiece. The instrument also features a mahogany body with a mahogany neck and it feels pretty good considering its price and a fairly unknown brand.

The headstock features a 6-in-line design, although it’s far from what actual Gibson explorers have. Nonetheless, the overall build is what makes it fairly reliable and really comfortable to play.

It’s not a pro-level guitar, but it’s fairly good for its price category. Additionally, it’s often sold with an additional beginner-friendly practice amplifier.

Bottom Line: I have to be honest and say that this Starshine guitar was a real revelation. It’s a smaller-sized instrument with an Explorer body shape, making it look kind of cute but cool at the same time.

It’s a great choice for kids, but I can easily see it used by some experienced players who have smaller hands or just prefer shorter scale lengths. The pickups are also pretty decent and you can get some awesome tones for hard rock, metal, and blues. Considering its cost and a lesser-known brand name, this is more than a great deal.

12. LyxPro 30-Inch Electric Guitar

LyxPro 30-Inch Electric Guitar

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Estimated Price $150
Scale length 22.5 inches
Body material Not specified
Neck material Maple
Frets 21
Bridge type 6-saddle fixed bridge

My Review: Although LyxPro are not as well-known as some other brands mentioned here, they have some pretty good stuff to offer. They specialize in cheaper and beginner-friendly guitars, as well as beginner-friendly practice amplifiers. For this list, we have their simple little 30-inch guitar, which is a 3/4 of a regular full-sized electric guitar.

The instrument is conceived as a simple solution for all beginners. There’s the double-cutaway body shape, kind of like a modified variant of a Stratocaster body with shorter and “smoother” kinds of horns.

It looks kind of unique and its design is accompanied by one humbucker pickup. It’s a bit further away from the bridge, which is a pretty unusual pickup position. Nonetheless, the guitar’s output is pretty decent and the tone is more than useful for any beginner player.

The bridge is a fixed one with six individual saddles. It seems that it’s well-made, which is what we can say about its tuning machines as well. These components make it a fairly reliable instrument, especially if we’re talking about beginners.

Bottom Line: What you need to bear in mind is that this kind of guitar is intended for younger beginners. But while I wouldn’t recommend it for experienced players, this doesn’t mean that the instrument is bad. In fact, this is one of the best choices for young beginners on the market.

While the guitar retains its simplicity, this is a fair compensation or a trade-off in order to get a cheaper price. What comes with the guitar is at a pretty decent quality level, making it worth the price.

So if you need such a guitar, don’t get discouraged by a lesser-known brand name. It will work as well as any other of its kind. Besides, LyxPro guitars are becoming increasingly popular, which speaks for their overall qualities.

Sure, it’s not something you’d use for gigs or professional studio work. But then again, you don’t see such a guitar at this price level, especially not with an additional practice amplifier, a gig bag, and a few accessories.

13. Rogue Rocketeer RR50

Rogue Rocketeer RR50

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Estimated Price $140
Scale length 23.25 inches
Body material Basswood
Neck material Maple
Frets 22
Bridge type 6-saddle hardtail bridge with the string-through design

My Review: Of course, just like with any other category of instruments, many will always look for cheaper short scale electric guitars. Although it took some time for me to figure out which one would be the best option, I chose Rogue Rocketeer RR50.

Yes, we’re talking about a cheap lesser-known brand, the kind of guitars that you’d also find in Walmart. Nonetheless, Rocketeer RR50 is a pretty decent instrument. And looking at its ridiculously low price, you just can’t go wrong with it.

It’s a very simple instrument with a basswood body and a bolted-on maple neck. The body features a double-cutaway design, looking kind of like a “mutated” Stratocaster. Nonetheless, the instrument looks unique and very minimalistic.

The main idea behind an instrument like Rocketeer RR50 is pure simplicity. It’s all about having a functional instrument that’s easy to play and doesn’t have any overly complex features.

There’s only one humbucker pickup in the bridge position, along with one volume knob. We also have a fairly comfortable neck, a 6-in-line headstock, as well as a 6-saddle hardtail with strings going through the body.

Bottom Line: Considering the fact that this entire guitar is cheaper than a single pickup on some instruments, it’s actually a pretty decent one. It’s fairly reliable, you won’t go out of tune, and you’ll be able to play anything that you want.

Sure, there’s the obvious lack of versatility as RR50 has only one humbucker and volume control. However, basic qualities are retained, so this is a reasonable trade-off. Besides, the instrument is pretty comfortable to play, especially for those who prefer to have something with a scale length below 24 inches.

Again, this is a random lesser-known brand and the type of guitar that you can find in some hypermarkets. But, in my opinion, you shouldn’t be discouraged by this brand’s relative obscurity. The instrument is cheap and simple and it definitely outperforms its price.

14. YMC 30-Inch Kids Electric Guitar

YMC 30-Inch Kids electric Guitar

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Estimated Price $70
Scale length 20 inches
Body material Basswood
Neck material Maple
Frets 22
Bridge type 6-saddle hardtail bridge

My Review: Another guitar that I’d like to add to this list is made by YMC, another brand of cheaper beginner-friendly instruments manufactured in China. Their electric guitars are usually short scale ones intended for absolute beginners, especially younger ones.

Here, we’re bringing their 30-inch guitar, made especially for younger beginners. But although it has a scale length of only 20 inches, this guitar comes with 22 frets. Along with the guitar’s double-cutaway body design, it’s easy to access all of its frets.

Then we also have a maple neck with a maple fretboard. The headstock features a 6-in-line design and it has fairly decent tuning machines on it. While we’re at it, we have a simple bridge with six individual saddles on the body. It’s nothing special, but it’s the same kind you’ll see on other cheap Fender-style guitars. It keeps things in order, and that’s what’s important.

As far as its electronics go, we have just one single-coil pickup in the bridge position. Along with it, there’s only one control knob for volume level, and that’s about it. It’s not perfect, but it gets the job done. For the guitar’s price, it’s way more than you can expect.

Bottom Line: When you look at it, it’s a cute little instrument, obviously designed especially for kids. You can’t expect much from it as this is essentially a toy turned into an instrument. However, it’s a pretty fun one designed for educational purposes. Additionally, it comes with a small 5-watt battery-powered amp.

Sure, you could play it as a more experienced guitarist as well, but its main purpose is to satisfy the needs of absolute beginners. That’s about it!

Choosing the Right Short Scale Electric Guitar (Buying Guide)

In order to make a good purchase, you’ll first need to be familiar with some of the basic features of short scaled electric guitars. The same rules apply to any other category of instruments. After all, you need to find what works the best for you, your playing style, and your preferred musical styles.

Most of Them Are Designed for Beginners

As you might have noticed from the list, none of these guitars are exactly pro-level stuff. Aside from a few examples, you wouldn’t really expect to see any of these in the hands of experienced guitar players.

This is the most important thing that you should know about short scale electric, or acoustic, guitars. If there’s a scale length shorter than 24 inches, then these guitars are intended for beginners. You’d probably need to hire a luthier to make a custom short scaled electric guitar that has all the premium features, or you’d just have to go with one of the better examples from the list.

If you’re an experienced player but are looking for a short scale electric guitar, then I’d suggest Sterling’s CTSS30HS. Or if you want to go even shorter, Ibanez miKro PGMM21 could do the trick, but it’s still not as good of a guitar as the one by Sterling. Either way, both are entry-level guitars, which is normal for short scaled instruments.

Scale Length

So now we get to the obvious part, the issue of scale length. Your regular full-sized guitars will come with scale lengths that are usually between 24.5 and 25.5 inches. As far as short scale instruments go, it’s everything that’s 24 or below.

For those who don’t know, the scale length is the distance between the nut and the bridge. Essentially, it presents the usable part of the string, for both fretting and picking. By shortening the scale length, you can keep the instrument’s overall size significantly smaller and also reduce the distance between the frets.

A shorter scale length also significantly decreases tension. While tension comes down to personal preferences, keeping it at lower levels is a great thing for less experienced players.

24 inches is usually what you find on guitars like Fender Mustang or some of its copies. Guitars with shorter scale lengths usually go as low as 22 inches. You can also find something even smaller, but that’s usually the case with some experimental or kid-oriented instruments, as is the case with Loog Mini.

If you want something that’s closer to full-sized guitars, then 24 inches will feel closer to that. On the other hand, scale lengths of 22.5 or 22 inches can feel significantly different, despite a seemingly minor difference in scale length.

Body Type

As mentioned, short scale electric guitars are generally smaller. This means that their bodies can also get noticeably smaller compared to regular scale instruments. In almost all cases, bodies on these short scale guitars are made lighter. This is not a surprise as these are mostly beginner-oriented guitars.

Nonetheless, you still have to look at what works the best for you. A lot of them are double-cutaway instruments, very similar to what you’d have with a standard Strat-style electric guitar. However, some of the smaller beginner-friendly guitars for younger players are usually modified Stratocaster double-cutaway shapes.

Also popular within this category are some of those “offset” kinds of bodies. For instance, a great example is Fender’s Duo-Sonic. But there are other examples as well, like the Squier Jazzmaster that we mentioned here.

Choosing the right body shape for your needs is not only about “skin-deep” aesthetic issues. Different shapes can impact your performance in two ways. Firstly, your picking hand and arm should feel comfortable resting on the body, allowing you to play all the necessary picking techniques with ease. Secondly, your fretting hand should feel comfortable around higher frets, which is something that can be greatly impacted by the body shape.

But at the end of the day, this is mostly about personal preferences. Some particular shapes may be more difficult for reaching higher frets with your fretting hand. Additionally, short scaler electric guitars have modified body shapes compared to standard ones that we’re used to on full-sized instruments.

With all this in mind, I’d suggest that you first try any guitar out before purchasing it. If not possible, at least do your thorough research and ask those who have this particular instrument what their experience with the ergonomic qualities of the body are.

Pickups and Electronics

Of course, just like with any electric guitar, pickups and electronics are the most important aspects that you should get into. This is where most of your tone will be shaped. So we’re looking at crucial components here.

As I’ve already mentioned many times, short scale electric guitars are usually intended for beginners. Therefore, you can’t really expect to have some pro-level high-quality pickups. On the other hand, even cheap beginner-friendly guitars today can have pretty decent pickups on them.

The smallest and cheapest guitars usually come with one single-coil pickup. These will produce a brighter yet “thinner” tone. More expensive ones can come with a pair of single-coils or a pair of humbuckers. Just like om regular full-sized guitars, this will give more sonic versatility.

The choice between humbuckers and single-coils is a personal one. It’s up to you to decide whether you want a “jangly” bright kind of tone, or something smoother and “darker.” A general rule is that humbuckers are better for heavier music. Hard rock and metal music are often associated with them, but jazz and blues players also prefer them.

As far as single-coil pickups go, they’re especially useful for stuff like funk, pop, and softer rock music. Nonetheless, they also have a special kind of tone in metal and hard rock music. They’re specific but they’re usually more versatile.

From the guitars that we mentioned above, I’d say that the one by Sterling and the one by Fender have the best pickups. After all, these are the closest to professional full-sized guitars in terms of their features and overall qualities.

Bridge

While the bridges on short scaled guitars are based on the same exact principles as on full-sized instruments, there are some differences. In most cases, these will be fixed bridges with individual saddles. Sometimes, we also have the classic Gibson-style tune-o-matic bridges with stopbar tailpieces.

Meanwhile, tremolo bridges are not that common. They could be found on some of the more expensive variants of short scale guitars. But it’s usually more complicated to implement them properly on a smaller instrument.

Additionally, bridges on short scale guitars have slightly smaller string spacing. This can make them feel a bit different compared to regular guitars.

The most important thing about bridges is to find what feels the most comfortable in your hands. I’d advise that you don’t go looking for a short scale guitar with a tremolo bridge at every cost. It’s better to have a more reliable fixed bridge than to risk it with a lower-quality tremolo one.

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