Here’s the demographic: an over 50, female guitar player with small hands and a body that’s starting to feel slightly arthritic. OK, maybe I’m really over 60, but 60 is the new 40, right? I work at Northern Lights Music, a guitar store in Littleton, NH in the White Mountains where it gets down to 25 below zero in February and up to 95 degrees in July. We play a lot of guitar around here if we’re not on our snow machines or on our mountain bikes.
When we have our quiet moments here at the store, I’ll find myself gravitating towards my favorite acoustic guitars that fit my small stature, maybe with a 1 11/16” nut width and short scale. I’m enjoying all the 12 fret guitars that are for sale coming our way from Taylor Guitars like the 812ce 12 fret or the 712ce-12 fret. They are so easy to play and with the small body size, I sometimes get so lost in playing in the back room that I should be fired for dereliction of duty!
At home I have my everyday guitar that I love, a Santa Cruz 12 fret OO cutaway with and 1 11/16” nut width in Brazilian Rosewood with Italian Spruce top and Adirondack bracing. This is my soul mate, “The one I’ll keep,” as Santa Cruz has coined. My other soul mate and husband, Dan, who has been selling acoustic guitars at our store for over 38 years, treated me initially like his patient who needed a diagnosis and then prescribed “The cure.” The guitar is very small, but because of the wood combination, even with my soft fingerpicking style, it produces a deep warm presence. My stiff fingers warm up quickly on the short scale narrow neck and it keeps me good company due to its small body size. We have something similar at the store in Indian Rosewood.
Mooch playing her Santa Cruz OO on the porch in January.
So back to loafing on the job! What do I gravitate toward when I want to play a lower priced guitar in the store that makes me feel at home? Usually the GS Mini from Taylor. It has a great pickup and is perfect for a beginning guitarist because of its easy action (playability). But what I love most about it is its small size and portability.
I actually travelled to Costa Rica with one of these parlor sized guitars while using the great gig bag that comes with the guitar as an extra place to stuff my bathing suit, yoga clothes and reading material. It is really comfortable as a backpack and I was able put in in the overhead! So, for a small person, who wants an affordable option that is easy to play, sounds great and maintains well, this is a great way to go.
Girls on the small side have lots of options when they go out to shop for an acoustic guitar. If it doesn’t sit on your lap comfortably and feel right when you wrap your hand around it, ask one of our salesperson to help you “find your fit”. It may be time to get properly “diagnosed” so you may just find your soul mate!