Soliciting Opinions - Small(er) Acoustic

I am a fan of 00 size guitars. They can be variable a bitnn Nin dimensions and can join at 12th or 14 fret. Sometimes they are wider at the nut.

I have bought and been happy with several guitars that I never had a chance to play. Lots of video comparisons and listening and trying enough guitars to feel that I have an idea of what I want.

There are so many choices and everyone will have their own biases as to what brand to get. There are no wrongs if you decide you like the guitar.

I like the 12 fret join, but it does seem much shorter. Notes up at the 10-12 fret, like playing Blackbird (working on it) can sound a bit tinny compared to a 14 fret.

No problem with bass in a well made 00. Mine has a larger sound hole as well. A cheap parlor could sound boxy, but most decent ones sound nice and tend to be more articulate that dreadnaught guitars.

How much are you looking to spend? Where are you located? What do you feel drawn to?

Love my Parlour (PRS P20E).

Sounds fine in the room, ideal for amplifying in a small venue.

I’ve kitted it out with ultra fine strings ands it’s very nice to play.

The only downside I’ve come across is it’s a struggle playing licks above the 12th fret. You just run out of fretboard…

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As I am I since St Nick’s Day. Thought the lack of cut away may be an issue compared to Takamine and the Fender T-Bucket but it really fits the bill for the Delta style Blues stuff I have been learning. Even the missus said she liked the sound of it !

I’m 5’8 and think I have relatively small hands but been managing a Dread (or two) over a few decades and was and still am happy with them. But the PRS SE P20E is surely a comfy sob !

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It’s true that a smaller guitar will usually have less low end, compared to something like a dreadnought or jumbo. I find this varies a bit from guitar to guitar, but it’s still kind of a “general rule” you can expect to be true. Personally, I don’t think it’s a big deal as long as the guitar still sounds “rich” and doesn’t sound “thin.” (Guitar is a mids-focused instrument, anyway.) In any case, it depends what you want, and there’s a balancing act between volume, sustain, response, et cetera, and a guitar’s construction picks a point on that multi-dimensional continuum. (Lol, that sounds way more profound or pretentious than it actually is.)

Audio/video is probably more helpful. This one talks about it:

I play both kinds (i.e., neck/body at 12 and also neck/body at 14). There’s no problem alternating. At most you might have a few minutes of an “adjustment period,” kind of like driving a different car or riding a different bike.

As for cutouts, I prefer acoustics without a cutout. I don’t play acoustic in a way that requires that kind of access. (Electric is a different story, of course.) I’d rather have the additional volume and resonance in the sound box of the instrument, especially if it’s a smaller-bodied acoustic.

EDIT: There’s another Alvarez-produced video on this subject. I’m not sure which was the one I was thinking of, so I’m adding this one as well:

And this one is interesting too:

Yes, I think it is actually, my guitar is very deep and impossible for me to play standing up…now we may also have women additional problems :see_no_evil::speak_no_evil::shushing_face::joy:

Wow, thanks everyone for all the input!

@Helen0609 Andrea, good call on the depth. It’s amazing how much difference even .25inch can make!

@liaty @TheMadman_tobyjenner Dave and Toby: I’ve been looking for a PRS Parlor to play…haven’t come across one yet. The size is appealing…

@J.W.C Jason, thank you for those videos. I watched the first and third one…very informative! And pushing me toward a 14-fret guitar.

@Jamolay Joshua: I live in Oregon (90 minutes south-west from Portland). There is a lovely shop about an hour from me, but it’s obviously not convenient to just pop in when I feel inspired! Budget - I am fortunate to have a lot of latitude here, but if I spend significant money I want to choose a keeper. What am I drawn to? I’m a bit of a traditionalist. My husband has a Martin 000-16 from the late 90s that he’s letting me use for now (still just a tad big). You won’t be surprised to hear that I’m looking for a 00-18 to play (I think the shop I mentioned above may have one, but they are closed until 2 January). I did play a Guild M-20 and a Martin 00-15M but didn’t care for them (all mahogany)…I think I’m drawn toward the spruce top. Oh - I’d also like to try a Larivee 00-40 but am not having luck finding one (there are a couple of OM-40s near me but no 00).

@SILVIA Silvia - yes, more “female problems”! And here I thought I’d aged out of most of those! :rofl:


I played a lovely Martin 0-18 in a used store here. I dislike Martins, but it was sweet. Of course it was 80 yo or something and priced to match.

I am a Larrivee fanboi. The 00-40 get ls a lot of love out there, sounds like a fantastic guitar. I have an OM-02 (also for sale) that I love, but I have eyes for something else.

If you can test drive an OM-40, I think you would have a close enough idea if the Larrivee feel and sound are for you. Not as ideal as trying an 00-40 in person, but if we always wait to play the exact guitar before buying, we become very limited.

Also look at Pono. They have some amazing 00 size models at great price to value. I have a Pono 00-40VS which is full sounding, huge sustained, articulate and comfy!

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:joy: :joy: :joy:


The most correct decision is one of each, of course. :grinning:

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At least one :rofl::rofl::rofl:

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This is my daughters guitar. Its very easy to play .

Ibanez have a few smaller guitars with a cutaway.

I didn’t know that Pono made guitars, they do make outstanding Ukuleles so it should follow that their guitars are made to the same high standards. The only thing I would say in that case is that they’re probably as rare as rocking horse manure in the guitar shops, I’ve never seen one!

Well, any self respecting guitar shop cleans up after their rocking horses, so I am with you there!:rofl:

I had to buy my Pono on recommendation and research. Lots of listening. It worked out well. They aren’t crazy expensive , and used do pop up occasionally. Hard to find if you don’t know to look for them.

They have all the features I wanted, 00, 12th fret, short (24.9”) scale, 46mm nut, slotted headstock. Eastman 00s give them a run for the money, though and they do make an 00 slope shoulder 14 fret that I heard good things about in my searches. The 12 fret Eastman is harder to find as they are well loved.

Here is a lovely used Pono on Reverb, it is mahogany b&s which I didn’t like as much as the rosewood or the rarer Macassar (which I ended up with).

And Eastman: Eastman E10-OOSS All-Solid Mahogany/Adirondack Spruce Slope | Reverb

Good to have options: Short neck, great low end sound, no guitar strap needed and a small kid can play it fine. The bouts appear kind of wide, but that may be just due to the camera angle.



I bought a 00 to replace my Dreadnaught because I didn’t like how big the Dread was. Although I am happy with the smaller size of the 00, I plan to someday replace the 00 with a Parlor, as I really like how it “fits” me.

12-fret vs. 14-fret is really a preference thing. Since I have no plans on shredding solos above the 12th fret on an acoustic, they are both functionally the same for me.

If you find a good answer to #3, let us all know LOL! Short of buying & selling online until you find the right one, I don’t know what else to do. I also do not like buying a guitar without “trying it on” first.

I love small guitars. If you want a really , really , small guitar, try Yamaha Jr1. I have that guitar and can play for hours without a problem. I am a small person.

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Wow, a dread to a parlor…that’s a switch! I’ve played several parlors that I enjoyed, but because (for now anyway) I’ll have one acoustic, I didn’t think I’d want a parlor for my all-around guitar. Thanks for your observations!

There’s some critical info missing… what kind of guitar do you have? What is your budget? There are some amazing guitars that are smaller for $1000s.

I have a Martin DM that I bought in 1996 that I love to pieces. But it started hurting to play about five years ago so I started hunting around (I’m also 5’3"). I couldn’t find anything I liked at a reasonable cost and ended up getting a good deal on a used Breedlove Premier Concert for under $1100 (spruce/rosewood). It has good bottom, but I’m not thrilled with it. I bought it from a place that pays 80% on trade in for anything that it sells, so it was a bit of a desperate buy that I knew I could change at some point - I was tired of looking. The only other guitar I had liked was >$5K.

A couple of years ago I bought the new Martin SC-13e with a very deep cutaway. I don’t play it plugged in so of course it doesn’t have the bottom that the dreadnought does, but it sounds like a Martin and plays really well. I’m extremely happy w/it.

Just as a curiosity for this thread… If I had $15-20K to spend on a guitar, I’d get a Manzer wedge model.

FWIW, I just recorded with a parlor guitar while working on a song. This is the recording (the last two thirds don’t have any vocals, so you can probably hear the guitar best in those parts). There’s EQ on that, but I actually cut low end on the guitar because it was sounding too “boomy.”