The Small Guitar Revolution

Bigger doesn’t always mean better.

From OOOs, to parlours to travel guitars, today’s generation of six-stringers is absolutely flying the flag of the small guitar revolution.

Article by Luke Shields

Once upon a time, Guitar-Land was ruled by the biggest and burliest boxes known to man. Think Neil Diamond sweating and swinging around a piano black jumbo or just about every stoned hippy in the Haight-Ashbury area doing their best Dylan impression on a Hummingbird or J45 and you’ll get the idea.

Taylor GS Mini Walnut Guitar

Pictured: Taylors best selling GS Mini changed the face of small bodied acoustic guitars.

Skip ahead a few decades and you’ll find a new(ish) kid in town has knocked the knees out from under said Goliaths to take its rightful place as the object of most players’ affections. From 000s to parlours to travel guitars, today’s generation of six-stringers is absolutely flying the flag of the small guitar revolution.

Stringed instruments have obviously always come in myriad shapes and sizes, one only has to look at a Mariachi band to see how the instrument varies wildly even within a relatively narrow genre. 000, 00 and 0 body shapes, closer to classical guitars in stature with their square shoulder to lower bout ratio, narrow waist and slightly reduced depth, have maintained a position at the top of fan favourites charts for almost as long as the instrument has existed in its present form. These days we see early examples of these, Gibson’s L0 and sundry other pipsqueak antiquities from the 30s and beyond sell for extortionate amounts of money, ensuring that the legacy of the parlour guitar is firmly implanted in the hearts and minds of guitarists everywhere.

Talented Nashville based Aussie Duo @leavinglennox in Downtown Nashville with the EM6 Maton Mini.
(📷 @mckenziemcneilphoto)

Favoured for their boxy midrange, the parlour of yore finds a modern descendant in the hands of companies like Taylor and Maton, who’s Baby Taylor, GS Mini and Mini Maton examples fly out the door almost before their strung up. It seems today’s guitar player is looking for not only a great sounding instrument but also a couch bunny, a travel companion and an effortless playing experience that fits snugly under the arm like a woolen jumper.

The Baby Taylor was Taylors initial foray into the travel series of guitars.

Taylor Guitars have poured countless hours of research and development into making their little numbers really sing. Innovations like bowled backs sans bracing allows the mahogany, koa or rosewood that makes up the underside of their builds, to move so freely as to emit a sound much greater than the sum of their parts. Watch our review of the Taylor GS Mini here: Taylor Guitars GS Mini-e Overview – Cranbourne Music 2020 – YouTube

Homegrown heroes Maton joined the tiny party early and their all solid builds quickly caught the attention of world renowned stage heavyweights, most notably the inimitable Tommy Emmanuel who’s lends his signature to the EMTE alongside Diesel, Augie March’s Glenn Richards and an ever growing list of Australian and international singers, songwriters and shredders. Watch a review of the Maton mini here: Mini Maton – EML6 – YouTube

The Maton EM series is Australia’s favourite small-bodied acoustic guitar

The Taylor GS Mini (pictured) is one of the worlds best selling small guitars.

Don’t be fooled, in spite of their size, the modern small bodied guitar is not only the bastion of kids and people with small hands. The teflon-smooth playability, unmatched comfort under your picking arm and bigger-than-its-body sound that comes as a result of intense research, organic evolution and player feedback makes for a playing experience like no other and one not to be missed no matter your stylistic predilection. Tiny but mighty is indeed the new way to play

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