Thin body acoustic guitars (known as thinline guitars) are preferred by players seeking to get that warm acoustic sound but with a feel that resembles electric guitars. Their smaller bodies make it easier for the player to reach all frets and can aid playability for many as well. A player might feel more “in control” with a thin body guitar.
Full body acoustic guitars tend to have thicker necks that may be challenging for some. However, a thin body acoustic guitar helps with playability and can also look better for certain players after that visual edge onstage.
However, despite all of its advantages, the thin body acoustic guitar also gets a bad rap.
That is mostly because by reducing the guitar’s body, you also sacrifice punch, volume, and resonance. With that being said, is there even a reasonable compromise between sound, playability, and looks?
Yes. Ignore the haters, and buy what fits your needs best…
Is optimal sound your main concern?
Perhaps you want an acoustic-electric that gets the job done onstage?
Or maybe you just want a budget-friendly thin body that you can conveniently take everywhere with you.
What Are The Best Thin Body Acoustic Guitars?
So, what is the best thin body acoustic guitar?
I’ve narrowed this list down to seven guitars, with each of them fulfilling a particular need. The seven best thin body acoustic guitars I’ll be covering are…
The Hummingbird delivers on its promise to be a thin body acoustic guitar that does not compromise. It can also be a great choice for those on a budget who don’t want to sound “cheap”.
The Hummingbird Studio was previously called the Hummingbird Pro and still is a great option for a thin body acoustic guitar. It is an updated version of the 60’s classic, and there is a reason this guitar has been around for over half a century.
The Hummingbird Pro is known for its warm sound and iconic look. This instrument is particularly noted for its distinctive pickguard. The featured Faded Cherry finish adds that special touch for a guitar that offers tremendous value.
Additionally, the Hummingbird Pro features Grover Rotomatic 18:1 ratio tuners, traditional binding, and a Limited Lifetime Warranty from Gibson Brands. If you are in the market for a thin body acoustic guitar that caters to budget-conscious but also sound-conscious players, you can’t go wrong with the Hummingbird Studio.
Features & Specs
Back and sides: Mahogany
Top: Solid Spruce
Neck: Mahogany, SlimTaper D profile
Scale length: 24.72″
Fretboard: Pau Ferro, 12″ radius, 20 Medium Jumbo frets
Nut: Graph Tech, 1.69″ width
Under Saddle Pickup and preamp system: Fishman Sonicore
Are you on a budget? Do you mostly play electric guitar and have doubts about playability on a full-body acoustic? Then you’ve found your match.
Ibanez’ TCY10E is the best budget guitar, especially for those looking for that easy to play “electric guitar feel”. Also, it has that Ibanez look to further enhance your image onstage.
The Ibanez TCY10E is a strong option for those electric players that want to ease into playing acoustic guitar. It offers an electric guitar feel to make that transition more seamless.
It features a double-cutaway Talman body and delivers a balanced acoustic sound, but with the playability of an electric guitar. Besides this, it features an Ibanez under-saddle pickup with an AEQ-2T preamp and comes with a built-in tuner.
The Ibanez TCY10E comes with a Limited Lifetime Warranty on materials and workmanship and a limited 1-year warranty on electronics and hardware. This is a solid budget option for electric players interested in finding their best thin body acoustic choice, from the company that redefined the electric guitar.
This Takamine Thinline offers uncompromised sound to the thin body acoustic player. It features a solid spruce top, Sapele back and sides, and a slender mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard.
This fantastic combination of tonewood is part of the TSP138C TBS’s stellar sound. If the sound is your priority, then the Takamine TSP18C TBS is for you. It comes with Takamine’s new CT-3N electronics to deliver a controlled tone onstage. This thin-body acoustic guitar ships with a semi-hard SH100T case.
The Fender CP-140 SE Acoustic-Electric is a parlor body style from the best-known guitar maker in history. If you are looking for a comfortable playing experience without breaking the bank, you’ll want to check this one out.
This thin-body acoustic guitar will appeal to those looking for an easy-to-play instrument that is also expressive and budget-friendly. Interestingly, this Fender guitar is the only one on this list without a cutaway design.
The Fender CP-140 features a solid spruce top with scalloped X bracing and rosewood back and sides. Also, it includes the well know Presys preamp system from Fishman with its built-in tuner. This guitar will be beloved by traditional folk and blues players who seek intimate sound and playability and singer-songwriters. On top of all this, it comes with a hardshell case.
Features & Specs
Top: Solid Spruce
Sides and back: Rosewood
Preamp: Fishman Presys with onboard tuner
5. Taylor T5z Pro Special Edition
A truly beautiful-looking Thinline acoustic from one of the game’s most respected acoustic guitar makers. The Taylor T5Z Pro Special Edition is a stunning instrument with the same premier workmanship that has made Taylor the respected guitar manufacturer it is.
The T5z Pro Special Edition features a blend of light blond sapwood and slightly darker heartwood. Taylor also uses a custom-formulated molasses sunburst to amplify the depth of the figure and the two-tone color dynamic.
This one is for those players that want a thinline with superb aesthetics, as the Taylor T5z also features nickel hardware and a two-tone spire inlay scheme. Few acoustic guitars have Taylor’s reputation, and the T5z Pro Special Edition is proof of the company’s legacy.
The T5z Pro Special Edition features proprietary electronics, including a three-pickup configuration with an acoustic body sensor, a concealed neck humbucker, a visible bridge humbucker, and five-way switching and onboard tone controls. All of this comes with a hardshell T5z case.
All of these make a very versatile electric/acoustic guitar. It is the only guitar on this list with such a pickup and preamp configuration. It may be the only thin-line guitar from a major manufacturer that employs a concealed neck humbucker.
The Yamaha FS800 features a solid spruce top and laminated back and sides with good playability for its price range. It can produce a nice high and midrange tone and is popular for beginners and fingerstyle players.
It features an X-bracing on the body and a comfortable radius of 15.75″. It’s a solid choice for a beginner’s acoustic guitar or for anyone on a budget.
The FS800 will be a favorite among songwriters and guitar players who want to take their instruments everywhere without feeling guilty for any potential falls or scratches. This guitar does not feature a preamp or amplification system, making the price even lower. So keep this in mind before buying as it may be an issue.
Features & Specs
Top: Solid Spruce
Back and sides: Nato/Okoume
Scale Length: 25″
Fretboard: Walnut, 20 frets
Nut and saddle: Urea
7. PRS SE A50E
PRS became one of the world’s most respected guitar makers relatively quickly. They are also making inroads as a respected acoustic guitar manufacturer and the PRS SE A50E is a part of this legacy. The SE A50E is a thin-line acoustic with Paul Reed Smith’s approval and features his unique building approach.
The PRS SE A50E combines maple back and sides along with a solid spruce top for warmth and depth. It features PRS’s hybrid X/Classical bracing. This guitar can provide a three-dimensional character for a maple back and side instrument.
It comes with the PRS trademarked bird inlays and headstock design. The PRS SE A50E ships with a high-quality hardshell case. It offers a simple plug-and-play approach and is a solid all-around thin body.
The PRS SE A50E features a Fishman GT1 pickup system. This preamp provides a no-frills playing experience when plugged in. It can make your thin body guitar sound like a full-size instrument with the right mix. Don’t let the small body of the PRS SE A50 fool you – together with the Fishman GT1, this guitar can be just what the doctor ordered.
Features & Specs
Top: Solid Sitka Spruce
Body and back: Figured Maple
Scale Length: 25.3″
Fretboard: Ebony, 20 frets
Preamp: Fishman GT1
Tuners: PRS designed
Slimline vs Thinline Guitars: What’s The Difference?
None! They are interchangeable names for the same type of guitar. That said, the origin of the name ‘thinline’ can be traced back to Fender, who brought out the original ‘Thinline Telecaster’.
Colloquially, though, ‘thinline’ can be applied to all brands that have a semi-hollow body with a solid wood block running through the center (where the bridge and pickups are mounted).
Parlor vs Thinline Guitars: What’s The Difference?
A thinline guitar can be either acoustic or electric, with a reduced girth on the body. By contrast, a parlor guitar is a type of acoustic guitar — it’s an all-around smaller instrument, usually about 15% smaller than a regular acoustic guitar.
Thin Body Guitars: Pros & Cons
Thin-bodied guitars are preferred by many guitarists for the added comfort. Not everyone enjoys playing jumbo guitars and in fact, find them quite hindering to their ability to perform (especially if you’re smaller in stature!). A thinline is great for performers who like to move around while playing on stage, as they offer more freedom, especially when standing up.
Sounds great, but as with most things in the audio world — it’s a trade-off. While the comfort factor is a perk, thin body guitars sacrifice a bit of sound quality that you would otherwise get with a full-sized guitar. This is primarily because larger guitars have a larger air chamber to produce fuller, richer sound.
Acoustic guitars can bring warmth and intimacy like no other instrument. However, they can also be a little harder on the hands, especially for players that are used to electric guitars. After all, they do use thicker steel-string gauges. Because of their larger bodies, they might also be a bit awkward to play.
On the other hand, thin-body acoustic guitars are a great option to minimize those two issues. They also offer narrower necks, better portability and overall ease of reach.
Every option on the list above is worth your consideration. Each has its own sets of pros and cons that will appeal to you over others. Whether you are looking for optimal sound, maximum playability, killer looks onstage, or just trying to fit your limited budget, there is a thinline guitar here for you. If you get a chance, try playing some of these at your local music store (just don’t play Stairway To Heaven). Happy guitar shopping!