What Is A Piccolo Guitar? A Guide to Its Unique Features

Are you fascinated by unique and unconventional musical instruments? If so, the piccolo guitar is sure to capture your attention.

This smaller version of the acoustic guitar offers a distinctive sound and compact design. With its shorter scale length and six nylon strings, the piccolo guitar produces a warm and expressive tone perfect for various musical genres.

In this guide, we’ll delve into the history, development, and features of the piccolo guitar, providing you with all the information you need to appreciate this instrument.

Key Takeaways

  • The piccolo guitar is a smaller version of the standard acoustic guitar with a compact body and shorter scale length.
  • It features six nylon strings that produce a warm and expressive tone.
  • The standard tuning of the piccolo guitar is a perfect fourth higher than a regular guitar.
  • The instrument originated in the Baroque era and has been embraced by influential musicians and composers throughout history.

The Unique Design of the Piccolo Guitar

One of the unique design features of the piccolo guitar is its compact body, making it easier to handle and transport. This design allows for greater maneuverability and convenience when playing the instrument.

The smaller size also contributes to a unique tonal character, producing a bright and focused sound.

When it comes to techniques for playing the piccolo guitar, musicians often utilize fingerstyle techniques, such as fingerpicking and thumbpicking, to bring out the nuances of the instrument’s sound.

Famous compositions for the piccolo guitar include ‘Recuerdos de la Alhambra’ by Francisco Tárrega and ‘Asturias (Leyenda)’ by Isaac Albéniz. These compositions highlight the expressive capabilities of the piccolo guitar and showcase its versatility in various musical genres.

The Significance of the Piccolo Guitar in Music History

During the Baroque era, the piccolo guitar played a significant role in shaping the musical landscape. Its impact on classical compositions can’t be overstated.

Influential composers like Johann Sebastian Bach and Gaspar Sanz embraced the piccolo guitar, utilizing its unique tonal qualities and compact size to create intricate and expressive compositions. Their works showcased the instrument’s versatility and helped establish it as a staple in classical music.

Additionally, the piccolo guitar’s influence extends to contemporary guitarists. Artists such as Andres Segovia, Narciso Yepes, and Julian Bream popularized the instrument, demonstrating its potential in classical and flamenco styles. Their performances and recordings inspired a new generation of musicians to explore the piccolo guitar, contributing to its continued presence in modern music.

The piccolo guitar’s significance in music history is undeniable, both for its impact on classical compositions and its enduring influence on contemporary guitarists.

Exploring the Versatility of the Piccolo Guitar

Discover the countless possibilities and range of sounds you can create with the versatile piccolo guitar. The piccolo guitar allows for the exploration of different playing techniques, expanding the musician’s repertoire and musical expression.

With its compact body and shorter scale length, it offers unique possibilities for fingerstyle playing, arpeggios, and intricate melodic lines. The influence of the piccolo guitar can be seen in contemporary music genres, where its distinctive tone adds depth and texture to compositions.

From classical to jazz, folk to pop, the piccolo guitar has found its place in various musical contexts. Musicians have embraced its versatility, incorporating it into their compositions and arrangements.

Whether you’re strumming chords, picking intricate melodies, or experimenting with percussive techniques, the piccolo guitar opens up a world of sonic possibilities.

The Evolution of the Piccolo Guitar: From Gut to Steel Strings

As you explore the evolution of the piccolo guitar, you’ll discover how it transitioned from using gut strings to steel strings. The development of tonewoods played a crucial role in this transition.

In the early stages, gut strings were the standard, providing a warm and expressive tone. However, advancements in string technology led to the introduction of nylon strings, which offered improved durability and stability. This shift allowed for greater flexibility in playing styles and expanded the instrument’s tonal palette.

As time went on, steel strings became popular, offering a brighter and more vibrant sound. The use of steel strings revolutionized the piccolo guitar, enabling it to be heard in larger performance settings and giving it a more modern and versatile sound.

The evolution from gut to steel strings has had a significant impact on modern guitar playing, allowing musicians to explore a wider range of genres and techniques.

Choosing the Right Piccolo Guitar: Factors to Consider

When selecting the right piccolo guitar for you, consider factors such as budget, skill level, intended use, size and comfort, and tonewood and construction.

In terms of budget, there are piccolo guitars available at various price points, so determine how much you’re willing to spend.

Your skill level is important as well, as different guitars may be more suitable for beginners or advanced players.

Think about the intended use of the instrument – will you be using it for practice or performances?

The size and comfort of the piccolo guitar should also be taken into account, as it should feel comfortable to play.

Lastly, consider the tonewood and construction of the guitar, as these factors greatly influence the sound and overall quality.

Some top piccolo guitar brands to consider are Ibanez, Bourgeois, Taylor, Martin, and Yamaha.

When looking at construction, pay attention to details such as the materials used, the craftsmanship, and any additional features like cutaways or electronic pickups.

Where to Buy and Learn to Play the Piccolo Guitar

To start learning to play the piccolo guitar, you can find local music stores, online retailers, used instrument marketplaces, guitar expos, and trade shows, as well as guitar communities and forums where you can buy or try out the instrument.

Local music stores often have a variety of piccolo guitars available for purchase, and the staff can provide guidance and advice based on your needs and preferences.

Online retailers offer convenience and a wide selection, allowing you to compare different models and prices.

Used instrument marketplaces can be a great option if you’re looking for a more affordable piccolo guitar.

Guitar expos and trade shows often have vendors showcasing their piccolo guitars, giving you the opportunity to try them out before making a purchase.

Additionally, guitar communities and forums are valuable resources for finding used piccolo guitars and connecting with experienced players who can offer guidance and tips for mastering the instrument.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Cost Range of Piccolo Guitars?

Piccolo guitar prices vary depending on factors such as brand, materials, and features. To find the best deals, check local music stores, online retailers, used instrument marketplaces, and guitar expos.

Can the Piccolo Guitar Be Used for Playing Rock or Jazz Music?

Yes, the piccolo guitar can be used for playing rock or jazz music. Its unique features, such as the warm and expressive tone and the ability to explore new genres, make it versatile for different musical contexts.

Are There Any Famous Contemporary Musicians Who Play the Piccolo Guitar?

Yes, there are famous contemporary musicians who play the piccolo guitar. They include artists like Pat Metheny, Ralph Towner, and Pierre Bensusan. Playing the piccolo guitar offers unique benefits in genres like jazz and contemporary acoustic music.

Can the Piccolo Guitar Be Easily Transported for Travel or Gigs?

Yes, the piccolo guitar can be easily transported for travel or gigs. Its compact body and shorter scale length make it highly portable. Consider using a gig bag or case designed specifically for piccolo guitar transportation and portability.

Are There Any Accessories That Are Commonly Used With the Piccolo Guitar?

Yes, there are common accessories for the piccolo guitar. These include a capo, a tuner, and a gig bag or case for transportation. The piccolo guitar’s versatility allows for advantages in various music genres.


In conclusion, the piccolo guitar is a unique and unconventional musical instrument that offers a distinctive sound and compact design. Its shorter scale length and nylon strings produce a warm and expressive tone that’s perfect for various musical genres.

Throughout history, influential musicians and composers have embraced the piccolo guitar, and it has evolved from gut to steel strings. When choosing a piccolo guitar, it’s essential to consider various factors.

Overall, the piccolo guitar is a fascinating instrument that can expand your musical horizons.

Leave a Comment