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Best Guitars for Small Hands – Both Electric & Acoustic Guitars

There is nothing bad with having smaller hands. Sometimes, they can even make you look like you can handle really big things. All jokes aside, for guitar players with smaller hands it can be difficult to find a guitar that feels just right. It is not only women and children. Many men have the same problem, too.

When it comes to guitars, sound, shape, and style commonly grab the most attention. But there are more basic physical characteristics of a guitar that can really affect your playing style.

Why choose a guitar that will cause you discomfort while playing?

Instead, put yourself first and consider your height, the length and strength of your arms, and the size of your hands. Make the choice accordingly and you won’t regret it.

In this article, I have made a selection of top five guitars (including both acoustic & electric models) for people with small hands. Go ahead and take a look if you think that you could use some guidelines for your next guitar purchase.

In case you're in a hurry, when it comes to choosing an acoustic guitar for small hands, we recommend the Martin LXM Little Martin for most people, and the Ibanez GRGM21BKN is our choice for the best electric guitar for small hands.

Top 5 Guitars for Grownups with Smaller Hands

Acoustic or electric, these small hands-friendly guitars will not deliver less quality or any other important category. They are smaller in size, but they are the true beasts that will, in the right (small) hands, outperform any of their bigger counterparts.

Finally, a capable acoustic guitar that’s easy to play even with small hands. This guitar is such a great instrument for beginners and children (though it is not marketed as a children’s guitar, so no such stigma for all you grownups out there). It is also an excellent travel guitar. 

The Little Martin packs a surprisingly big sound for such a small guitar. This guitar is made of High-Pressure Laminate or HPL, which is essentially plastic that is made to look like wood. The material does not affect the sound, which is rather deep. All in all, HPL is a very good choice for travel and outdoor playing.

For those with small hands, this is a fun, durable, and reliable guitar made by a well-known manufacturer. It can be played left-handed or right-handed, and you will probably find the sound quality to exceed your expectations.

  • Excellent for small hands
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    Reliable for outdoor use, handling, and transportation
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    Consistent
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    Very good tone
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    You can play it right out of the box
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    Fun to play
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    Stays in tune
  • Not at all cheap for a laminate guitar
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    Some might find it too light and too small

The Ibanez GRGM21BKN just might be the best electric option out there for players with small hands. The good-natured people who made this little, power-packed guitar did not waste their time. It looks so mean and yet cute that you could be in a dilemma whether to play it or just keep it as a pet.

This guitar offers so much in such a small body. If you are a highly experienced guitar player or a complete beginner, master or disaster, this guitar will draw the best from you. It is just that fun to play. You’ll find everything commonly found on a full-size guitar packed into this little beast.

This is actually the first small-scale guitar that Ibanez built. It features the famous Ibanez inlays on the 22-inch long neck with 24 frets. The body and neck are made of mahogany and maple, respectively. Quality materials and 24 frets on a short neck contribute to this guitar’s excellent tone, and the price is quite reasonable, too.

At this size and quality-to-price ratio, this electric guitar is certainly among the best for beginners and a very good choice for all players with small hands. Change a thing or two on this guitar to better quality parts and you will be even more amazed.

  • Extremely fun to play
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    Hard-tail Bridge
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    24 frets on a 22-inch neck
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    Small size, perfect for travel
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    Great for beginners
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    Good tone
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    High-quality construction
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    Very reasonably priced considering the materials
  • Some fret buzz – it’s an Ibanez
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    Could need re-tuning a bit more often

The fresh, fuzzy, and fervent Fender. This is a brand name that rings a bell. To expect that Fender would not have an ideal guitar for all kinds of players and all hand sizes would be a great underestimation.

These people know everything there is to know about guitars. So, when they decide to make a real animal of a guitar, for their loyal small-handed followers, then that’s not just any animal. It’s a Jaguar!

Actually, this model has been around for quite a while, but it is still among the best choices for players with small hands. This is because Fender did not beat around the bush. They made a guitar that has a comfortable body size.

At 24 inches of length, the scale is shorter, the frets are closer together, and the neck profile is thinner so it allows a good grip. They also moved the trem plate closer to the bridge. This is a great solution for increasing player comfort as the break-angle is now better adjusted.

Essentially, this is a great Fender guitar that is made smaller to allow easier handling for players with small hands. If you are a fan of the grungy Fender sound but you cannot exactly grab a basketball from the top and pick it up from the floor, then the Jaguar is my sincere recommendation for you.

  • Increased break-angle enables more comfort while playing
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    Fender quality, excellent construction
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    Durable and reliable
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    Ten tonal settings
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    Easier to bend strings and play large chords on a shorter scale
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    Resonant body
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    Unique sound
  • Jaguar’s 1960’s design is not everyone’s favorite
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    All tones still sound grinding and sludgy – it’s a Fender
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    The ringing bridge
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    Might be over-budget for many people

Another travel guitar on this list of guitars for players with small hands, the compact Yamaha APXT2EW is an electro-acoustic guitar. So, if you are just passing through town and someone suddenly asks you to perform on stage, this little fellow is going to have you prepared.

The neck of this guitar is only 15 inches long, very slim, and has 21 frets. It has the perfect measures even for the smallest hands. Both body and neck are made of high-quality wood (Rosewood fingerboard and Meranti back & sides) which gives the guitar a highly satisfying tone quality. The strings are made of steel but could be better. The Yamaha APXT2EW has inbuilt tuners and volume controls.

The compact size makes this instrument great for beginners starting out on acoustic with an eye toward electric, and for those who like to travel frequently. With or without electricity, this miniature guitar has got you covered everywhere.

  • The price is fair
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    Neck and body are made of quality wood
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    Extra small neck size, good even for the most delicate hands
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    ART-based preamp
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    Can be plugged-in to an amplifier
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    System 68 pickup 
  • Although the guitar comes with steel strings, they are of poor quality
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    Tuners might need to be replaced, too
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    Can sound like ukulele

This is a great American guitar. All the magic of Gibson’s tradition is packed into this compact guitar. Still, this is not a super small instrument. It is just the right size.

Tradition is also not everything that this guitar delivers. Let’s not forget that we are in the 21st century, and the innovative technical solutions implemented on this guitar are keeping up with the times quite well.

The Gibson SG Special features some improvements of the electronics and the wiring. The G-Force auto-tuning system is there as well as the Tune-o-Matic bridge. All of this is great, but let’s see what makes this guitar so perfect for big players or grownups with small hands.

First of all, with 22 frets and a length of 24 ¾ inches, the Gibson SG Special is shorter than standard electric guitars. It also features a slim-taper neck and a double cutaway, so the upper frets are easily reachable.

All these characteristics make this guitar perfect for small hands. In the end, the most important thing is that the sound remains the same. That good old recognizable and time-enduring Gibson guitar sound.

I should mention that recently Gibson has been targeted with criticism, by some, about the quality control standards for their products. Still, it is a company of great tradition, and all you small-handed artists, performers, players, and strummers should know that if you want a Gibson guitar, the SG Special is ideal for you.

  • Not a fun-size guitar but a perfectly adjusted instrument for players with small hands
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    Vintage Gibson sound
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    Famous, pinpoint Gibson tuning
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    Precision-made mahogany body with fast-access neck heel
  • Might be too big for those who are looking for a really small guitar
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    The classic Gibson design could look like “Dad’s guitar” to some
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    Small hands, or big hands, the price is for real players only. Beginners should keep looking.

The Most Important Features to Consider in a Guitar for Small Hands

The manufacturers often add some small new features to their guitars and advertise them as the next best thing. Sometimes that is less true than it seems.

The real truth is that the basics do not change too much. That being said, there are some crucially important, everlasting features that all good guitars for big players with small hands should have.

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    Small Body – Choose a guitar with a body size that will enable you to hold the instrument comfortably. This is especially true for those whose overall stature, not just hands, is smaller. Electric guitars do not tend to be problematic in this matter. Acoustic guitars, however, can be rather bulky. Choosing the slightly thinner one could make a big and important difference.
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    Short Fingerboard – Between 22 and 24 inches is the ideal range. A fingerboard like this will enable you to get all the chords right without stretching the fingers or putting in too much unnecessary effort. It’s guitar playing, not Cirque Du Soleil. Make yourself comfortable. The number of frets is still important, though. The more the better. Small hands can really shine on higher frets, even when the space between is minimal.
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    Slender Neck – This is of course connected with the fingerboard length. Shorter necks are more slender, which is great because you need to be able to get a good grip of the neck and reach all the strings properly. This is especially useful for fast-paced playing. Heavy metal fans with small hands can jump for joy now.
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    Strings – If your small hands are equipped with matching fingers, you should consider making your guitar strings thinner too. This will benefit the playability. But, you have to be careful with the sound. Even nylon strings can be considered on acoustic guitars.

In the end, it all comes to the sound. Smaller guitars with leaner necks and smaller string gauges can sound different to their full-size equivalents. It is up to you to decide what suits you the best and find yourself the most comfortable guitar to play with small hands.


The Bottom Line

We can all agree that with a lot of practice and technique adjustments, everyone can play just any guitar. However, those with smaller hands might need to pass significantly larger number of obstacles to achieve the necessary skill level. This is simply not fair. That is why guitars like the ones described in this article exist.

When you are choosing a perfect guitar for yourself, go for well-tested quality and don’t compromise on the sound. Don’t try to make it too easy for yourself by picking some micro instruments. Creating your own music is going to need both, great tools and perfect skill.

All the guitars in this article qualify for the flattering title of the best guitar for big players with small hands. However, if I had to choose only two, I would recommend the Ibanez GRGM21BKN as the top choice among electric guitars for those with small hands. On the other hand, the Martin LXM Little Martin is the best acoustic option for people with small hands.

Gavin Whitner
    Gavin Whitner
     

    A guitar player, songwriter, composer, and also the lead editor of MusicOomph, Gavin is one of the four musician friends behind this site. Outside of music, he's an avid sports fan and hardly misses anything from football (soccer) to F1.

    Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments
    Marion Reid - July 17, 2018

    Did you guys consider any Daisy Rock guitars in writing this piece? The whole company is founded on the idea of quality guitars for people with small hands (girls/women specifically, but many men play Daisy Rock guitars as well).

    Reply
      Gavin Whitner
      Gavin Whitner - July 18, 2018

      I hadn’t, actually. Thanks for your suggestion, though. I’ll keep it in mind for the next revision of the article.

      Reply

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