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 eight 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.
8 Best 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.
Regarded by many as one of the best beginner electric guitars for juniors, the Squier Mini Strat is also a very good solution for adults with small hands. This 6-string has a 22.75” scale length and the body is 3/4 the size of a standard guitar.
The build is light and sleek, which makes the guitar easy to hold, with or without a strap. The neck is high-end, like most Fender and Squire guitars that came before this model.
What’s also commendable is that for the money, you get a very decent acoustic tone. The Mini Strat features three single-coil passive pick-ups and 5-way switching. Note that this is not made for playing metal on stage or anything else with too much distortion.
But in acoustic settings, the Mini Strat performs outside its price range. What’s also nice is that it doesn’t come with a Floyd Rose. This should make tuning a lot easier and learning to play a lot less complicated for both kids and adults.
This mahogany top acoustic 6-string is a breeze to play. If you have small hands of course. The 1-11/16” neck width accommodates small fingers as well as beginners with limited dexterity. Finding the notes, pressing on the strings, and string skipping becomes a lot easier when using the Taylor BT2.
Don’t be distracted by the size. When it comes to sound clarity and loudness, the BT2, like any Taylor guitars, won’t disappoint. Although most people may find value in it for practicing and working on songs at home, the BT2 acoustic guitar is a great travel guitar.
It can even be used in small venues and whenever you need a warm sound. The main reason for the extra kick and output is the bowed or rounded back design. It creates extra room inside the resonator box which allows for better sound projection and sustain.
The build quality is very good. It’s made apparent by the choice of material but also through the price point and feel of the BT2.
3. Ibanez Mikro
The Ibanez GRGM21BKN is a superb 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.
The Little Martin is a really capable acoustic guitar that’s easy to play 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.
The OG1 comes in two models: it can either feature a rosewood fretboard or an engineered wood fretboard. Its size is roughly 3/4th the size of a regular acoustic guitar, which makes it an ideal starter instrument for kids, students, and of course, adults with smaller hands.
Oscar Schmidt uses a combination of spruce (top) and catalpa wood (sides). This gives the OG1 decent durability but also good resonance and impressive sustain for the money.
The die-cast chrome tuners are quite reliable even for thicker steel strings. However, you might not want to overdo it. There’s limited bridge height adjustability, which means that thick strings might compromise clarity and succumb to unwanted vibrations. Especially on the low E and A strings.
There’s also the aspect of the lifetime warranty. That’s not something you get every day, and definitely not at this price range.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 in joy now.
- 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 Squier Mini Strat as the top choice among electric guitars for those with small hands. On the other hand, the Baby Taylor is the best acoustic guitar for small hands.