5 Best Acoustic Guitars For Small Hands – The Only Guide You Need

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Best Overall – Seagull S6 Original Slim

Reviewer: Teemu Suomala

Sound
Playability
Overall Quality
Value for Money
Build

Summary

Pros 
-Delivers really high value for the money
-Great volume (doesn’t lose clarity easily)
-Responsive and well-balanced tone because of high-quality tonewoods and good build
-Slim neck feels really effortless to play with a good setup(feels solid even with a mediocre setup)
-Really great craftsmanship make this guitar feel and sound like a more expensive one
-Tusq nut and saddle for better sustain and tone

Cons
-Nut width can be too much for some players(usually not the case)
-The body is not the smallest
-The battery of the tuner has to be changed through the soundhole
-Real bone nut and saddle wouldn’t add much to the price (wink Seagull/Godin)

Who Is This For?
If your budget has room for a mid-priced acoustic that has comfortable playability, a slim neck, and superior sound to all of its competitors(in its price range) this guitar is a great option.

There are 2 versions available, Q1T (has Goding Q1T electronics) and the regular version(without electronics).

4.8

How Seagull S6 Original Slim sounds:

YouTube video

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The Next Best:

Runner-Up – Taylor Academy 12

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Our Overall Rating

Summary

Pros 

  • Smaller body size fits small players
  • Slim and narrow neck (1.687” nut)
  • Crisp and bright tones (that stick out)
  • Comfort features, such as the armrest, reduce fatigue when playing(these little things do matter)
  • Durable and high-quality construction
  • A slightly shorter scale of 24.8” reduces string tension

Cons

  • No onboard tuner
  • Volume and projection can’t compete with dreadnoughts (Seagull S6)
  • Real bone nut and saddle wouldn’t add much to the price (wink Taylor)

Who Is This For?

If you are looking for a non-dreadnought acoustic with a slim & narrow neck, solid top, clear sound, and great construction, Academy 12 is a great option.

Really Slim & Narrow Neck – Ibanez PF15ECE

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Our Overall Rating

Summary

Pros 

  • The narrow and slim neck
  • Action is usually low out of the box
  • Sounds solid, especially for the price
  • Build-in tuner
  • Works great for electric players starting out with acoustic
  • Cutaway, solid access to upper frets

Cons

  • You get what you pay for when it comes to sound (no solid top)
  • No truss rod
  • Loses to more expensive guitars in playing comfort and feel

Who Is This For?

If you are after an acoustic that costs around $200, has really slim and narrow neck, gives solid access to upper frets with cutaway, and offers good tones, Ibanez PF15 is a great option.

Best Budget – Yamaha APX-600

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Our Overall Rating

Summary

Pros 

  • Narrower string spacing of 50mm makes playing chords easier with small hands
  • Sounds good without and with the amp
  • Onboard tuner
  • Great build quality
  • Thin and narrow neck is really small hand friendly

Cons

  • Narrower string spacing can make fingerstyle harder, especially with large hands
  • The sound is slightly boxed
  • No truss rod
  • Out of the box strings are not the best

Who Is This For?

If you are after an affordable small-bodied acoustic that has a slim & narrow neck, sounds good, and has narrow string spacing, Yamaha APX-600 is a great option.

Best Budget Solid Top/Great for Kids– Martin LX1 Little Martin

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Our Overall Rating

Summary

Pros 

  • Narrower string spacing makes playing chords easier with small hands
  • Small body is comfy on your lap
  • Slim & narrow necks are spot-on for small hands
  • Quality woods make for great tone and durability
  • TUSQ saddle

Cons

  • Narrower string spacing can make fingerstyle harder, especially with large hands
  • Gets a little muddy if played forcefully
  • Small body is not a good fit for everyone

Who Is This For?

If you are after a great quality guitar with small body size and solid top that checks all the boxes when it comes to small hand friendly playability, Martin LX1 Little Martin is a great option.

There’s also an acoustic-electric version available.

Compare Key Specs of The Top 5:

graphic compares 5 Best Acoustic Guitars For Small Hands

Playing guitar with small hands can be a pain. Trust me, I have been there. I’m a kind of medium-sized guy, but my hands are tiny. And especially when starting out, big dreadnoughts with meaty necks felt impossible to play. I barely managed to fret a chord with them.

small hands of a guitar player
My small hands.

I’m going to lay out a truth here. Getting a guitar that is small hands friendly doesn’t just magically make your playing feel smooth. It can help and make playing smoother, but before buying a new acoustic, try a couple of things mentioned in this article I wrote: “How to Play Guitar With Small Hands – Ultimate Guide”. If you still feel that most acoustic guitars feel just way too bulky, then yes, maybe it’s time to try out a different guitar.

And in this post, I will reveal the 5 best acoustic guitars for small hands, plus some runner-ups. These have been selected based on my own playing experience, extensive research, and based on what Guitaristnextdoor.com staff has been saying about small hand-friendly guitars. 

Let’s get started!

photo reveals owner of guitaristnextdoor.com

Author: Teemu Suomala

I first grabbed the guitar in 2009. I started this website in January 2020 because I couldn’t do window installation anymore due to my health problems. I also noticed that most guitar websites don’t do a really good job, so I decided to just go for it! I got lucky and managed to get awesome people to help me with my website. I also got lucky because I have you visiting my website right now. Thank you. I do all this for you guys. If you have any recommendations, tips, or feedback, just leave a comment, I would love to chat with you. I have been fortunate to produce content for several large guitar websites, such as Songsterr, Musicnotes, GuitarGuitar, and Ultimate Guitar. I spend my spare time exercising and hanging out with my wife and crazy dog(I guess that went the right way…).


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5 Best Acoustic Guitars for Small Hands

Keep These 3 Key Things In Mind When Choosing:

Aim for a nut width of 1.72″ (43.7mm) or lower.

Jumbo and Dreadnought body types are usually the largest in size. I included a couple of Dreadnoughts in this article, but others are from one of the less bulky body types. Get clear on what kind of acoustic body style you can handle.

Decide whether you need the improved sound quality and better resonance of a solid top that comes with a higher price. Or are you happy with a laminated top which usually sounds good but still loses to solid top acoustic guitars?

A bad setup can ruin any acoustic guitar. No matter how small hand friendly the guitar is, if the setup is off, playing can feel really hard. Learn to do the setup by yourself or save some money and bring your guitar to the professionals. Some guitar stores (such as Sweetwater) are more likely than others to ship your guitars that have been set up correctly before shipping to customers(not making any claims here).


Best Overall – Seagull Guitars S6 Cedar Original Slim

The wide neck version of Seagull Original S6 has been featured in several articles of ours, and the reason is that it’s basically a favorite mid-priced acoustic guitar of our whole team!

But the truth is, this Slim neck version of it doesn’t get enough attention. You really get all the great tonal features of the S6 wide neck version, but with a slim neck. And that is great news for small-handed players.

Why this is the best overall?

Of all the acoustic guitars under $1000, Seagulls have provided the best value for the money (with Yamaha) based on our tests and playing experience. You get 

  • close to premium playing feel
  • great volume
  • well balanced tones
  • Really good quality

And with this Seagull, you get a pressure-tested Solid Cedar top. This is paired with wild cherry back and sides and you get a responsive and well-balanced tone that doesn’t lose much clarity with high volumes either(which is typical to cedar usually).

The last time I played the S6 Original Slim was in a music store nearby. And the way it played in that large music store…I just couldn’t stop playing. My wife had to drag me out of there (without the guitar).

And when it comes to small hands, the nut width is 1.72 (43.7mm), for some players, this can be too much. But most of the time no. Why? Because of the overall slim neck (as the name suggests) paired with a smooth neck and fretboard that feels effortless to play with a good setup(you don’t have to use that much strength to fret a note).

This easy playability combined with high quality, and superior tone in its price range make this a top choice for small hands. Seagull S6 Original Slim is an acoustic that I and my small hands would love to own soon. The best acoustic guitar with a slim neck.

Another sound sample:

YouTube video

Summary 

Pros 

  • Delivers really high value for the money
  • Great volume (doesn’t lose clarity easily)
  • Responsive and well-balanced tone because of high-quality tonewoods and good build
  • Slim neck feels really effortless to play with a good setup(feels solid even with a mediocre setup)
  • Really great craftsmanship make this guitar feel and sound like a more expensive one
  • Tusq nut and saddle for better sustain and tone

Cons

  • Nut width can be too much for some players(usually not the case)
  • The body is not the smallest
  • The battery of the tuner has to be changed through the soundhole
  • Real bone nut and saddle wouldn’t add much to the price (wink Seagull/Godin)

Who Is This For?

If your budget has room for a mid-priced acoustic that has comfortable playability, a slim neck, and superior sound to all of its competitors(in its price range) this guitar is a great option.

There are 2 versions available, Q1T (has Goding Q1T electronics) and the regular version(without electronics).

Check Price on:


Runner-Up – Taylor Academy 12

If the Seagull’s a bit wider neck is too much, Taylor Academy 12 is my next go-to choice.

What Academy 12 offers:

  • Solid Sitka Spruce to
  • Layered Sapele back and sides
  • 1.687” (42.8mm) nut width
  • Smaller body size

With Academy 12, you get great features of its big brother Academy 10 with a smaller size and price. The tone is not as full and loud as with Academy 12, but otherwise, it’s an equally good option with more small-hand friendly playability.

Solid Sitka top paired with Layered Sapele back and sides provide crisp, clear, and bright tones.

Academy 12 doesn’t project sound as loud as dreadnoughts, but the tone has mid’s and high’s in it. Great for lead playing and rhythm that doesn’t get lost in the mix of instruments because of dull sound.

The 1.687 nut width fits electric guitar standards and feels comfortable, here’s a quote for Guitaristnextdoor.com’s guitar expert DL Shepherd who recently reviewed Academy 12 that he has played several times:

The neck and nut dimensions allow for smooth flowing scales and pain-free barre chords.  The action is low enough to accommodate those with smaller hands, and the body size is great for smaller players because it is so comfortable in the lap.  The struggle of playing a monstrous dreadnought can intimidate many smaller players to the point where they are no longer inspired to play. Therefore, the Academy 12 is the perfect size for many.

DL Shepherd – Guitar expert at Guitaristnextdoor.com

Bright and crisp tone, great quality tonewoods(solid top), and small body plus slim neck. Academy 12 in a nutshell.

Check how this sounds:

YouTube video

Summary 

Pros 

  • Smaller body size fits small players
  • Slim and narrow neck (1.687” nut)
  • Crisp and bright tones (that stick out)
  • Comfort features, such as the armrest, reduce fatigue when playing(these little things do matter)
  • Durable and high-quality construction
  • A slightly shorter scale of 24.8” reduces string tension

Cons

  • No onboard tuner
  • Volume and projection can’t compete with dreadnoughts (Seagull S6)
  • Real bone nut and saddle wouldn’t add much to the price (wink Taylor)

Who Is This For?

If you are looking for a non-dreadnought acoustic with a slim & narrow neck, solid top, clear sound, and great construction, Academy 12 is a great option.

Check Price on:


Really Slim & Narrow Neck – Ibanez PF15ECE

If really slim neck is something you are after…Enter: Ibanez PF15

With 1.65” (42mm) nut width and slimmer neck(.82″ (20.8mm) 1st – .88″ (22.3mm) 7th) than acoustics in general, the neck of Ibanez PF15 suits small hands really, really well. It actually has similar specs to an electric guitar’s neck than acoustics.

The comfort and smoothness of playability are not on the same level with Seagull S6 and Taylor Academy 12, but the neck offers one of the slimmest feels that can be found in the world of acoustic guitars.

With the right setup, I see no reason why people with small hands couldn’t tame this guitar. 

Of course, with such an affordable price, there are some other downsides. As I mentioned, the overall comfort of PF15 is not on the same level as high-priced instruments. Also, the laminated spruce top and okoume back and sides can’t compete with solid top instruments. The tone is a bit duller overall and tinny when playing high notes. But this guitar definitely doesn’t sound bad. Normal acoustic playing and practice is really smooth ride with this guitar.

Another little bummer is that the PF15 doesn’t have a truss rod, so neck adjustments are not possible with this acoustic.

Really slim neck and small hand-friendly playability, little compromises in build and sound to keep the cost low, but an overall good-sounding instrument for the price. That’s how I’d describe Ibanez PF15 with one sentence.

Check how this sounds:

YouTube video

Summary 

Pros 

  • The narrow and slim neck
  • Action is usually low out of the box
  • Sounds solid, especially for the price
  • Build-in tuner
  • Works great for electric players starting out with acoustic
  • Cutaway, solid access to upper frets

Cons

  • You get what you pay for when it comes to sound (no solid top)
  • No truss rod
  • Loses to more expensive guitars in playing comfort and feel

Who Is This For?

If you are after an acoustic that costs around $200, has really slim and narrow neck, gives solid access to upper frets with cutaway, and offers good tones, Ibanez PF15 is a great option.

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Best Budget – Yamaha APX-600

If you want more consistent build quality and a smaller body than with Ibanez PF15, Yamaha APX-600 is one of the best options.

It’s an upgraded version of APX-500. APX-600 offers less boxed sound and narrower string spacing (50mm) than APX-500.

Laminated sitka spruce top with nato back and sides (there’s some mixed info about the back and sides woods available) offer us clear and well-balanced tones in general. But APX-600  can sound a bit tinny and boxed once in a while. I usually notice this when played plugged in. Gladly the preamp has a 3-band EQ, adjusting the EQ can help you to achieve less boxed and tinny sound.

The main thing about this guitar is its playability. It’s one of the smoothest playing acoustics under $500.

The narrow neck (1.687” nut) paired with a slim feel and narrow string spacing make hitting the frets smooth and the feel of the neck is something that you wouldn’t expect from this price range. 

The action has been great every time I have laid my hands on APX-600, but some people have complained about high action, so this can happen. This guitar doesn’t have a truss rod, so neck adjustments are not possible.

The missing solid top and slightly boxed tone are cons for sure, but the comfortable body and spot-on neck for small hands secure place for APX-600 from my top acoustic guitars for small hands list.

Check how this sounds:

YouTube video

Summary 

Pros 

  • Narrower string spacing of 50mm makes playing chords easier with small hands
  • Sounds good without and with the amp
  • Onboard tuner
  • Great build quality
  • Thin and narrow neck is really small hand friendly

Cons

  • Narrower string spacing can make fingerstyle harder, especially with large hands
  • The sound is slightly boxed
  • No truss rod
  • Out of the box strings are not the best

Who Is This For?

If you are after an affordable small-bodied acoustic that has a slim & narrow neck, sounds good, and has narrow string spacing, Yamaha APX-600 is a great option.

Check Price on:


Best Budget Solid Top / Great for Kids Too – Martin LX1 Little Martin

The LX1 is the smallest Martin guitar with a traditional body style. It’s also one of their most affordable models. But this doesn’t mean that it isn’t a great guitar…

Let’s first look at what it can offer us tonally.

  • It features a solid Sitka spruce top
  • and a mahogany-finished HPL body
  • TUSQ saddle(rare in this price range).

A combination of solid sitka spruce top and mahogany body & sides (HP laminated) provide a surprisingly full and balanced tone. Guitaristnextdoor.com’s own DL Shepherd has played Martin LX1 several times and here’s what he has to say about the sound of LX1: 

The bass lines are punchy and clear, while the high-end notes are crisp and bright. But it doesn’t have a lot of cut to it, so I would not expect it to perform like a full-sized dreadnought in a big mix.

DL Shepherd – Guitar expert at Guitaristnextdoor.com

So the small body downgrades the projection and volume a bit, but otherwise it provides excellent tones for the size and price.

The LX1 is really easy to handle for people with small hands and for even kids. 1.687” nut width paired with narrow string spacing and a tad thinner neck (.83″ (21.1mm) 1st – .92″ (23.3mm)9th) than in acoustics general, are just the type features people with small hands need from their acoustic guitar.

This combination makes playing both, chords and leads easy and secure a place for this Martin from this article.

Surprisingly loud guitar with crips and clear tones combined with small hand-friendly playability, that’s what Martin LX1 is.

Check how this sounds:

YouTube video

Summary 

Pros 

  • Narrower string spacing makes playing chords easier with small hands
  • Small body is comfy on your lap
  • Slim & narrow necks are spot-on for small hands
  • Quality woods make for great tone and durability
  • TUSQ saddle

Cons

  • Narrower string spacing can make fingerstyle harder, especially with large hands
  • Gets a little muddy if played forcefully
  • Small body is not a good fit for everyone

There’s also an acoustic-electric version available.

Who Is This For?

If you are after a great quality guitar with small body size and solid top that checks all the boxes when it comes to small hand friendly playability, Martin LX1 Little Martin is a great option.

Check Price on:


Runner-Ups That Just Missed The Top X

Runner-Ups That Just Missed The Top 5


Buyer’s Guide – FAQ

What You Should Know Before Buying?

As I mentioned at the start of this article, before you go and buy a new acoustic guitar, try a couple of things mentioned in this article I wrote: “How to Play Guitar With Small Hands – Ultimate Guide”. This might help you to progress without the need of buying a new guitar.

But if after that you still feel that your guitar is just a nightmare to play with your small hands and all the other guitars you have tested feel way better, then buying a guitar that fits small hands better might be a great option.

Before you buy this small hand friendly guitar, get clear on these things:

  • Your budget
  • What features do you really need? (Laminated or solid top? Tusq, plastic, or bone nut/saddle? etc.)
  • Decide what body size and style fits you the best
  • Get clear on what you want to play (just all-around acoustic playing or mostly fingerstyle, or mostly using a pick?)

When you have done these, I think you have a pretty good understating of what you are after.

What Makes A Great Acoustic Guitar for Small Hands?

I would give you these guidelines:

  • Thin neck. If neck measurements are available, look for below .840” neck when measured from the 1st fret.
  • 1.72” or narrower nut width
  • If you can’t handle a dreadnought, get a concerto, grand concerto, auditorium, grand auditorium, or a parlor guitar(whatever works for you)
  • Remember that a solid top provides a better tone in general, but it’s not a must if your budget is tight
  • Narrow string spacing can help to play more effortlessly

These are not rules, just guidelines that give you some direction. All the guitars featured in this article are great examples of acoustic guitars that work for small hands. But that doesn’t mean each of them is a good option for every player. That’s why this topic is our next:

How to Choose The Right Acoustic Guitar for You?

I will divide this topic into a couple of sub-section, let’s get started with the…

Body-Style/Shape

Here’s a table that highlights the general sizes of different body types/shapes of acoustic guitars:

TypeBody LengthBody Width (from the widest spot)
Concert18.375″ (46.6mm)13.5″ (34.3mm)
Grand Concert18.875″ (47.9mm)14.313″ (36.3mm)
Auditorium19.375″ (49.2mm)15″ (38mm)
Grand Auditorium20.12″ (51mm)16″ (40.6mm)
Jumbo20.12″ (51mm)16″ (40.6mm)
Dreadnought20″ (50.8mm)15.625″ (39.6mm)

Grand concerto and concerto are ideal when it comes to size if you are a smaller person. If you want to have really full sound, I would go with a dreadnought.

I suggest you go with the style that you have played before and which is proven to fit you well.

Laminated Top or Solid Top

A laminated top means that the top is made out of pieces of wood glued together. A laminated top is cheaper and can survive extreme humidity and temperature changes better without cracking. But the vibration of the strings doesn’t transfer to the top so freely since there’s glue involved. It’s also claimed that the guitar with a laminated top loses some of its brightness when it ages and can start to sound dull.

A solid top is made out of solid piece of wood. The tone of the solid top maintains its qualities when the guitar ages, sometimes the tone can even improve. The vibration of the strings resonates more freely on the top since it’s, well, solid.

If I got the money for the solid top guitar, I would go for it. But I wouldn’t worry too much about having a solid top, since a laminated top can provide good sound and the most important thing is to get you playing with a comfortable guitar ASAP, not to nitpick. 

I’ve had a cheap Yamaha C40 with a laminated top since 2011, and I’m still satisfied with its tone. I also understand that if it had a solid top it would most likely sound a tad better.

Nut Width

photo reveals what guitars nut width means

Pretty simple, the smaller the nut width, the narrower the neck will be. I would look for an acoustic that has a nut width of 1.72” or less. I have found these kinds of widths to bere really good for small hands during my playing years.

You might want to pay attention to how thick the neck of the acoustic guitar is, these specifications are a bit tricky to find, but gladly I have done the work for you. Just check this article I made about acoustic guitars with a thin neck.

What Do You Want to Play?

The acoustics featured in this post are all really versatile instruments. So no matter which one of these you decide to get, they will serve you well. But of course, guitars with smaller body are not able to provide volume that really cuts through the mix of instruments. If you need that kind of aspect in your playing, I would go with Seagull S6 Slim.

If you are looking for a guitar that would mostly be used for fingerstyle, Seagull, Taylor, and Ibanez guitars found in this article are really good choices. They have string spacing that leaves a lot of room for fingerpicking and are able to provide tonal qualities needed with fingerstyle.

Martin LX1 is a weird one for me, since while it’s small and string spacing is narrow, it somehow sits on lap just the right way, providing a really good angle for my picking hand when fingerpicking. So if you are after a comfy and easy-to-handle fingerstyle guitar, LX1 might be a great choice.

Yamaha APX-600 is mostly made for using the pick, and its narrow string spacing and electric style playability make it a not-so-good fit for fingerstyle. But it’s not a no-no either. All the other guitars featured here are great for using a pick too.

Which Acoustic Guitar Is Best for Short Fingers?

This combination: low action plus thin and narrow neck. So overall slim playability with great access to the fretboard ensures the best possible playing experience for short fingers. 

My fingers can look long when compared to my palm, but actually they are really short. To me, guitars that have this magic-combo are really easy and smooth to play.

Is 3/4 Guitar Good for Small Hands?

¾ sized guitar can work great for small hands. For example, the Martin LX1 featured in this article fits ¾ standards and it’s really small hands friendly.  If you like an overall smaller-sized guitar to make playing easier for your small hands, ¾ guitar is a really great option. If it feels too small, there are  ⅞ sized guitars available too.

Can A Small Person Play A Dreadnought Guitar?

Yes. It might be a bit harder, especially at first, but many smaller people, even kids manage to play a dreadnought well. Also, there are smaller-sized acoustic guitars with dreadnought shape available too, so that’s another option if you feel like regular-sized dred’s are too much.

For example, this lady doesn’t have large hands, but handles a dreadnought like a breeze: 

YouTube video

Can You Be A Good Guitarist With Small Hands?

Of course. I mean, you have probably seen videos of kids playing amazing stuff with their guitars. So this proves that you can be a good guitarist, even with small hands.

YouTube video


Conclusion

There you have it! A complete best acoustic guitars for small hands buyer’s guide! If I had to go to the store today and buy one, it would be the Seagull S6 Original Slim. It offers the fullest tone, slim neck, and great construction at the lowest price. A great guitar. That being said, all the guitars featured in this post are good options for small-handed players.

If you have any questions, just leave a comment down below. I wish you all the best and keep rocking!

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