5 Best Classical Guitar for Small Hands in 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

Photo is showing reader classical guitar for small hands, which is the topic of this post

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Best Overall

Cordoba C9 Crossover

My Rating:

5/5

Runner-Up

Kremona Verea

My Rating:

4.6/5

Best Budget

Cordoba Dolce 7/8

My Rating:

4.5/5

Classical guitars sound fantastic, but oh their necks….they can be uncomfortably wide for even the average-sized player.

If you’ve got small hands — as a woman, a child, or just a small-framed man — you want to find a guitar that fits you comfortably so you can play pain-free for hours.

I rounded up some excellent choices to help you find the best classical guitar for small hands, sure to fit any fingers on the shorter side.

In this post I’m going to review/recommend the following guitars:

Cordoba C9 Crossover Classical Acoustic Nylon String Guitar, Luthier…
  • Offers a new spin on a Cordoba classic, the original C9
  • Crafted with solid Canadian cedar top and solid…
  • Hand inlaid Mother-of-Pearl “Esteso” Rosette
  • The main standout feature is the guitar`s steel-string…
  • Includes Cordoba polyfoam case

Kremona Verea Performer Series Acoustic/Electric Nylon String Guitar
  • Solid red western cedar top
  • Dual-source Fishman Presys Blend system
  • Custom narrow 48mm neck width
  • Handcrafted in Europe
  • Deluxe dual-pocketed firmly-padded gig bag with neck…

Alhambra 6 String Classical Guitar, Right, Solid Red Cedar,…
  • Solid Red Cedar top with Maple Binding, open Pore…
  • Mahogany back & sides
  • Rosewood Fingerboard, Mahogany neck, 610mm radius
  • Nickel plated machine heads & D ‘Addario strings
  • Gig Bag included

Cordoba Dolce 7/8 Size Classical Acoustic Nylon String Guitar, Iberia…
  • Solid Canadian cedar top
  • Mahogany back and sides
  • Lightweight, 7/8 size classical
  • 50mm nut width
  • Savarez Cristal Corum strings in High Tension, 500CJ

Taylor Academy Series Academy 12-N Nylon String Grand Concert Acoustic…
  • Body Body type: Grand Concert/OO Cutaway: No Top wood:…
  • “Over the past four-plus decades thereaTMs a resounding…
  • As a company thataTMs passionate about exposing more…
  • The Academy Series, which includes this Academy 12-N…
  • Taylor believes that in many respects a player who is…

Every one of these guitars is here based on extensive research and 27+ years of experience on our team.

Let’s first look at these fine guitars, and at the end of the post, you can find the FAQ section that helps you to make the best choice possible.

Jump to the section you want with the table of content:

Best Classical Guitars for Small Hands- My Recommendations

Best Overall – Cordoba C9 Crossover

This guitar is for those who have a slightly bigger budget and want a really comfortable classical guitar playing experience.

Sound

C9 Crossover comes with a solid cedar top with a mahogany back and sides. Typical classical guitar tonewoods.

This guitar offers great steady sounds from high- to low end. Rich and clean. 

I would be 100% happy with the sound if it would be just a little bit warmer, but this is no game-breaker.

But for this price, it’s hard to find a better sounding instrument than C9.

Hear how the Cordoba C9 Crossover sounds:

Playability

Usually, Cordoba makes guitars which are a pleasure to play. And C9 Crossover is no exception.

Out of the box action is pretty good, but some adjustments might be needed. The truss rod is nice to have, you can adjust the neck to your preference easily. 

What makes the C9 so great, is the crossover neck. It’s closer to the neck of a steel-string acoustic. Nut width is only 48mm(1’78). So the neck is narrower and also thinner than in most classical guitars. 

C9 has a radiused fretboard, so the fretboard has a slight curve. This makes C9 really comfortable especially for the people who are used to playing electric guitars. 

All these features make this great for people with small hands who want a regular-sized body on their classical guitar.

Construction and quality: 

Usually, when we are talking about acoustic guitars from this price range the quality is really good. And it should be. Always. And Cordoba C9 Crossover is a high-quality guitar. Every inch of it.

It’s hard to find any mentionable flaws from the quality. 

The guitar looks like a classical guitar. What else could I say? Or what else could you expect? I like the looks of it. Especially the shapes around the soundhole look really nice.

Pros:

  • Narrower and thinner neck than in regular-sized classical guitars usually.
  • Comfortable and easy to play
  • Sounds really good 
  • Amazing value for the money
  • Setup is usually spot on
  • Truss rod makes adjustments easy

Cons:

  • Sometimes small adjustments to action are needed(depends from you playstyle)
  • The sound could be just a little bit warmer in my opinion

Summary

Cordoba C9 Crossover is one of the best classical guitars I know of. If you can afford it, it’s a great choice. It will offer you comfortable playability and great tones for years to come.

>>Check Price and Read Reviews on Amazon<<

 

Electric-Acoustic Runner Up – Kremona Verea Performer Series Acoustic/Electric Guitar

Kremona might not be one of the first names to come to mind when you think of guitar manufacturers, but that doesn’t stop them from consistently putting out top-notch acoustics like the Verea Cutaway.

Sound

Kremona’s blend of cedar and rosewood in the body give you a tone that is warm and thick, with a boosted low end that many classical guitars lack.

This low-end bump is thanks in part to their use of the Spanish fan bracing system, which in turn gives you a nice kick in volume.

Plugged in, everything is amplified beautifully by the Sonicore under-saddle piezo pickup and transferred without a flaw through the Fishman Presys Blend active preamp. This is a sophisticated pickup system complete with a built-in condenser microphone.

With 3-band EQ and a mic/pickup blend control, you can alter your amped tone to meet all your sonic needs.

Hear how Verea sounds:

Playability

The Kremona Verea classical guitar is one of the smoothest playing classical I’ve put my hands on. Its 48mm nut width gives a great amount of grip while keeping the neck narrow enough to accommodate all short-fingered players.

An added bonus of a smoothly swooping Venetian cutaway gives you easy access to the upper reaches of the fingerboard, so your playing can span the entire neck with no problem.

String action might need some adjustments, and gladly Verea has a truss rod, so adjusting is pretty easy. 

Construction and Quality

Each of Kremona’s guitars is handcrafted, so there is no detail overlooked and every piece is dialed into perfection.

This modern take on the classical guitar features a solid red cedar top paired with Indian rosewood back and sides. The body is a classical cutaway design that sits super comfortably in the lap.

In the hardware department, the Verea is outfitted with dependable tuning machines and a modern-age Fishman/Sonicore preamp/pickup system.

The quality is really high.

Summary

Pros

  • Handcrafted quality, assuring every detail is fine-tuned to perfection
  • Acoustic-electric design enables plugged-in playing
  • Venetian cutaway lets you play the upper frets with ease
  • Solid cedar top produces better sounds with age
  • Rosewood back and sides add clarity to the overall warm tone
  • Reduced nut width of only 48mm reduces finger strain
  • Truss rod lets you easily adjust the action and intonation

Cons

  • Nontraditional design not ideal for those seeking historical authenticity
  • Cutaway body shape cuts some tones off slightly

If you want an electric acoustic classical guitar and the non-traditional look is not a problem, this is a solid choice. Narrow and thin neck make this easy to play, even with small hands. Note that some adjustments to the action might be needed, but the truss rod will help you a lot with this.

>>Check Price and Read Reviews on Amazon<<

 

Best for Small Person – Alhambra 1OP-Cadete-US 3/4

With their headquarters in Spain, over 55 years of experience, and a team of 110 specialized luthiers, Alhambra is known for making some of the best classical guitars on the market today. Enter, the Alhambra 1OP.

Sound

Cedar and mahogany is a tonewood combo that speaks the essence of classical guitars. It’s warm, earthy, and sings with a gentle mumble in which each note seems to flow into the next.

You won’t get a lot of articulation from the 1OP — no crispness or sharp attack — but that’s not the point of this design. It’s made to be gentle, soothing, and sweet, with a sound akin to golden honey on a warm autumn afternoon.

Due to its ¾ size construction, it leaves a bit to be desired if you’re wanting to play loud, but I think it’s the perfect living room guitar, well-suited for whiling away the hours learning the classical standards.

Playability

If the volume isn’t your focus and you’re aiming for perfect playability, the Alhambra 1OP is hard to beat. With a build that is significantly smaller than the already small design of classical guitars, it’s great for child students, teens, and small adults.

Its nut width is a slim 48mm, and the fretboard is just slightly radiused, allowing your hand to curve comfortably around the U-shaped neck profile.

With a gig bag included, this ¾ sized instrument also makes for a wonderful travel guitar.

Construction and Quality

This guitar follows the Spanish tradition in almost all ways. Alhambra combines a solid cedar top with mahogany back and sides and Spanish fan bracing to bring you a classical guitar that sings with historical accuracy.

All Alhambra instruments are handmade by a team of luthiers who each specialize in a particular aspect of guitar construction. They’ve been creating beautiful classical guitars for 55 years, and this 1OP student model is a great representation of that quality assurance.

Summary

Pros

  • Traditional Spanish handmade craftsmanship, expertly built by specialized luthiers
  • ¾ size construction is great for not only small hands but small bodies too
  • Open-pore finish allows for true resonance and purer vibrations
  • 48mm nut width perfectly reduces the nut width for small hands
  • Comfortable U-shaped neck
  • Solid Cedar top paired with Mahogany back and sides for extra warm, creamy tone
  • Naturally oily rosewood fingerboard for smooth scales and seamless riffs

Cons

  • Reduced body size reduces the volume
  • Not very accentuated tone; sounds blend together
  • Travel size not ideal for players who want a fully traditional classical

If slightly cut tones and smaller size are not a problem for you, this is a great choice if you own small hands or are a smaller person.

>>Check Price and Read Reviews on Amazon<<

 

Best Budget Option – Cordoba Dolce 7/8 Classical Guitar

Cordoba is one of the big players on Classical guitar market. And for a good reason. Cordoba Dolce is  ⅞ sized guitar, so it’s slightly smaller than regular guitars.  And that makes it a good option for small hands.

Sound

Even though this is a smaller guitar(just slightly), the sound is still great. 

Solid cedar top ensures bright, rich and full sound, with a strong sustain. Low-end tones are only cut slightly. 

Notes sound clear and not boxed in any way.

Hear how this one sounds yourself: 

Playability

Thanks to ⅞ size, this one has slightly shorter scale length than many other classical guitars. This makes the strings really easy to press down.  Great news for small-handed folks.

Nut width is 50mm(1.97inches), so the neck is narrower than in classical guitar usually.  Dolce is really comfortable to play and shifts between chords are easy. 

Out of the box setup is usually spot-on(nothing is guaranteed). No need for adjustments. Of course, this depends on your own playstyle. And here the truss rod is nice to have, you can adjust the neck to your own preference easily. 

Construction and quality

Cordoba has solid cedar top and mahogany sides and back with Spanish fan bracing. Fingerboard is made of rosewood. 

So construction and looks are really traditional for classical guitar.

Finishing is great and especially the back of the body is just beautiful. 

For the price, the quality is great. 

There is a one small flaw though…

Some users have been facing issues with tuner knobs(plastic part or the button), in some cases, these have been quite fragile. You can sometimes get new ones for free from the manufacturer or you can buy new ones.

These tuner knob problems are not common, but it can happen.

Pros:

  • Really easy and comfortable to play, great for small hands
  • Narrower neck than classical guitars in general
  • Sound is better than in most regular sized guitars
  • Setup is usually spot-on
  • Great quality for the price

Cons:

  • Lower end sounds are cut slightly
  • Tuner knobs(plastic part or the button) have been fragile in some cases

Summary

This is a great choice for small-handed people who are looking for mid-priced and easy to play instrument. No big complaints.

>>Check Price and Read Reviews on Amazon<<

 

Slightly Different Option – Taylor Academy Series Academy 12-N Nylon String

Even non-guitarists have probably heard of Taylor, one of the best-known guitar makers in existence today. You may be surprised to hear of their classical guitar line, they deliver the same Taylor quality in their nylon string instruments as they do in their infamous dreadnoughts. 

Take a look at the Academy 12-N and you’ll see what I mean.

Sound

Speaking of important aspects, the sound of the Taylor Academy 12-n is really good. It might not sound like a 19th century classical, but its tone is still very pleasing. 

The solid spruce top projects a crisp, eloquent range of fundamental tones which is rounded out by the bassy prominence of Sapele. A mahogany neck and ebony fingerboard produce the same effect, making a sound that has an open, full midrange with a well-pronounced clarity in all registers.

Hear how this one sounds:

Playability

The Taylor Academy 12-n has the narrowest nut of these guitars(with Cordoba C9 Crossover), measuring in at under 48mm, keeping the stretch factor at a minimum.

It’s all-around a smaller classical, eschewing the traditional classical body shape for the slightly smaller Grand Concert design.

These factors combine to make it one of the best classical guitars for small hands, keeping the in-lap dimensions to a comfortable low, shortening the reach required to hit all the frets, and allowing short fingers to easily reach around the neck.

Topped off with Taylor’s signature contoured armrest, the Academy 12-n is a cozy guitar any way you look at it.

Construction and Quality

Taylor guitars may not be handmade, but their quality control operations ensure that no guitar leaves the factory flawed.

The Academy 12-n has all the markers of exceptional performance that Taylor is known for: high-quality tonewoods, great quality tuning machines, durable construction, a solid spruce top, and playability perks.

However, there are one or two things I would change about this model.

First, Sapele. I won’t knock this tonewood in itself; it sounds fine in most regards and is a sustainable choice in times when sustainability is of huge importance. But, it doesn’t have that same traditional flavor that mahogany and rosewood carry.

Second, the synthetic nut and saddle material. I understand that not everyone wants their guitar to carry the remains of a dead animal, but Taylor’s choice of Nubone for the nut knock a couple points off my overall opinion.

Still, in most important regards, this guitar passes with flying colors.

Summary

Pros

  • Grand Concert body size offers a slightly smaller build than traditional classicals
  • 47.625mm nut width ideal for small hands
  • Ebony fretboard offers great attack and high responsiveness
  • Crisp, smooth tone with good projection
  • Taylor Guitars guaranteed quality
  • Contoured armrest for maximized playing comfort
  • The truss rod is nice to have if you need to adjust the neck

Cons

  • The nontraditional bracing system reduces overall classical vibe
  • Sapele tonewood for back and sides is not everyone’s favorite

Guitar has little bit different specs than classical guitars usually, but it sounds good and neck is ideal for small hands. It’s a great choice for people who want something a little bit different from their classical guitar.

>>Check Price and Read Reviews on Amazon<<

 

FAQ

How to Play Classical Guitar With Small Hands – Fix This Problem by Making Changes to Your Technique

When we are talking about classical guitars the correct technique is the key. You need to pay attention to your fret hand and especially on your thumb. This can make or break your game. 

When I started to hold my thumb at the right place, accessing frets started to be much easier.

This video explains how to make playing a lot easier for small hands. But remember, it’s not the magic trick, you’ll have to practice to make it work. I recommend that you take some time and watch this:

So try to get your thumb in the right place. In the back of the neck. This will surely make playing a lot easier with a little practice.  

And if you look at the great classical guitarist playing you can see how they hold their hands. Fret hand is positioned in a way that frets are easy to access as possible, and their thumb makes this happen.

Also, remember that even with a proper technique, some songs and notes are just harder than others. You’ll have to still show a real effort if you want to master the guitar. 

Do this with hard parts:

First, you should learn to play those hard parts slowly, but cleanly. 

Then start playing it faster and faster until you get there. 

That’s is the simple path which all guitar players need to go through. There is no other way.

But buying a classical guitar that is suitable for small hands surely makes playing easier for you. This can make your whole guitar journey a whole lot more enjoyable.

Small Hands, Big Decisions: How to Choose the Best Guitar

What to Look for in a Classical Guitar?

The Pros and Cons of Classical Guitars

Classical guitar is the predecessor of the steel-string instrument we commonly call an acoustic. They are similarities and differences between them that set each apart into its own niche.

With these differences come a specific set of pros and cons. Before you choose to buy a classical guitar, it’s good to know the benefits and detriments of this instrument.

Pros

  • Soft, nylon strings are easy on the fingertips. You won’t experience as much finger pain on a classical as you will a steel string. Strings are also easier to press down.
  • Strings are farther from each other, this makes picking and fingerstyle easier.
  • Warm, mellow sound is great for particular genres and playing styles such as Flamenco, Spanish, and Brazillian. 
  • Smaller, lighter bodies than their steel string counterparts are easier and more comfortable to hold.

Cons

  • Quiet, soft tone lacks the punch and drive required for genres like rock, pop, and country.
  • Nylon strings won’t build up fingertip callouses as much as steel strings, making the switch to steel-string acoustic more difficult.
  • The string action is higher and the neck is wider. These qualities can make playing a little bit harder.
  • Classical necks typically don’t have truss rods, and thus must be built wider and flatter than steel-string guitars. But some manufactures are known for including truss-rods in their guitars.
Quality Control: Components of a Good Classical Guitar

Photo shows reader complete classical guitar

Tonewoods

Classical guitars are traditionally made with tops of cedar or spruce and with backs and sides consisting of mahogany or rosewood.

In this area, I think sticking with tradition is best, but the choice among cedar, spruce, mahogany, and rosewood, depends on your particular sound desires.

In brief, spruce is crisp, clear, and articulate, while cedar will be warmer, muddier, and with more overtones. Mahogany will add warmth and harmonic complexity, while rosewood is tighter with greater sparkle. 

You can choose a spruce + rosewood guitar if you want a well-defined sound where each note sings separate and clear, or choose a cedar + mahogany combo if you love a loose, muddled sound. Otherwise, the remaining combinations will deliver something in the middle, blending the best elements of each.

Bracing

Bracing refers to the woodwork beneath the guitar’s top that influences sound and structural support.

There are three main bracing patterns used in classical guitar construction: ladder, Spanish fan, and lattice.

  • Ladder bracing is the oldest and simplest of the three patterns. It’s not very loud, and the tone it produces is harmonic and warm.
  • Spanish fan bracing, developed in the 1800s, is the most common in use today. It adds bass depth, volume, and overtone complexity to the guitar’s sound.
  • Lattice bracing has only been around since the 1970s but is gaining in popularity. Lattice bracing might be the loudest of the patterns, and greatly increases the guitar’s response.

If you are seeking a truly historical sound, ladder bracing is the pattern for you. Spanish fan bracing is great if you want a well-balanced, well-projected tone. Lattice bracing is a more expensive option, but is the way to go if you need a boost of attack and volume to the otherwise chilled out classical guitar tone.

Other Important Factors

There are a couple more things you need to think about when choosing a classical guitar.

Laminate or solid top? 

This is an easy answer: if you can afford it, always choose a solid top guitar over a laminate top. Solid tops sound better, last longer, and will sound better and better with each year that passes by. They are, in my opinion, scores better than their laminate top cousins.

Nut and saddle material 

This aspect is often overlooked when choosing a new guitar, but I think it’s just as important as a tonewood choice.

These parts, which set string spacing at the neck and bridge, are the first point of contact in a string’s vibration, and consequently affect your whole tone.

I believe the best guitars are made with natural nut and saddle materials, like nut or bone. These materials resonate more truly, picking up the subtleties of the string vibration. They are more expensive to replace (and to buy in the first place) but outweigh plastic and other synthetic pieces in every benefit.

Wrapping it Up

You have options here and a lot of variables to choose from.

However, in short, the best classical guitar comes down to choosing your favorite tonewoods, having a solid top, the bracing that produces your preferred tone, and a nut and saddle of natural material.

Take your time, consider your options, play a variety of different guitars, and you’ll soon find out what works best for you.

What Makes these Guitars Good for Small Hands?

Nut Width: The Long and Short of It

Now, on to why these guitars are good for smaller-handed players.

Due to their typical lack of a truss rod for support and owing to their lighter string tensions, classical guitar necks compensate their structural integrity with wide necks

We measure neck width at the nut, this slim piece of bone, nut, or plastic that you find right below the headstock. The nut sets the string spacing, so the wider the nut, the farther apart the strings, and the farther you have to reach for chords.

A traditional classical guitar has a nut width of 52 millimeters. Compared with the typical steel-string width of 44 millimeters, we’re talking a whole third of an inch increase in stretch requirements.

The guitars we’ve chosen have reduced nut widths starting at around 47mm, lessening the length you have to stretch, offering a more comfortable playing experience for those with short fingers and small hands.

Conclusion

This is really a thought match… All these guitars have really nice qualities and are easy to play. 

I just have give the top spot for the Cordoba C9 Crossover even though it’s a little bit more expensive than other guitars on this list. It’s simply is that good. Crossover neck makes it really easy and comfortable to play, even with small hands. Truss rod helps you adjust the neck and the action according to your own preference. Sounds are really good, clean, detailed, and rich. 

The next spot is a toss-up between Taylor Academy 12N and  Kremona Verea Performer Series. But I give it to the Kremona Verea, because the playability and overall feel are so good.

Cordoba Dolce ⅞ is the best budget option. Easy to play and sound great. You are not going to lose much sound-wise even though this is slightly smaller than regular sized guitars.

Alhambra 1OP-Cadete-US holds the last place, but by no means, this is a bad guitar. Others just are even better. This is a great option for a smaller person, who wants high-quality ¾ sized classical guitar. 1OP-Cadete is well built and easy to play. But tonal abilities are weakest if compared to the other guitars on this post. The main reason for this is the smaller size.

I hope that this post helped you to decide which is the best classical guitar for your small hands. If you have any questions leave a comment down below and feel free to share this post too.

I wish you all the best and keep rocking!

Teemu Suomala

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