If you are in a hurry and want to find out what is the best electric guitar for small hands(great for short fingers too) in my opinion, it’s: Fender Mustang 90. With narrow and C-shaped neck, comfortable playability, and feel of a more expensive guitar, this is, in my opinion, the best electric guitar for small hands in general.
Do you feel that it’s reallyyy hard to play some chords and notes on the guitar because your fingers just can’t reach the right place!
You know what? I’ve been there. I own a small pair of hands too. And when I started guitar playing, I was a kid, so my hands were even smaller back then. And it was really frustrating once in a while. It felt impossible to play some songs and chords.
Here you can see the reviewer’s(my) hand and some measurements:
But my small hands didn’t stop me. Yours should not stop you either. And this post will help you to not give up!
Should you buy a different guitar if you have small hands? The short answer is this: maybe you should, that surely makes playing easier and the learning curve shorter. Can you learn to play, even though your guitar is not the best one for small hands? Absolutely. Many people have done that already, so you can do it too.
In this blog post, we are going to look closer at 5 different electric guitars that are great options for small-handed people.
Also, we find out how you can play those hard notes even though you own small hands and a big guitar. Let’s get started!
In this article, I’m going to review the following guitars:
- Squier Classic Vibe ’50s Stratocaster
- Epiphone Les Paul Standard PlusTop Pro
- Fender Mustang 90
- Ibanez GRGM21BKN Mikro
- ESP LTD EC-1000
First, we’ll see how you can make guitar playing with small hands easier for you.
Use the table of content to jump to the section you want:
How to Play Guitar With Small Hands – Fix This Problem by Making Changes to Your Technique
You feel comfortable playing those easy familiar notes, but the hard ones give you a real headache. You know what? Those ‘’hard to play’’-notes are called that for a reason. Playing those easily just takes a lot more effort. For everybody. You have to really practice if you want to learn hard things.
But those are called ‘’hard’’, not ‘’impossible’’. So you can definitely learn those. Don’t ever give up.
You can definitely make playing easier with some chances. When I did these changes, it felt soo much easier to play different notes across the frett board. What are these changes?
You probably need to change your technique. It’s almost always about your technique. And to be more specific, it’s about your thumb. Yes. It’s in the wrong place.
How can you fix this?
This video does the perfect job of solving this problem. But remember, it doesn’t give you a 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.
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 hard parts slowly, but cleanly. Then start playing it faster and faster until you get there. That’s the path which all guitar players need to go through. There is no other way.
Start slow and clean. And then play it faster but cleanly.
Sometimes playing can feel too hard. You feel like giving up. Your hands are tiny. And guitars are humongous. If that’s the case, buying a guitar which is a better fit for smaller hands might be a good choice for you. This is not a magic trick either, but it can surely make things easier.
The biggest benefit of buying a suitable guitar for small hands is this: It makes learning easier for you. And when learning is easier, you won’t lose the motivation so quickly. This makes your guitar journey a whole lot easier and more enjoyable.
Now let’s look at how you can make things easier for you by buying the right guitar for your small hands. I have real guitar-treats for you!
Best Electric Guitar for Small Hands
Keep these things are mind when reading this post and picking the right guitar for you!
Focus: In this post, We have a laser focus on the ease of play and guitars fit for the small hands. We are not focusing too much on the looks and sounds of the guitar. All these guitars sound good (of course, you get what you paid for). If I found some other aspects of the guitar worth mentioning, I’ll do that.
Fretboard radius: This tells you how curved the fretboard is. In classical guitars, there is usually no curve on the fretboard at all. On the other end of the spectrum are some Telecasters with a 7.25 radius.
A typical fretboard radius for electric guitar is around 12 inches. You might want to look for a bigger radius than 9,5 inches, because when the radius is small and the fretboard has a big curve, doing bends and hitting the right strings can be a little bit harder.
Nut width: This means the width of the guitar’s neck. Nut width has a huge effect on the playability. The narrow neck is almost always a better option for small hands.
The typical nut width of the Fender Vintage Stratocaster is 42mm(1.65inches) and Modern Stratocasters have 43mm(1.695)nut width. Les Pauls usually have 43mm(1.695) nut width.
String action: String action is the distance between the strings and the fretboard. Closer the strings are to the frets, easier it’s to play. Usually, the action can be adjusted easily with electric guitars. But if you make the strings too low, some notes might sound bad.
Scale length: Guitars scale length is the distance from the nut to the middle of the Fret 12, multiplied by 2. Scale length affects the tension of the strings. Shorter the scale length is, less tension there will be. Less tension means that the guitar is a little bit easier to play, because playing requires less strength from your fingers.
The shape of the neck: Most of the electric guitars have a C-shaped neck. The C-shaped neck is usually a good option for players with small hands. C-necks feel comfortable to play and work well for most playing styles.
A good variation of the C-shape is the Modern C-shaped neck. It’s a flatter version of the C-shape. Modern C neck works really well, especially if you have short fingers.
Slim D, and Thin U- shaped necks are great options too, these are usually slightly bigger in size, but easier for your thumb placement.
Now let’s look at those best guitars for small hands!
This one is a nice garage/punk rock guitar. You can get good Nirvana and old-school Green Day tones out of it. It handles clean tones very well and you can get nice spanky funk tones out of it too.
The fretboard radius is 9’5-inches, so there is some curve.
Nut width is 42mm(1.65inches). Pretty narrow, good for short fingers and small palms.
24 scale length makes this really good for players with small hands, due to slightly less tension on strings. Really comfortable to play, and frets are really easy to find and access.
The neck is feeling really similar to Squier Classic Vibe ’50s Stratocaster. Slightly less string tension in this one.
This one might need some slight action adjustments too. Not a major flaw, and it depends on your play style, but it’s worth noting.
Some users have been saying great things about the electronics and lack of hum in the sound. That’s definitely nice to know.
If you want to hear how this one sounds check this video:
- Spot-on nut width and 24 scale length make this one really easy to play
- Good quality electronics
- The neck is really comfortable (especially good for short fingers)
- Sounds great, best for funk, punk, and rock.
- Some action adjustments might be needed
- Not the most versatile guitar
The neck is one of the best ones for small hands in my opinion. Really reaally thin. Feels good to play. Sound-wise this is not the most versatile, but not too bad either. Best for punk-rock, rock, and funk. If you love rock and want to easy to play guitar, this will be a great option for you.
I tried this out in a music store nearby a while back. I compared lots of different Stratocasters there and I think that this one is a lot easier to play than most Fender Stratocasters. And this Squier didn’t lose much to the higher-priced Original Fender Stratocasters sound and quality-wise.
This one is just like Stratocasters on the 50’ies with some modern updates. For example, it has a 5-position blade switch.
Fretboard radius, 9’5 inches. Nut width is 42mm(1.65inches).
The neck is slim and smooth. These qualities make this strat very comfortable and easy to play. Great for small hands.
Narrow-tall frets make hammer on’s, pull off’s and bending very easy.
Fretboards edges are rolled. So there will be no sharp edges on this one.
I found out that in most cases the action in Squier and Fender Stratocaster is a little bit too high for my liking. Fortunately, the action is easy to adjust.
But action-wise either, Squier Classic Vibe ’50s Stratocaster is definitely not too bad. I’m not even sure if the action needs to be adjusted always(this depends on your playstyle).
If you want to hear how this one sounds, check this video:
- 9,5-inch radius, narrow-, and C- shaped neck make this one really easy to play
- No sharp edges on the fretboard(comfortable)
- Amazing value for the money
- Nice rock sounds
- Not the best one for heavy distortion
- Adjustments to the action are sometimes needed(depends from your play style ofc)
You definitely get really good value for the money with this one. So easy to play, even with small hands. If you like to play funk, jazz, blues, and rock, this is a really good option. For metalheads, there are slightly better options available on sound-wise.
Back in a day, my friend owned this guitar. I was a teenager (15-16), when I first played this one, so my hands were even smaller than now. And it just felt so easy and comfortable. I managed to do a lot more with this one than with my own beginner guitar(Harley Benton Stratocaster).
The fretboard radius is 12 inches, so the curve is not too big. It hit’s the sweet spot.
Necks shape is slim D. So the Neck is flat on a back and round on the shoulders.
Nut width is 43mm(1.695inches). Not too wide, but not the narrowest either.
Les Paul Scale length is slightly shorter than in many other guitars. So there is less string tension. These qualities make this guitar easy to play.
Especially placing your thumb in the right place feels natural with this neck. Thumb just nicely sits there.
There is a slight roughness noticeable around the edges of the neck. Nothing too bad, but that’s definitely a small flaw.
Out of the box action is really good. It’s easy to hit notes around the fretboard. And playing this one just feels sooo good.
One flaw in playability is this: some of the lower strings are a little bit hard to hit below the fret 15. This is common with Les-Paul(Single-Cut) shaped guitars.
This Les Paul has a split-coil feature(splits coil of the humbucker), so you can get a similar sound to single-coil Stratocasters out of this. It does not sound exactly the same, but I think that it gets close.
If you want to hear how this one sounds check this video:
- Necks slim D profile helps you with the thumb game
- Action is just in a sweet spot for small hands
- Fretboard radius and nut width are solid for small hands
- Really nice Les Paul sound on it
- Split-coil adds to the versatility
- Slight roughness on the neck
- In some cases, after a couple of years of playing, there have been some issues with the electronics
- Not the easiest one to hit low strings when going belove fret 15
A really solid option for small hands. Not the best one from this post. But still, very easy to play.
You can get really good heavy distortion sounds out of this. The clean tones are really warm and full. Sound-wise best suitable for metal, hard rock, and blues.
Epiphone Les Paul Special II Plus Limited Edition
If you have a tighter budget, this cheaper Les Paul could be a good option for you. It has a slightly rougher neck edges and less quality. It’s still very easy to play and good sounding guitar for the price.
Only small ¾ size guitar in this list. And in my opinion, the best ¾ size guitar on the market. This is not a toy or “child’s guitar”, you can absolutely rock with this.
Solid string action and 22-1/5″ scale make strings very easy to play. You can pull crazy bends with this. The downside is that those ‘’crazy bends’’ can sometimes make this guitar out of tune, this is definitely a flaw, but not too bad.
Nut width is 41mm(1.61 inches). It’s really easy to access every corner of the fretboard with this neck, you definitely don’t need the hands of the basketball player to play very fast with this.
Sound-wise, this guitar is quite versatile. Good for metal and rock, but clean tones are still nicely soft. Sometimes sounds can be a little bit fuzzy, but when you look at the price tag, it makes sense.
Quality is nice, one of the best ¾ size guitars quality-wise too. But remember that this one is a starter guitar in good and bad.
If you want to hear how this one sounds check this video:
- Really good for small and small-handed people(for kids too)
- Great value for the price
- Really easy to play
- Some tuning issues
- Slightly fuzzy sound
- You get what you pay for(if you spend a couple hundred more, you get a lot better guitar).
This guitar is a great option for those who are searching for small, easy to play and versatile guitar with a budget price. It lacks some quality, but for the price, it’s a solid choice. A great option for kids.
This one is an absolute killer guitar. In my opinion, this is one of the best looking guitars available! Even though it’s not the easiest guitar to play on this list, I still recommend that you hear what I have to say about this.
The fretboard radius is 13.78 inches. So there is only a small curve. Really easy to move your fingers fast around the fretboard.
Nut width is 42mm(1.65inches), so pretty narrow neck for the single-cut shaped guitar.
The thin-U neck shape is what really makes this guitar really fast to play and nice for your thumb. It’s really easy to put your thumb in the right place.
Action and feel of the fretboard are one of the best which I have tried. The neck feels so smooth and hitting notes in every corner of the guitar is very easy. Edges of the neck are very round and smooth. This makes moving your hand across the neck very comfortable.
This one is also slightly lighter than Les Paul’s in general.
You can get really nice distortion and clean tunes out of this. Electronics are high EMG quality(ESP LTD EC-1000 is available with Seymor Duncan- pickups too). And with locking tuners this stays in tune like a charm. A really versatile instrument.
But even this one is not perfect. It’s a little bit pricier than other ones on this list. And some of the lower strings are a little bit hard to hit below the fret 15. But it’s not too bad, because at the back of the body there are some carvings that make playing easier for you.
If you want to hear how this one sounds check this video:
- Looks amazing
- Spot on action, pretty narrow neck and string tension(these make this really easy to play)
- Thin-U neck shape (really easy to move your thumb around)
- Sounds really good
- You get what you pay for
- Pricier than others
- Some lower string frets are hard to reach
If you have a bigger budget and want awesome looking/sounding guitar which is still really easy to play, this might be a great option for you! This guitar has active pickups, so it works well with heavy distortion.
Which One Do I Recommend?
Now it’s time to pick the best electric guitar for small hands for you.
I recommend: Fender Mustang 90
- 9’5 inch fretboard radius
- Nut width is 42mm(1.65inches)
- C-shaped neck
- 24’ scale
- comfortable playability
- feeling and sound of a more expensive guitar
this is, in my opinion, the best electric guitar for small hands in general. Although it’s not the most versatile guitar, it is still easiest to play.
Best budget options:
If you want ¾ sized guitar, Ibanez GRGM21 Mikro is a great choice. You can move your fingers fast around the fretboard with small hands.
If you want a regular-sized more affordable guitar Epiphone Les Paul Special II Plus Limited Edition is a wonderful option for you.
If you want to see all of these guitars in order, according to how good it is for small hands, the list would look like this:
1. Fender Mustang 90
Not the most versatile guitar of this list. But this is easiest to play, thanks to its thin neck and 24’ scale. Strong old school Green Day vibes with this(it was my favorite band when growing up).
2. Squier Classic Vibe ’50s Stratocaster
Narrow-, and C-shaped neck, comfortable playability, and feeling and sound of a more expensive guitar it’s really hard to go wrong with this. It just slightly loses to the Fender mustang 90 playability-wise because of the longer scale, but at the same time, it’s more versatile.
3. Ibanez GRGM21BKN Mikro (budget option, but it’s really easy to play.)
¾ size make’s Ibanez Mikro is really easy to play. It loses sound and quality-wise to the other guitar, but it’s hundreds of dollars cheaper at the same time.
4. Epiphone Les Paul Standard PlusTop Pro(has a cheaper alternative available)
Really smooth and comfortable to play. When I was younger, played this guitar a lot, and it was always very easy. Some of the lower strings below the fret 15 are a little bit hard to hit.
Cheaper alternative: Epiphone Les Paul Special II Plus Limited Edition, it’s a different guitar in many ways, but the feel and playability are very similar.
5. ESP LTD EC-1000
Beautiful guitar with a smooth and comfortable feel. Spot-on action, comfortable thin U-shaped neck make this one really easy to play. In my opinion, this might be the best guitar overall on this list, but it is not the easiest to play and it’s pricier, that’s why it holds the last place.
All these guitars are great options for small-handed people. Easy to play and versatile too. I recommend that you buy the best guitar you can afford.
I hope that this post helped you to improve your technique and you managed the pick the right guitar for your small hands. If you have any questions related to these guitars or guitar playing in general, leave a comment down below. Feel free to share this post too.
I wish you all the best and keep rocking!
Teemu ‘’The Small Handed’’ Suomala