How to Play Guitar With Small Hands – Complete Guide

guitarist wonders how to play guitar with small hands

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You feel like the small pair of hands you own are slowing down your guitar playing? Some frets are impossible to reach? Some chords are a pain to play?

I’ve been there. When I started with the guitar over 10 years ago, I was around 14 years old and my hands were tiny, even smaller than now…and btw, my hands are still pretty small.

small hands of a guitar player

My small hands…(I know that some of you have even tinier hands, but I definitely consider my hands to be small)

For example, the main riff of Snow and barre chords were impossible to play and I felt pain when I was playing…So I know what’s it like to be learning guitar with small hands and short fingers.

I tried to seek help back then, but it seemed that most teachers, YouTubers, and bloggers said: ‘’just practice, you will get there’’, ‘’everything is hard when starting out’’…

And all this left me feeling and behaving like this:

Yeep…it’s frustrating.

But were these statements made by youtubers and guitar experts false? Not necessarily. 

Can you learn to play guitar with small hands? If some folks play with their feet, you can absolutely learn guitar no matter how small your hands are.

What about this: can you make things easier for you and your small hands? Absolutely. 

Even tho some folks with huge hands say that ‘’you will get there, I know plenty of amazing players with small hands’’. It seems that they never mention the names of these amazing small-handed guitar players.

When I was searching for some help to improve my playing, I still managed to find plenty of tips and tricks that can definitely help small-handed guitar players. Nowadays, the main riff of Snow and barre chords feel quite natural to play. And there are 2 reasons for that.

  1. I showed real effort when practicing
  2. I found ways to make playing easier for me and my small hands

And now, I’m about to share all that good stuff with you. From the correct technique to best exercises for small-handed folks to how to lengthen your fingers(yep, you heard that right). I’ll also reveal the best guitars for small hands.

Before we start, I want to say that these are no magic tricks. You have to practice and show real effort when learning the skill of guitar playing, but after that being said, these things I’m about to reveal will make learning and playing easier for you. Let’s get started.

Use the table of content to jump to the section you want:

Do hand size matter?

Do hand size matter

Most people say that hand size doesn’t matter at all. But that’s 100% not true in my opinion. That’s like saying that size doesn’t matter on basketball, you just have to practice.

Of course, the playing will be easier if you have big hands and better reach over the fretboard. I can’t believe that some folks say the opposite.

But of course, with practice, you can learn the guitar even with small hands. I’ve learned so much, and I enjoy playing my favorite songs with the guitar. I’ve done this, despite the fact that I have small hands. 

And don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to brag with my guitar skills. I’mt not an amazing guitar virtuoso, but I’m at the level where I can comfortably play my favorite songs without unnecessary pain caused by my small hands(physical or mental :D).

So hand size has an impact on your guitar journey, and it can make learning harder, but it’s far from an impossible task.

But what about this:

Do you need long fingers to play guitar

Same thing here, long fingers can make things easier because this can improve your reach over the fretboard. 

But, do you need long fingers to play the guitar? Absolutely not. 

So having long fingers can help, but it’s not a requirement. 

So at this point, this one thing should be crystal clear for you: you can learn to play the guitar with small hands.

Before I’ll give you more specific solutions, let’s look at the one thing that is the key when solving the problems your small hands are causing you.

 

The correct technique is the KEY!

Don’t worry, I’m not about the give you a boring lecture about the correct technique, I’m gonna help you with videos and photos.

All this really comes down to your thumb placement. When I started, I completely failed at this. I held my thumb in the worst way possible, and this slowed me down for years.

I held my thumb like this:

How to play guitar with small hands - how to hold your thumb

And this thumb placement limits your reach over the fretboard by a mile(not literally :D). Don’t get me wrong, it’s ok if you sometimes hold your thumb like this, but if your thumb always sits at the upper edge of the fretboard you are definitely making things hard for you.

What to do instead?

Try holding placing your thumb at the back of the neck, facing your middle finger on the other side of the neck, like this:

How to play guitar with small hands - how to hold your thumb, the right way

Do you notice what this does? It gives your hand way better reach over to fretboard! 

With a wrong thumb placement my reach looked like this:

How to play guitar with small hands - limited reach over the fretboard

With a correct thumb placement, it looks like this:

How to play guitar with small hands - improved reach over the fretboard

This small shift alone can make things so much easier for you, for me, this made a huge difference.

Note that if you are used to playing with the thumb placed at the edge of the fretboard, this correct way can feel alien at first(at least for me it did), and this is no magic trick either. You have to practice this.

So when you need to reach frets far from each other, place your thumb at the back of the neck and BOOM! Reach of your hand and fingers is increased a lot!

Sometimes this alone can do the trick for you, but this is not always the case.

Another key trick that can help you out a lot is relaxing your wrist. If your wrist is not relaxed, you can have a really tough time accessing all the frets. 

This wrist relaxing gives you a lot better reach over the fretboard and it also keeps wrist pain away.

These 2 things can help you a lot. Now it’s time for you to bookmark this site, and go and practice these 2 things with your guitar a little bit. If you still feel that you need more help after that, come back here and learn more tricks to help you out.

Let’s now look at the common problems that small-handed guitar players face, and I’ll do my best to offer solutions to these problems.

 

What Problems Guitar Players With Small Hands Face

Small hands give you all kinds of trouble, and at first, it’s good to know, what problems yours are causing.

Troubleshooting for Guitar Players With Small Hands

If you want to make things easier, you have to first identify what is holding you back. I know, I know, small hands, but to be more specific, is it short fingers, short and thick fingers, or do you have tiny palm but normal-sized fingers.

You need to know exactly what is the bottleneck if you really want to make things easier for you. You are strong as your weakest link is.

How to Do The Troubleshooting?

If you want to troubleshoot the specific problems that your small hands are causing you, you need to grab the guitar and pay attention to what is holding you back.

Do this:

  • move your hand around the fretboard 
  • play frets in different spots
  • if you know how to play some songs or chords, do so and pay attention to the parts that are causing you trouble
  • use all of your fingers
  • play barre chords

I bet that at least some of these gave you a hard time, or maybe all of these. If that’s the case, no worries, I’m about to give relief to you.

 

The Most Common Problems For Guitar Players With Small Hands (And How To Fix These)

You Are Not Reaching The Frets

Even after learning a correct thumb placement and relaxing the wrist, you can still feel that you can’t access all the frets. First of all, don’t worry, you will get there, keep practicing the correct technique. But I have a couple more tips for you that can help you out.

Use Fingertips

When you are playing the guitar, you have to make sure that you are using your fingertips when pressing the strings. This helps your wrist to relax and ensure that you are not hitting other strings.

On the other, if you are not using your fingertips when playing, your wrist is probably not relaxed, playing feels awkward and you are hitting wrong strings and causing unwanted noise when playing.

So, use your fingertips and your playing will be easier and it also sounds better.

Stretch

One of the best ways to increase your reach over to fretboard is to stretch your fingers. This makes your muscles and tendons inside your hand looser and more relaxed, and this ensures a better reach.

Also, your fingers and hand move a lot faster and you suffer less pain when playing after some stretching. 

It’s like in sports, athletes warm-up and stretch before doing any heavy lifting. This ensures the best performance possible, and the same applies to guitar playing.

Check Complete Before Playing Stretch Routine” in the Exercises That Improve The Flexibility of Your Hands- section.

Some Chords Feel Impossible to Play

There are usually 2 main reasons for this. 

First, you are learning new chords, and they fell hard to play because of that.

Learning New Chords

When you start to learn some new stuff that involves the use of your muscles, things are not very smooth at the start. You have probably familiar with this, maybe when you started guitar playing or some sport you noticed that things are not going as you planned,

And there are not really any tricks or hacks that help you bypass this learning phase, at least any that I know of.

You just have to practice. But one thing that can help a little, is to learn to play slowly at first, and make sure that everything is playing correctly. And you can gradually increase the speed, when it starts to feel comfortable.

By doing this, certain movements and chord shapes start to be familiar to your brain and playing them comes naturally out of your muscle memory, you maybe don’t have to even think about it anymore. You just play.

Technique

The other main reason why playing some chords can feel hard is that your technique is not correct, and if you have small hands on top of that, that maximizes the difficulty.

Here the correct thumb placement and relaxed wrist help you out. See the section: ’’The correct technique is the KEY!’’ above.

And remember that, you don’t have to always hold your thumb at the back of the neck, facing your middle finger. Position your thumb in a way that gives the best reach for you.

You Don’t Have The Strenght Needed to Press the Frets

If you have small and quite weak hands, this can be a problem too. One fix to this is to keep practicing and playing, and your finger strength should improve by time.

But I have one exercise that helped me and especially my super small and weak pinky out. After finishing this, you can feel the burn in your hand and fingers. No pain no gain.

Check this Warm-Up” – work-out in the Exercises That Improve The Flexibility of Your Hands-section.

This exercise definitely gave me a nice strength and speed boost when I started. Do this a couple of times every day, and your strength improves fast.

You Hit Other Strings When Playing

This can be an issue when you are starting out because you are not used to playing the guitar yet. Or maybe you have short and thick fingers and you accidentally hit wrong strings when playing.

Again, the correct thumb placement and relaxed wrist helps you out. See the section: ’’The correct technique is the KEY!’’ above(really, this is super important if you are having trouble with hitting the wrong strings). So try to implement that stuff…

But I got more golden nuggets for you…are you ready?

  1. Use the tips of your fingers when pressing the frets, this is really important if you got thick fingers. Use of the tips ensures that you are not hitting or muting strings with your fingers.
  2. Ensure that you are using the right fingerings for the specific chords. Most chord charts give you suggestions about which fingers to use to press specific frets. Pay attention to these and playing will be easier.
  3. Lower the action of your guitar if possible. Action the distance from strings to the fretboard. If the action is really high(distance is long), the guitar is usually a lot harder to play and you will have issues with hitting the right and wrong strings. More about lowering the action int the section: ‘’How to Make Playing Easier By Making Adjustment Into Your Guitar’’.

These tips should help you out, but remember that practicing the right technique requires effort. So again, I’m sorry if I sound like a broken record…these are no magic tricks. You need to put in the work. 

And when time goes on, these fixes I mentioned feel natural to you, and you are really comfortable with your guitar.

One thing is for sure, if you don’t implement these tricks I just revealed, playing will be harder for you. But gladly, these tricks are far from impossible to implement, so you can absolutely do it!

Let’s look at the one more problem that small-handed people can face.

You Can’t Reach The Frets Closer to The Nut of The Guitar

What I mean with this, is that you can’t reach the nut of your guitar because you have really small/short hands. This can happen if you are a kid or a small person.

If this is the case, there are really 2 things that you can do that I’m aware of.

  1. Use a classical guitar playing position. So hold your guitar like this: This forces you fret hand to be closer to the neck and nut of the guitar, and you will have better reach over the fretboard.
  2. Buy a guitar with a shorter neck. If the guitar is just too big for you, this might be the only option in some cases. You can buy a smaller sized guitar, maybe 3/4 scale, or even tinier. 

In some cases, a shorter scale guitar might be enough, the standard scale length is 25.5, you coil visit the music store and look for 24.5 or 24 scale length guitars.

That’s it! Here were the problems that small-handed guitar players face and solutions to them. If you think that I missed some problems that you are facing, leave it in the comments down below and we can solve it together!

Let’s move on, and look at some of the best exercises for small-handed people who want to rock!

 

Best Guitar Exercises for Small Hands

There are plenty of exercises that help you to be a lot more comfortable with the guitar. And of course, we now have laser focus to the exercise that helps small-handed people.

I’m going to use videos to teach you these exercises. This is in my opinion the best and the only way to teach these things properly.

We are focusing on the 2 different aspects of your physicality:

  1. Flexibility
  2. Strenght

Both these play a huge role when learning the guitar, and especially if you have small hands.

Let’s get started with flexibility.

(Disclaimer: These exercises helped me out a lot, but I can’t guarantee that these help everybody. Be careful, if you feel pain, stop it, you are doing something wrong. You are doing everything at your own risk.)

 

Exercises That Improve The Flexibility of Your Hands

Warm-Up

This is by far the best warm-up routine that I know of, I have done this for years and oh boy it warms you up like nothing else…Check it out!

Especially the 20 second legato exercise works as a strength exercise too, but if you are doing it as a warm-up, don’t do it so fast that you start to sweat and your face turns red, because this could limit your playing. More about strength improvements later…

Now we are warmed-up, let’s increase our flexibility with some stretches!

Make Your Fingers Longer Stretch

Yeah, I know. I didn’t believe that this was possible either when I first heard about it. But when I did this stretching routine, I noticed the difference. My frett hand fingers were actually longer than before. Of course, the difference was not huge, but still, my fingers were longer than before.

This exercise gives you better reach and increases the speed of your fingers.

Check the stretch sequence out: 

Whoah! Hopefully, you did the before and after comparison. This worked for me, my fingers were actually longer than before. Of course, you have to do this every now and then to get maxim benefit. If you do this only once, it helps you for a short period of time only.

Complete Before Playing Stretch Routine

This sequence gives you a couple more warm-up tips that get the blood flowing in your hand, but the main things in this video are the stretches.

These stretches increase your flexibility and reach over the fretboard….a lot. But do these stretches carefully and slowly.

Check the stretches out:

Now make a habit out of these warm-ups and stretches. Don’t even go to the strength exercises today. Learn to remember these first, and I’ll bet that playing will feel easier for you. Bookmark this page and return to learn more tomorrow. And of course, remember to play the guitar too, that’s the main thing!

 

Exercises That Improve The Strenght of Your Hands

First, if you want to use the most of your finger and hand strength, remember to warm up and stretch before you really start to practice.

Now we have that reminder out of the way, let’s do some strength exercises that makes playing easier for you.

Fixed Finger Spider Walk Exercise

This is one of the best strength training for every guitar player, but especially for small-handed people. It is simple, but it works.

  • It forces you to use the right technique.
  • It improves your reach over the fretboard.
  • It gives you more flexibility.
  • It strengthens your fingers.
  • It improves your coordination.

It does it all. If you want to pick only one exercise from this post, it should be this. Let’s check it out. (You don’t have to watch the whole video if you don’t want, the main thing is the fixed finger spider walk)

If you do this every day for a couple of weeks, you should notice a huge difference in your playing.

Stretch Runs

This also improves flexibility, but most of all it strengthens your fingers, especially when you have to reach a little bit. Check it out: 

These were the main strength exercises. I would also add here the 20 second legato exercise that was in the warm-up sections. But when you want to improve your strength, do faster this time. That way it improves your speed and strength more than the version of it in the warm-ups.

Also, if you think that these strength exercises are not enough, watch that last video into the end, there is one good exercise more for you.

That’s it! All these exercises make playing easier for you. If you all these exercises once a do for the next 30 days, you will be a way better guitarist than now. And by the way, you should do these every day if you want to be more comfortable with the guitar.

Don’t be that guy who watches all sorts of videos about how to be better at guitar playing, but makes up excuses why those tips don’t work for him and probably comments something like ‘’you have pretty long fingers, I don’t’’, ‘’yeah you have time for these but I don’t’’ or ‘’you have played for 20 years’’.

Start implementing, and you will get there. It’s really hard to not succeed if you don’t give up.

Next, we will look at how you can make playing easier for you and your small hands by making adjustments on your guitar.

 

How to Make Playing Easier By Making Adjustment Into Your Guitar

Small, easy, and cheap adjustments on your guitar can make a difference. I have 2 things to recommend for you.

First…

Adjust The Action

String height, aka. ‘’Action’’ is the distance between the strings and fretboard. And the effects of the action for small-handed guitarist are usually quite simple: 

  • If the action is high, playing will be harder. 
  • If the action is low, playing is easier

Let’s now go through how you can adjust the action, and what to keep in mind when doing so.

First, don’t make the action too low, because that could cause fret buzz. And because of fret buzz, it’s recommended to go through every string and fret of your guitar to make sure that there is no buzzing.

Let’s first look at how to adjust the action in most Stratocaster style guitars, usually, you’ll need a 0.050-inch hex wrench to adjust the saddles:

Quite a simple process as you saw.

If your guitar has a Tune-o-Matic bridge, adjusting the actions a little bit different. Check this video to find out how: 

Also, sometimes you can lower the action by adjusting the truss rod. This is not the primary way, especially with electric guitars, but sometimes it’s still a good option. Check out this video to find out how to adjust the truss rod:

With acoustic guitars, adjusting the truss rod is an easy way to adjust the action, but some cheaper steel-strings and most classical guitar don’t have a truss rod. In this case, the action adjustments are a little bit trickier. But not impossible.

If adjusting the truss rod is not enough for your acoustic, there are 2 more places to adjust: Nut and Saddle. These are not very easy to adjust, and if you are a beginner, it’s probably wise to let a professional handle these things.

But if you are DIY guy or gal, this video shows you how to adjust the nut and saddle of an acoustic guitar(do all these adjustments at your own risk): 

As you saw, not so easy, but not impossible either. Hopefully, you managed to adjust the action of your axe if that was needed, if not or you have questions, leave a comment down below or visit your local music store.

Next, we will look at how strings affect the ease of play.

Change strings

The general rule of thumb is this: lighter strings are easier to play. When playing with light strings, pressing strings requires less strength, and you can play with lower action, and that improves the playability too.

But lighter strings sometimes loose to the heavier strings tonally.  You’ll get less sustain with lighter strings, and some riffs might not sound as thick as you would like. So keep that in mind. The difference is not huge and if you are a beginner, I wouldn’t worry about this too much.

Let’s look at what kind of stings are my favorites for small hands.

For some time, I’m been a big fan of D’Addario strings, and I prefer using them on my electric and acoustic guitars. Another great brand that makes solid strings in my opinion is Ernie ball. 

Ernie ball strings are usually slightly cheaper, but D’Addario’s won’t break the bank either. Here are my recommendations:

Best Extra-Super Lights(0.08) – D’Addario EHR330 Half Round Electric Guitar Strings

These strings are extra-super light, these are really gentle to play with and beginner-friendly. The downside is to slightly cut sustain, and the fact that theses break more easily. But in normal use, these should offer you beginner-friendly playing for quite a long time.

D'Addario EHR330 Half Round Electric Guitar Strings, Extra-Super...
  • D'Addario's extra-super light gauging with an exclusive...
  • Centerless ground stainless steel delivers round wound...
  • Corrosion resistant packaging for strings that are...
  • Made in the U.S.A. for the highest quality and...
  • String Gauges: Plain Steel .008, .010, .015, Stainless...

Best Super Lights (0.09) – D’Addario EPN120 Pure Nickel Electric Guitar Strings

These are my go-to option for electric guitar. Especially the gauge(0.09) is spot-on for me, even though I have been playing for years. Tonally you get more out of these stings than mots other 0.09’s. 

The small downside is the fact that these strings are not the most durable. But gladly guitar strings are not that expensive, and these springs still won’t loose much for other springs on this price range durability-wise either.

D'Addario EPN120 Pure Nickel Electric Guitar Strings, Super Light,...
  • Super Light gauge
  • Pure Nickel wrap wire delivers a warmer, vintage...
  • Corrosion resistant packaging for strings that are...
  • Made in the U.S.A. for the highest quality and...
  • String Gauges: Plain Steel .009, .011, .016, Nickel...

Best Budget – Ernie Ball, Super Slinky Electric Guitar Strings 9-42

If you are on a tight budget or you just don’t want to use D’Addarios for some reason. These Super Slinkys would be my recommendation. These loose slightly to D’Addario 0.09’s in tone and durability, but offer comfortable playability and solid tones, especially for beginners.

Ernie Ball, Super Slinky Electric Guitar Strings 9-42 (Pack of 3 Sets)...
  • 3 x Super Slinky 2223
  • Gauges .009 .011 .016 .024w .032 .042
  • Made in USA, played worldwide
  • Pack containing 3 sets
  • Made from nickel plated steel wire wrapped around tin...

Here were my favorites strings to try out if you are struggling with small hands. And this also wraps up the make playing easier by adjusting your guitar section. Next, we will look at what are the best guitars for small hands!

 

Best Guitars for Small Hands

Person with small hands plays guitar

If you have small hands, is upgrading to the easier to play guitar worth it? Maybe. But before you go and buy a guitar, please go through the sections above, because by implementing those you can potentially save a lot of money.

But, after doing all the tricks and hacks, if you still feel that playing is too hard for you, there could be 2 reasons for that. 1. You don’t practice hard enough. 2. Your guitar is hard to play. 

I assume that you practice hard enough because you have gone through this post all to way to this point. Ponts from that for you! You are willing to show real effort. 

So, the problem could be your guitar. I have sometimes tried guitars that just feel awful to play for me. And if your guitar poorly made or it’s just not a good fit for you, buying a new guitar might help…

Now we’ll go through 3 main guitar types, and look at what kind of qualities you should look for when buying a guitar for your small hands. I will also give you some guitar recommendations. Let’s get started with the electric guitar.

 

Best Electric Guitars for Small Hands

Electric guitars are in my opinion the easiest to play guitars. Necks are pretty slim, actions are low, the body of the guitar is not huge, and string tension is usually not too bad either. 

But some electric guitars are harder to play than others. Now we will look at how you can choose a great electric axe for your small hands. And of course, the neck and different aspects of it are our main focus now. Let’s start with the nut width

Scale Lenght

Usually overlooked, but really important factor.

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. With a shorter scale, strings are easier to press down, so you don’t have to struggle with hard to press strings.

If you have a standard or longer scaled guitar, the tension can be too much for you, especially when starting out.

But while you can’t make your hands or fingers much longer, you can gain more finger strength, and you will if you keep playing. This is why the scale length is not the most important factor when choosing a guitar for you. 

I have to mention that even though I have played guitar for over 10 years and have gained finger strength needed to play all sorts of guitars, I still prefer shorter scale axes, they are just more comfortable to play.

So I would advise you to keep in mind that shorter, below 24,5 scale length guitars are usually easier for people with small hands.

 

Action

This shows what the guitar action means

Low action is almost always the best option for small hands. But, this is not a matter of which guitar you choose, the action really depends on your guitars setup. You can always make it higher or lower. 

So don’t worry about the action too much when choosing a guitar, you can always make adjustments, although with some guitars those adjustments are easier to make than with others.

 

Neck Shape

This graph reveals most common guitar neck shapes

 

This graph reveals all the common neck shapes

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.

There is really no such thing that ‘’the best neck shape for small hands’’ that works for everybody. These things depend so much on your hands. Do you have short fingers, small palm or short and thick fingers….list goes on.

My go-to option is C or Modern C, these work for most players. But personally, neck shapes haven’t made too much differences when playing for me. The nut width, setup of the guitar, and the scale length have affected more in my opinion.

But it’s always wise to try different guitars with different necks shapes to find out what your favorite is. And if you have really small palm and also short fingers, the smallest possible neck is usually the best option.

 

Nut Width

Nut width of the guitar

Nut width reveals how wide the neck is when measured close to the nut. The most common nut widths are 1,69inches(43mm) and 1.65inches(42mm). And if you feel like the most necks are too wide for you, I would aim to nut width of 1.65inches or less. 

You can grab a ruler and see how the differences between different widths look like.

Here are couple axes that have the nut width of 1.65 or less, and the other aspects, such as neck shape, quality, and overall playability are on the level that I feel comfortable recommending them for you.

 

Best for Beginner – Squier Affinity Tele And Stratocasters

These axes offer you a nut width of 1.6inches(40.6mm). And clearly this guitar is built for beginners. I played Squier Affinity Telecaster a while back, and oh boy, it was fun. The action was a little bit too high for me, but you can adjust it easily. Overall quality and value for money are high.

And tones are solid too, of course, if you spend more, you get better-sounding instruments, but in my opinion, Squier Affinity Series guitars offer great tones for beginners. Also, Affinity series guitars feel and sound a lot better than Squiers cheaper Bullet series axes.

 

Best for Intermediate Players or Beginners With A Slightly Bigger Budget – Fender Player Series Tele-, Stratocasters and Mustang
Fender Mustang 90 - Pau Ferro - Aged Natural
  • 24” scale length; “C”-shaped maple neck
  • Two Mustang MP-90 pickups
  • 9. 5”-radius maple fingerboard with 22 medium jumbo...
  • Six-saddle string-through-body hardtail Strat bridge...
  • Master Volume and Tone controls; three-way pickup...

These Player series axes have a nut width of 1.65inches(42mm).  All guitars from this series are great options for intermediate players, comfortable to play, quality is solid and value for money is excellent. 

The Mustang is easiest to play of all these because it comes with a shorter scale(24) length and that decreases the tension of the strings. But some folks don’t like the looks of it, and if you are like this, Tele- and Stratocasters are great options too. 

If your budget is tighters, check out Squier classic vibe guitars, These offer you same 1.65inch (42mm) nut width, with lower price. Of course, these lose sound and quality-wise for Player Series axes but are definitely worth the money.

Also, Squier Classic Vibe 70’s Jaguar is a really cool option too, it gives you a shorter(24) scale, and again, strings are easier to press down because of the lower tension.

 

 

Best If You Are Into Metal – Schecter Omen Extreme-FR
Schecter Omen Extreme-FR Electric Guitar, Vintage Sunburst
  • Vector Inlay
  • Schecter Diamond Plus Pickups
  • TOM with String-Thru
  • Schecter Tuners
  • Black Chrome Hardware

This guitar gives you a nut width of  1.625” (41.3mm). And the shape of the neck is thin-C, so it’s great for small-handed folks. Schecters are known for their super-slim and hast necks, and clearly this is no exception.

Note that this is guitar built metal in mind, and it’s made for fast lead sections and melodic but heavy riffs. If these sound good to you and you want an easy to play guitar, this is a great option.

 

Best For Advanced Players – Fender Special Edition Custom Telecaster FMT

I was introduced to this axe quite recently but I had an instant crush…First of all, this guitar looks stunning, but there is a lot more like than just good looks. This guitar has a really versatile Seymor Duncan combo, but this axe is really built Rock in mind. 

But why this is a great option for small hands? 1.625″( 41.3 mm) nut width with Modern C shaped neck are the reason for that. These qualities make this Custom Tele a great option for advanced players or intermediate and beginner players with big budgets.

 

Best Acoustic Guitars for Small Hands

Here, nut width and action are again the main factors. Let’s look at some base-lines.

Nut Width

Regular sized acoustic guitars usually have the nut width between 1,65(42mm)-1.75inches(44,5mm). I would advise you to look for the nut width below 1.7 inches(43mm), although there are some great options for small hands with wider neck available too.

And as always testing different seized necks helps you to make the best choice possible. You You can also grab a ruler and see how the differences between different widths look like. 

Action

Again, the action is more of a setup question. You can adjust the action of every acoustic guitar. But…

With some acoustic guitars adjusting the action isn’t always the easiest thing because especially the lower priced acoustic axes don’t have truss rod. In these cases you usually have to adjust the saddle, but most times, this has to be done with sandpaper. 

You can do this yourself, but be careful because you can make the action lower, but you can not make it higher without replacing the saddle. If you are a beginner, it’s maybe a good idea to let professionals handle the action adjustments in these cases. But again, doing this by yourself is not an impossible task.

 

Body Size

Especially if you are smaller guy or gal, you should pay attention to body size of an acoustic guitar, because if the guitar is really big, it can slow you down.

So it might be a great idea to not buy the biggest concert model out there. And next, I’m going to make some recommendations, all these acoustics have slim necks, relatively small bodies, and overall easy playability. Only thing that varies is how easy action adjustments are. Let’s look at these fine guitars.

 

My Recommendations

Best for Beginners – Yamaha APX600

Yamaha APX600 NA Thin Body Acoustic-Electric Guitar, Natural
  • Thin-line cutaway Body design for exceptional...
  • 25" Scale Length and narrower string spacing for...
  • New scalloped bracing pattern for increased bass...
  • Abalone sound hole rosette
  • Stage-focused pickup system for shaping your sound in...

This axe also gives you nut width of 1.69 inches (43 mm). So it’s narrow, and the overall neck profile is thin and it really reminds me of an electric guitar neck. Easy to play. If you place your thumb in the right place, you can reach frets quite easily.

If you are looking for an acoustic guitar with a thin neck, this is a great choice.

So, the neck is slim, but the body is too. This makes overall playability better. 

If you are looking for an acoustic guitar with a thin neck, this is a great choice.

Action-wise this axe is only OK out of the box. Aand, this guitar doesn’t have a truss rod. This is a small flaw with acoustic guitars this affordable .

Of course, you can lower action, but be careful if you are going to sandpaper the saddle yourself. Because when you lower it, you can’t make it back higher without replacing the saddle. 

 

If You Want Really Slim Neck – Ibanez PF Series PF15ECE – Electric Acoustic

Ibanez PF Series PF15ECE Dreadnought Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Cutaway...
  • Mahogany back and sides
  • Spruce top
  • Fishman Sonicore pickup
  • SST preamp
  • Onboard tuner

Good acoustic guitars with only 42mm(1,65inch) nut width are not that easy to find. But this Ibanez PF Series PF15ECE might be a great option for you. 

Of course, the first plus is the narrow and thin neck. It’s about as narrow as it gets with a good regular sized acoustic guitar. 

The action is usually ok right from the start, as always this depends on your playstyle. Personally, I might make it just a little bit lower. 

This guitar doesn’t have a truss rod, so I recommend that you let a professional handle the lowering of the action if that’s needed in your case. It can be done yourself, but please be careful that you don’t lower it too much because if you do, you need to replace the saddle.

If you first play the electric guitar and then play this, the difference on the neck is not huge. This one definitely has comfortable and easy playability.

 

Best for Intermediate Players – Taylor GS Mini-e Rosewood ES-B
Taylor GS Mini-e Rosewood ES-B
  • Scaled Down Grand Symphony Body
  • Sitka Spruce Top with Layered Rosewood Back and Sides
  • Short Scale (23-1/2") Sapele Neck with Ebony...
  • Taylor Expression System 2 Electronics
  • Includes GS Mini Hard Bag

This guitar gets 2 things right for folks with small hands.

First of all, this GS Mini has nut width of 1.69’’(42.8 mm) inches. For acoustic, this is really narrow.  It makes reaching the frets and playing chords lot easier. Especially the barre chords are a lot easier with narrow neck.

Secondly, with a scale length of only 23.5 inches, the GS Mini plays at a low tension that goes a long way in reducing hand strain and finger pain.

About the size of a parlor guitar but packing a surprisingly powerful voice, the Taylor GS Mini is a great acoustic for players put off by beefy dreadnoughts.

 

 Best Tones – Yamaha FG-TA Transacoustic

Yamaha FG-TA Transacoustic Guitar w/ Chorus and Reverb, Vintage Tint
  • Amazing sounding reverb and chorus built into the...
  • An actuator installed on the inner surface of the...
  • Three simple knobs let you adjust your amount of...
  • The Guitar Body is based on Yamaha FG820, with a solid...
  • SYSTEM70 Trans Acoustic Preamp with a SRT Piezo Pickup

Besides of FG-TA’s cool unplugged effects, it has one other big advantage when compared to other similar-sized acoustic guitars… it has a slightly narrower nut width of 1.69″ (43 mm). 

This improves overall playability, and if you have small hands or short fingers, this is definitely great news for you, because frets are pretty easy to access with a narrow neck.

It’s got a traditional western style body and a straightforward C-shaped neck that feel just like many other comfortable standard acoustics.

With a rosewood fretboard, you’re ensured a silky smooth playing surface that’s soft and responsive beneath your fingertips.

The overall neck profile is pretty thin, and action is usually OK out of the box, and with truss rod, you can adjust the to your preference whether it is low or high.

 

Best Classical Guitars for Small Hands

I’ll give it to you right away…classical guitars are not the easiest to play for people with small hands. Why? Because classical guitars have by far the biggest necks of any guitar types, and the action is usually pretty high too… 

But if a classical guitar is your dream instrument, don’t get discouraged. You can learn how to play it, even with small hands. 

I bought my first Classical (Yamaha C40) in 2011, and even though I have small hands, I have been jamming with it almost every day since. So you can absolutely learn to play classical guitar. No question about it.

Here easy to play axe helps a lot. I crafted this guide with my writer Tommy Tompkins to help you find the best classical guitar for your small hands: 5 Best Classical Guitar for Small Hands in 2020 – Buyer’s Guide 

That helps you to choose a great instrument for yourself. After that all you need is practice. 

 

What to Do Next?

You have come this far…and I’m sure that there really is nothing that can stop you from learning the guitar. 

Not even small hands.

As always, physical limitations can make learning new skills harder….but not impossible. Same things applies to the guitar playing. 

These exercises, tips and tricks will surely make learning easier and faster for you. And sometimes buying an easier to play guitar helps too. 

So, small hands cause you trouble, but these troubles should not stop you.

I just laid the best tips and tricks that I have found during my 11+ years guitar journey. These should help you to get over those problems your small hands cause you.

And if you really want to learn to play guitar, you will take action. Use those tips I gave you. Improve your reach, strength, and coordination. Learn to play guitar. 

I have enjoyed playing the guitar for over a decade. If I have done that, you can absolutely do the same.

So, play your favorite songs every day. Use the help I gave you. And learn to play the guitar! 

If you need a little help with kickstarting your guitar journey check this guide I made: How to Play Guitar? Get Started Fast and Free!

Conclusion

I hope that this guide helped you to progress and gave motivation boosts. One thing is for sure. You are not alone. Thousands of people struggle and have been struggling with their small hands when learning the guitar. Including me. But you can do it!

If you have any questions, just ask. Leave a comment down below or contact me. Also, feel free to share this post so that it can help other players with small hands too.

I wish you all the best and keep playing, having fun, and rocking with the guitar, despite your small hands!

Teemu Suomala

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