If you are a beginner, you may have found it hard to find the best guitar for small hands. Do you go with a shorter scale guitar or is there some ideal beginner guitar that will be just right for you?
Most guitars out in the market are catered to right-handed players who have fairly large hands. Off the top of my head, I can remember one of my guitar teachers who had tiny hands. He had been playing and gigging for 17 years and I kid you not- he was a beast on the fretboard.
His hands were small, much smaller than mine, but he could play circles around me. He’s also got a Tornado of Souls cover on YouTube, so if you’ve got smaller hands, there’s definitely hope for you. Having a guitar that’s made for people who have trouble fretting chords on standard-size guitars can be a blessing.
In this short post, I will walk you through the best guitars for beginners with small hands so you can find the best instrument for your needs. If you’re not much of a reader, I’ve got a top pick and a buying guide so you know what to look out for. At the very least, I suggest you read through the buying guide so you are looking for a guitar that’s in your best interests.
Best Guitars for Beginners with Small Hands
Cordoba Mini II M – Our Acoustic Pick for Beginners With Small Hands
What We Think
The Cordoba Mini II M is hands-down the best acoustic guitar for people with small hands if you’re on a budget.
Many guitarists recommend taking a look at the Taylor Baby Taylor Acoustic, but I found this guitar more suitable for my traveling needs, so I got this. So far, I haven’t had any complaints about how it performs.
The beautiful Cordoba guitar is available in mahogany, flamed mahogany, padauk, and Spruce Ebony but I think you’ll be more into the mahogany looks as it looks gorgeous in addition to being cheaper of the options.
The reason this guitar is our top pick is simple- it’s a beautiful 1/2 size guitar (580mm extended), features a Mahogany top, back and sides, and a C neck profile with a satin finish.
You might think that it would sound like a ukulele as it’s got a smaller frame but it does sound like a guitar- albeit slightly different with a deeper body depth for a warmer sound than most travel guitars.
The Cordoba Mini II M does come with a truss rod and a key, and the strings on it are Savarez 500CJ high-tension Corum strings which make it sound just like a standard nylon-classical classical.
If you’ve never thought about nylon guitars before, this is going to change all of that for you. It’s good for playing rock, blues, and everything, but you can also play classical if you feel like it. Quite versatile if you ask me!
- Excellent value on a budget
- 22 7/8” scale length
- Durable build with Mahogany top, back and sides
- Beautiful Mahogany neck with Morado frets
- Slim C neck profile with satin finish
- Comes with truss rod and adjustment key
- Fantastic sound
- Easy to carry around
- Ideal for players with smaller hands
- Works well for both practice and performance
- Satin finish is very comfortable for playing
- Quality build materials
- Putting steel strings can warp up the neck
Ibanez GRGM21BKN Mikro – Our Electric Pick for Beginners With Small Hands
What We Think
For just about $150, the Ibanez Mikro 3/4 scale electric guitar is a great choice for people with small hands or for those looking for a reliable traveling instrument.
The finish on this is black, and the scale length is 22″. Built out of maple neck and mahogany body with maple top and back, you will be happy to know that it sports a gorgeous rosewood fingerboard which is very easy to play on.
I find the 12″ fingerboard just the right radius for shredding, and if you don’t mind taking it to a nearby shop for fret-dressing, this guitar will be a wonderful purchase for you. Ibanez guitars do last a lifetime, so if you care for them, they will hold up for a very long time.
The Ibanez Mikro electric guitar also features the same build quality and setup as the full-size GRX and GRG models, so it’s pretty great. It’s also the first compact guitar by Ibanez, so if you were looking for an Ibanez that’s a bit smaller and can be used as a pro instrument, you’re in luck.
- 3/4 scale
- 22″ scale length
- Maple neck with rosewood frets
- Mahogany body with maple top and back
- 12″ fingerboard radius
- First Compact guitar by Ibanez
- Good for shredding
- Ideal for beginners and intermediate level players
- Easy to carry around
- Ibanez quality
- Fret edges might be rough
Things to Consider when Choosing a Guitar for Smaller Hands
There are a couple of things you need to keep in mind when looking for a guitar that would be perfect for you as a beginner guitar player with small hands.
Some players automatically assume that a shorter scale length means lesser frets and that’s always a bad thing. This is not true at all.
There are many cases where having a shorter-scale guitar can be beneficial. The most obvious is if you’re looking for a budget guitar that’s good for small hands. The other, more appealing reason is that full-size guitars tend to be less bright, and while they do offer some bass, it’s not nearly enough for playing with a bass.
If you’re thinking of playing with others, you will eventually have to get a bassist to play along with you, so you don’t really have to be using the bass on your guitar. The guitar shines in the mid-frequencies, and that’s exactly what you should be focusing on. A smaller size not only means that the tone is a lot brighter but it also means saving space in your car as well as less luggage to carry around.
A short-scale guitar might just be the ideal guitar for your kid too. The guitars on this list are no toys, and in the right hands, these are as good for practice as professional instruments worth $1000. The important thing is that you are learning new things and not just getting a guitar for the sake of getting one.
Since you are looking at guitars meant for small hands, you will find many guitars that are short-scale and have a smaller string length too. A slimmer neck can be very important if you want to make sure that you are getting the best playability out of your instrument.
I like using the classical grip on my guitar neck- just leave space underneath your palm when you are playing and put your thumb under the neck. I’ve found that a thin neck acoustic guitar helps with speed and is more intuitive if you want to get into shred and neoclassical genres.
Lighter Gauge Strings
The idea that lighter gauge strings are easier to fret and play on than regular gauge strings only dawned on me after many months of trying to work on my speed on the fretboard. It’s an obvious reality- you just need to press on strings harder if you are working with thicker gauge strings, and it’s harder to bend as well.
My philosophy with the guitar is that I know how easy it is to get carpal tunnel or arthritis, so I am always stretching my fingers before picking up the guitar. It gets super repetitive and you cannot really master the instrument without playing it every day for hours on end. So, having a lighter string gauge also helps reduce that strain on your fingers.
Some players do think it’s a compromise in tone- and if you feel that way, you can still heavier gauge strings for recording and not for practicing.
Starting on an Acoustic vs Electric guitar
I would recommend you to check out electric guitars when just starting out with guitars- that’s because apart from the cooler sound (yes, it’s objective), electric guitars have a slimmer form factor that can be easier to hold for most people.
As somebody who has been playing guitars for many years, I can attest to the fact that most electric guitars have slimmer necks compared to acoustic guitars which just makes them easier to play. Imagine having to spend more time learning to barre the frets on an acoustic when you could have done so much easier on an electric where the action is so much lower.
There are a ton of options in the market and it’s super easy to get lost in the horde of gear that looks pretty much the same. That’s why I’ve chosen just an acoustic and electric so you have an easier time deciding.
Acoustic guitars, on the other hand, don’t require an expensive rig to sound good and all you need is just the guitar to get started.
I hope this post has been helpful to you in some way.
Choosing the best guitar for small hands can be tricky business but you should also keep in mind that regardless of the size of your hands, you should always keep stretching and practice effectively. This way, you’re not only reducing the risk of injury on your hands but you will also improve steadily over time.
Getting an electric can help with easy playability early on and thanks to the low action, you can fret barres much easier. Whichever instrument you choose to get, the key to excellence is always consistency and regular practice, so even if you don’t feel like you’re progressing, remember to dedicate some time every day to play the guitar.
Frequently Asked Questions
What size is a ¼ guitar?
A ¼-size guitar is about the same size as a ukulele, and the scale on it is 19 inches while on a standard-size guitar, the scale size is 25 inches. It’s a bit short, so if you are an adult trying to get yourself an instrument, I would suggest you look at guitars that have a scale length of about 23 inches.
If you want to get a smaller guitar and don’t mind the loss in bass, it can be okay too. It could also be great if you want to share the instrument between you and your kids.
Which is the best bass guitar for small hands?
If you’ve got small hands or want to get a bass guitar for your kid, I would suggest taking a look at the Ibanez GSRM20MPL. It not only has amazing aesthetics but also features Ibanez quality which means no compromises on the build or materials used.
It’s 10 inches shorter than the standard bass guitar size and is offered at a budget price, so it’s just ideal for somebody with small hands looking for a bass guitar on an entry-level budget.
What guitar neck shape is best for small hands?
If you have got small hands, I think the C shape neck would be just perfect for you. Having a shallow neck profile will help you with the reach and make it easier for you to fret the barres too.
Can you be a good guitarist with small hands?
Absolutely. I’ve seen many times that players can overcome the hurdle of having small hands with a bit of effort. If you would like to make the process easier, you can also try getting a shorter-scale guitar but practicing on a standard-size guitar is fine too.
Which guitar is best for beginners?
The best guitar for beginners would probably be the Jasmine S35. It features a Spruce top with mahogany back and sides and if you want to read more about budget guitars, you can check this post for cheap beginner guitars under $200.
Does hand size matter in playing the guitar?
It does not pose much problem for most advanced guitarists but if you’re just starting out, it can be inconvenient while holding chord shapes like C at first. But with practice and consistency, you will be able to master the shapes in no time at all.