Learning guitar can be difficult enough for those of us with large hands, but if you aren’t blessed with the anatomy for it, and you are learning guitar with small hands, things can be tougher. The choice of which guitar to buy is difficult for everyone, but you should definitely be looking for the best electric guitar for small hands if you are a younger guitarist or struggle with playing on a normal sized guitar.
Luckily, guitar brands have taken into account the need to provide products for players of all different shapes and sizes and many have made smaller scale guitar models to accomadate for the smaller players among us.
In this post, we’re specifically looking at electric guitars, but there are smaller scale acoustic guitars too as brands like Fender, Yamaha and others expand their range.
Choosing an Electric Guitar for Small Hands
There are many things to consider when buying an electric guitar. What features are better for smaller players? How have manufacturers created guitars which are more compact and easy to play?
- Body Size. The guitars body is what holds everything together and gives it looks and structure. The body of a guitar can sometimes be quite large and cumbersome, and certain makes of guitar can make smaller-handed players end up reaching for the strings. This makes it much harder to strum with one hand while fretting with the other, and a smaller body can avoid this problem.
- Strings. It stands to reason that if you have a smaller hands and fingers, heavier strings can be tougher to play. This will especially become an issue with playing barre chords or more complicated parts. There are certain ligher strings that can help with this issue. Though this is something you can modify, it is worth thinking about when buying an electric guitar.
- Fingerboard and Neck. This deals with the area of the guitar that your left hand will be playing (if you’re a righty) – the fingerboard is where the frets are situated and some guitars are much shorter than others in this regard. A shorter fingerboard and thinner neck will make playing much easier.
We’ve reviewed a few electric guitars which are perfectly suitable for small-handed players. They all suit the criteria laid out above in being short, small, light and easy to play for the tinier (or younger) section of the population! We know that everyone is on a different budget, so whether you’re looking for a guitar under $200 or under $500 we’ve got you covered.
Squier Strat Mini
Regular Subreel readers will know that generally we’re big fans of Squier for budget electric guitar options. They’re amazing for beginners and provide a good tone without spending a huge amount of money. If you want a smaller electric guitar that doesn’t cost the earth, the Strat mini could fit the bill.
- A 3/4 length guitar with a fingerboard under 23 inches in length.
- Three coil strat pickups with five switchable settings for control of tone.
- Small, 20-fret fretboard.
- Available in multiple colors.
- Great for younger players and beginners.
A stratocaster is nothing short of iconic among guitarists, and as such can be a great starting point. If you’re a more advanced or even intermediate player the Squier Bullet Strat mini might not quite have the tone and features you’re looking for, but for starters it can do a more than adequate job at a great price. If you’re a big, burly man, playing a 3/4 size guitar might not look particularly natural, but for smaller players and youngsters it can be a great alternative to buying something full size. Though it has less frets, it doesn’t mean you will be restricted with your playing and 99% of the things you can do with a full sized guitar can be done on the Squier.
With beginners in mind, this can also be bought as a bundle with an amp, case, plectrums and everything else you need to get started.
Ibanez Mikro Review
Ibanez are another huge brand in the industry, and manufacture some top electric guitars. Many of their guitars are associated with the rock and metal, but they’re well built guitars whatever your style, and the Ibanez miKro is a good example of a short scale guitar with a lot built into a small package.
A short scale guitar available in loads of different designs, this is another affordable guitar with a lot of quality. With medium sized frets and a 22.2’’ Scale Length it is perfect for those of who need something more compact. Being built with Poplar wood, this came in for a bit of criticism when first released with some labeling it a ‘toy guitar’. In truth, the Ibanez Infinity Passive Pickups could be much better, and, in fact, replacing the pickups is a great way to improve the sound of the Mikro.
The short scale of the miKro means it is great for little hands, and though it could perhaps do with a little upgrading here and there, it is a good option with a small price tag.
Fender Offset Series Mustang MN
We’re well and truly into the more advanced end of the market with the Mustang MN from their Offset series. With a 610 mm fretboard scale, this is a shorter version of the Fender Mustang that has become iconic in a huge amount of genres. The sound and build quality of the mustang is absolutely exceptional. The type of guitar that Fender have built their brand on.
A maple, c-shaped neck and Alder body mean that this is a light and easy-to-play guitar for those of us with small hands. It has 22 frets and all of the hallmarks of a wonderful guitar. Two different mustang pickups are switchable to control the tone. You don’t have to look through many reviews of the Offset Mustang MN model to see what a superb choice it is for guitarists. Some of the other models we’ve mentioned are more on the beginner end of the scale, but the Mustang is suitable for even professional players.
Gibson SG Special
Another guitar powerhouse, the Gibson SG special is a slightly smaller option than a standard SG. It is a 24 3/4 inch guitar so a little smaller than most electrics and its clever cutaway design means you can reach all of the frets with ease. The action of the guitar is adjustable so you can make it suit your own unique needs even if you find it tough to fret with some guitars. Being able to make this guitar suit your needs is a huge plus point, and of course the amazing sound of the Gibson SG, which has become iconic. One of the most popular models of guitar has an option for players of all shapes and sizes with the SG Special.
More Tips for Small-Handed Guitarists
While a short scale guitar is going to be a huge help, and the above models will do the world of good, there are things you can do to make playing guitar easier and not let the size of your hands get in the way. Having a smaller build doesn’t mean you can’t be an ace at guitar, and just because Chuck Berry’s hands were the size of frying pans, yours don’t have to be!
- Utilize finger exercises to make sure you’re becoming as flexible as possible. The human body can learn to adapt and adjust to play more frets and stretch and move around the board with ease.
- Use your pinky. We have to use what nature gave us, and those of us with smaller hands need to use our smallest finger to ensure we can reach notes that others can play without.
- Use your wrist correctly and position your fret hand in the right place. A video we’ve linked to below makes this much easier…
Nobody should be prohibited from learning to play an instrument in the modern age, and certain guitar makes are perfect for the lesser-endowed players (speaking strictly about hand size, of course). The models and brands we’ve reviewed on this post cover a range of different prices and enable younger and smaller guitarists to get the most out of their hobby.