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Best Guitars For Small Hands 2017 – Buyer’s Guide

Guitars come in many shapes and sizes. If you're like me (small handed) you'll have to take extra special care choosing a guitar that you can play comfortably.

Because let's face it, the guitar may be the nicest, most amazing sounding guitar you've ever laid your eyes on - but all that is nonsense if you can't get your hands around the thing.

Note: The links above take you to more information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon. If you do purchase something we get a small commission, which has absolutely no effect on the eventual price that you pay.

Buyer's Tips: What to look for when buying a guitar for small hands

There’s one thing you should consider first though before running away and buying a smaller guitar. A great deal of difficulty arising from “small hands” is actually the result of poor technique and grip strength.

This can be fixed by spending some time with a teacher and getting a grip exerciser, although you may still prefer the feel of a smaller guitar, especially if you’re just starting out.

Ok let's look at each product in more detail. To make things easier for you, we've added pros and cons for each one, as well as a video demonstration so you can see them in action. So without further ado, let’s take a look...

1. Martin LXK2 Little Martin (Editor's Choice)

Martin LXK2 Little Martin - Natural

One of the main problems with smaller guitars is that they tend to be made for beginners who are afraid of spending too much money on something they might not stick with. As a result, they tend to be cheaply made. Thankfully, Martin have refused to do the same, and as such they have made some of the best guitars for small hands around. This particular guitar is ¾ size, meaning it has a smaller body and the neck is scaled down too.

  • Just as loud as a full size guitar and has a beautiful tone
  • Can be set up to be either left or right handed
  • Includes a gig bag for going to music lessons
  • If you’re intending this as a first guitar, you might be intimidated by the price, but don’t be! The true benefit of getting a good guitar straight out of the gate is that it’s much easier to stay motivated to play when the guitar itself sounds good, and gets better as your technique does.
  • Although the guitar does come with a strap hook, there’s no actual strap included for upright playing - although these are very cheap.
  • Some of the materials used aren’t solid pieces of wood, instead laminates (or composites) are used. However, the tone quality is still very high and unless you’re an elitist, this shouldn’t stop you from giving this beautiful little guitar a test run at the very least.

Let's take a look at this product...

2. Ibanez S Series

Ibanez S521 - Blackberry Sunburst

This electric guitar is great for small hands. Great for playing metal, and unlike the wide necks that tends to be associated with guitars for this type of music, Ibanez have created a very thin, but flat type they call the “Wizard neck”, with the aim of making it easier for lightning-fast shredding. This also happens to be an amazing boon for players with small hands, as they are much more accessible.

  • A very high quality axe that uses excellent materials and electronics for a great sound
  • Very lightweight so your technique isn’t hampered by supporting the weight with your hands.
  • Uses Ibanez’s Wizard Neck design which makes it easier to play at insane speeds without sacrificing high frets, and it also makes it very easy to wrap even tiny hand spans around.
  • Although in a skilled pair of hands any guitar can play any style of music, the tone of this guitar is really aimed at hard rock and metal, so if you were looking to do something else like pop or jazz, you might not like the particular tone.
  • Although this is a versatile instrument, it doesn’t include a whammy bar.
  • This is a full bodied guitar, so although it’s a good choice for players with smaller than average hands, it will still be difficult for a child to play.

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3. Cordoba Protege (Budget Choice)

Cordoba Guitars Protege C1 ¾ Size Acoustic Nylon String Guitar

A classical guitar, available in either full or ¾ size. It’s designed primarily for beginners, but also plays well if you’ve just got small hands and want something a little easier on the fingers.

  • Like all classical guitars, the nylon strings used are much easier to press down, which will assist with a weaker grip strength or extremely wide chords.
  • Solid choices of tone woods make the sound of the guitar much more powerful than what smaller guitars are generally capable of.
  • As a classical guitar it’s well suited to learning fingerstyle, which can really open up the options as a solo musician.
  • The frets are widely spaced, which is both a blessing and a curse. It’s easier to not hit the wrong fret if you’re just starting out, but also makes it stretching to reach those really wide chords harder.
  • As a factory produced guitar, it will benefit from being taken to a workshop to have any issues with the fretboard taken care of.
  • Although this includes a gig bag and tuner, the bag is very basic and offers no more than the most rudimentary protection from the elements, so this will need to be upgraded as soon as possible if you plan on travelling much.

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4. Epiphone PR-5E

Epiphone PR5-E Thin-Body Acoustic/Electric Guitar, Florentine Cutaway

An electro-acoustic guitar with some very handy design features for small hands, but beginners will also benefit and the choice of tonewoods and high quality electronics will ensure that even an established guitarist will be able to stick with this guitar.

  • Slimmer body makes it easier to play if you have a smaller stature, which also tends to correspond with smaller hands.
  • The guitar has a florentine cutaway, which not only gives the guitar a very pleasing shape, but also makes accessing the highest frets much more manageable.
  • The electronics are simple to use, provide a large range of tonal options and use excellent components.
  • The scale length is slightly larger, at 25.5”, than the ideal range for guitarists with smaller hands.
  • As a fairly heavy instrument at over 7lbs, you will need to focus on your technique to stop yourself from supporting too much of the weight with your fretting hand which makes it harder to play.
  • Will likely require a trip to your local music shop for a couple of fine-tuning adjustments to bring it up to speed, but otherwise this is a decent choice of guitarIs not available in ¾ or smaller sizes, making it less suited to children or more petite players.

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5. Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor

Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar, Mahogany Top

An acoustic guitar from one of the most highly respected American guitar manufacturers, this guitar is built from the ground up to be a top notch instrument that perfectly fits into small hands.

  • A small scale length of 22.75” makes what would be a long stretch on a regular guitar much more compact.
  • Smooth ebony fretboard makes it easier to fly up and down positions, which you’ll be finding yourself doing more often than guitarists with gigantic monster hands.
  • For such a small guitar, it packs a sonic punch with much more volume than would be expected.Nice, narrow neck makes wrapping around for barre chords a realistic goal
  • Although the guitar only has 19 frets, the lack of any cutaway makes reaching the top end very difficult for a small hander
  • Doesn’t respond well to changes in humidity
  • The tone lacks clarity when playing big, full sounding chords and is really better suited to single string work.

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So, after looking through these you might be struggling to pick out which among them is the best guitar for small hands.

I don’t blame you, as they’re all very different from each other.

Of course, you should take into account your own needs. If you want to play Ed Sheeran, the Ibanez is probably not the best instrument for you. Conversely, if you want to be able to play live gigs in large venues, then perhaps you should consider one of the electro-acoustics.

Having said that, I think the clear winner is the Little Martin. Although it doesn’t use all solid pieces of wood, is still produces a fantastic tone. It’s small size is also perfect for small hands, children and beginners. Although it doesn’t have a cutaway, this shouldn’t prevent you from playing as the only music that will use frets that high up would either be better suited to an electric or a classical guitar anyway.​

Featured image source: fvancini / CC BY 2.0

Ged is Founder and Editor-in-chief at Zing Instruments. He’s a guitarist for London based gypsy jazz band ‘Djangology’ and when he’s not ripping up and down the fretboard, he’s tinkering with his Campervan.

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