Buying is always an impulsive decision. That is probably why they call it “retail therapy”. That being said, it is a no-brainer to understand that personal favorites will always be your biggest influence while buying a guitar. If you have your heart stuck at a PRS, you certainly will get a PRS. Next in the list of biggest factors that influence your guitar choice is the genre. You might probably be in love with a Taylor acoustic because of the sound it produces. That specific sound might be very close to the genre your music falls in, which is why Taylor’s texture sounds just perfect to you. But one factor that is rather overlooked every time is the physical factor.
Guitarists have different preferences based on their physique, hand movements, and playing technique. Choosing a guitar that suits your body is something that deserves the utmost priority. You can get that PRS or a Taylor you are game for, but it might not sound as “sick” in your playing as it was in that live set you watched on YouTube. The processors and tones obviously make a difference but as the best guitarists in the world say, the tone is in the hand. Slash can make a Gibson Les Paul copy sound better than a neighbourhood guitarist who has the original one. Hence, it is vital that your hands and fingers do not fall short on the fretboard.
If that is something that usually happens to you, you have short hands, mate. That’s not bad but it is something that should be taken into consideration while buying your guitar. A guitar’s fretboard and body should perfectly fit with yours so that all your focus is on playing and not finding a comfortable position. It will also assist in making the runs and shifts smoother and effortless. Not only that, but you will also be saved from the unbearable pains in your hands and back after you are done playing.
While choosing a guitar for small hands, a few factors come into play. The first one is the neck. The size of each fret might differ from guitar to guitar, making the neck smaller or bigger. A smaller neck with a smaller size of each fret would suit more for a player with small hands. Another characteristic of the neck makes a difference, and that is the thickness. The thicker the neck is, the harder it is for a player to wrap the hand around it. Hence, necks with lesser thickness will make more sense for a player with small hands. Lastly, the size of the guitar body makes a difference, as well. Imagine a child holding a full-size guitar. Will the poor lad be able to play it comfortably? Most likely, no. He won’t be because the guitar body won’t fit in his small hands and arms. But the same boy might be able to play an electric guitar easily. So yeah, the size of the guitar body matters a lot, too. The list below mentions the best picks for a guitarist with small hands, considering all of the aforementioned factors.
Top 10 Best Guitars For Small Hands 2020
1. Taylor BT2
Now Baby Taylor as a variant was started by Taylor Guitars to make guitars for kids. However, there was another untapped segment that they identified as time passed by; travel guitars. Musicians all around the globe travel a lot because they usually have shows in different parts of the world, and it is fairly hard to carry guitars. Their three-quarter dreadnought design was super easy to carry and hence, Baby Taylor started making small-sized (read: travel-sized) guitars for adults. And then, it was realized that people also started to love it for its unique, crisp and smooth tone.
The body and the neck are made of the classic Sapele wood, which defines its smoothness. Not only that, but the body also has multiple layers that give it the strength it needs because it is a small guitar. Moreover, the neck is a bit arched to give it a little more volume. The sound otherwise would be something like a ukulele’s.
However, the best part of the guitar is the Mahogany top. So Mahogany board is usually used for the back and neck of most guitars. But Taylor BT2 also has it on the top, which basically gives it the iconic Taylor sound. It is for the Mahogany top that this guitar sounds softer, warmer, and smoother. The highs are not hurtfully sharp, and the lows are soft too, giving it an overall melodious touch. Pro tip: Use a drop D tuning on Taylor BT2 and stick to open chords. Extensions and suspensions are a plus. Thank us later!
2. LX1 Little Martin
The acoustic guitar itself was invented in the 1830s and guess when was Martin founded? 1833. Yes, you read that right. Martin is a company that literally falls in the first mover category for acoustic guitars. Not only that, but they’ve also maintained their premium quality and unprecedented position in the market. Even today, the Mexican guitar maker giants are considered the first choice when someone decides to buy an acoustic guitar.
That being said, it is obvious that Martin, a company that’s in business for almost 2 centuries now, will do anything but compromise on their quality. Anything they produce is literally one of its kind while having the iconic Martin sound! For small hands and young players, they have the LX1 Little Martin. It’s a small guitar with 20 frets that easily fits in and sounds as beautiful as full-size Martins.
The best word to explain LX1 Little Martin’s sound and quality is fusion. The entire skill and craftsmanship lie in the body of the guitar. The body and the neck are made of Mahogany. The mahogany gives the guitar the strength, resonance, and warmth it needs to have to live up to the Martin standards. However, the top of the guitar is not mahogany, unlike Baby Taylor. Instead, the LX1 Little Martin has a Sitka Spruce top. The guitar top is the place where the strings resonate majorly. The Sitka Spruce top gives LX1 the clarity it has. It gives it a slightly toppy sound which is a little different to Baby Taylor. The Sitka Spruce clarity fused with Mahogany warmth gives us a sound like no other in the world. A basic, open G major will sound hypnotizing!
Lastly, Martin was the first guitar company to play around with neck sizes and make guitars with sounds that feel like a fusion of guitar and ukulele, or a guitar and a banjo. They have been doing this since the 1920s, since The Great Depression. Hence, Martin can be trusted blindly with LX1. Making small guitars and giving them beautiful sounds is nothing new for them.
3. Yamaha APXT2 ¾ size
One of Yamaha’s top-selling models all around the world is APX500. It is known for its strength, nominal pricing and a decent sound. However, APX500 is a big guitar. It is a guitar that a person of full size can play. But are all the players full size? Nope, they’re not. How to make APX500 playable for people with smaller hands and body sizes? Make a variant! Yes, that’s exactly what they did. They made a smaller version of APX500 and named it APXT2.
APXT2 is a guitar that is exactly like APX500 in terms of design, quality, sound, tone, resonance and everything else. Even the number of frets is unchanged. The only difference between APX500 and APXT2 is the size. Hence, this guitar is specifically made for people with small hands.
As said, all the types of wood and their quality is exactly the same as APX500. The back and neck are made of Meranti. Meranti is a black wood that is very similar to Mahogany. The guitar top is made of Spruce, but it is laminated. Why? Because the final finish matters. The fingerboard is made from NATO with Rosewood. The epitome of smoothness!
However, the best part about this guitar is that it is semi-acoustic. It comes with a built-in System 68 pickup and an ART preamp. Although the preamp doesn’t have infinite options, it gives control over volume and tones. Not only that, but the Yamaha APXT2 also has a built-in digital tuner! All these features suggest that the guitar is specifically made for learners and people with small hands.
4. Oscar Schmidt OG1FYS-A-U 3/4 Size Dreadnought
Oscar Schmidt Inc., just like the all popular Martin, is one of the first acoustic guitar manufacturers in the world. They started their production approximately 50 years after Martin, in 1871. While Martin targeted the SEC A and made premium, top-notch instruments for them, Oscar Schmidt tapped the masses with decent quality and lower prices.
Hence, if the budget is a serious concern, Oscar Schmidt OG1FYS-A-U would be the best choice. It is one of the fairest priced acoustic guitars for people with small hands. The body of OG1FYS-A-U is made out of layered Catalpa wood. They have used the all famous Mahogany for the neck and the top is made of Spruce. The fretboard comes in two types; the first one is Engineered Wood and the second one is the Rosewood. This combination of different wood types is probably what makes it a bit cheaper than a Baby Taylor or a Little Martin. That is where they saved some costs.
This version, as the name suggests, is 3/4th of the original version of this guitar. The neck in the original version is 41mm, while the neck in this version is 37mm. We are talking about the width here, obviously. This slimmer neck makes this guitar a perfect choice for someone with small hands because their hand will wrap around the neck pretty easily. All the barre chords and notes will be properly struck and hence, the playing will be smoother with no buzzing.
As far as the sound is concerned, the Oscar Schmidt OG1FYS-A-U ¾ certainly does not sound like a Baby Taylor or a Little Martin. But you are not even paying as much, are you? Its price tag is way lesser than Taylor’s or Martin’s and for the money, it is absolutely worth it.
5. Jasmine S34C NEX
Jasmine Guitars was a brand that was started by the renowned Japanese music company called Takamine. They are, again, as old as Martin so they can be easily trusted with the quality of the instruments they make. However, Jasmine Guitars was sold to KMC Music Company in 2005. There were no compromises on quality.
The Jasmine S34C NEX is an amazing acoustic guitar in a small size. It is a Dreadnought body style with back and sides made of Sapele wood. It has a Spruce top that is laminated, and the fretboard is made of Rosewood. The cutaway is not super sharp; it is a little curvy, commonly known as the Venetian-style cutaway because the frets are easily reachable. How are the frets easily reachable? Because of the slim neck.
The overall sound of the guitar is very complete and firm, something that experts would call balanced. It sounds extremely rich in strums, which is an absolute necessity as far as acoustic guitars are concerned. Although it weighs lesser than normal guitars, the sound it produces is very big. There is no single reason behind this. It is a combination of wood types and craftsmanship very precisely put together by Takamine. The shape it has is Takamine’s trademark shape and their guitars usually cost well over $1000. Hence, getting the same shape and more or less the same quality in a much lower price makes Jasmine S34C NEX a great, great choice!
6. Squier Strat Mini ¾ scale
For people who don’t know about Squier, it is a guitar brand introduced by a much more known brand, Fender. Premium brands usually launch their inferior brands for a lower SEC segment. This way, people who can’t afford Fender can also get a genuine product.
So Squier’ Strat is as famous as Fender’s. The iconic maple neck tone can’t be beaten by any other guitar. Having said that, if you are fond of the maple neck blues tone but have small hands, Squier’s Strat Mini is your perfect solution. Strat Mini literally follows all standards of a Squier Strat. It just has 3/4th of the scale, which is a usual thing in smaller versions of guitars. The fingerboard is also narrower, 40.9mm against original Strat’s 43mm. This makes it easier for the player to wrap their hand around it. The board has 20 frets and the headstock is the standard maple neck. The body has a C shape, similar to all other Stratocasters.
The fretboard is made out of Rosewood, which means there are no compromises on the quality. The pickups are no different either; it has 3 single-coil Stratocaster pickups and a five-way tone switcher. The strings-thru-body bridge in this Strat Mini is also the vintage Strat-style bridge. All in all, you are getting a standard Stratocaster with a reduced scale so that your hands can reach all frets.
7. Squier Vintage Modified Mustang
This is another model by Squier. The Modified Mustang is specifically made as a beginner guitar for children. However, the quality has not been compromised at all. For Squier, making a guitar for children does not mean that the tone and sound can be tweaked. Nope, that is not an option.
The Modified Mustang meets all the standards to be a proud member of the Squier (and largely Fender) family. Compared to the Strat mentioned above, Mustang has a few more features for tones and volumes. The most prominent of these options is probably the Tremolo arm.
However, the tremolo is not the best feature of this guitar. The two single-coil pickups in this guitar have one switch each. In the classic Strat, the tone switch has options with built-in control of all the pickups. But because the pickups have separate switches in the Modified Mustang, both the pickups can be controlled separately as per the need. If both the switches are in the center, both the pickups are off. If both the switches are on the right or on the left, they are on and in phase. And if one of the switches is on right and the other one is on the left, the pickups are on and out of phase. This gives the player a lot more control over the tone of the guitar than usual.
Furthermore, because the guitar has tremolo, it also has a different bridge; something that is called a “floating” bridge. It is very similar to the Floyd Rose and comes in handy to bend the sound while holding on to the tuning when tremolo is used.
The Modified Mustang might not beat the Strat in a clean tone, but it certainly does in the crunch. The overdrive sounds extremely rich in the Mustang which makes it a great choice for blues rock, pop-rock, or alternative rock.
8. Ibanez GRGM21BKN ¾ Size Mikro
By now, we have seen that when it comes to smaller versions of guitars, most of the attention is given to acoustic models. The second in that list are bluesy electric guitars. That is probably because smaller versions of guitars are usually made keeping children under consideration. They are primarily for children’s learning purposes but fit in as great solutions to people with small hands. But what happens if a child, or a person with a smaller set of hands, is a rock/metal fan? How are they going to pull that off on an acoustic or a single coil electric guitar? They can’t. And therefore, we have the Ibanez GRGM21BKN ¾ Mikro Electric Guitar.
Now because this is a smaller version of Ibanez’s RG range, it is obvious that it is made especially for shredders. The body of this guitar is made of extremely lightweight wood. It is easy to carry and fits in well in small hands and body. It has a maple neck that gives more flexibility to the strings. They can easily be bent up and down smoothly. Not only that, but the tuners are also top of the line, too. Considering a guitar made primarily for shredding, the tuners play a vital role. Shredding means a lot of string movement, that can make the guitar go out of tune. The tuners keep the tuning in place while the players move the strings as they want.
None of this, however, is the best part about this guitar. One feature that tops the list of features in this guitar is the set of humbucker pickups! This thing looks very tiny, maybe even like a toy to some. But as they say, big things come in small packets. Plug it into an amp, turn the drive and give it a little gain. But before that, you might need to give a heads up to your neighbors! This guitar is tiny but that is not the complete description; it is a tiny monster! The humbuckers are loud enough to crack your windows, just like a full-size Ibanez!
9. Jackson JS32 Dinky DKA-M
Dinky is Jackson’s entire range for people with smaller hands. It has several models in the range but this one, in particular, is usually reviewed the best. The Jackson JS32 Dinky is made with full-size Jackson features. The humbucker pickups are Jackson’s stock pickups that are found in all Jackson models and are also out of the world, by the way.
The most interesting feature in this guitar that makes it absolutely perfect for people with small hands is the double-cutaway. JS32 has a cutaway on both sides which makes it extremely easy for people with small hands to reach all the frets, till the end, without hurting their fingers or changing the standard hand position.
The maple neck is reinforced with graphite. This gives the guitar a great strength and roughness without adding a lot in its weight. It contains a whammy bar because of the genre it is usually used in, and this also explains why it has a Floyd Rose bridge.
10. Epiphone G-400 Pro
Just like Squier, Epiphone is an inferior line for lower SEC segments by Gibson. With Epiphone, more players can experience Gibson’s quality and become a part of their family. Although Gibson SG would have been the best choice for people with small hands who crave that tone, but they are really heavy on the pockets. Therefore, an Epiphone SG would make a better option.
Epiphone SG G-400 Pro is a high-quality guitar, just like Gibson standards. The neck is curved from behind with a fingerboard made of rosewood with 22 frets. These features make it a perfect fit for small hands; very easy and smooth to play. It is not that easy on the ears, though. G-400 built with 2 Epiphone renowned humbucker pickups and they have some power! The best part about G-400 is its tuning stability. The bridge is very strong and doesn’t let strings tune out. They call it the Tune-O Matic bridge.
This marks the completion of our guide to the best guitars for small hands. We hope that you learned something new about small-scale guitars and what to look out for when you are finding your perfect match. Now, it comes down to jotting down your preferences and requirements and then purchasing the guitar that stands out for you the most.
We covered all the different factors that you should consider when looking for the right guitar that perfectly complements your hand size and movements. With both acoustic and electric guitars listed above, you can be rest assured that each guitar in the list above is worthy of being your next purchase.