A common complaint that many people have is that their hands are too small to play the guitar. There’s nothing more frustrating than wanting to play your favourite songs and your hands not stretching where you want to. (If you started on full sized guitars or an acoustic guitar, you’ll know exactly what we mean).
One way of getting around this is by buying a guitar with a shorter scale length. This means that the frets are much closer together, the strings are lighter and playing the guitar can be much easier if you have smaller hands.
In this article, we’re going to show you what the best electric guitar for small hands is, as well as a whole host of other axes that are worth checking out too.
Best Short Scale Guitar
One of Fender’s more out there designs is the ‘Duo Sonic’. Popularised by artists such as Patti Smith and Talking Heads, this type of guitar is used frequently for styles of music such as Indie and Punk Rock. Let’s learn more about this unique instrument.
The Fender Duo-Sonic guitar is an iconic instrument that works extremely well for guitarist’s who have small hands. One issue that many guitarists face when purchasing a smaller guitar is that it often looks like a child’s instrument, however, this electric guitar has a decent-sized body that works well for most adult players.
The 24” scale length will help you play guitar with ease. For example, if you have short fingers, the short scale length makes playing chords and lead work much easier than on a full-sized guitar. As well, the addition of a fixed bridge aids tuning stability and sustain.
Similar to its cousin, the Telecaster. This Fender guitar uses two pickups. Fender has two models available, one that features a single-coil and a humbucker and another that features two single coils. This feature enables the instrument to work well with lots of guitar styles and you’ll be able to easily achieve the tones that you desire with either of these instruments.
Furthermore, this guitar comes in a variety of colours including:
- Tidepool, Seafoam Green and Desert Sand. (Fender Duo-Sonic with Single Coils).
- Crimson Red, Sienna Sunburst & Ice Blue Metallic. (Fender Duo-Sonic with Single Coil and Humbucker.)
As you can see here, only specific colours are available on select models. It would’ve been nice if all the colours were available on both models, however, we understand too that there’s an element of production limitations here too.
Depending on colour choice, both guitars are available with either a maple or Pau Ferro fretboard and the pickups are controlled via the guitar’s onboard volume, tone control and 3-way selector switch. Furthermore, each guitar comes with chrome hardware that looks stylish and unobtrusive.
Overall, this is a great electric guitar that is worth considering if you want an instrument that is slightly easier to play.
- The 24” scale length and small alder body are ideal for guitarists with small hands.
- The two single-coil pickups offer a wide range of tones. Other models also include a humbucker in the bridge too.
- The neck uses a modern C shaped neck and the 22 frets on the guitar allow the user to navigate around the fretboard with ease.
- The guitar comes in a wide range of colours.
- Some players may prefer a longer scale length.
- Not all colour options are available on each Duo-Sonic model.
Best Small Electric Guitar For Rock
Ibanez Mikro Guitar GRGM21M-WNS GIO
Known for their rich heritage in rock and metal, Ibanez is a pioneer guitar maker. Whether it’s Joe Satriani, Steve Vai or Paul Gilbert, Ibanez guitars have been a core part of the guitar hero movement for many years.
However, not all of their guitars work for every guitarist. Some are simply too big, especially for children or guitarists with small hands. To fill this gap in the market, Ibanez introduced the Mikro series. Let’s find out more about it.
The Ibanez GRGM21M-WNS GIO RG is a fantastic guitar for young rockers or for guitarists who want an Ibanez but find the full-size models too large.
This Ibanez guitar boasts a maple neck, poplar body, jatoba fretboard with Sharktooth inlays, dual humbuckers, 22.2” scale, 24 frets and fixed bridge.
Although at first sight, this guitar may seem a little strange, upon playing it, it feels surprisingly comfortable. The smaller body and fretboard allow players with smaller hands to reach extended chords and larger frets than on a normal-size guitar.
Furthermore, this guitar offers a wide range of electric guitar tones. Even though there are only two humbuckers, the five-way switch allows the player to easily switch between humbucker and coil tapped tones, meaning this is an extremely versatile instrument.
Further tonal manipulation can also be achieved by tweaking the onboard volume and tone controls.
Although in this article, we’re only reviewing the GRG series. Ibanez offers many other models from their range in a ‘Mikro’ format, including:
- Paul Gilbert signature.
- Paul Stanley signature.
Therefore, if the shape of the GRG isn’t for you, it may be worth checking out Ibanez’s website to see if you can find a more preferable shape.
Overall this is a decent guitar that would be a great option for beginner guitarists or even seasoned professionals who want a guitar to travel with.
- The GRG Mikro is available with either a Jatoba or maple fretboard.
- Smaller-scale length at 22.2”.
- The two pickups provide the user with five different sound combinations.
- A huge range of colour options is available.
- The thin neck is extremely comfortable.
- The smaller body shape may feel more like a toy for some players.
- Some issues with sharp fret ends and quality control.
Best Electric Guitar For Short Fingers
Squier Mini Strat V2
The Fender Stratocaster is arguably one of the most famous guitars of all time. Even if you’re not a guitarist, you would recognise this iconic instrument.
It’s no surprise really that Squier has produced a miniature version to appeal to children and adults who prefer smaller guitars.
The Squier/Fender Mini Strat V2 is a great affordable option for enthusiastic young children or players who find full-size guitars too difficult to play.
Firstly, the guitar looks great. It has that iconic strat look and tone that has appeared on so many famous recordings.
Secondly, the addition of three single-coil pickups, a five-way switch and onboard volume and tone control allow the player to easily manipulate the sound of the instrument.
What makes the guitar stand out from the crowd is its small scale length. A standard Stratocaster is 25.5” and has 21 frets, however, this mini strat has a scale length of 22.75”, 20 medium frets and a nut width of 40.6mm.
These smaller dimensions allow players with smaller hands to play chords and lead with ease.
As well as this, the bridge has six individual saddles that can be easily adjusted, meaning you get your guitar set up in the optimum playing position.
This is a perfect guitar for your child and for adults who want something that feels easier to play, the Squier Mini Strat is well worth checking out.
- The shape is extremely comfortable and the addition of the contours make it sit well on your body.
- The three single-coil pickups offer a wealth of tones.
- Great as a portable choice for travelling musicians who don’t have the space for a full-sized instrument in their luggage.
- The smaller scale and neck size make it extremely easy to play.
- The body seems slightly cramped, players of full-size guitars may find this tricky to adapt to.
Best Singlecut For Small Hands
It’s a simple fact, Gretsch makes some truly fantastic guitars. Whether it’s the White Falcon, Brian Setzer models or something from the Electromatic series, their guitars are always consistently great.
One of our favourite models of theirs is the Gretsch 2210.
The Gretsch 2210 streamliner junior jet is a fantastic instrument that is well worth considering if you want a guitar that isn’t too large.
Here we have a full-size scale length of 24.75”. Although this is much larger than previous models reviewed, the thin U neck and 12” fingerboard radius and 42.8mm nut width allow the player to easily move around the fretboard.
What makes the guitar unique is the use of filtertron style pickups. These provide a bright jangly sound with lots of warmth and girth.
The solid nato body, bolt-on neck and fixed bridge provide the player with a solid feeling instrument that could take a beating.
In addition, the gold volume and tone knobs, 1-ply tortoiseshell pickguard and Pearloid neo-classic inlays look stylish and appealing, giving this guitar a vintage look that oozes class.
Our only criticisms of the G2210 are that some players may find the colours a bit bland and the body doesn’t have any contoured cutaways like the Fender Stratocaster, this may mean that the guitar feels a little comfortable.
Despite this, it’s a unique instrument that is well worth checking out if you’re looking for electric guitars for small hands.
- The guitar has a sleek, vintage and stylish look.
- It’s extremely simple and easy to use.
- The filtertron style pickups offer unique tones compared to other guitars on the market.
- It’s a full-size guitar but the thinner neck makes playing the guitar much easier.
- It may be slightly too big for children.
- Some users may find the colour choices a bit bland.
Best Les Paul Style Guitar For Small Hands
Epiphone Les Paul Express
Just like the Fender Stratocaster, the Les Paul is one of the best electric guitars available. However, one criticism that these musical instruments come under is that the guitar is heavy, the neck is too large and it can often be very difficult to play.
Epiphone has got around this issue by creating the ‘Les Paul Express’. A small body electric guitar that makes playing the guitar far easier.
As beginner guitars go, the Epiphone Les Paul Express is a great choice if you’re just starting or are looking for an instrument to travel with.
This guitar has the basic dimensions of a full-sized Les Paul, however, the main difference in scale length is much shorter. Coming in at 22”, we have a reduction of 2.75” compared to a standard model. For many electric guitar players, this will mean that when you play the guitar, it will be much easier.
Although at first sight, this guitar may seem like a child’s guitar, the overall sound quality and feel of the guitar’s neck soon put those misconceptions to rest. With a mahogany body, hard maple neck and Epiphone’s humbuckers, this is a quality guitar that would suit any musician.
The three-way pickup switch and volume and tone knobs control the onboard pickups and the 14:1 ratio diecast tuners and bolt-on neck provide tuning stability and firmness that makes this the perfect electric guitar for any enthusiast.
Our only criticism of this model is that the colour choices are limited, however, this is easily one of the best electric guitars for small hands.
- Its body is made out of mahogany and features a rosewood fretboard.
- The bridge is fully adjustable, allowing you to set up the guitar to your exact needs.
- This guitar reproduces the classic feel and tones of a Les Paul at a fraction of the size and price.
- The two humbucker pickups are perfect for rocking and rolling and provide a thick meaty sound.
- There’s no pickguard, so the guitar may scratch easily if you are a beginner guitar player.
- The smaller body size of this guitar may feel strange if you’re used to normal-sized guitars.
Best Metal Style Guitar For Small Hands
Jackson JS Series DK Minion JS1X
Aimed at the same range of players as Ibanez guitars, Jackson makes fantastic guitars suited for rock and metal playing styles. With pointy headstocks, Sharkfin inlays and humbucker-equipped axes, not only do they look the part, they sound it too.
One of the best electric guitars for small hands is the Jackson JS1X, let’s find out more about it
The Jackson JS1X is a great, cheap guitar that works well for many players’ needs. The guitar has a poplar glass body, 1-piece maple neck, amaranth fingerboard, 24 frets, a bridge with adjustable saddles and two of Jackson’s high output pickups.
The main reason that this is one of the best electric guitars for small hands is due to the lightweight poplar body and extremely thin neck. This guitar offers a 22.5” scale length and 12” radius which allows smaller hands to easily navigate it.
One feature that makes this one of the best guitars for metal players is its unique finishes. The guitar is available in Gloss Black, Metallic Blue Burst, Neon Green and Pavo Purple. The black hardware and sealed die-cast tuners give it a stylish look that makes it look very attractive.
Finally, the high-output humbucking pickups work great for a rock and metal playing style and provide an aggressive tone that will work well for a variety of guitar players.
Overall, this is a really good electric guitar for small hands and we highly recommend it.
- The low action helps you to play scales and barre chords with relative ease.
- The smaller guitar body is pleasant and makes the playing experience very enjoyable.
- The rear-angled headstock and sculpted heel aid the playability of this instrument.
- The satin finish of the maple neck feels smooth and is a joy to play with.
- Pointed headstocks aren’t for everyone.
Best Strat Style Guitar For Small Hands
Squier Classic Vibe ‘60s Stratocaster
As previously mentioned, the Fender Stratocaster is one of the most famous instruments in popular music. In the hands of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler, the strat is one of the most iconic guitars ever created.
However, vintage Stratocasters are often out of the realms of most ordinary people, to compensate for this, Squier by Fender introduced the classic vibe series, let’s find out more about it.
The Squier Classic Vibe Stratocaster is great for guitarists with small hands who don’t want to feel like they are playing a child’s guitar. Although this is a full-size guitar, what makes this one of the best electric guitars for small hands is due to it having a slim C shaped neck with a 9.5” radius, this allows the guitar player to move around the fretboard easily.
Featuring a gloss nato body, maple neck, Indian laurel fingerboard, 21 frets, Bone nut, Fender’s own designed Alnico single-coil pickups and a 6-saddle vintage-style synchronised tremolo, this guitar is a fantastic replica of a vintage style Stratocaster.
The 50s and 60s models of this guitar come complete with 3 single coils, controlled with 1 volume control and 2 tone controls (this controls the high end on specific pickups). This pickup combination produces warm lows, rich mids and bright trebles suitable for blues, country and funk music. However, if you miss the beef of a bridge humbucker, Fender also offers an HSS option for those rockier moments.
Each model type (the 50s,60s & 70s) stays accurate to the specs of that area and provide a unique playing experience on each. If you’ve got small hands, we recommend the 60s version as the neck is the most comfortable.
One of the unique features of this model compared to other guitars in this article is the fact it has a tremolo arm. On smaller sized guitars, this is a lot more difficult to manufacture, but as this is a larger guitar, this option is easily accessible.
Overall, if you’re looking for a guitar that is comfortable, easy to play and doesn’t look too small on your body, the Squier Classic Vibe Stratocaster is a great choice.
- Squier offers a range of colours, pickup combinations and fingerboard types. So no matter what your needs are as a guitarist, you’re guaranteed to find something that fits your musical style.
- The series isn’t limited to just strats, they also offer famous Fender models such as the Telecaster, Jazzmaster and more.
- The models are based on vintage classics from the 50s, 60s & 70s, arguably Fender’s golden era of guitars.
- Some users have complained about the setup and quality control of these guitars.
Best Guitar For Adults With Small Hands
Gibson SG Tribute Vintage Cherry Satin
The Gibson SG is a quintessential part of Gibson’s guitar lineup. Throughout rock music guitarists such as Angus Young, Jack Black and Pete Townshend have rocked an SG.
They even work fantastically well if you want to play slide guitar, as Derek Trucks has so famously shown.
Similar to the Squier Classic Vibe series, despite it being a normal-sized guitar, it also is one of the best electric guitars for small hands, let’s find out why.
The Gibson SG is one of the best electric guitars for small hands due to its slightly smaller scale (24.75”), rounded neck profile and fingerboard radius (12”).
The nut width is 43.05mm which allows the space between the strings to be large enough to get your fingers in between, but not so small you get cramped when playing.
Some key aesthetic features which lead the SG to look so attractive are the Aluminum Nashville Tune-O-Matic bridge, Black Top Hats for the volume and tone control and the vintage deluxe tuners with keystone buttons.
The guitar features two of Gibson’s 490R and 490T Alnico II loaded pickups, these provide the guitar with a vintage tone that is perfect for blues and rock styles. These pickups are controlled by the two-volume and control knobs. This allows the user to dial in a whole range of tones just on the guitar itself.
Finally, the guitar comes in two of Gibson’s classic finishes, Vintage Cherry Satin and Natural Walnut and also comes in both left and right-handed versions.
Our only criticism of this guitar is that it is very expensive compared to the other models in this article, however, if you want an excellent quality guitar, the Gibson SG is well worth a look.
- Comes with a traditional mahogany body which provides the guitar with excellent sustain.
- The maple neck and rosewood fingerboard look great and give the player a smooth, dark tone.
- The vintage deluxe tuners with keystone buttons are aesthetically pleasing.
- The tune o matic bridge provides solid tuning stability.
- Slightly expensive for beginners.
- Probably too big for children under the age of 10.
When searching for the best electric guitars for small hands, there are several factors to consider when looking for a great guitar. For example, the scale length, guitar pickups, guitar neck, body material and the type of bridge.
All of these parts of the guitar dramatically affect the build and sound quality and in this buying guide, we’re going to break down each one to ensure that you can master your electric guitar purchase.
- Scale Length.
This is the length of the guitar from the bridge to the nut. The longer this distance is, the more space you have between the frets. The shorter it is, the less distance you have between each fret.
Some common scale lengths include:
- 25.5” – Used on Fender & PRS guitars.
- 24.75” – Used primarily on Gibson guitars.
- 22” and below – This is often used on ¾ size guitars.
A common misconception about longer scale lengths is that they are harder to play. If you have small hands, the neck size will have much more of an effect on whether you can play the guitar than the scale length.
- Guitar Necks and Shapes.
This is how thick the neck is and what its general neck shape is. Here’s a handy article written by Fender that explains a few common shapes.
The thinner the neck shape, the easier it will be to get your hands around. The larger it is, the harder it will be. Here’s a list of the most common neck shapes in order of thickness.
For small-handed players, the best neck options are C, oval C and D. Choosing the right neck shape for you is vital, as it can make a huge difference when we play the guitars.
There are also many different types of neck material, here are some common examples:
- Maple fingerboard.
- Rosewood fingerboard.
- Pau Ferro.
Maple is the brightest wood out of these and will provide the tone with the most treble, whereas Pau Ferro and Rosewood produce darker tones.
- Body Type.
This is the shape of the guitar’s body. Different guitars use different shapes, these often make playing the guitar much easier for certain types of people. Here are some common examples:
- Strat style body – A design by Leo Fender, this popular body style has been used on 1000s of guitars. Although predominantly used on Fender and Squier guitars, it has also influenced guitars by many other manufacturers. It is popular amongst many guitarists due to it being lightweight, having curved contours and two cutaways.
- Les Paul style body – A design by the man himself, ‘Les Paul’, this guitar is frequently used by Gibson and Epiphone and is popular due to its shorter scale length, use of mahogany woods and the addition of a cutaway.
- Double cut guitars – Influenced by Leo Fender, these types of guitars share similarities due to their being two cutaways on the guitar. However, the shape of these guitars will vary from the Stratocaster design. Some popular makers who utilise double-cut bodies are PRS, Jackson, Ibanez and ESP.
- Single cut guitars – This body shape is very similar to the Les Paul style, however, the body dimensions can differ amongst companies. Some makers who utilise this body shape are PRS, Gretsch and Eastman.
Out of all these body shapes, the Stratocaster/single cut guitars are probably the easiest to play due to them using less body weight. However, single cut style guitars often have more sustain.
- Body Wood.
The wood used to make a guitar body can make a huge difference to the tone of the guitar. Some common tonewoods include Mahogany, Alder and Basswood.
Mahogany is the heaviest wood out of all three and produces the darkest tone. This is a great wood if you want your notes to sustain but it can be too heavy after long periods. This wood is commonly used on Gibson and PRS guitars.
Alder has a strong, clear sound with rich mids, tight low frequencies and a warm treble. It is frequently used on Fender guitars.
Basswood is a light, softwood. It produces a tone that is well balanced across the frequency range. This wood is often used on guitars made by Ibanez, ESP and Jackson.
- Pickups and Electronics.
There are two main pickup types, single-coils and humbuckers.
Single coils have a vivid and bright tone that is perfect for genres of music such as Funk, Blues and Pop. However, single-coils have also been used in rockier genres.
Humbucker pickups have a warmer, darker sound and are often used for genres of music such as Rock and Metal. However, it’s not out of the realm of possibility for them to be used in other guitar styles.
On guitar, there are three types of bridges used, tremolo, locking bridge and a hardtail bridge.
A tremolo bridge (or vibrato bridge) is used to change the pitch of the strings with a tremolo arm. Used by guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck and Hank Marvin, this style of tremolo is commonly used on a Fender Vintage Stratocaster.
Similar to a tremolo bridge, a locking bridge is used to change the pitch of the strings. However, the main difference is that the strings can be locked into place to stop them from going out of tune. This technology was developed in the 1980s by Gary Kramer and Floyd Rose and was used by guitarists such as Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai.
The simplest of bridge designs is the hardtail bridge. This is simply a piece of metal that is used to keep the strings in place. Arguably, this bridge provides the most sustain and resonance and is used on many guitars by Fender, Gibson and other guitar makers.
What guitar is best to learn on?
Most beginners will start with acoustic guitars. An acoustic guitar is often the cheapest option as you don’t have to purchase extra accessories to make it work. However, these acoustic sounds are often limited compared to other instruments, especially electric guitars.
If you want to find the best guitars for small hands, we think the best guitar is an electric guitar.
Are electric guitars better for small hands and what is the best one?
Yes, electric guitars are better for small hands. The reason for this is that the neck is much smaller and the strings are usually lighter than on an acoustic guitar.
However, the only downside to getting a smaller guitar is that there are fewer options and you also potentially stunt your growth as a guitarist.
If you can, it’s worth spending the time practicing to make your hands stretch further.
Which electric guitar has the shortest scale length?
The Fender Mustang has a scale length of 22.5”, this is the smallest scale length on a guitar for adults. However, ¾ size electric guitars have scale lengths below this.