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Not sure if you have small hands?
Can’t grab chords comfortably?
Does the neck on your guitar feel too fat to get your hand around?
Does your electric guitar feel like you’re wielding a chubby toddler?
You might have hands on the smaller side, a petite build, and shorter arm length regardless if you’re not up to admitting it, especially if your hand size is attached to your ego. The answer doesn’t lie in a pill that will make you grow a size up overnight. Instead, finding the right electric guitar that matches your body type and hand size is key.
Any one of these top electric guitars will work for an adult with smaller hands and will still deliver dynamic punch to take you to the next skill level for your playing style. While size matters, it’s more about knowing how to find the best guitar with the right specs to refine your talent.
QUICK ANSWER: 5 Top Electric Guitars for Small Hands
- Fender Kurt Cobain Jaguar Review
- Squier by Fender Jaguar Review
- Ibanez miKro GRGM21 Review
- Daisy Rock Stardust Venus Review
- Stagg S300 3/4-Size NS Review
The Best Electric Guitar for Small Hands
If you’ve found yourself here, it means you’re either going to put an electric guitar in the hands of a child or you’re an adult with smaller hands. While there are plenty of kid-specific guitars that can cater to those small hands, grubby fingers, and all the inevitable, accidental abuse, we’re going to focus on grown-ups looking for better than average quality out of a guitar that will fit your physical demands.
You could be in denial about having small hands and have refused to look for a guitar with specific features that would work better for you. To you we ask, are you feeling pain in your fingers and wrist? Are your joints aching long before you’re done playing? Does stretching your digits cause pain and muscle spasms? There’s no easier way to say it than to say it: you’re playing a guitar that’s not right for you. It’s not you, it’s the guitar.
It’s not something to be embarrassed about or to feel like you have limited options. Guitars are made with many parts that improve playability whether you have hands on the smaller side or not. Specs like the neck width and profile shape, fingerboard radius, and body contours lend themselves to certain styles of playing, but they can also mean improved playability for smaller hand players.
There are more factors we’ll go over in detail down below, but for now, let’s get started with the lineup we’ve created just for you smaller-handed folks.
1. Fender Kurt Cobain Jaguar Review
- A DiMarzio hum bucking DP103 PAF 36th Anniversary neck pickup and DP100 Super Distortion bridge pickup deliver legendary tone
We promised no kid’s, minis, or pop girl guitars for adults with smaller hands, and we’re sticking to our word. So, we present the Fender Kurt Cobain Jaguar with all its modern glory but not without Kurt’s traditional features that skyrocketed the Nevermind Album to fame in the ’90s.
- DiMarzio humbuckers
- Engraved neck plate
- Bound fingerboard
- 24″ scale
- Modified C neck
You may not have been expecting to pay this much for a guitar, but we must provide a high-end alternative as small hands is not an indication of guitar skill level. If you’re any good with some decent skills, you’ll appreciate the quality of the KC Jaguar.
The body shape is obviously a ’60s Jaguar. The neck has a modified C shape that is slightly flatter than a C that makes it easier to grab and play comfortably. The fingerboard radius of 9.5″ that lends itself to playing chords, but you’ll need to practice stretching your fingers to master this skill. What lends a hand in that department is the 24″ scale length.
The fingerboard has 22 frets that are easily accessible due to the shorter scale length and melted-down double cutaways. It’s made from rosewood and bound with white binding for that extra ’60s touch. The body is from alder, the neck from maple, pearloid dot inlays, and staggered GOTOCH Cast/Sealed tuners, and an Adjusto-Matic bridge with floating tremolo and lock button tie the guitar together.
Like Cobain’s Jag, this one has the DiMarzio humbuckers with the PAF at the neck and the Super Distortion at the bridge. The PAF DP103 humbuckers have been designed with a weaker magnetic field to encourage sustain through longer vibrating strings. The result is vintage style with balance across the tonal range that produces well-defined, warm, and yet articulate output whether you’re playing clean or distorted.
Don’t be fooled by the spikes in the bass and mid-range in the bridge pickup. What you end up with is a balanced sound with thick but pronounced lows, boosted mids, and fat highs. If you have a tube amp, you’ll know what to do with this bridge.
As the last word, there is an engraved neck plate with the Fender logo that KC had doodled in his private journals. With an included textured, vinyl hardshell case and an exclusive Fender Kurt Cobain book, this buy is a must-have!
2. Squier by Fender Jaguar Review
- Basswood Body
- Maple C Shape Neck with 22-Medium Jumbo Frets and rosewood fingerboard
- Duncan Designed single-coil pickups
If you can’t pull the trigger on the high-end Kurt Cobain Jaguar, then you’ll be happy to know about the affordable Squier Jaguar sometimes called the Vintage Modified Jaguar.
- 24″ scale
- Bone nut
- Fender pickups
- Slim C shape neck
- Quality control issues
The Jaguar has a very distinct body shape, and Fender reproduced their version with quality features worth noting. However, it’s unfortunate that cheaper electric guitars, even ones that almost cost $500 do not get the same quality control attention as their higher end electric guitars. Various issues from parts mounting issues to bridge problems and sharp frets attest to the need of having the guitar professionally setup – so, save some extra bucks for this.
Keeping costs low, the solid body is made from poplar, but it has a gorgeous Surf Green color in a gloss polyurethane finish. The neck is made from maple and a has a slim C shape profile that small hands will appreciate. This guitar also maintains the 24″ scale length of the Jaguar – great for small hands! The Indian Laurel fingerboard has cream binding, 9.5″ radius, 22 narrow tall frets, and white pearloid block inlays. A bone nut is an awesome upgrade, and of course, it has the staggered tuners that is a feature of the Jag.
When it comes to pickups, Fender designed their very own Alnico Single Coil pickups for this electric guitar. There are two single coils that obviously provide bright and snappy tones in the neck position and hot output from the bridge. But, the highlight here is the vintage-correct-dual-channel Jaguar switching. What is this? It’s the specially voiced rhythm and lead circuit controls. Using only the neck pickup, you can switch into rhythm circuit, and using only the bridge pickup, you can switch into lead circuit.
How does it sound? Well, obviously with control knobs for each circuit and with standard tone and volume controls, you have a huge range of tonal options to create any sound you want. It’s a multi-tonal instrument where you can master vintage tones, rock out rock ‘n roll tunes, and even pull off some jazz thanks to the shorter scale.
Small digits and short scales mean a sacrifice in tone and aesthetic flair – said no one, ever.
3. Ibanez miKro GRGM21 Review
- The first Ibanez compact guitar
- 22" scale Maple neck offers low tension and small size
- Perfect for beginners
One of the most compact electric guitars Ibanez has to offer comes from the miKro line, and micro it is. This is the GRGM21 guitar with the Black Night (BKN) finish – a favorite and “Choice” product at a price point you can pull the trigger on.
- 3/4 size
- For beginners
- 22″ scale
- 24 frets
- Requires setup
First off, you’ll definitely need a setup on this guitar. Multiple things may need to be addressed such as changing out the strings to regular ones to accommodate tuning stability and the shorter scale length. Frets may be a little sharp and crowns need polishing. You may want to upgrade the plastic nut to a higher grade one. Truss rod, intonation, and action may all need to be adjusted. Yes, it’s quite the list, but for $150, you’ll have enough to pay for a setup and then you can enjoy your epic electric guitar.
Can we just say “wow?” Did you catch that? It has a 22.2″ scale length, but Ibanez still managed to put 24 frets on the Jatoba fretboard. The entire guitar is finished in a Black Night color motif that makes the chrome hardware and sharktooth inlays pop. But, the cutbacks in quality are obvious from the plastic nut to the basswood body.
As a 3/4-size guitar, it’s an excellent electric guitar for smaller players, for small hands, or for travel. When it comes to sound, you may not be able to get past the Infinity R pickups if you’re picky. They’re humbuckers with ceramic magnets often found on Ibanez’s low-end and mid-range guitars. For many players, it’s been said to do the job, they’re very hot, and they’re more suited for metal.
When you get to the point that you’ve gained some skill and want to test out your talent, you can upgrade the pickups for higher quality ones that will better serve your pet genre. You have a 3-way toggle selector, volume knob, and tone knob. The F106 bridge is a hardtail bridge that means it’s a fixed bridge with 6 adjustable saddles that are fixed to the bridge plate, so it’s one complete unit.
The miKro is an entry-level guitar, so if you’re an adult with small hands just starting out with the guitar, or you could be a seasoned player looking for your travel electric guitar, the Ibanez will do.
4. Daisy Rock Stardust Venus Review
- Daisy Rock’s exclusive “Slim & Narrow” neck design makes it easier for girls with smaller hands to play the guitar.
- Lightweight construction makes the guitar easier to manage and more comfortable to play.
- A push-pull tone control "taps" the humbuckers to add single-coil sounds for sonic versatility.
Okay, it’s not just guys that are on the lookout for guitars suited for small hands. Women in particular have smaller hands and their aesthetic tastes may very well be of the sparkly and glittery kind. Enter here, a guitar from Daisy Rock.
- Grover tuners
- Unique finish & inlays
- Slim & Narrow neck
- Set-in neck
- Mahogany body
- Few quality control issues
Daisy Rock specializes in guitars made for females: girls, teenagers, and women. And, just because it’s made for chicks, it doesn’t mean it’s no good. This solid body electric features a mahogany body with a set-neck. Capping the body is a pearloid top with a vintage ivory pearl finish, abalone inlay, and crème binding. Even the fingerboard has a detailed Vine and Flowers abalone inlay that provides flair for the mature woman.
Even though the guitar is made from mahogany, the guitar is still very lightweight to cater to its demographic, weighing no more than 7 lbs. It features contours, so it’s comfortable for its players. It’s Slim & Narrow neck is a trademark feature for the brand as it’s easy for girls and women to hold and play. It’s so slim that it may take some getting used to the neck if you’re accustomed to having played thin necks on other guitars.
It’s no kid’s toy either. It has a 24.75″ scale length with 22 frets. Grover tuners top the headstock. It has an adjustable Tune-O-Matic bridge with the string-thru-body design. Two humbuckers bring punch and hot output and players can select which humbucker they want to use with the 3-way selector switch. Guess what else? It also features a push/pull tone control that allows for splitting coils, so you can achieve single-coil tones that bring brightness and snap to your playing.
Be on the lookout for some quality control issues. Things like crooked mounting positions on hardware to finish flaws. But, it doesn’t seem to be a major problem. A little work on the setup or a call to the seller may be required.
If you’re a woman that wants to wield a comfortable electric guitar with professional features and could use more sparkle in your life, the Stardust Venus fits the bill.
5. Stagg S300 3/4-Size NS Review
- Solid Alder Body
- Bolt on Hard Maple Neck
- Rosewood Fingerboard with 20 Frets
The Stagg S300 isn’t a bad entry-level guitar, and it might just blow you away with its quality build and Natural Semi-gloss finish. Scaled down to a 3/4-size with a 22.67″ scale length, this is a guitar for an adult with smaller paws.
- 22.67″ scale
- Natural finish
- For small adults
- Will require setup
The Stagg electric guitar is often compared to Squier Mini Strats. The S300 does have a Strat-like body, it’s in and around the same price range (slightly more expensive), and it does have the SSS pickup configuration of a Strat. But, the S300 has a few, notable differences that we found worthy to put it in this lineup.
The most telling feature is the gorgeous natural semi-gloss finish that reveals the wood grain of the Solid Alder body. While many solid bodies have a paint job, we like the natural color complete with a tortoise shell pickguard that brings out a mature vibe best suited for an adult. The bolted-on neck is made from Hard Maple capped with a rosewood fretboard with 20 frets. With a 22.67″ scale length, the frets are closer together for small hands to play in the lower frets.
And, for those asking, yes, it does have real pickups. Although a child could play this, it’s well suited for an adult looking for a knock-around guitar or a good starter electric guitar to get playing. It has three single-coil pickups, 5-way pickup selector blade, 1x volume knob, and 2x tone controls. With single-coil pickups, you can expect bright and crisp notes, but you can also engage use of the middle pickup to get that Strat-revered snap! Of course, when you’re ready to make mods due to improved skill, just change the pickups to transform it to an intermediate guitar – the overall quality really is that good.
Unlike the Squier, the Stagg comes with a tremolo bridge. Now, whether it gets used is up to you as tuning the guitar will be something you’ll quickly become intimate with, but at least it has the capability.
Like many guitars in this price range, a setup is required. Strings are the first thing to go. Intonation, truss rod, and action should be adjusted. So, be sure to include this in your budget if you’re not skilled to do this yourself. It shouldn’t be a problem since it’s priced under 200 bucks anyway.
What to Look for in an Electric Guitar for Smaller Hands
Are your hands small or is everyone else’s hands just too big? That’s one way to think about it. Regardless, every player must find a guitar that fits, that they like, and that they can progress and have fun with. No one is left out when it comes to finding the right electric guitar. But, there are specific guitar features that you may want to look for that will cater to your small hands, playing style, and favorite music genre and that’s what this section is about.
We focus on the parts of the electric guitar that can provide an edge and leg up for the player with smaller hands. Here are some detailed tips to help you figure out what it is you need to look for.
Scale length is the measured distance of the strings from the nut to the bridge. It directly affects string tension and impacts how your guitar sounds. But, for small hand players, we’ll focus on how it feels. The most common scale lengths are 25.5″, 25″, and 24.75″. For small hands, a scale length between 22″ and 24.6″ will be the appropriate measurement. The shorter the scale length, the easier it is to grab chords. There will be less tension and therefore less effort to try to stretch those fingers and push down.
But, how are string gauges affected by shorter scale lengths? There are two sides to this story. Lighter gauge strings are easier to bend and play since they’re nicer on the fingertips and you don’t have to press as hard. On the other side of the fence, since there is less tension on a shorter scale guitar the lighter gauge strings might end up feeling loose, floppy, and without tone. You might find going up a size might help with that, especially on the Jaguar. This is one of the first modifications players make to this model. You’ll have to experiment with what gauge strings will suit your guitar scale length, tonal goals, and playing style best.
Neck Size/Neck Profile:
A slim neck is extremely beneficial to not only small hand players, but to those who are after fast-playing, shredding, chord grabbing, and of course, grip comfort. A C-shape neck profile may feel just right or even on the slightly thinner side for someone with larger hands, but for small hands, it might feel like you’re gripping the fat end of a baseball bat.
The unfortunate thing about neck profiles is that every manufacturer has their own terms for it. Although the C, D, U, and V shapes are generally standardized, they can be modified in ways to slightly change how it feels and plays in your hand. The neck is where all the action happens so it’s best to have an idea of what you like beforehand.
Look specifically for slim, narrow, modified, and tapered terminology to get a brief of what to expect out of the neck. And, believe it or not, some necks may just be too skinny for your liking. You can pinch the back of the neck, wear out faster, and even cramp up your fretting hand if you can’t find that sweet spot, so keep an eye on that wrist and proper posture. However, it’s a general rule that slim necks are the feature you want to see on a guitar to achieve your shredding goals or simply to fit your hand for chord playing.
It’s a given that a smaller-sized electric guitar will be more comfortable to wield. Despite what you may think, not all 3/4-size, scaled-down lengths, and thinline bodies are made for younger children. Yes, they make it easier for the youngin’s to hold, but they also make it easier for grownups with small hands and petite builds. It’s the additional pickups and features that also gives a guitar its adult-like qualities. Also, look for contours in the body that can help with comfort as your body molds around its curves.
Time for some fret talk. If you’re having trouble grabbing chords, you might also want to look to the size of the space between the frets. Obviously, playing on the lower frets should allow room to do your thing, but as you move up the neck, those frets will get tight making for some tricky chord moves. But, what happens when those lower frets give you trouble, too? Try using a capo that will force you down towards the higher frets.
While the fingerboard radius is rarely a spec that many people think about, it has its role as it can affect your playing comfort level especially for folks with smaller digits. Briefly, the fingerboard radius is the measurement of the convex curve of the playing surface of the fingerboard. If you’ve never noticed before, many fingerboards have a slight curve to it while there are others that have flat surfaces. This curve measurement can give you a clue on how comfortable it will be to play and what you can do with it.
For instance, a guitar with a 9.5″ radius (very common) may seem like a small number, but it actually has a more pronounced curve versus a 16″ radius. The smaller the number, the rounder the radius, and conversely, the larger the number, the flatter the radius.
Now, how does this translate to giving small hands an advantage when choosing the right electric guitar? Fingerboard radii of 12″ or more lends to a flatter fingerboard typically seen on a thinner neck. Combine this feature with a shorter scale length and light gauge strings with less tension, and it’s a guitar made for small hands that can shred, bend, and lead. The smaller the radii and severe the curvature, the more suited it is for playing chords. So, there are a few considerations to think about when the fingerboard radii specs are revealed.
Get more exercise. No, it’s not doctor’s orders, but it is a prescription for small hand players to get stretching – finger stretching. You can learn some stretching techniques that you can practice with on your guitar starting with the higher frets and working towards the lower frets as your muscles adjust to your exercise routine.
You especially want to build up the muscles in that pinky finger! Naturally, it’s the weaker digit of the lot, but it has such a tall order to fill when playing the guitar. Make your finger stretching exercises count by including the little guy, too. Don’t stretch to the point where you’re causing pain but be dedicated to practicing every day.
You won’t get anywhere without practice, and this advice goes to every player large or small.
Can You Play the Electric Guitar with Small Hands?
Why the heck not? It’s a sad truth that many players give up on the guitar because they feel their stubby, little fingers just can’t make the cut. To them, small digits + small hands = “I’m screwed.” But, it’s all bogus.
There’s a market rife with guitars with scaled-down bodies, slim necks, and other specific features to enhance playability and comfort, so there’s no reason you should be without a trusty electric guitar in your lap. While size is a big deal in determining which is the best guitar for you, it’s well-informed buying, dedication, and practice that determines if you can play a guitar, even with your smallish hands.
You might not have large paws, but do you have what it takes to learn and adapt? AC/DC’s Malcom and Angus Young, Randy Rhodes, Johnny Thunders, and more proved it can be done, and done famously.