I used to play an Ovation acoustic with a wide, rounded back. It was my first real guitar, and for many years I dealt with it sliding off my lap when I sat down to play.
Then I got a Taylor 314ce. Wow. I had never thought about how my guitar’s body shape affected my enjoyment of the instrument until I had a better solution.
There are some guitar body shapes that obviously aren’t meant for comfort, like the Flying V, or those retro VOX Teardrop guitars. But if you’re considering a new guitar, and you want one that really feels like it fits your body, here are some things to consider.
It may seem obvious to think about size, but when I was trying out my Taylor, I was surprised by how many different sizes and shapes were available. I didn’t want a super-small body, but I did want one that fit my frame and was easy to reach around.
My hands are kind of small, so I wanted an easier-to-handle neck. So check out size, shape, body depth and more. So many choices might seem intimidating, but don’t be afraid to ask for help, or just try them ALL and see what feels right!
Playing electric? Consider a model that curves to fit the shape of your torso. This will make it easier to reach around and just feels good. For example, VOX has redeemed itself from the old Teardrop days with its newer, body-curving line of electrics.
Luna Guitars has made it its mission to manufacture guitars that are sized and contoured to fit a woman’s smaller torso, and many are crafted out of lighter woods that won’t send you to the chiropractor.
Speaking of which, some of those Strats and Les Pauls are hefty! Let’s face it, sometimes you want a good solid axe, but you just don’t want to end your gig with a shoulder or back ache.
Many of the big-name companies make lighter-weight models, and some, like Fender and Gibson, have models especially created for women. Another brand to check out is Daisy Rock, which focuses on guitars that fit a smaller frame, with a lighter weight and slimmer neck.
Did someone mention neck? (Oh yeah, that was me!) The shape of the neck, or profile, determines how your hands fit around the neck and how smoothly and easily you can move from fret to fret.
TRY IT, YOU’LL LIKE IT!
The best course of action is try out several guitars before you make a decision. You want to make sure the size results in a comfortable fit between the body and your right arm.
If the guitar body is too big, your arm will be up too high, resulting in discomfort and fatigue. Plus, all women are not created equal. If you’re, shall we say, well-endowed, the guitar will end up sitting further away from your body, shortening the arm length. You don’t want to have to hunch forward to reach the strings. You need to comfortably embrace your guitar without strain!
So, ladies, what guitars have been the perfect fit for you?
Laura B. Whitmore is a singer/songwriter based in the San Francisco bay area. A veteran music industry marketer, she has spent over two decades doing marketing, PR and artist relations for several guitar-related brands including Marshall and VOX. Her company, Mad Sun Marketing, represents 65amps, Acoustic Bass Amps, Agile Partners, Guitar World Magazine, and many more. Laura was instrumental in the launch of the Guitar World Lick of the Day app. She is the lead singer for the rock band, Summer Music Project. More at mad-sun.com.