Children or players of a smaller stature interested in music might want to check out our pick of the best guitars for small hands. A full sized guitar – so bigger body, longer scale length and thicker neck profile – can be quite cumbersome for those with smaller hands, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the fun.
Recent years have seen more and more instruments being produced that can cater for smaller hands. They’re not just toys either – in days gone by, your choices would have been mainly guitars that border on toys, and ukuleles. Now there’s an assortment of electric and acoustic guitars that have many of the same great features that their full sized counterparts have.
Learning an instrument is great for kids, as it aids their early development, but it can really help anyone, so smaller potential players shouldn’t be punished! The best guitars for small hands can either be a starter instrument, for kids wanting to learn and then progress onto something bigger as they get older, or can just be fantastic instruments in their own right.
After spending a decade in music retail, I’m now a freelance writer for Guitar World, MusicRadar, Guitar Player and Reverb, specialising in electric and acoustic guitars, bass, and almost anything else you can make a tune with. When my head’s not buried in the best of modern and vintage gear, I run a small company helping musicians with songwriting, production and performance, and I play bass in an alt-rock band.
Best guitars for small hands: The quick list
Best Les Paul
With its fantastic sounding pickups and rich palette of finishes, the Epiphone Power Players Les Paul is perfect for the young rocker who wants a properly good electric guitar.
Best for kids
The perfect choice for the first timer, the Fender x Loog Telecaster is a 3-string electric guitar that makes taking those first steps on the instrument that much easier.
The majority of guitarists get their start on an acoustic guitar, but you can make things a lot easier on yourself by picking one with a short scale, like the Taylor GS Mini Rosewood.
Based on one of the most popular guitar designs in the world, the Squier Mini Strat takes everything great about Fender's iconic axe and shrinks it to a more manageable size.
Best for shred
For the budding shredders and metalheads out there, this Ibanez Paul Gilbert miKro comes with some serious guitar heritage, two powerful humbuckers, and fantastic playability.
Nylon string guitars are a fantastic option for beginner players, as the strings are much easier on the fingers. This quality Taylor Academy 12e-N features incredible build quality and playability.
The best guitars for small hands available today
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Here you'll find full write ups and reviews of the best guitars for small hands available today. Many of these instruments have been tested first hand by our writing team, so you can rely on our recommendations.
Best Les Paul
The legendary Les Paul has been tweaked so that it’s perfect for small hands. It’s made using high-quality components so that it sounds amazing, stays in tune well, and performs consistently, unlike some other electric guitars at a similar price point. Epiphone is the sister company of Gibson, who launched the Les Paul into the world in the 1950s, so it’s safe to say they know a thing or two!
The Power Players Les Paul is one of the best guitars for kids or players with smaller hands. It has a comfortable slim-taper neck profile that aids both rhythm and lead playing, plus a shorter 22.73” scale length for easy fretting. You’ve then got a pair of fantastic humbucker pickups that cater to all types of music but really excel within the rock genres.
These things look great, but more importantly, they’re made to a high standard, they sound good and they’re a joy to play!
Read the full Epiphone Power Players Les Paul review
Best for kids
Fender has teamed up with children’s guitar experts Loog to create a 3-string Telecaster with a super thin neck that is absolutely one of the best guitars for small hands available.
Taking the tried and tested Tele design and shrinking it down, this Fender Loog guitar is perfect for kids. It gives them the introduction to the world of electric guitars, but with half the number of strings, it’s not intimidating. Chords are easier to fret, and with the thin neck design there’s a lot less wood for them to get their hands around. You even get a set of flash cards to help kickstart the learning process.
In terms of the sound it can make, it’s a little like a cross between a guitar and a ukulele, or like a guitar with a capo on fairly high up – but there’s still that unmistakable Telecaster bite! All in all, a really well made instrument and certainly one of the best guitars for small hands.
Definitely one of the most popular non-full size acoustic guitars out there, the Taylor GS Mini helped redefine the potential of smaller guitars. Its body is smaller than most other acoustic guitars, but it still projects a rich, full sound with plenty of volume when you need it. It isn’t just one of the best guitars for small hands, it’s one of the best guitars at its price point.
The whole thing is a slightly shrunken down version of Taylor’s Grand Symphony body shape. It’s got a powerful low end, and detailed treble frequencies. There are a few different versions of this guitar with various wood combinations so there are options when it comes to honing in on the tone you want.
The scale length is a very easy to play 23.5” – short enough for small hands, but big enough so that it’s ideal for pretty much anyone else. The neck profile is fairly thin too, so again small hands shouldn’t have much trouble with fretting chords and single notes.
If you want something classic, but don’t fancy the Les Paul, then look no further than the Stratocaster. This Squier Mini Strat is a 3/4 sized electric guitar, boasting all the features that Strat fans have fallen in love with over the last nearly-70 years. It’s got three single coil pickups that deliver its classic tone, as well as a five-way pickup selector to give you a variety of different sounds.
This is an ideal starting point for kids wanting to play the electric guitar. Everything has been scaled down, so the body, scale length and neck are all smaller, making it much more comfortable for small hands. The neck has a nice and easy to play C profile, plus the body is slightly thinner, making it lighter.
Squier is the sister company to Fender, which created the Stratocaster. It makes a fantastic range of guitars and basses, many of them, like this, styled after legendary models at more affordable prices. If you’re after an electric guitar that has stood the test of time, that’s also comfortable for small hands, then this is certainly one of the best.
Best for shred
This guitar is loads of fun to play. If you’re just starting out, or perhaps you’re moving from acoustic to your first electric, then this signature collaboration between one of rock’s biggest shredders and Ibanez can provide you with everything you need. It also makes for a great travel companion for more experienced players out on their travels.
It’s fitted with two humbucking pickups that can dish out high powered rock tones, as well as more subtle sounds. There’s a five-way selector so you can actually get a wide range of tones from these two pickups. Whether you’re wanting to play rock, pop, metal or anything else, this compact guitar has you covered!
The 24 frets cover the 22.2” scale length, and the neck profile is fairly small and thin, making it a dream to play for small hands. It’s built well, and the price is super reasonable for what you get.
Best nylon string
Nylon strings are softer than steel strings so can be a good option for beginners, or for those that just prefer a mellower tone. Whilst this model errs on the larger side of our pick of the best guitars for small hands, it’s still a great option due to its slightly narrower nut width. Nylon string guitars often have wide, chunky necks, whereas on this, the neck is smaller. The space between the strings has been reduced so that there is less strain on the fretting hand, and the neck is easy to get your fingers around.
The idea behind the Academy series was to create the best guitars for the most amount of people, for the least amount of cash. The result is a range of incredible guitars that produce fantastic tone and are really playable. If you’ve got smaller hands, and you want the softer feel and mellower sound of nylon strings, then this is one of the best guitars you can get. It isn’t cheap by any means, but you’ll easily get away with this for any sort of live performance or recording session.
Those are our top picks, but there are plenty of other guitar we would happily recommend. Here are some more small hand-friendly guitars we rate.
This is a simple, stripped-back 3/4 size acoustic guitar. It has everything you need to start playing the guitar, and nothing you don’t. It being a 3/4 sized instrument, the whole thing has essentially been shrunk down to make it more comfortable for smaller hands to play. It’s got a 21.25” scale length, so the frets are closer together than they would be on a full size. The body being smaller also makes it easier for smaller players to get their arm around to strum or pick.
For the price, it sounds pretty good. You don’t get quite the same tone as you would do with a solid top or full size guitar, but given its price point and size, it’s one of the best in its class. It’s perfect for beginners just starting out, or even for more experienced players who want a compact acoustic guitar to take traveling with them. It even comes shipped with a gig bag. Something that really helps make a difference are the quality tuners that help the guitar stay in tune.
This is a full size electro-acoustic guitar, however it’s got a really thin neck, slightly shorter scale length and a thin body, making it perfect for players that don’t necessarily want a smaller guitar, but still need something that’s comfortable for smaller hands.
The APX range has been going for a while. This model offers amazing value for money; it sounds great played acoustically on its own, but is also fitted with a good quality pickup and preamp so it’s well suited to gigging. The neck profile is nice and thin, so it’s easy for smaller hands to wrap around, and the body depth is great for those with smaller arms too.
There are some really nice finishes available for the APX-600, so you can pick something that suits the sort of visual style that you’re going for. It’s a great guitar – easy to play, built well, good features and perfect for small hands!
Best guitars for small hands: Buying advice
What type of guitar is best for small hands?
The best guitars for small hands are available in either electric or acoustic varieties. An acoustic will likely have a thicker body, as all the sound is projected via the body and sound hole. The thickness of the body is worth considering if you’re thinking of going down the acoustic route; if the player has smaller arms too, then getting it around the top of a big bodied acoustic could potentially be problematic.
Some of these may also have a pickup on board, meaning you can plug your acoustic into an amp or PA system so you can be heard at gigs or whilst playing alongside other musicians.
An electric, on the other hand, will probably have a thinner body. There are no hard and fast rules, but you’ll probably find thinner strings and a lower action (the distance between the strings and the neck) on an electric, which some players find easier to fret down on. An electric can be played on its own, but you’ll get more out of it by sticking it through an amp, so there’s a bit more of a set-up involved.
What do I need to know about tuning?
Some of these guitars might be quite a bit smaller, or even have a different number of strings, so whilst the tuning of the best guitars for small hands is usually the same as it is for regular guitars, that isn’t always the case.
If the instrument has six strings, then there’s a good chance that it will be tuned EADGBE – that’s what we call standard tuning. For something like the Fender Loog, which only has three strings, you can tune it so that they’re the same as the thinnest three strings on a full size guitar – GBE.
If the guitar has a much shorter scale length, just make sure that the strings don’t feel too loose; if they are, then you might want to tune them all up slightly. In any case, always tune up gradually so you’re less likely to snap any strings.
What is scale length?
The scale length of a guitar refers to the distance between the bridge, where the strings rest on the body, and the nut which is at the top of the neck towards the headstock and tuners. It’s over this length that the string actually vibrates and creates the sound that you hear.
Different scale lengths can result in guitars that feel slightly different under your fretting hand. Generally, a guitar with a shorter scale will have less string tension, so they will be slightly easier to bend and feel a little looser. A shorter scale length also means that the notes on the fretboard are closer together, so some chords and melody lines will require less stretching with your fretting hand.
How we choose the best guitars for small hands
At Guitar World, our team is comprised of seasoned players and experts deeply attuned to the nuances of guitar design. With years of playing and extensive product testing, we bring a wealth of experience to the intricate world of guitars. Our passion extends to every aspect of guitar playing, and this expertise is honed by utilizing instruments in live performances, recording studios, and rehearsal spaces. This wealth of experience forms the foundation for our curated recommendations in various guitar categories.
When it comes to identifying the best guitars for players with smaller hands, we embark on a thorough selection journey. Our process involves combining hands-on experience, insights from user reviews, and comprehensive discussions with our editorial team. This ensures a proper evaluation, providing a well-informed guide to the top guitars tailored for those with smaller hands.
As dedicated guitarists ourselves, our foremost mission is to assist fellow players in finding instruments that perfectly suit their unique needs. We meticulously consider factors ranging from budget considerations to the specific design features that cater to players with smaller hands. The outcome is a thoughtfully curated list representing what we confidently assert to be the best guitars for small hands on the market today.
Related buyer's guides
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- Get low with the best bass guitars for beginners
- Chug and shred with the best beginner guitars for metal