Playing the guitar well is almost comparable to being a professional sportsman. To excel in tennis or basketball, one requires long legs and big hands to run and hold the racquet and ball. To attain mastery over the guitar, it may seem like one requires big hands to handle the musical instrument. What if you have a big aspiration to be a guitarist but you are born with small hands? How can you play the guitar well with small hands? Is it possible?
Choosing the Right Guitar
It may be tempting to choose classical guitar over acoustics or the electric guitar if you have small hands. The good news is, small hands aren’t necessarily stuck to playing only classical guitar.
The acoustic and electric guitars come in different sizes but in most shops, you will probably find full-sized guitars. But there are ¾ sized guitars with short necks and small bodies averaging 36 by 12 inches. Standard-sized guitars measures about 39 by 15 inches.
The smaller ¾ sized guitars tend to sound quieter. They are also more treble-heavy and there are not that many options to choose from. But you can still find good models such as the Little Martin used by Ed Sheeran. There are other good quality smaller guitars such as Baby Taylor and Yamaha FG Jr. Usually smaller guitars are recommended for 8 to 12-year-olds. But adults are getting into smaller-sized guitars for convenience and a more punchy sound.
If you play acoustics, you can purchase a parlor, travel, grand concert, or auditorium acoustic guitar. Do note that it may be hard to find smaller-sized parlor guitars in music stores.
Standard Guitars with Smaller Necks
Having small hands does not mean you are totally unable to play on a standard guitar. It is not the size of the guitar but the neck that makes it more challenging to play with small hands.
C-shaped neck guitars fit easily into the palm of your hands and allows you to curl your fingers up and down the fretboard. Fender guitars, particularly the newer ones come with modern C-shape necks. These are thinner than the traditional C-shape guitars and are designed for easy playing on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd strings.
When choosing a standard-sized guitar, avoid the chunky U-shape and D-shape as they are designed for bigger hands.
You might be surprised that strings can make a difference for smaller hands playing the guitar. Although you should choose the string that feels most comfortable for you, light gauge guitar strings are most suitable for small hands. You need not press as hard and it also allows you to stretch your fingers across the fretboard more easily.
Acoustic strings are heavier than electric strings. Lighter acoustic strings may sound brighter compared to heavier strings but they can also produce a strong sound. Classical guitar comes with nylon strings and is very fingertip friendly as well as easier to play for smaller hands.
Training Your Fingers
To start getting used to playing the guitar, it is best to start by training your fingers by stretching them. Stretching your fingers regularly builds strength and flexibility, allowing you to cover more frets and strings in a single movement. Training regularly also helps you play on bigger guitars.
You can also make it a habit to start with warmup exercises that use your index, middle, ring, and pink fingers to move up and down in rhythmic succession. After a few weeks of practice, you will be amazed at how easy it is for you to fret your chords.
Using Your Body
Another way to make it easier to play the guitar with small hands is to hold the guitar as close to your body as possible. Holding the guitar close when you are playing will help you stretch your fingers over the thickest part across the longest scale length.
Thin acoustics are a little bulky to hold but holding it close while playing does wonder for small hands. Solid-body electric guitars are the easiest to hold and include stomach and arm contours for extra comfort.
We hope this article has helped you find a suitable guitar if you are a beginner guitarist with small hands. Check out our guitar programmes and take a free trial to learn from our experienced teachers.