So you’re in the market looking for your dream acoustic guitar.
Maybe you’re in the great acoustic debate as to which company is better: Martin or Taylor.
Maybe you want to play gorgeous fingerstyle like Tommy Emmanuel or just jam a little bit at your local backyard party like Jack Johnson.
Unfortunately, you’re finding out that every guitar you pick up to jam with is impossible to play thanks to one physical limitation: your small hands.
Don’t fret (horrible pun), as we’re here to help those little hands make a big sound!
We’ve compiled a list of some of the best acoustic guitars on the market for people with small hands. These guitars are perfect for children and adults alike.
Are you ready to play? Let’s dive in
- 1 If We Had To Choose One
- 2 The Runner Up
- 3 What You Need to Know Before Purchasing a Guitar for Small Hands
- 4 Our Top 5 Picks
- 5 Let’s Give a Hand for Our Small Scale Guitars
If We Had To Choose One
The Runner Up
What You Need to Know Before Purchasing a Guitar for Small Hands
Body Size: ¾ vs. Parlor vs. concert vs. full-size
¾ size guitars are guitars that are mostly recommended to children under 13. They are the smallest body size and are just a step above ½ size guitars and ukuleles.
With that said, they’re becoming increasingly popular with adults with smaller hands thanks to their easy-to-play sizes and portability. Just look at Ed Sheeran who uses ¾ guitars almost exclusively.
Unlike full-size guitars, you won’t have to hold these at awkward and uncomfortable angles when barring chords.
With that said, the smaller the acoustic guitar, the smaller the sound (generally). Don’t expect to get the same depth that you would get out of a full-size acoustic. Expect more of a trebly tone.
Parlor guitars are just a small size down from the ¾ size. They are often far more affordable than full-size acoustic guitars, yet are much easier to play for those with small hands.
The style of parlor guitars is very reminiscent of the 1950s, as they were incredibly popular for early folk and blues music.
They sit low on your knee and have a bigger tone than ¾ size guitars. Expect a mid-range sound with a parlor guitar.
Grand concert guitars are based on the shape of classical guitars. In terms of size, they are just above parlor guitars and just under your traditional dreadnought guitars.
They’re shape and size gives you a nice, clear mid-range tone while still retaining versatility that is perfect for any style of playing.
If you’re in the market for a small guitar, yet want one that can deliver the same impact as a full-size dreadnought, a grand concert is your best choice.
Dreadnought guitars have been around since the early 1930s and are easily the most popular type of acoustic guitars around.
The bodies are very large and broad, making them perfect for projection in any style of playing. If you’re looking for a big sound with tons of low end, a dreadnought is a must.
Note: Dreadnought guitars are not necessarily great for those with small hands. If you really must get a dreadnought guitar, you’ll need to consider other factors to make sure that it’s a good fit for your hands. That brings us to our next part…
One of the biggest issues that people with small hands have with traditional guitars is that the necks are too wide. They feel a load of discomfort when they try and fret the strings or play chords.
This is why it’s essential to look for a thin neck guitar so that you don’t have to exert as much effort or feel pain when you play.
Guitar neck width is measured at the nut and the 12th fret. Check out the picture below for a better visual representation of nut measurement.
Do note that there is a tradeoff with having a slim neck acoustic guitar.
For starters, you won’t get that same chunky sound as you would with a wider neck guitar.
Secondly, the slimmer the neck, the harder it is to play fingerstyle music.
Notice how wide classical nylon string guitars are. If you have small hands with fatter fingers, you might want to consider getting a wider neck too, as it will help to increase your dexterity.
The shorter the scale length, the closer the frets will be to one another. Guitars that have smaller scale lengths will be much easier for people with small hands to play, as they won’t have to stretch beyond comfort to play specific notes and chords, thus making playing more enjoyable.
A full-size guitar is 25.5 inches in scale length, meaning you’ll want to look for a guitar that is anywhere between 22-24.9”.
While not incredibly important, as you can always change string gauge, you might want to consider getting a guitar with smaller gauge strings or lighter strings in general.
The lighter the strings, the easier they will be to press down on the fretboard and play. This is why many small-handed, steel-string acoustic guitar players switch to nylon strings.
Different woods vary greatly in sound and price, so choosing the right one for your preferences is important.
Spruce is easily one of the most popular wood types when it comes to acoustic guitars. It has a paler color when compared to dark woods and has a nice, clear tone without sounding too thin. Spruce is also usually the least expensive type of wood
If you have more money to spend and want to take a step up, we recommend looking for Mahogany. This type of wood is a bit denser and outputs a punchier sound with lower overtones. People often describe this sound as “woody.”
If you have a larger budget, you may even want to look into some woods that are a bit rarer such as Indian Rosewood or Koa. These types of woods aren’t nearly as common, though produce a gorgeous mid-range tone that projects nicely, yet maintains serious warmth.
Our Top 5 Picks
The Eastman E10P is one of the most high-quality, parlor-style acoustic guitars on the market. Though it’s smaller in size, it trumps many of the larger, full-size guitars in terms of sound and craftsmanship.
It’s incredibly lightweight and is built with reduced specs, making it perfect for those players with smaller hands.
Both the neck and the fretboard are a little over a half an inch smaller than your typical dreadnought guitar with the nut coming in at 1 13/16”.
The body top is made with a rare and gorgeous Adirondack Spruce and the neck, sides, and back are made with a high-quality Mahogany.
The top-tier ebony fingerboard provides a smooth feel while reducing unwanted fret and string noise. At 24.9”, you get 19 frets to play with as it sits comfortably low on your knee thanks to the Parlor shape.
Lastly, you get six chrome vintage open-gear tuners and a two-way adjustable truss rod, among many other luxurious features.
Bottom Line: Getting a smaller guitar doesn’t have to mean getting a cheap one. The Eastman 10P is the embodiment of luxury guitars for advanced players with smaller hands.
At 23.5” in scale length, the Taylor GS Mini-e Solid Koa Top is very easy to form chords on for players with small hands. Because of the scaled-down size, the Taylor GS Mini-e also makes for the perfect travel guitar.
Its lightweight design allows you to pack it away and take with you on the road with ease. Don’t let the little design fool you though!
The layered koa back and sides are absolutely gorgeous, delivering a robust, mid-range punch contrasting its size, and a smooth, natural look that’ll make you want to show it off to all your friends.
The patented Taylor Neck at 1-11/16” makes this bad boy incredibly easy to play. Your short fingers won’t struggle to wrap around it and play dense chords.
One unique thing about the Taylor Mini-e Koa is the built-in ES-B electronics that allow you to plug in and play wherever you are! There’s also a handy, built-in digital chromatic tuner with a bright LED display, meaning you’ll never need to worry about carrying around that pesky clip-on tuner!
Bottom Line: For travel, playability, and sound, the Taylor GS Mini-e Solid Koa Top is one of the best high-end mini guitars around. If you’re in the market for a modern looking guitar with built-in electronics, look no further!
Martin has always been known for its quality craftsmanship when it comes to producing some of the world’s best acoustic guitars.
The emphasis on the Martin LXM was for it to stand up against full-size guitars in terms of sound. Well, they did it. This baby sounds amazing!
The Martin LXM Little Martin is made from a beautiful Sitka Spruce and comes complete with a Micarta fretboard and high-quality Gotoh tuners.
At 23” in scale length, it’s the perfect size for students and adults with smaller hands! The Stratabond modified low-oval neck adds to its playability as well.
Even at a lower price, the tone still rings like many high-end Martins. There is not as much of a compromise as you might expect there to be, even with the scaled down body. The mixture of Mahogany HPL and Spruce HPL are unique too, making it climate-friendly no matter where you end up!
Bottom Line: The Martin LXM is a wonderful small acoustic guitar for pros and amateurs alike who want great sound at a smaller price! It has a simple look, is easy to play, and makes an excellent travel companion for the nomadic players out there.
The Yamaha APXT2 is one of Yamaha’s best-selling guitars and for a good reason too. It’s the perfect choice for small-handed guitarists who are also looking to play an acoustic guitar that’s hybrid electronic.
Thanks to the built-in ART Pickup System, you’ll always be ready for any surprise gig that comes your way. There is also a built-in chromatic tuner and volume controls for on-the-fly adjustments.
At a standard ¾ size, the neck is only 15” long and comes with 21 frets. Even those hard-to-play chords won’t require too much of a stretch. With a 1-11/16” nato neck, the feel is very reminiscent of the above-mentioned Taylor and Martin miniatures.
This particular APXT2 is a Spruce-top guitar with Meranti back and sides that provide a surprisingly satisfying tone. The beauty of the APXT2 is that it also comes with everything you need to get started, including a strap, strings, tuner, and soft gig-bag.
Bottom Line: The APXT2 is an excellent travel companion for small-handed guitarists and sounds incredible considering it is half the price of top-tier, small-sized acoustic guitars. With the added functionality of the onboard electronics system, we’re surprised it’s this inexpensive in the first place!
Best Budget Option
The OG1FYS is a stylish-looking, ¾-size acoustic guitar that is an excellent option for beginners with smaller hands! The body is crafted from a laminated spruce top with layered catalpa on the back and side.
Not only does it sound solid, but it also has a unique and exotic look that sets it apart from other acoustic guitars on the market. You can even pick from a variety of different colors to find one that best fits your style!
The mixture of Mahogany and Rosewood on the 20-fret fretboard give it a smooth quality, which pairs great with the thin build for easy-to-play chords.
The tone is very reminiscent of traditional dreadnought guitars, though obviously a bit quieter. While there’s not as much depth in tone as higher end Taylors, Martin, or Eastman guitars, the overall sound is quite clear with a decent bass response for the size.
Even with the mass-production and low price in mind, it has some very reminiscent features of our favorites that allows it to live on the same list.
Bottom Line: On a tight budget? Oscar Schmidt has your back. The OG1FYS is the perfect beginner acoustic guitar with spot-on spec requirements for players who can’t seem to wrap their hands around a full-size axe.
Let’s Give a Hand for Our Small Scale Guitars
We hope that our article has helped you in your search for a small-scale acoustic guitar.
Never listen to the naysayers! Just because you have smaller hands doesn’t mean you’ll never be able to play guitar like the pros.
If you’re looking for the highest quality guitar for small hands, we recommend checking out the Eastman E10P. It’s one of the best on the market in terms of tone, build quality and durability.
For those whose budgets don’t coincide with the Eastman E10P, the Taylor GS Mini-e Solid Koa Top is an excellent runner-up option with a pro tone and solid playability.