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Best Electric Guitars for Small Hands

Guitar players with smaller hands can struggle to play larger, or even normal-sized, guitars. 

If the guitar isn’t matched to the player’s body, it can interfere with playing technique, making it harder to play accurately and reliably. 

Players with small hands may find a standard-sized fretboard too large and not comfortable to play. This can result in over-stretching of the hands to reach all the notes, which can strain or even damage muscles.

We’ve been exploring electric guitars on the marketplace, hunting down 10 of the best electric guitars for small hands, and comparing them in this article. Hopefully helping those small-handed shredders find the perfect new instrument! 

After testing 10 electric guitars, we placed the Fender Mustang as our top pick, thanks to its superb build quality and stunning sound, with easy playability and compact size. It’s a higher price than most guitars but this is a professional-grade instrument. 

For those with a smaller budget, the Squire models are faithful to the originals without the cost.

I’ve been playing guitar for nearly 20 years, during which I’ve gone through many, many guitars… It took me a while to find a guitar that felt perfectly comfortable to play, as an extension of my body and mind. 

Unfortunately, I was not blessed with long fingers like Steve Vai or Jimi Hendrix. My hands are not particularly ideal for guitar, they’re wide with a big palm, and shorter fingers.

After trying lots of acoustic and electric guitars, I felt the smaller necked guitars were easier to play. I found the Jaguar design felt like the best fit for my hands, and I also loved the sound and design of the instrument. I’m currently rocking a Vintage Jaguar, and I don’t see myself moving away from the Jaguar design unless I find a better contender!

It’s all relative to your body size and musical tastes!

Ultimately, the “best” guitar will be different for each player, based on their body, sonic tastes, and budget.

Professional guitarists might be able to justify buying a guitar in a higher price range, where the hobbyist or amateur may be more financially limited. That being said, many “budget” priced guitars are made at a very high quality, sacrificing very little for the price difference.  

If the player is extra small, they could consider a ¾ sized or lightweight guitar if struggling to play a full-sized.

In most cases, small hands just need an electric guitar with a shorter scale length, a smaller nut width, and an appropriate neck shape. These are the core specifications to look at-

Key Terms:

Below are key terms that describe the design of a guitar concerning its size and measurement. Understanding these, and getting a feel for your preferences will be very useful to find your perfect guitar.

Scale Length.

  • This is a measurement of the playable fretboard area. Longer scale lengths result in increased space between each fret, requiring more finger reach. 
  • Small-handed guitarists should use a shorter scale length to make playing easier.
  • Scale length is calculated by measuring the distance from the nut to the center of the 12th fret bar and doubling the value. 
  • A Stratocaster typically has a scale length of 25.5 inches. Anything larger than this may be too big for small hands. 

Nut Width.

  • It may sound insignificant, but do not underestimate the impact nut width has on playing feel.
  • Nut width is a vertical measurement (bottom to the top) of the nut.
  • This is the widest part of the fretboard and is fractionally larger than the distance from the highest to lowest strings. The nut width measurement will give an indicator of how wide the fretboard is.
  • A larger nut width requires more vertical stretching of the left hand as it holds fret positions. It also takes more effort to hold barre chords spanning all 6 strings.  
  • A Strat usually has a nut width of 1.6” – 1.65”, which can be just on the threshold of comfort for small hands. A nut width of around or below 1.6” is a good place to start for small hands. 

Body Shape & Size.

  • Body shape and size also affect playing and reach. The Mustang design is an example of a body shape suited for smaller players. There’s an endless amount of guitar shapes out there, but the ones that tend to be preferred by smaller players are Mustangs, Stratocasters, Telecasters, Jaguars, and some Les Paul shapes.
  • Hollowbody electric guitars sometimes have deeper bodies which may be undesirable. Generally, an electric guitar will be easier to hold than an acoustic because their bodies are much smaller.
  • A ¾ sized guitar can also be a great solution for smaller players and children. These feel considerably smaller than a full-sized (4/4) guitar, and often sound just as good.

Fingerboard Radius.

Fingerboard radius measures the curvature of the guitar’s fretboard. A smaller radius indicates a more curved fingerboard, larger means flatter. Some guitars have completely flat fingerboards. More curved radiuses are better for playing chords, and flatter radiuses are better for playing single-notes and bending. 

In theory, a flatter radius is better for players with small hands, Stratocasters have a 9.5” radius, anywhere around this or above will be ideal.

Neck Shape

  • The shape of a guitar’s neck will have a huge effect on the playing feel.
  • Neck Shape or Neck Profile describes the curvature of the back of the guitar’s neck. 
  • These are described with letters that mimic the profile of the shape. 
  • Common neck shapes include C, D, V, and U. 
  • Shallower profiles are better for smaller hands, so a C or C flat shape is a good place to start. D and D flat are also appropriate with a slightly different feel.
  • V and U profiles are generally suited for longer digits as their side angles are extended, which creates a thicker neck.
  • These are general guidelines, the most comfortable choice will come down to personal preference, so try out as many guitar neck shapes as possible before you buy.
  • Now we understand the important factors and terminology, let’s look at our top electric guitars for small hands. Keep reading for the full roundup!

Best electric guitars for small hands in our tests

  1. Fender Player Mustang 90
  2. Squier Classic Vibe 50’s Stratocaster
  3. Squier Mini Stratocaster (¾ size)
  4. Stagg S300 ¾
  5. Epiphone SG Special VE
  6. Fender Duo-Sonic HS
  7. Epiphone Les Paul Special
  8. Eastwood Mandocaster
  9. Ibanez Paul Gilbert MiKro
  10. Squire Mini Jazzmaster

10 Best Electric Guitars for Small Hands Reviewed in Detail

1: Fender Player Mustang 90

Fender Player Mustang 90

Product Intro

Favored by Kurt Cobain and other punks, the Mustang was a model added to Fenders’ product catalog in 1964, marketed as a student guitar. It was a redesign of their other student models the Duo-Sonic, and Musicmaster.

Besides its small, groovy body shape, the defining feature of the Mustang design is its noticeably shorter scale length, clocking in at between 22.5”-24. They use two single coil pickups with a quirky vibrato system.

Product Specifications

  • Weight:
  • Neck Profile: C shape
  • Fingerboard Radius: 9.5”
  • Scale Length: 24”
  • Nut Width: 1.65”
  • Fret Count: 22
  • Fret Size: Medium Jumbo
  • Pickups: 2 x Single Coil MP90
  • Price: £539

Advantages & Disadvantages:

These are great lightweight, small profiled guitars that will fit snugly into those tiny little hands of yours. It has a relatively thin, jangly sound which may not fit everyone’s tastes but is very rich, beautiful, and distinct.

This is a fender model so the build quality and materials are superb. This felt like it would last a lifetime without going out of tune. The pickups had a good amount of sound options, even just from 2 single coils. These pickups sounded good.

Verdict

This could be the perfect solid body electric guitar for a small-handed player. The price tag is more on the professional side, maybe too expensive for a beginner or hobbyist, but there won’t be any disappointment on quality and tone! There is just something about the sound of a Fender that can’t be beaten! 

2: Squier Classic Vibe 50’s Stratocaster

Squier Classic Vibe 50’s Stratocaster

Product Intro

Ah, the old Squier Strat… these are probably one of the most common guitars around. When someone says “imagine an electric guitar”, chances are, you imagine this.

The Strat design has been a favorite since its birth in 1952-54. They blasted onto the scene with 3 switchable pickups, a vibrato arm, and their sexy offset waist, elongated horns, and double cutaway. Have you ever seen a more iconic guitar shape?

Tried and tested, Strats have a flexible and clean sound. These Squire classic vibe models are more affordable than their Fender brothers, only sacrificing a minor amount of build quality.

Product Specifications

  • Weight:
  • Neck Profile: C shape
  • Fingerboard Radius: 9.5”
  • Scale Length: 25.5”
  • Nut Width: 1.65”
  • Fret Count: 21
  • Fret Size: Narrow Tall
  • Pickups: 3 x Fender Alnico Single Coil
  • Price: £349

Advantages & Disadvantages

These are really solid guitars for the price point. Whilst they might not be specifically designed for smaller players, they are usually still comfortable to play for most people. They are known to be reliable, go-to axes that work in most situations. 

The only real disadvantage is that they might not be the most unique or exciting-looking designs. If budget allows, a Fender will be of higher quality than a Squire, but double or triple the price.

Verdict

These are great guitars for students, hobbyists, and amateurs. That being said they won’t let you down in a gig, and still boast a tasty tone. Choose this if you don’t have the cash for a fender but need a solid and reliable electric guitar.

3: Squier Mini Stratocaster (¾ size)

Squier Mini Stratocaster

Product Intro

Honey, I shrunk the Strat!

Squire has taken the iconic Stratocaster design we all know and love, and shrunk it down into ¾ sized design. This is perfect for children, small hands, or traveling musicians.

This affordable guitar will fit most budgets, and whilst Squire has managed to shave down the size, they’ve kept all the original features that make Strats such attractive musical instruments.

This particular mini Strat model is a smaller version of the Bullet Strat, so it has a thinner neck profile and a slimmer body, but it retains the 3-pickup, 5-way switch design. This guitar can create Fender-style tones at a fraction of the cost.

Product Specifications

  • Weight:
  • Neck Profile: C shape
  • Fingerboard Radius: 9.5”
  • Scale Length: 22.75”
  • Nut Width: 1.6”
  • Fret Count: 20
  • Fret Size: Medium
  • Pickups: 3 x Single Coil
  • Price: £119

Advantages & Disadvantages

The main advantages of this guitar are the price and the size. This is a small-size guitar that won’t stretch your fingers and is definitely one of the best guitars for small hands, beginners, and children. The mini strat has a small body and neck, so people with short fingers will be able to play the guitar easily.

The downsides are that the sound quality will not compete with more expensive, full-sized guitars. Whilst not terrible sounding, the tone was not spectacular or particularly memorable and pales in comparison to a Fender.

Verdict

This is the ideal guitar for starters or guitarists on a budget. It’s also a great guitar for traveling and touring, as it is easy to carry and store, and not a huge loss if damaged or stolen.

4:  Stagg S300 ¾

Stagg S300

Product Intro

Another ¾ strat model, this affordable electric guitar is ideal for small hands and youngsters. This model is faithful to the original in both sound and design and will feel familiar to any strat player. 

It has the same pickup and tone control circuit style: three single coils with a five-way selector switch. It has a solid alder body, rosewood fretboard, and bolt-on neck with a tasty vibrato bar for that sweet whammy action. 

Product Specifications

  • Weight:
  • Neck Profile: C Shape
  • Fingerboard Radius: 
  • Scale Length: 22.3”
  • Nut Width: 1.6”
  • Fret Count: 20
  • Fret Size: Medium
  • Pickups: 3 x Single Coil
  • Price: £157

Advantages & Disadvantages

The ¾ size will benefit smaller players, but may not suit others.

It sounded good for the price but wasn’t anything special. 

Verdict

This is a low-cost short scale guitar that gets the job done. Good for practice and beginner playing. It might not fill a stadium, but it won’t break the bank.

5: Epiphone SG Special VE

Epiphone SG Special VE

Product Intro

Epiphone is a company that produces budget model guitars for Gibson. These guitars often replicate the style and design of Gibson’s iconic, but more expensive models.

Epiphone guitars still have a great build and sound quality, whilst costing anywhere from 6-10x less than a Gibson version of the same guitar. 

The SG-Special VE is a sweet guitar with an even sweeter price. Featuring a scale length slightly shorter than Stratocaster models, and 2 punchy humbucker pickups, this is a nifty electric guitar with a fantastic £ to sound ratio. 

It even has 22 frets, and a flatter fingerboard radius for face-melting guitar solos. 

Product Specifications

  • Weight:
  • Neck Profile: D shape
  • Fingerboard Radius: 14”
  • Scale Length: 24.75”
  • Nut Width: 1.6”
  • Fret Count: 22
  • Fret Size: Medium Jumbo
  • Pickups: 2 x Open Coil Humbuckers
  • Price: £159

Advantages & Disadvantages

The Epiphone SG’s scale length isn’t the shortest on this list, but it packs in extra, flatter frets which opens up more playing options. 

The tone control circuit is less flexible than fender designs but still works well.

It has a tune o matic bridge which keeps in tune longer than Stratocasters, but has no whammy bar.

Verdict

This is comparable in price and quality to the Squire Stratocaster models. The difference really is in the sound and feel of the guitar. SG models are traditionally used in heavier styles of music like rock, metal, punk, and hardcore – although there are no strict rules in music.

This has a lower, warmer tone than most on this list.

6: Fender Duo-Sonic HS

Fender Duo-Sonic HS

Product Intro:

Don’t you just love the slick look of an offset guitar? The Duo-Sonic is one of Fender’s lesser-known designs but is favored in indie, country, shoegaze, and psychedelic genres thanks to its rare and peculiar tone. 

Duo-Sonic models are very easy to play for players with small hands due to their compact size. They have 2 searing single-coil pickups with a bright and clear tone.

The slim maple neck and lightweight guitar body make this a perfect guitar for smaller hands.

If you are looking for a guitar for small hands, this is one of the best around, which is reflected in the higher price.

Product Specifications

  • Weight:
  • Neck Profile: C shaped neck
  • Fingerboard Radius: 9.5”
  • Scale Length: 24” scale length
  • Nut Width: 1.65”
  • Fret Count: 22
  • Fret Size: Medium Jumbo
  • Pickups: 2 x Duo-Sonic Single Coil.
  • Price: £529

Advantages & Disadvantages

High Price, High Quality. No Whammy bar, only 2 pickups. 

Verdict

This is an electric guitar designed for small hands and players. Of course, the price tag puts it out of reach for many people, but for a professional, this could be a finalist. The decision would come down to the sound and style.

7: Epiphone Les Paul Special

Epiphone Les Paul Special

Product Intro

The Les Paul is another classic Gibson guitar model, created in 1952. Similar to the SG, it features a 22 fret mahogany neck, slightly shorter than a Stratocaster, usually with dual humbuckers, and always with the signature cutaway for full-scale soloing.    

Whilst on the larger side of small, the LP Special is a great electric guitar for small hands thanks to its 1960’s SlimTaper neck and compact fretboard. Its open-coil humbucker pickups sound great when driven or distorted through amplifiers and guitar pedals, and created much less noise compared to the single-coil models we tried. 

This packs the great quality of Epiphone guitars into an affordable and stylish instrument

Product Specifications

  • Weight:
  • Neck Profile: D Shape
  • Fingerboard Radius: 14”
  • Scale Length: 24.75”
  • Nut Width: 1.6”
  • Fret Count: 22
  • Fret Size: Medium Jumbo
  • Pickups: 2 x Epiphone Open Coil Humbucker
  • Price: £149

Advantages & Disadvantages

  • No Whammy, simple tone circuit.
  • Perfect for shredding, metal guitarists, and other heavy styles of music.
  • Sounds killer, very smooth to play

Verdict

I had one of these models when I was growing up, it was a real favorite. They have a very distinct sound and are a hell of a lot of fun to play, especially when cranked. For the price, the quality is unbeatable. 

They compare well to the Squire series Stratocaster. Whilst they may have fewer features in terms of controls, they are smoother to play, provide access to more notes, and have a better sound when distorted. This is a great choice for a small handed rocker!

8: Eastwood Mandocaster

Eastwood Mandocaster
Eastwood Mandocaster Electric Mandolin (Antique Sunburst)

Product Intro

Whilst not exactly a guitar, these modern reimaginations of the ancient mandolin instrument bring the mandolin into a modern musical context. These are much smaller than normal guitars and have a completely different sound. 

They have 4 pairs of strings, working similar to 12 stringed guitars, where the strings are doubled to create a richer, more harmonic sound.

We decided to include this just because it was so fun to play, and brings new excitement to electric guitar-based music. There are many brands, but Eastwood is the expert in electric mandolin design.

Product Specifications

  • Weight:
  • Neck Profile: C
  • Fingerboard Radius: Flat
  • Scale Length: 14”
  • Nut Width: 1”
  • Fret Count: 21
  • Fret Size: Small
  • Pickups: 2 x Single Coil
  • Price:  £440

Advantages & Disadvantages

This has a much higher sound than a guitar but is spectacularly smaller.

Different fingering and chord structure than guitar. The strings are tuned in 5ths rather than 4ths, which is not hard to relearn. Anybody with normal-sized hands may find them fiddly to play.

Verdict

Don’t underestimate this cute little instrument. When paired with guitar effects pedals and an amplifier, this can achieve some monstrous tones. Thanks to the doubled mandolin strings, it has a beautiful otherworldly harmonious sound that sits above a guitar. These don’t just belong in the folk scene and have been used in punk, rock, and psychedelic music. Eastwood makes many styles of top-quality electric mandolin.

9: Ibanez Paul Gilbert MiKro

Ibanez Paul Gilbert MiKro

Product Intro

This is a ¾ sized version of Paul Gilbert’s signature electric guitar model. Whilst small, its sound is huge and competes with the heavy tones of full-sized Ibanez guitars. 

It has two Ibanez Infinity ceramic humbucker pickups that sound superb when distorted and cranked, creating scorching lead tones and chunky chopping chords. 

This guitar even has more frets than most normal guitars, clocking in at a whopping 25 frets for those screeching shredders out there.

Product Specifications

  • Weight:
  • Neck Profile: Paul Gilbert Custom
  • Fingerboard Radius: 15.7”
  • Scale Length: 22.2”
  • Nut Width: 1.6
  • Fret Count: 25
  • Fret Size: Medium
  • Pickups: 2 x Ibanez Infinity Humbuckers
  • Price: £179

Advantages & Disadvantages

Scorching metal tones in a tiny package. No whammy bar or tone control, but great pickups and playing feel.

Verdict

This is a dream guitar for metal and heavy rock guitarists with small hands and a tight budget. Its pickups are one of the best for distortion on this list. The sound won’t be to everybody’s taste, but this is one of the best small guitars for metal players.

10: Squire Mini Jazzmaster HH

Squire Mini Jazzmaster

Product Intro

Jazzmasters are beautiful guitars, typically with a longer, wider neck than Stratocasters, and two warm humbucker pickups. These were traditionally made for jazz (hence the name…) but were repurposed and made famous by post-punk and no-wave bands, namely Sonic Youth. 

A full-sized Jazzmaster might not be the best guitar for small hands, fortunately, Squire has created a stunning ¾  mini model so those smallies can break new sonic boundaries too.

Product Specifications

  • Weight:
  • Neck Profile: C Shape
  • Fingerboard Radius: 9.5”
  • Scale Length: 22.75
  • Nut Width: 1.6”
  • Fret Count: 20
  • Fret Size: Narrow Tall
  • Pickups: 2 x Squire Humbucker
  • Price: £129

Advantages & Disadvantages

It’s a mini Jazzmaster!!! It features the same pickup switching designs, although lacks the original vibrato mechanism. This was replaced by a hardtail bridge, which will stay in tune for longer.

 The sound quality isn’t comparable to the original, although it is still solid for an excellent price.

Verdict

For the price, no complaints can be had. For certain players, nothing will do other than a Jazzmaster. This cute model takes the classic features of a Jazzmaster and packages it into an easier-to-play pocket-sized beast. 

This stylish axe is a wallet-friendly choice of electric guitar for small hands and is easily one of the best budget guitars on this list.

Buying Guide

What to look for when buying this type of product

Several sections talking about Features, Problems, Use Cases, etc.

There are several considerations to make when buying a new guitar. Follow this buying guide to help you choose your dream guitar.

  1. Budget: Work out how much money you can spend first. Don’t torture yourself by fantasizing over guitars you can’t afford. There are good guitars in every price range.
  2. Electric or Acoustic: This guide is about electric guitars, but there are also acoustic guitars that are good for small players. Electric guitars need to be played with an amplifier or audio interface.
  3. Pickups & Electronics: The sound of an electric guitar is largely defined by its pickups. Play with different guitars and learn what sound you prefer. Single coils tend to have a brighter, thinner sound, Humbuckers are warmer and fatter. Having more tone control options and pickup configurations will provide more sound choices.
  4. Style & Tone: At a certain level of quality, the only real differences in guitars is the aesthetics and sound. Choose a guitar that you will feel comfortable playing, and think matches the style of music you want to play.
  5. Manufacturer: Some guitarists have a preference for using guitars made by a particular manufacturer. Different brands make instruments geared towards different styles of music.

Problems:

Some common problems can often be overlooked when blinded by the excitement of a new guitar. If possible, play the guitar before buying, or at least try a similar model in-store. 

Check for any cosmetic damage. 

Check the integrity of hardware and electronics. Everything should feel tight and solid. There should be no crackling or intermittent signal from the electronics.

Intonation and tuning. 

Any problems here can usually be fixed with some modification. But test if the intonation of the guitar is good by tuning it, then using the tuner to make sure each note is correct up and down the fretboard. If a guitar has bad intonation, the first few notes will be in tune, but higher up the fretboard it will be out of tune. Some guitars have screws or a mechanism that can alter the intonation. 

Sometimes the tuning pegs lose their strength, so the strings detune quickly. These can be replaced fairly easily but should be avoided.

FAQs

What is the best electric guitar for small hands?

The best electric guitar for small hands depends on a few factors, firstly being size. 
If a ¾ size guitar is too small, a full-size guitar would be best.
Otherwise, the best choice would probably be a 3/4 sized Fender guitar because they have the strongest build quality and sound quality. 
However Fender guitars are relatively expensive, luckily Squire makes more affordable versions of their instruments. These can be a great choice if you can’t afford a ¾ Fender.
Alternatively, Gibson guitars are another top brand and they make some 3/4 sized guitars. Again, if these are out of your price range, Epiphone makes affordable versions that are still of good quality. 
Professional players might be able to justify spending more money on a guitar than a hobbyist but more expensive guitars are generally better quality.
At the end of the day, the choice will be down to your tastes in music and style.

Is Les Pauls good for small hands?

It depends on the specific Les Paul model, but traditionally Les Pauls’ has comparatively wide, thick, and rounded necks, which may be too chunky for the small handers.
Some Les Paul models, including the Studio, Modern, and Classic varieties have slightly thinner necks which are preferred by smaller-handed guitarists. 
Les Paul Modern models are ideal due to their asymmetrical slim tapered neck design, which is very suitable for small hands. Classics and Studios also use a Slim Taper.
The Tribute, Junior and Standard 50’s models have rounded necks, which are not so good for smallies.

Do I Need A Guitar with a Thin Neck for My Small Hands?

Guitarists with smaller hands may find a thinner neck easier to play. A guitar with a thin neck will have less space between each string, and be much easier to reach around. Thicker necked guitars tend to have more space between the strings, which makes it harder to play for people with small hands. The wider neck also makes it harder to hold down chords and notes.

Is a 3/4 Size Electric Guitar Made for Small Handed People?

¾ sized guitars are suitable for small-handed players. Traditionally ¾ sized guitars are made for children, who have small hands, however many adults have been known to play them too.  Usually, an adult will find a 3 / 4 size guitar too small and uncomfortable to play unless they have small hands. 

Conclusion

The best guitar on this list is probably the fender mustang. This is a top-quality guitar made by a world-renowned guitar manufacturer fender. The sound quality is unbeatable and very flexible, with an old-school tone that will be the envy of any guitarist, no matter how big or small the hands are.

The mustang is a particularly good choice of guitar for small hands because of the shorter neck and well-shaped profile. This guitar has superb action, meaning the strings are very easy to hold onto the fretboard, the neck is very smooth, and allows easy movement up and down. The neck radius and curvature of the back of the neck make it easy to play. Also, it has a very stylish look and comes in a variety of cool colors and finishes.
Buy this guitar now through Amazon, there is a whole choice of colors and packages including amplifiers, Gigbags, and all the cables you need to get rocking straight away.