Below is a table of electric guitars that we recommend for people with small hands and/or shorter fingers. We've added some basic info in the details section and some additional information if you click on the "Compare" button. If you have questions, feel free to drop them into the comments section below.
Squier Classic Vibe '50s Telecaster
Squier Affinity Stratocaster
Squier Affinity Telecaster
Schecter C-1 FR-S Apocalypse
Fender Player Stratocaster
Squier Classic Vibe '70s Strat
Fender Special Edition Custom Telecaster
Fender Player Telecaster
EVH Wolfgang Special QM
Schecter Hellraiser Hybrid C-1 FR-S
This is a roundup of the best electric guitars for small hands and shorter fingers. Keep in mind, this does not necessarily mean kids. We're recommending electric guitars for adults that simply have smaller than average hands and/or shorter than average fingers. To help narrow down our suggestions, here are the features we've paid particularly close attention to:
- Body size: Normal solid body (not 3/4 size or hollowbody)
- Width at nut (width of neck at the first fret)
- Fret size (usually jumbo frets)
- Scale length
- Overall quality
- Price and value
Together, all of these features can lead us to electric guitars that are easier to handle, yet provide a ton of value and a professional playing experience. Because my goal is not to simply get you a small guitar or something that a child would play.
Compare More Electric Guitars
If you want to compare more electric guitars that aren't in this list, you can browse our database and add them to the comparison table. We don't have everything, but we have a lot.
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Features to Watch for
We mentioned the targeted features already, but will go more in-depth with the most important ones in this section.
Typically guitars use a "jumbo" fret size, which is meant to be larger than the standard, but has become one of the most common fret sizes. If you have shorter or larger fingers, these can actually be easier to play since a lot of your stretching goes vertical (up and down) and not horizontal.
- Vertical stretching: String to string - easier with jumbo frets
- Horizontal stretching: Fret to fret - easier with narrow or "vintage" frets
Width at Nut
The width at the nut is the measurement of the guitar's neck at the bottom of the first fret, which is highlighted in the graphic below:
As this narrows, guitars become easier to use for people with small hands. While it's true that the neck widens as you go up the fretboard, the smaller it is at the first fret, the thinner it will be overall. The electric guitars we've recommended all have a 1.650" nut width or less.
Electric guitars are by their design smaller and easier to play than acoustic guitars. However, hollowbody guitars or semi-hollow body types are larger and not ideal for players with small hands who want to keep things simple. As such, we've avoided recommending any guitar that isn't your standard solid body electric design. We've also haven't recommended Les Pauls. To summarize, we'd avoid the following, if you're trying to get something to accommodate smaller hands:
- Most acoustics
- Any hollow body guitars
- Any semi-hollow body guitars
- Les Paul body and neck design (physically bigger)
Fingerboard radius is a measurement of the curve of a guitar's fingerboard, based on the circumference of a theoretical circle drawn around the existing fingerboard, placing it at the top of that circle. It's much easier to visualize than it is to explain in writing. Here's how Sweetwater illustrates fingerboard radius, which I think is extremely helpful:
As you can observe from the graphic, the flatter a fingerboard is, the wider your radius will be. For shorter fingers we typically like to see a shorter radius, but it's not a deal breaker. If we get a guitar with lower nut width, a flatter fingerboard is totally fine.
As with all electric guitar purchases, we want to see great pickups in the guitar you buy. Since cheaper guitars almost always come with some kind of stock pickup, we've tried to avoid those and recommend guitars with third party pickups/humbuckers from reputable brands, like the following:
Once we find electric guitars with thinner necks that are good for small hands, we often recommend those with a branded third-party pickup. They just tend to produce a much better sound, getting you away from stock pickups that aren't as nice as the ones from companies that specialize in pickup creation.
Why Short Fingers/Small Hands Can Usually Work
I can see why it would be frustrating to feel like you're at a physical disadvantage with your instrument. However, I've rarely seen finger or hand size truly get in the way of someone learning the guitar. It can still work, because you learn to work with your own body and the shape/size of your hand.
For example, I have a weirdly big thumb for my hand size, so I often bring my thumb to the front of the fretboard, especially when I'm playing higher up the register. If you get a guitar with a decently thin neck and you work at getting to know your fingers, you can still learn guitar and be a really good musician.
Don't Give Up
In other words, a simple bit of advice: Don't give up. If you keep plugging away, you can overcome small hands, short fingers, or whatever obstacles might crop up as you lean.
Don't (Necessarily) Just Throw Money at It
Even though we've recommended a bunch of electric guitars for people with small hands, you might not need a new guitar at all. You might just need to push through with the guitar you have and learn what you need to do there, instead of throwing money at another guitar.
If you're not stuck with an acoustic or a larger hollow body guitar, you might do well to stick with your current axe. Send me the nut width in the comments section, and I'll tell you if going smaller would be worth it.
Aside from the Neck
We've talked a lot about the neck, but what are some other factors to pay attention to? Here are just a few, some of which we've already mentioned:
- Pickups: Brand/type
- Bridge hardware
Buying a guitar is usually not a single issue endeavor. For those that want more info, here are some other articles we've written on the topic:
Do I need a 3/4 body size electric guitar?
We would argue that no, you don't need the 3/4 body size guitar just to compensate for size as an adult. Typically we only recommend that size for kids, or those who are specifically wanting/needing the smaller body design. For finger size alone, it wouldn't make a huge difference.
Do you have additional questions about the best electric guitars for small hands? If so, feel free to get in touch via the comments section below and we'll chat. Thanks for reading, and good luck guitar hunting.