Electric guitars are generally speaking a bit easier for smaller players than acoustic models, but even so you may have to search a while to find an instrument that truly fits your fingers. The neck width and depth are going to be your primary considerations. You may also want to look for a guitar with lower action so your fingers don’t have to move as far to play the notes; the action can also be adjusted at your local music repair shop, if you find the action too high when it comes to you from the factory.
Finally, if your arms are a bit short, as well, buying a guitar with a shorter stock length could help you to better reach all the frets. You may have fewer frets overall, but the reduction in note options will be worth it to make sure you can get full use out of your guitar.
All of the options below are great for players with smaller hands, giving you premier workmanship and musicality in a relatively compact package. These are the 4 best electric guitars for small hands that we could find.
Fender Kurt Cobain Jaguar NOS 3
This solid-body electric guitar is an exact replica of Cobain’s famous guitar. It has a body made of alder, a neck of maple, and a rosewood fingerboard, a combination of tonewoods that gives you the iconic ‘90s grunge sound in a modern package (see full specs). It’s modified in the same ways Cobain altered his guitar, too, with a vintage tremolo, an upgraded Adjusto-matic bridge, and two DiMarzio humbucker pickups—the DP103 PAF-style in the neck and a DP100 Super Distortion in the bridge. The three-stage control setup uses knurled chrome knobs; the 4-ply brown shell pickguard and body shape are distinctive, while the New Old Stock finish completes the vintage look.
Gibson SG Special
The SG Special is a 22 fret guitar with a 24 ¾” scale length, a bit shorter than the traditional electric, making it an ideal choice for smaller players. It also has a unique horned double cutaway design that makes it easier to reach the upper frets, as well. The action is set very low out of the box, and the proprietary Tune-O-Matic bridge lets you easily adjust the action to suit your needs. The new model SG Specials (see full specs) are made using the same tonewoods as the original Gibson SGs of nearly 50 years ago, meaning you’ll get the same sweet, smooth vintage tone. Without a doubt, this is one of the best electric guitars for small hands on the market.
Squier Classic Vibe ’50s Stratocaster
The Classic Vibe Stratocaster is indelibly linked to its Fender identity and gives you a bright, clear, vintage tone with a powerful sustain even when playing with lots of crunch and distortion. The staggered pole pieces in the on-board pickups improve the balance between the strings. The look is unmistakably vintage, with a double cutaway shape that eases access to the high frets, while the 21-fret set-up and 9.5” radius neck make it slightly easier on those with smaller hands than other Fender models. At just under $400, this guitar delivers high value as well as high quality.
Ibanez GRGM21BKN ¾ Size Mikro Electric Guitar
There is a misconception that ¾ guitars are just for kids, but this Ibanez Mikro guitar is certainly no toy. It’s built to the same high construction standards as the full-size models in the Ibanez line, using the same Powersound humbucking pickups and the same tonewoods in the construction. There are only two places you’ll see a noticeable difference: in the scale length (a diminutive 22 1/5” that’s great for young players as well as smaller adults) and in the price, which at around $150 is an incredible value for the sound and construction quality
Choosing the Best Electric Guitar for Small Hands – Which Model?
Aside from the considerations of tone and aesthetics—which are often a matter of personal taste—the issue of comfort will be paramount if you’re shopping to accommodate smaller hands. If the guitar is being purchased for a child, a ¾ guitar, like the Ibanez above, may be ideal. As his hands grow, it will be a natural transition into a full-sized guitar when he’s ready to make that leap.
If you’re a beginning guitarist, finding an instrument with relatively low action will help make the learning process more pleasant. You can think of action as the distance between the string and the neck of the guitar. The lower the action, the less your fingers have to work to get the string to resonate and the less strain you’ll put on the muscles of your hands. If you set the action too low, you’ll find the strings making a buzzing sound when you play, so it’s important to strike a good balance. While the action can be adjusted later on in the guitar’s life, some brands have a naturally higher action than others.
For some experienced players, buying a ¾” guitar can make practicing more comfortable, even if they don’t plan on using them in performance. Others find it confuses their fingers to switch back and forth and prefer to use the same instrument for both applications. If this is the case for you, you’ll probably be best served by finding a slightly smaller model from a trusted brand, like the Squier Stratocaster above.
Shopping for the Best Electric Guitar for Small Hands – Sound Characteristics
The tonewoods used are of utmost importance when it comes to the sound of an acoustic guitar, but are not nearly as important in shaping the tone of an electric. The wiring, the pickups, and the quality of the construction are going to be the biggest factors in how a guitar sounds. Because of that, altering the neck length or body shape won’t have as significant an impact on the sound as it would with an acoustic guitar. The Squier above will sound like a classic Strat, even though the neck is slightly slimmer than other Fenders, meaning you can shop for maximum comfort without being so concerned about what impact it will have on your sound.