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The guitar can definitely be difficult to play if you have smaller hands. Some chords and melodic passages can seem almost physically impossible to play, which can be a deterrent for some people.
Fortunately, with the current state of the market, you don’t have to struggle so much if you don’t want to. The following guitars are great choices for smaller-handed individuals, both adults and children included.
Martin D Jr-10E – Best Overall
This is a dreadnought acoustic that has been scaled down slightly. Despite this, it’s perfect for both young players as well as adults.
The D Jr-10E features a Sapele body with a Sitka Spruce top. X-bracing architecture is used to enhance the projection of this beautiful dreadnought.
Martin uses a select hardwood for the neck, which has a comfortable C-shape neck profile. This wood is generally whatever Martin may have on hand at the time, but is usually more than sufficient.
Small hands will find this easy to play thanks to its 24” scale length.
The fretboard is crafted from Richlite, and has a fairly flat radius of 16”. You’ll have 20 frets here, with a classic Mother-of-Pearl dot inlay outlining the traditional fretboard pattern.
To match the fretboard, the bridge is also made of Richlite. This helps to give the guitar a balanced and unified resonance.
Other hardware to be found on the D Jr-10E includes:
- Corian nut
- Tusq saddle
- Chrome closed-gear tuners
The D Jr-10E is also equipped with a Fishman Sonitone pickup for electric-acoustic capabilities. You’ll find that the instrument cable plug is located discreetly on the side of the guitar, towards the bottom.
It must also be mentioned that a padded gig bag does come included with the purchase of a D Jr-10E.
What’s So Great About The Martin D Jr-10E?
When it comes to dreadnought acoustic guitars, none is more famous than the Marin D-10. It’s been considered to be the dreadnought that almost every other dreadnought takes inspiration from.
Unfortunately, this reputation comes with a price, which is usually more than the average person can afford. This also makes it unreasonable for younger players who want an iconic guitar of their own.
With the D Jr-10E, all of that is remedied without necessarily cutting too many corners. On the surface, this is an authentic Martin acoustic on every level, without the normally associated price tag.
That is largely one of the reasons why this guitar ranks as one of the best. Not only that, it’s been properly appropriated with the smaller-handed player in mind.
The acoustic guitar experience is usually a little more physically demanding than the electric guitar. With a scale length of 24”, you’ll have no problems fretting those complex chords.
In fact, those with standard hand sizes will also find this guitar to be a breeze to play. Those with arthritis might also benefit from giving this guitar a chance.
Aside from that, the D Jr-10E has 2 things that really make this a solid value outside of its craftsmanship. These things are:
- Fishman Sonitone pickup
- Gig bag
When you compare this to other guitars at the same price, you’ll find many do not offer these features. Plus, this means that the guitar is a viable option for the regular performer.
If you’ve been searching for that authentic Martin experience on a budget, this is it. Something like this could easily become a lifelong companion.
Taylor GT 811e – Best Premium
Not concerned about a budget, and looking for one of the best luxuries money can buy? The Taylor GT 811e (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) provides a buttery smooth playing experience with looks to match.
This is a relatively newer body shape that Taylor premiered in 2020, dubbed the Grand Theater. It features a Rosewood body, a Sitka Spruce top, and C-class bracing architecture within.
Neo-tropical Mahogany is used to craft the neck, which has a scale length of 24.125”. The neck should feel both comfortable and familiar due to its standard contouring.
Crelicam Ebony is used for the fretboard, which has a radius of 15”. There are 20 frets here, outlined by split-diamond Mother-of-Pearl inlays.
Like the fretboard, the bridge is also crafted from Crelicam Ebony, to which a Tusq nut is attached. The headstock features a black Graphite nut, and Nickel mini tuners.
This guitar is also stocked with Taylor’s ES-2 pickup and preamp system. Controls for volume and EQ can be found on the guitar’s shoulder.
Aesthetically, this guitar is a goldmine, featuring attractive Maple binding throughout the guitar’s build. A flamed pickguard and Mother-of-Pearl rosette provide the classic touch this guitar emanates so perfectly.
Taylor has also included a padded gig bag with the purchase of a GT 811e. This gig bag is quite protective and is just a step below a hardshell case.
What’s So Great About The Taylor GT 811e?
Let’s get to the point with the GT 811e straight away. This is definitely one of the most luxurious guitars that money can buy.
Everything you’ve ever heard about regarding Taylor’s craftsmanship is on full display here. From the materials to the aesthetic, Taylor has left no stone unturned with the details of this guitar.
Some people struggle with the acoustic guitar simply because of its overall size. The GT 811e finds a way to be comfortable without necessarily being too small.
You might find this guitar to be about slightly larger than a travel guitar. If you’ve played travel guitars, you probably know how boxy some of them can sound tonally.
That boxy tone is certainly not the case here, as the GT 811e uses top-shelf materials in its build. This guitar produces the perfect blend of brightness and warmth for a supremely balanced tone.
The top should be responsive enough for even the lightest dynamic touch, making it ideal for fingerpickers.
But, what makes this so noteworthy for those with smaller hands? The shortened scale length of 24.125” should be quite accommodating for this subset of guitarists.
However, like the body, the neck length is discreet and manages to feel like a standard scale length.
Furthermore, the ES-2 pickup and preamp system here is a must if you’re planning on playing on the stage. Taylor has done a great job at designing this system to preserve the guitar’s exquisite tone when amplified.
Perhaps the only real bone to pick here is that the GT 811e comes with a gig bag. At this price point, it’s almost a crime not to receive a hardshell case with the guitar.
Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy – Best Budget
This guitar is effectively a parlor guitar, featuring a body made completely of Basswood. X-bracing architecture is used to help project the G9500 Jim Dandy’s sweet and balanced tone.
Nato is used for the neck, which has a C-shape contour and a scale length of 24”. The fretboard is made of Walnut to have a 12” radius, with 18 frets outlined by white dot inlays.
Walnut is also used for the bridge, which helps to give a balanced resonant profile to the guitar. Elsewhere on the G9500 Jim Dandy can be found:
- Open-gear die-cast tuners
- Synthetic nut
- Synthetic bridge
Aesthetically, the G9500 Jim Dandy is modeled from parlor guitars of the early 20th century. Its 3-ring rosette, white pickguard, and white binding help to provide a classic and timeless look.
You can also opt to get the G9500 Jim Dandy in multiple color choices, each with its own unique attractiveness. These options include:
- Vintage sunburst
- Nocturne blue
- Frontier stain
What’s So Great About The Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy?
It’s not an uncommon thing for a guitarist to want a vintage-inspired guitar for their collection. What is uncommon, however, is to find such an instrument at such a low price.
Generally speaking, this guitar is priced comfortably in the beginner’s budget range. However, it truly does stand out amongst other guitars of its kind in the same price range.
Parlor guitars used to be quite common and were usually the guitar of choice before volume increases were needed. That’s not to say that the G9500 Jim Dandy is a quiet guitar by any means.
If you really needed to, you can get this guitar to sing as loud as a dreadnought guitar. This is no small feat considering that dreadnoughts were designed for a more voluminous projection.
No matter what your stature may be, you’ll find the G9500 Jim Dandy to be quite comfortable to play. The guitar’s smaller, elongated body provides excellent ergonomics, whether you’re sitting or standing.
Furthermore, the 24” scale length should be just about perfect for children and adults alike. This lends the guitar a level of playability that is truly difficult to find in this price range.
Plus, let’s not forget that the G9500 Jim Dandy is extremely easy on the eyes. Despite being inspired by vintage guitars, this guitar has a design that will forever be timeless.
Maybe the only drawback to be found here is the lack of a gig bag and pickup electronics. However, for the price, adding these items shouldn’t put you too far over your budget.
When it comes to auditorium acoustic guitar designs, Martin’s is, by far, one of the most iconic. If you’re looking for one without the associated price, check out the Martin 000Jr-10E (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon).
The 000Jr-10E is a junior-sized version of the 000-10, featuring a Sapele body with a Sitka Spruce top. X-bracing architecture is used in the body’s construction for unparalleled tonal balance and projection.
This particular model has a cutaway design for access to the higher fret ranges. A feature like this is a necessity for those who utilize the entire neck when playing the guitar.
Martin uses a select hardwood of what they have on hand for the 000Jr-10E’s neck. This neck features a standard C-shape contour, with a scale length of 24”.
The fretboard is crafted from Richlite to have a 16” radius. Mother-of-Pearl dot inlays effectively dress up the 20 frets found on this guitar.
For a balanced resonant profile, the bridge is also crafted from Richlite, to which a Tusq saddle is attached. The headstock of this guitar features:
- Corian nut
- Chrome closed-gear tuners
Performers will delight at the inclusion of a Fishman Sonitone pickup. This provides excellent preservation of natural tones during amplified use.
Martin has also provided a soft-shell case with the purchase of the 000Jr-10E, which sweetens the overall package.
Overall, this is a performer’s dream come true if they’re on a budget. Its smaller scale length and cutaway design will undoubtedly unlock some doors in one’s playing.
Plus, Martin has even provided models for both right-handed and left-handed individuals.
Taylor GS Mini Mahogany
For years, this has been the go-to guitar for those looking for a highly playable Taylor guitar on a budget. It is slightly scaled-down but does not compromise on its large tone.
The GS Mini Mahogany features a laminated Sapele body with a Tropical Mahogany top. This effectively produces a great balance between warmth and brightness.
If you’re not much of a fan of Mahogany, Taylor does offer the same model with a Sitka Spruce top.
Sapele is also used for the neck, which has a comfortable C-shape contour and a scale length of 23.5”. Ebony is used for the fretboard, which has 20 frets outlined by traditional white dot inlays.
The bridge is also made of Ebony, which features a Micarta nut. At the headstock, you’ll find a Tusq nut and Chrome die-cast button tuners.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a pickup system installed here, but that can be easily remedied.
Aesthetically, the GS Mini Mahogany showcases the natural wood grain with a dark varnish finish. A black pickguard and a 3-ring rosette give the guitar a timeless look.
What’s even better is that Taylor has included a gig bag with the purchase of the GS Mini Mahogany.
Yamaha’s Folk guitar line has been highly regarded over the years amongst guitarists. If you’re shopping in the intermediate range, the Yamaha CSF1M (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) is an excellent value.
This is effectively a parlor guitar, featuring a laminated Mahogany body with a Solid Sitka Spruce top. Scalloped X-bracing architecture provides a surprising amount of volume projection for the guitar’s size.
Nato is used for the neck, which has a traditional C-shape contour and a scale length of 23.5”. The fretboard is made of Rosewood to have a 16” radius, with 20 frets outlined by dot inlays.
Rosewood is also used for the bridge, which features a Urea saddle. At the headstock can be found a Urea nut and die-cast chrome tuners.
One of the best things about this guitar is the inclusion of a piezo pickup. This should preserve the guitar’s mellow tone quite well during amplified usage.
Yamaha has also included a gig bag with the CSF1M. This gig bag itself is quite protective, featuring a stiff foam construction.
Overall, the CSF1M provides parlor sizing without the overtly elongated body design. It should be more than suitable for smaller hands and is perfectly suited for the regular performer.
The guitar is also given a vintage finish, which makes the guitar appear much older than it is. This gives the instrument a feeling of having already been a longtime companion throughout your musical endeavors.
Fender Sonoran Mini
Fender is one of the biggest names in the industry, recognizable by even those who aren’t musically inclined. However, Fender is generally known for their many iconic electric guitar models.
What most people fail to realize is that the company also produces worthwhile budget acoustic guitars. The Fender Sonoran Mini (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) is a prime choice for small hands on a little budget.
This guitar takes its body inspiration from parlor guitars of the past. The body features a Mahogany construction, with the option of a Mahogany or Spruce top.
Nato is used for the neck, which features Fender’s classic C-shape contour. It has a scale length of 24.1” which feels perfectly balanced with the guitar’s smaller size.
The fretboard is crafted from Walnut and features 18 frets outlined by traditional white dot inlays. Walnut is also used for the bridge, which features a NuBone saddle.
At the headstock, you’ll find a NuBone nut, as well as vintage-inspired white plastic button tuners.
Aesthetically, the Sonoran Mini has a sort of rustic look embodying a simplistic elegance. A golden pickguard, along with a cream binding and rosette, really makes this guitar pop visually.
The headstock features the iconic Fender shape, providing a blend between classic and modern.
Fender has also included a gig bag with the purchase of the Sonoran Mini, which makes this quite a bargain. It doesn’t have a pickup, but at this price, an external pickup could be easily added without breaking the bank.
This is a guitar that will feel quite comfortable, no matter if you’re standing or sitting. Plus, it has a dressy look that will fit in any setting, even the most high-end restaurant requiring a dress code.
What To Look For When Buying An Acoustic Guitar For Small Hands
It can seem like you need a magic wand to be able to navigate today’s landscape of acoustic guitars. Never before has there been this many options available to a guitarist.
While this can be daunting for anyone, it’s especially so if you have smaller hands. Keep the following information in mind, and you’ll find a guitar most appropriate for your hand size.
The first thing you’ll need to be paying attention to is the guitar’s scale length measurement. This is going to be the biggest determinant of whether you’ll be making long finger stretches.
Scale length generally refers to the distance of string between the nut and the saddle of the acoustic guitar. A shorter scale length will decrease the neck’s length, as well as the distance between the frets.
Despite this, many guitars will have the regular amount of frets to be found on a standard guitar. This means you won’t have to worry about not being able to play your favorite songs.
The standard scale length of guitars generally runs between 24.5” and 25.5”. Anything below 24.5” is usually considered to be a “short-scale” guitar.
If you’re ever in a guitar shop, don’t be afraid to ask an associate for a short-scale guitar. Likewise, many online retailers allow you to search their inventory by specific scale length sizes.
Short-scale guitars can prove to be an easier playing experience for hands of all sizes. There is less string tension, giving the strings more pliability, in addition to the decreased fret spacing.
Along with the scale length, you’ll need to be aware of the overall size of the guitar. Don’t be afraid to try different acoustic guitars out, because some might feel more cumbersome or awkward than others.
Manufacturers do produce guitars with smaller bodies, with models coming in the following sizes:
- 1/2 size
- 1/4 size
- 3/4 size
- 7/8 size
Compared to electric guitars, there are probably more acoustic guitar options available with smaller bodies. This is because some acoustic guitar body styles are inherently large as a general trait of the guitar itself.
You’ll need to make your own judgment as to whether or not a smaller guitar like this is appropriate. Adults might find the smaller guitars to be impractical, but those can be useful for young students.
Similarly, you might not want to discount the idea of a smaller guitar if you are an adult. Some famous professionals, including Ed Sheeran, opt to use smaller guitars out of preference.
Nobody likes having to think about their budget if they don’t have to. But, unfortunately, it is a necessity when purchasing a guitar.
As you’ve seen, the guitar market is vast and full of guitars of many different types and prices. It’s tempting to throw caution to the wind and buy a luxurious guitar, even if you can barely afford it.
However, you need a budget if you want to be truly happy with your purchase, and not suffer consequences. If you’re not sure about how to formulate a budget, cast your worries aside because it’s fairly simple.
The first thing to consider here is how much savings you have built up. Steer away from prices that will put you in a tricky situation financially.
Next, you’ll want to consider your honest skill level, as well as the amount of time you have been playing. Keep in mind that you could play for 10 years and still be at a beginner’s level.
However, if you have some longevity on the instrument, this can sometimes trump general skill in the buying decision. Having a dedication to the instrument ensures you have enough passion to get your money’s worth of any guitar.
Also, consider how you’ll be planning to use the guitar in the most realistic scenarios.
Guitars are generally priced in 3 different ranges, with quality usually parallel with the price:
Generally, anything around $1000 is considered professional-grade, with the intermediate starting around $350. Keep in mind that there are exemplary guitars to be found in every price range.
Also, consider shopping around on the used market, as you’re liable to find a deal if you’re patient enough. Used guitars usually cost less, so you could get a better quality guitar at a lower price.
Next in the research and decision phase is to consider what guitar styles you have a preference for. Acoustic guitars come in a wide variety of shapes and styles, many of which affect the guitar’s tone.
You’ll want to have a decent understanding of whether you want a guitar with steel strings or nylon strings. Nylon is generally found with Spanish classical guitars, and offer a different playing experience.
Similarly, you’ll want to have a decent idea of what your aesthetic preferences are for an acoustic guitar. Looks aren’t everything, but you’ll connect with the guitar better if you are at least visually attracted to it.
It is paramount that you at least go to a shop to try a guitar out for yourself. Only then will you really be able to tell if the guitar is a good match for you as a guitarist.
Aside from proper research, trying guitars out is the only way to find the best value for your preferences. Resist the urge to simply buy a guitar without taking the time to try it first.
Ultimately, you’ll want to pay attention to how the neck feels in your hand. Is it easy to move your fingers up and down the fretboard?
Similarly, pay attention to how easy or hard the guitar is to play in general. While a setup can help, a guitar usually has lower quality if it’s extremely hard to play in the shop.
Again, you’ll also want to pay attention to the guitar’s body size in relation to your own body size. This plays an important role in the comfortability of the guitar overall.
When shopping for an acoustic guitar, you’ll want to keep a close eye out for any extra features. Sometimes, these features are what help determine the overall value a guitar model provides.
If you’re wanting to play live, it’s best to have a guitar equipped with pickup electronics. Unlike electric guitars, acoustic guitars are not always equipped with this feature.
Similarly, a gig bag or hardshell case can really sweeten the overall deal of a guitar’s price. It’ll ultimately save you from making an extra purchase if you know you’ll be transporting the guitar.
Best Brands For Acoustic Guitars For Small Hands
Not sure where to begin your research with regard to acoustic guitars suitable for smaller hands? It can help to look to some of the most respected names in the industry as a starting point.
Martin is one of the oldest acoustic guitar manufacturers still in business. Many Martin guitars have become the gold standard of quality against which other guitars are measured.
When it comes to acoustic guitars, Taylor has an immaculate reputation for building high-quality instruments. These guitars are highly sought after by guitarists of all styles, particularly for their playability and sound.
Top Acoustic Guitars For Small Hands, Final Thoughts
Definitely be sure to check these guitars out for yourself to really see how they hear and sound to you. Finding the right guitar for you can make all the difference in the world in terms of your passion.
Don’t be afraid to take your time, as there are quite a few guitars you’ll need to sift through. Rest assured, you’ll find a guitar that can accommodate smaller hands without sacrificing much of anything at all.