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If you’re studying classical music, you’ll definitely need to have a classical guitar. These guitars can sometimes be a bit of a hindrance for somebody who has smaller hands.
Classical guitars come in all kinds of sizes, which is why many schoolteachers use them for music classes. Rest assured, you’ll be able to find a classical guitar, no matter what the size of your hands may be.
The following classical guitars are excellent for smaller hands.
Cordoba Cadete 3/4 Size – Best Overall
It’s always a plus when you can find a guitar that is not only inexpensive but performs quite well, too. The Cordoba Cadete 3/4 Size (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) is quite a lot of guitar for the money.
As its name suggests, the Cadete 3/4 Size is a guitar of fractional sizing. Its total body length measures just above 37”, and has a depth below 3.5”.
The guitar itself features a Mahogany body with a Canadian Cedar top, with traditional fan bracing architecture. You’ll find this incredibly responsive, and you wouldn’t be able to guess by the sound that it’s a smaller guitar.
For the neck, Cordoba has used African Mahogany, giving it a C-shape contour. Pau Ferro is used for the fretboard, which offers 18 frets.
This guitar is one of the best for those with small hands primarily because of its scale length. The Cadete 3/4 Size has a 24.2” scale length, which is suitable for anyone aged 7 and above.
Cordoba has included some excellent hardware for a guitar priced at this level. This includes:
- Bone nut
- Bone saddle
- Pau Ferro bridge
- Gold tuning machines
Aesthetically, the Cadete 3/4 Size has a hint of a darker touch to its color, providing a rich complexion. The guitar’s decorative rosette and Rosewood binding provide a classy touch to an already beautiful instrument.
What’s So Great About The Cordoba Cadete 3/4 Size?
There are a few things that make the Cadete 3/4 Size a worthwhile instrument for anyone with small hands. To unpack it all, let’s first start with the price of this guitar.
The Cadete 3/4 Size is priced quite comfortably for both beginners and intermediates. It’s likely on the expensive side for beginners, and on the moderate-to-inexpensive side for intermediates.
With that being said, there isn’t much about this guitar that trips any internal alarms. The instrument is made quite well for its price range, offering things you might not expect.
For instance, Cordoba’s use of bone and Rosewood proves they aren’t afraid to splurge on materials for entry-level guitars. One would almost assume that somebody made a mistake in typing up the spec sheets for this instrument.
Furthermore, while the guitar might be a 3/4 size model, it can be played quite comfortably by any adult. Its scale length provides easy access, no matter what stage in growth your hands may be experiencing.
Even the neck itself is quite comfortable to play. The contour is neither too thick nor too thin.
As far as sound goes, the Cadete 3/4 Size produces a rich mid-range tone, largely thanks to its Mahogany. Any bass tones played on the guitar will ring out with noticeable depth.
This is definitely a mellow guitar, and it’s perfect for both learning and for use while loafing around the house. You certainly won’t mind having this guitar around for any occasion that might call for it.
To bring it back full circle, you probably now see why this is such a great value for the cost. It’s definitely a high-class guitar for a complete beginner, but a solid all-around guitar for those with experience.
Cordoba C9 Parlor 7/8 Size – Best Premium
This guitar is perfect for those that only need a slight adjustment in size from a full-size instrument. Its overall length measures 38”, with a body depth of 3.7” at its thickest.
If you’re wondering what the finger stretch is like here, the guitar’s scale length measures 24.8”. This is just a little over a 1/2” smaller than the traditional standard scale length.
The C9 Parlor 7/8 Size features a body made of Solid Mahogany, with a Solid Canadian Cedar top. Cordoba has used traditional fan bracing architecture to provide that signature classical response and projection.
Mahogany is also used for the neck, which has a C-shape contour. The fretboard is made of Rosewood, offering 12 frets up to the body, and 7 more beyond (19 total).
As you can see so far, the C9 Parlor 7/8 Size is built with premium materials. This extends to the hardware, with features:
- Ebony bridge
- Bone nut
- Bone saddle
- Premium gold tuners
Aesthetically, the C9 Parlor 7/8 Size is quite a stunning piece of elegant simplicity. Cordoba has done a great job in providing natural complementary colors augmented with a highly decorative rosette.
It should also be noted that Cordoba has included a polyfoam soft-shell case with the purchase of this guitar.
What’s So Great About The Cordoba C9 Parlor 7/8 Size?
The C9 Parlor 7/8 Size is truly a guitar for serious players. While it might be priced too high for some, it does offer a sense of luxury on a budget.
This is really the territory in which one gets to truly experience the upper echelons of Cordoba craftsmanship. Even the finest details on this guitar have not been glossed over to save on costs.
For instance, the fact that it has a solid wood construction, without laminates, is an incredible plus. You’ll definitely notice the difference when you play this guitar for the first time.
The C9 Parlor 7/8 Size is quite a versatile instrument, lending itself to many different playing styles. Its tone is the perfect blending of warmth meeting brightness.
In fact, you’ll find that this guitar is quite responsive to all ranges of dynamics. Your subtle fingerpicking will be accurately projected without any issue at all.
Speaking of projection, that is perhaps the most surprising feature of this guitar. Despite being of a smaller size, it can become quite loud, especially when strumming on it with a pick.
For the most part, this is probably going to be the most suitable for older teenagers and adults. Its neck does feel a little thicker than average but is still quite playable thanks to its shortened scale length.
Overall, the C9 Parlor 7/8 Size is a great value for the money. You’d be hard-pressed to find another solid-wood guitar of comparable price and performance.
It’s easy on the eyes and fingers, ensuring you’ll never be in short supply of inspiration. Cordoba even gives you a case to take advantage of inspiration that might arise while on the road.
Most people who choose this guitar quickly become enamored with everything it has to offer.
Yamaha CGS103A 3/4 Size – Best Budget
This 3/4 size guitar features a scale length of 23”. Anyone who needs a drastic decrease in fret distance will find this guitar to be a great fit.
The guitar itself features a Nato body with a Spruce top. Yamaha has used fan bracing to stay true to the tradition of classical guitars.
Nato is also used for the neck, which features a comfortable C-shape grip. Rosewood is used for the neck, offering 18 frets in total.
The other hardware you’ll find on the CGS103A 3/4 Size includes:
- Rosewood bridge
- Plastic nut
- Plastic saddle
- Classical tuners with ivory buttons
Aesthetically, the CGS103A 3/4 Size has a vintage flair, with a darker natural finish. This has a sort of red-orange hue in the sense that it looks 70 years old.
What’s So Great About The Yamaha CGS103AII 3/4 Size?
Let’s be honest here for a second. Hands-down, the best thing about the CGS103A 3/4 Size is its price.
With this model, Yamaha has proved that you don’t need to spend a load of cash for a playable guitar. Out of most other classical guitars in its price range, this guitar tends to have the most glowing reviews.
It’s perfect for anybody with small hands that needs something playable on a budget. The scale length is quite a deal smaller than normal, and it has a bit of a smaller nut width.
Both of these aspects combined should give you a comfortable experience, regardless of finger or hand size.
Sure, this won’t be on par with something of higher quality, but you shouldn’t expect that from this guitar. Instead, what you should expect is a decent guitar that outperforms many in its price range.
Cordoba Protege C1M 3/4 Size
For years now, the Cordoba Protege has been a top recommendation for younger children wanting to learn guitar. Cordoba offers guitars of all the common fractional sizes in this model line.
Smaller hands will find this 24.2” scale length guitar to be a great substitute for a full-size.
This guitar features a Mahogany body with a Spruce top, with traditional fan bracing used throughout. You’ll find this to have a very balanced and mellow tone, with just the right levels of depth and brightness.
The neck is crafted from Mahogany to have a C-shape contour which fits comfortably for most hands. Its Rosewood neck offers 19 frets.
Other hardware that adds to the playing experience include:
- Composite nut
- Composite saddle
- Rosewood bridge
- Gold tuners equipped with Pearl buttons
Kala Cedar Top Mahogany 3/4 Size
Kala has been a well-respected ukulele manufacturer for years. It only makes sense that they would venture to make some guitars.
The Kala Cedar Top Mahogany 3/4 Size (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) is something worth considering. This Cedar-topped Mahogany guitar provides a mellow blend of tones with a hint of crisp response.
Its D-shaped Mahogany neck is a bit thicker, but still comfortable nonetheless. The Laurel fretboard offers 19 frets with a rich milk-chocolate color.
While the guitar is fairly inexpensive, Kala has gone the extra mile concerning hardware, which includes:
- Rosewood bridge
- Bone nut
- Bone saddle
- Gold open-gear slotted tuners
Its scale length measures 23.25”, which is on the smaller side of things. You can be sure that just about any hand size will be accommodated with this guitar.
For a ukulele company, Kala has sure turned some heads with this classical guitar offering. It’s perfect for the young student as well the occasional hobbyist.
What To Look For When Buying A Classical Guitar For Small Hands
If you’ve never bought a guitar before, the entire process can seem to cause a hefty dose of anxiety. There are so many guitars available that it can make one uneasy about making the right choice.
Add in the fact that the guitar is for someone with small hands and it gets even more difficult. Fortunately, if you’re armed with some basic knowledge, you’ll have a much easier time finding the right guitar.
Take some time to read over some of the things you’ll need to be looking for when buying a guitar. You can use this to adapt and modify for your own specific needs, regardless of guitar or skill level.
The biggest thing you need to pay attention to is the scale length of the guitar. You can find this located in the guitar’s specs area if you’re shopping in an online store.
Scale length is essentially the distance between the 2 fulcrums of the guitar itself (the nut and saddle). This plays a direct role in determining whether small hands will have difficulty, or not.
Generally speaking, the larger the scale length, the larger the distance between each fret on the neck. So, for small hands, you’ll want to be looking for lower-than-standard measurements.
The typical standard scale length found in the majority of guitars is 25.5”. If you have issues with this measurement, you’ll know that you need to seek out the lower-scale length guitars.
You can find scale lengths in just about any measurement. Just keep in mind that it might play a role in the guitar’s overall size, including its body.
A good place to start is with guitars that have a scale length slightly below the 25.5” standard. Something like 24.8” might be quite suitable, especially if you don't need a drastic decrease in fret distance.
You can find models with scale lengths well below 24”, with some models offering below 20”. Adults and older kids will fare better with the higher scale lengths, with the low most suitable for young children.
As we previously hinted, it’s often that you’ll find that shorter scale lengths affect the size of the guitar overall. To put it bluntly, you won’t find many short-scale classical guitars that have full-size body dimensions.
Because of this, you’ll need to be aware that fractional sizes come in a wide range of offerings, including:
- 1/4 size
- 1/2 size
- 3/4 size
- 7/8 size
Essentially, what this means is that all of the schematics of the guitar have been scaled down proportionally. Something like the 1/4 size will be extremely small, in some cases, almost resembling a small ukulele.
Generally speaking, the 3/4 size tends to be the best middle ground, whether shopping for an adult or child. Many find that it’s usually not too small (for adults), or not too large (for children).
If the guitar is for a child, do be mindful of their current state of physical growth. Kids are known for outgrowing their clothes in a matter of months, and a guitar can be no different.
Opt for the smallest size and you might find the guitar becomes impractical to learn with after a few years. Similarly, something too large can be a hindrance until they eventually grow into it.
Everybody’s needs are different, and unfortunately, guitar manufacturers create generalized guitars to suit a larger group of people. Make sure to try each guitar out to see how it measures up to your own specific needs.
The side of purchasing a guitar that nobody wants to willingly acknowledge is the budget. Yet, this very thing is usually a constant presence in the background of every guitarist’s mind.
To put it simply, your budget will determine the guitars that are available to you. Take the time to formulate a realistic budget by considering the following questions:
- How long have you played guitar?
- What is your honest skill level?
- What do you plan on doing with the guitar (is it a hobby or a profession)?
- How much money do you have saved that you absolutely do not need for anything else?
The guitar market generally is divided into different grades of guitars, usually priced in similar ranges. These are as follows:
- $250 and below (beginner)
- $300 to $750 (intermediate)
- $800-$1200 (advanced)
- $1200+ (professional)
Take the time to get familiar with the market and you will find guitars that excel beyond their budget range. These are the types of guitars to seek if you want the most bang for your buck.
Similarly, check out the used market, as used guitars cost less than their original retail price. You could easily find a higher quality guitar in your budget range because of its used condition.
Best Brands For Classical Guitars Suitable For Small Hands
Sometimes, it’s extremely handy to know which brands are reputable for certain types of guitars. The following are the absolute best at crafting classical guitars for smaller-handed individuals.
Cordoba is one of the few companies that have a mission to carry on in the ways of tradition. They make guitars in a range of different sizes, ensuring that there’s a guitar for anyone who wants to play.
Yamaha is a giant in the music industry, perhaps best known for its pianos. The company makes exquisite junior-sized classical guitars, many of which pack value at a decent price.
Best Classical Guitars For Small Hands, Final Thoughts
Having small hands doesn’t need to be quite the big deal that you may think it is. It also doesn’t mean that you’re out of luck if you want to play, but can’t accommodate the finger stretches.
Take the time to try out these guitars for yourself at a shop near you. Doing so will give you a feel for which guitar feels the best for your hand size.