Best Electric Guitar For Small Hands In 2020

Are you an adult with smaller-than-average mitts?  Your hand size, arm span, and petite frame may be getting in the way of your playing style.  The diagnosis for your condition?  It’s not you, it’s the guitar. 

You may be surprised, but not all full-scale guitars with “normal” body sizes fit all.  This may leave you wondering what the best scale length is for small hands.  What neck shape, fingerboard radius, and body size will work for you? 

Whether you’re just starting out on the guitar or you’re a long-time player looking for the perfect fit, we have a guitar that’ll pair perfectly with your palm size. 

Snapshot: Top 7 Electric Guitars for Small Hands

  1. Fender Kurt Cobain Jaguar Review
  2. Fender Vintera ‘60s Mustang Review
  3. Gretsch G5425 Electromatic Jet Review
  4. Squier Classic Vibe ‘60s Mustang Review
  5. Epiphone SG Special VE Review
  6. Jackson JS Series RR Minion JSX1 Review
  7. Ibanez miKro GRGM21 Review

The Best Electric Guitars for Small Hands

If your palm span frequently gets on your nerves – get over it.  There’s nothing you can do about it except for exercising and stretching those fingers to reach those chords that used to be out of your reach.  You can also do something about the guitar – get the one with the right specs that’ll help you get it done. 

While the guitar body is important for how comfortable it is to hold and play, the right specs go beyond the bout curves and body depth.  While “full-size” can mean scale lengths between 24.75” to 26”, that extra inch or two may prove to be too much for the webbing between your fingers as frets are slightly further apart.  Look for scale lengths of 24” or less that forces the frets closer together.  Yes, you may lose some thundering tone and presence, but it’ll be minimal if noticeable at all.  The truth is, you can also get away with a 24.75” scale length if the neck and fingerboard radius prove to be in your favor. 

The neck shape most friendly for smallish hands are thin, slim, and shallow profiles.  They’re not as thick and deep for the palm to wrap around so those fingertips can reach the fretboard.  The fingerboard radius is also important to note.  A smaller radius, like 9.5” is really good for chords, but the curve is steeper.  Look for a slightly flatter radius of 12” or more.  Another feature to be aware of is the fret size.  Narrow/tall, jumbo, etc., they allow your fingers to fret without having to completely touch the fingerboard and exert excess pressure. 

Now that you have some tips to watch for, how do you filter the market for adult guitars for small hands?  Sure, there are plenty of kid’s guitars and beginner-friendly models, but you want a real adult electric guitar that has quality in build and sound so you can be taken seriously.  No problem.  We have a lineup for you right here. 

1. Fender Kurt Cobain Jaguar Review

Fender Kurt Cobain Jaguar

Arguably, this may be the number one guitar for professional musicians with small hands.  It’s a popular guitar that not only has the specs suitable for small hands, but it has excellent features that makes it a quality guitar for all players looking for that dark and grungy rock sound. 

Body & Neck

The KC guitar has the Jaguar body shape made from Alder and is only available in the 3-color Sunburst finish.  The Maple neck has a Modern C profile that can be considered a flat oval shape.  It’s shallower than a C making it easier for you to grip and work.  The scale length is 24” which is on the shorter side forcing the 22 frets merely millimeters closer together. 

The fingerboard is made from Rosewood with a ‘60s touch made complete with white binding.  Although the fingerboard has a 9.5” radius, the frets are medium jumbo in size, so those will help with pushing down on those strings. 

Electronics & Hardware

DiMarzio humbuckers are the pickups on this rock guitar with a 3-way toggle switch with Volume controls for each pickup and a Master Tone control.  What are the extra doo-daddies for?  It’s a Lead/Rhythm Circuit control.  Flip it up and you can shape sound and tone with the traditional knobs.  Flip it down and you’re in Rhythm circuit where you use the thumbwheel controls for dialing in volume for each pickup. 

While you have a synthetic bone nut, there is a locking mechanism on the Adjusto-Matic Vintage-Style Floating Tremolo bridge, and Gotoh sealed tuners are a great addition to this tsystem. 

Sound

You have a DP100 SuperDistortion humbucker at the bridge and a PAF DP-103 at the neck.  The bridge SuperDistortion pickup is an excellent booster of the mids and bass, but when you want to cut with single-note articulation, those trebles come roaring.  When you need high output to cut through thick mixes with your lead, kick the circuitry into Lead. 

Dialing down for weaker output in Rhythm produces a warm and vintage-sounding tonal range from the PAF pickup.  All in all, the combined pickups work well together to bring out the highs and lows that you need to play clean or super distorted. 

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Alder
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Fingerboard Material: Rosewood
  • Pickups: DiMarzio DP-100 SuperDistortion/PAF DP-103 Humbuckers
  • Bridge: Adjusto-Matic Vintage-Style Floating Tremolo w/Lock Button

Total rock sound.  Jaguar body.  Dual-circuitry.

Final Thoughts on the Fender Kurt Cobain Jaguar

This is not a guitar to start learning on, but instead, it’s a high-end model for experienced players regardless of hand size.  It just happens to be good for smallish paws, too.  Just mind the price tag. . .

 

2. Fender Vintera ‘60s Mustang Review

Fender Vintera 60s Mustang

Fender has been busy with an overhaul on their Mustang, Duo-Sonic (no longer produced), and Classic series.  These guitars had shorter scale lengths, and this brand-new Vintera Mustang maintains the 24” scale.  With period-correct appointments, you’ll be tripping back to the good ol’ days. 

Body & Neck

The Mustang body shape has been around for ages, and even though this modern revision sports some new appointments, it still has original-era aesthetic appeal.  The Alder body, Maple neck, and Pau Ferro fingerboard make up the wood mass of the guitar. 

The neck has a ‘60s era C shape which is not too different to a modern C shape, but it has heftier shoulders for you to grab onto and sort of an oval feel.  It’s thinner at the first fret and thicker at the 12th.  With a 7.25” fingerboard radius, you may find the surface steeper to use and with Vintage fret sizes (very small), so you won’t be bending anytime soon, but it’s excellent for cowboy chords and progressions. 

Electronics & Hardware

Fender installs Vintage-Style ‘60s Single-Coil Mustang pickups that have been reworked for period accurate sound.  To shape sound and tone, the pickups share Master Volume and Master Tone controls with a 3-way toggle switch.  Additionally, there are two slider switches that allow the pickups to be turned on/off and to be taken out-of-phase. 

Everything is vintage style when it comes to the hardware.  You have a Vintage-Style Mustang Tremolo and Vintage-Style tuners with white buttons.  Even the control hats are Vintage-Style Black Plastic Jazz Bass knobs. 

Sound

The tonal range is exceptionally flexible with the additional slider switches.  With single-coils, you can be guaranteed that vintage sound of the ‘60s.  The highs come out with crystal clarity, shimmering, and singing.  They have a clear and articulate voice especially useful for all those chords and single-note playing you’ll be doing. 

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Alder
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Fingerboard Material: Rosewood
  • Pickups: Vintage-Style Single-Coil Mustang
  • Bridge: Vintage-Style Mustang Tremolo

Vintage hardware.  Period-correct sound.  Chording beauty.

Final Thoughts on the Fender Vintera ‘60s Mustang

It will be challenging for a beginner electric guitar player with small hands to learn on even though it’s a shorter scale guitar with a decent neck shape.  Leave this one to the pros who can chord all day long and are okay with the thumb not being able to reach the top.  It’s a ‘60s guitar for the period enthusiast.  Advanced players with small hands will be able to put this guitar to work and learn some new skills along the way. 

  

3. Gretsch G5425 Electromatic Jet Review

Grestch G5425 Electromatic Jet Club

There are few guitars that remain as popular today as it did when it was first released.  One such guitar is the Gretsch Electromatic, the G5425 model.  You may not think of it as a first-choice guitar for small hands, but it its specs may just be what you’re looking for. 

Body & Neck

It has a single cutaway body with a chambered Basswood body with Walnut-stained back and sides and a laminated Arched Maple top with a Black finish.  The scale length is a hair’s breadth shorter than a Les Paul at 24.6”.  With 22 medium jumbo frets, your fingers can make use of those strings without too much pressure, and with a 12” fingerboard radius, you have a slightly flatter surface to bend, shred, and grab some chords. 

Electronics & Hardware

To get “That Great Gretsch Sound,” you gotta have Gretsch pickups.  Gretsch’s own Dual-Coil Humbucking pickups are paired with a 3-way toggle switch out of the way on the upper bout.  They share Master Volume and Master Tone controls. 

Things don’t get too fancy around the lower bout with a simple Adjusto-Matic bridge with a Stopbar tailpiece.  The pickguard with its Pearloid finish and Gretsch logo print is about as shimmery as the aesthetics are going to get. 

Sound

The pickups aren’t too shabby for stock-grade.  They’re rich, warm, and deep, but mix in some gain and they’re hot and crunchy to add some color to jazz and rock.  With a chambered body, you can hear the guitar resonate as you practice quietly unplugged. 

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Chambered Basswood/Laminated Arched Maple
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Fingerboard Material: Rosewood
  • Pickups: Gretsch Dual-Coil Humbucking
  • Bridge: Adjusto-Matic w/Stopbar Tailpiece

Vintage & Modern.  Great price.  Beautiful sound.

Final Thoughts on the Gretsch G5425 Electromatic Jet

It’s a quality guitar at a great price point that offers excellent sound for the brand’s stock pickups.  You could even make some modifications in the future if you have the skills and have mastered the neck.  With a chambered body and laminate top, it’s not as heavy as a genuine LP, so it’ll be comfortable to hold and play with your short arms. 

4. Squier Classic Vibe ‘60s Mustang Review

Squier Classic Vibe 60s Mustang

If you can’t quite spend the cash on the Fender Mustang reviewed above, then look to Squier.  They have a cheaper copy for everything.  The Classic Vibe ‘60s Mustang not only has an affordable price tag, it also has original aesthetic appeal with vintage appointments.  

Body & Neck

To keep the price down, this Mustang is built with Poplar, Maple, and Indian Laurel tonewoods.  It still has the Mustang body shape, 24” scale length, and 22 frets.  Things get a little friendlier here for players with small hands found with the C shape neck, 9.5” fingerboard radius, and narrow/tall frets.  Its specs should speak to players with small paws.

Electronics & Hardware

Fender kept the Vintage style tuners, the 2-slider switches, and the Master Tone and Master Volume controls.  Instead of Vintage-Style Single-Coil Mustang pickups, you have Fender Designed Alnico Single-Coil pickups.  It also has a floating bridge with a Dynamic Vibrato Tailpiece.  Bonus feature for the price – a bone nut. 

Sound

Even though the pickups are cheaper, they’re still Fender designed.  They give off that surf rock, retro, ’60s sound.  I believe that’s exactly what Fender was trying to achieve – they nailed it.  As single-coils, they’re bright, chimey, and bell-like.  With two slider switches for pickup on/off and in/out phase modes, you can continue to experiment with a wide tonal palette for everything from jazz, blues, to various genres of rock.  It may be small, but the Mustang revs to the front. 

Spec Summary:

  • Body Material: Poplar
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Fingerboard Material: Indian Laurel
  • Pickups: Fender Designed Alnico Single-Coils
  • Bridge: Floating Bridge w/Dynamic Vibrato Tailpiece

Great price.  ‘60s inspired.  Versatile sound. 

Final Thoughts on the Squier Classic Vibe ‘60s Mustang

You have the green light to buy this guitar.  It’s cheaper, actually more spec-friendly for smaller hands, and it sounds exactly like it’s supposed to – ’60s vintage style with retro flavor. 

5. Epiphone SG Special VE Review

Epiphone SG Special VE

The SG Special is an incredibly popular guitar that has been a long-time favorite of the masses.  But, we’re featuring a different version that may get to be as popular in price and features. 

Body & Neck

The SG body shape and red finish is a discernable feature of the classic Epiphone SG.  But, this model sports a Vintage Worn Cherry finish that’s chic but not shabby.  Interestingly, the VE model has a Poplar body with a Mahogany veneer whereas the predecessor had a Mahogany body.  They share the same Okoume tonewood for the neck, and this one has a specific 1960’s SlimTaper D profile that we know is bit hefty in the shoulders but shallow in depth. 

It maintains a 24.75” scale length, 12” fingerboard radius, and it has 22 medium jumbo frets.  You’ll learn to work well with these specs. 

Electronics & Hardware

It seems the Epiphone pickups remain the same on both models – open coil with ceramic magnets.  The LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridge with stopbar tailpiece is also intact on this new version, and it retains 14:1 precision tuners.  But, it’s obvious that this model lacks the KillPot switch built into the tone pot circuitry.  If you liked to stut-stut-stutter your sound, you’ll miss this feature.  The output jack has been redesigned to prevent rotations and reduce loose connections. 

Sound

The 650R humbucker sits at the neck in the Rhythm position and is voiced with sweet, mellow, and warm tone.  The 700T sits at the bridge in the Lead position and is hotter than the 650R.  With both pickups, you have tight bass and pronounced trebles with some smooth and fluid mids.  They’re not bad for stock grade, but players usually swap these out for personal preference. 

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Poplar/Mahogany veneer
  • Neck Material: Okoume
  • Fingerboard Material: Rosewood
  • Pickups: Epiphone 700T/650R Humbuckers
  • Bridge: LockTone Tune-O-Matic w/Stopbar Tailpiece

Chic finish.  Legit SG copy.  Good price.

Final Thoughts on the Epiphone SG Special VE

If you never used the KillPot on the SG Special, then you won’t miss it on the Vintage Worn Cherry finish SG Special VE.  The most dominant features remain the same with an upgrade here and there.  For an affordable SG copy, you can have it, and your short fingers will find their way on this playable guitar. 

6. Jackson JS Series RR Minion JS1X Review

Jackson JS Series RR Minion JS1X

The Minion.  It sounds friendly.  It has a small hand-friendly scale length of 22.5”.  Fret size is jumbo, nut width is 41.3 mm, and it has a speed neck which is Jackson’s term for slick, fast, and thin – all the right features for your needs.  However, while it looks like a cute and friendly guitar, you’d be wrong. 

Body & Neck

The Rhoads body shape should clue you into the fact that this Neon Green ax is no ordinary guitar.  Yes, its specs obviously make it user friendly for young players, adults with small hands, or serious roadies who take their guitar on tour.  But, this beast in a small package has 24 frets – sounds full-size to me.  The Maple neck has graphite reinforcement rods and is bolted onto the guitar body – sounds quality built to me.  The Amaranth fingerboard has a 12” radius – sounds like a shredding guitar to me. 

Electronics & Hardware

The headstock has that classic Jackson pointed style and is rear-angled for even string tension and pressure at the nut.  Jackson Die-Cast Tuners and Jackson High-Output Humbucking pickups make the brand proud.  Master Volume, Master Tone, a 3-way switch blade, and a hardtail bridge with block saddles conclude the hardware specs. 

Sound

The sound palette was designed by Jackson.  The humbuckers push high output for overdriven saturation and sustain.  The dominant tones that ring out true are warm, full, rich, and deep.  They’re clear enough for excellent, clean playing, and they’ll maintain clarity even when super distorted.  While they may be stock pickups, they can compete with other humbuckers in this price range and come out on top.  However, more experienced players, perhaps like yourself, will upgrade the electronics at a later date. 

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Poplar
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Fingerboard Material: Amaranth
  • Pickups: Jackson High-Output Humbucking
  • Bridge: Hardtail w/Block Saddles

Spicy shape.  Small package.  Big impact. 

Final Thoughts on the Jackson JS Series RR Minion JS1X

The color and Rhoads body shape may attract spicy youngin’s and electrified roadies, but this ain’t no kid’s guitar.  It’s a short-scale guitar with huge sound and epic rock appointments.  Make your hands look big with this guitar in them. 

7. Ibanez GRGM21 miKro Review

Ibanez miKRo GRGM21

When a guitar, specifically for small hands and for road touring, repeatedly shows up in multiple lineups across the board, it’s proof that it’s a great guitar that has withstood the test of time.  The Ibanez miKro has earned that honor. 

Body & Neck

The miKro may be mini with its 22.2” scale length, but don’t underestimate its sonic projection.  This Ibanez guitar has the look of a serious shredding machine.  The Black Night finish adds to its metal appeal, and of course, the pointed 6-inline headstock caps it off.  The guitar has super pointy horns and extremely deep cutaways.  You’re going to need those to access every one of the 24 medium frets.  Yes – there are 24 frets on this very short scale guitar!  I’m impressed!

The Maple neck has the GRGM shape that isn’t as slim as their Wizard necks, but it’s still comfortable enough to work it.  With 19.5 mm thickness at the 1st fret, 21.5 mm at the 12th, and a fingerboard radius of almost 16”, this guitar will have you shredding in no time. 

Electronics & Hardware

The fixed, hardtail bridge is a complete unit with six adjustable saddles fixed to the bridge plate.  It does have a plastic nut – eh, but you should expect that at this price point.  The Infinity R humbuckers, Master Tone, and Master Volume controls are standard.  But, the 5-way switch blade is what surprises us. 

Not only do you have traditional settings of neck, neck and bridge, and bridge humbuckers at positions 1, 3, and 5, but you also have a single coil at the neck in position 2 and split single coils of the neck and bridge at position 4.  This sure adds to the versatility of the tonal range. 

Sound

As entry-level humbuckers, the Infinity R pickups are nothing to write home about.  But, they do punch out some good volume that is always valued when amping up gain and distortion.  They’re extremely hot, they have the aggressive roar needed to pull of metal tones, and they offer decent sustain.  With maybe an upgrade in nut material, intonation, and connection to a good amp, you can really make some magic with these ceramic humbuckers. 

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Basswood
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Fingerboard Material: Jatoba
  • Pickups: Infinity R Humbuckers
  • Bridge: F106 (Fixed Hardtail)

Small but mighty.  Short but loud.  Versatile sound palette.

Final Thoughts on the Ibanez GRGM21 miKro

The miKro may be on the small side, even for your small hands, but it does make a great knockaround guitar or one for the road.  It’s not pompous in nature nor decked out so much that it becomes unaffordable.  It has the basics covered, the specs needed to cater to your hand size, and it provides the ultimate platform that you can modify as you go.  The miKro – a monster shredder in a small package. 

Find The Perfect Electric Guitar For Small Hands 

There are plenty of small handed musicians that can play anything and everything, and they make it look easy.  But, when you try it, you may not be able to get away with it on a long or even just full-scale guitar, and it’s likely not the most comfortable playing experience you’ll mark down in history. 

Size does matter, both hand span and guitar size.  But, it really comes down to the specs and how you can make them work for you.  If you know what your guitar has to offer, you’re more likely to make a better purchase the first time around and play like a pro when you thought it was a lack of skills that prevented a great playing experience. 

Now repeat after me, “It isn’t me.  It’s you.”  The guitar you’re currently wielding may not be your perfect match.  Break up with it, find your soulmate, and your stubby, short fingers will thank you.  Get shopping! 

Further Reading:
About Evie | Owner & Editor of MagicInstruments.com

For me, music really is a form of magic. It has the ability to transport you to another time and place with just a few soft notes, drifting on the wind. It can invoke joy, excitement, sadness and even fear. Music can strengthen communities and bridge cultural differences. Our lives are truly enriched by the music entwined within them and I look forward to helping make your musical journey a magical one.