Fortunately, we now live in an age where products are made to accommodate most people’s needs, and this includes electric guitars for small hands! Not all that long ago, players needed to make do with whatever they could get their hands on. In many cases, this resulted in an uncomfortable playing experience and ultimately slower progress. Fast-forward to today and you’ll find a huge selection of electric guitars for players with small hands, ranging from budget-conscious models to premium instruments that provide everything the advanced guitarists need.
In this KillerGuitarRigs Guide we will be reviewing the 5 Best Electric Guitars for Players with Smaller Hands. Specifically, we will be considering:
- What makes guitars for players with small hands different from other guitars?
- Do electric guitars for players with small hands sound different?
- What to look for in electric guitars for players with small hands?
- And much more!
While testing, we wanted to ensure that all of the guitars were compared on a level playing field. With that in mind, we used the same amplifier across the board, and no FX were used. The amp was a Monoprice Stage Right 5w all-tube model.
When evaluating the guitars, we looked at comfort for players with small hands, tone, and build quality.
EVH Striped Series Frankenstein Relic
Features: Basswood body, Relic finish, Floyd Rose with D Tuna
Benefits: Lightning fast neck, Authentic Van Halen tones, Solid tuning stability
Fender Player Telecaster
Features: Slim C neck, Lightweight alder body, Single coil pickups
Benefits: Real Tele twang, Great playability, Vintage styling
Ibanez miKro GRGM21
Features: Dual humbuckers, 22.2" Scale, Super slim neck
Benefits: Comfortable to hold, Big tonal range, Easy fretting
- EVH Striped Series Frankenstein Relic
- Fender Player Telecaster
- Ibanez miKro GRGM21
- Our Top 3
- Individual Reviews
- How to Choose the Right Guitar for You
- Final Thoughts
Our Top 3
Our Top Pick in this category was the Fender Player Telecaster. It’s a full-size guitar, but one that’s famed for its slim neck, balanced weight-distribution and sparky tones. This is a no-compromise option for players with smaller hands, bringing the classic Telecaster sound in a comfy package.
The Ibanez Mikro GRGM21 took our Best Budget award. As you might guess from the Mikro name, this is a reduced-scale guitar, measuring in at 22.2”. Despite reduced scale, it still boasts a full 24 frets, a lightning-fast GRGM neck, and a nice, narrow nut, making it a great choice for anyone with smaller hands trying to keep cost to a minimum.
When it comes to the ultimate guitar for players with small hands, look no further than the EVH Frankenstein Relic, our Editor’s Choice winner. This is a faithful reproduction of the late, great, Eddie Van Halen’s guitar of choice. Everything that makes it great for shredders also makes it ideal for guitarists with small hands who are buying without budget restrictions.
Fender Player Telecaster
Classic design with a slim, comfortable neck.
This is a modern take on a classic, it's fantastically playable for guitarists of all sizes, but those with smaller hands will truly appreciate the slim neck and its comfortable profile.
The Telecaster is one of the most iconic designs in the world of guitars, with its silhouette remaining unchanged since the ’50s. This particular model is a full-sized guitar, making it a great choice for adult players who happen to have smaller hands.
When first picking up this guitar, we were really impressed with the overall feel and quality. It was relatively lightweight, weighing in at just a hair under 8lb. The test model we were sent was in classic butterscotch blonde with a full 25.5” scale maple neck and maple fretboard.
The neck profile is a modern C, which is an asymmetrical design. The neck ergonomics were superb, and we found it to be exceptionally comfortable from the top to the bottom of the neck. This was true both of chords, including barre chords, and single-note runs and solos.
It had a nut width of 1.650”, which gave it enough string spacing to prevent accidental fretting, while not requiring excessive reaching during complex chords.
The guitar came setup for light gauge strings, with Fender .009”s fitted from the factory. The light strings carried low tension (helped by the full-scale neck), which further increased the comfort factor. It required very little finger pressure to fret notes.
Tuning stability was a strong point for the Telecaster. The hard tail design absolutely helped, but credit is also due to the Fender Vintage-style tuners.
Body construction is basswood, which isn’t considered a luxury wood, still provided good tone and sustain. The pickups were typical, hot Tele style and provided the signature twang from the neck setting. Intonation was great, which is largely down to the 6 adjustable saddle setup and string-through design.
Verdict: The Fender Player Telecaster is one of those guitars that every player should have in their collection at some point. With their chunky necks, Vintage Teles were truthfully some of the worst guitars around for small hands, but this modern c shape with its asymmetrical ergonomics makes it a joy to play for smaller-handed players.
Ibanez Mikro GRGM21
A baby shredder that makes fast play accessible for those with small hands.
With this Ibanez you're getting a reduced size guitar with an ultra slim, lightning fast neck. The body is reduced size, which also makes this a great option for younger players looking for a more comfortable guitar.
Historically, guitars that made accommodations for things like smaller hands have traded off important features in order to scale things down. With the Ibanez Mikro GRGM21, that couldn’t be further from the truth. It looks just like any other super Strat shredder, which widens the appeal significantly, especially for younger players. But the best part for those with smaller hands is that it plays just like a full-size instrument.
Initial impressions were excellent. For such an inexpensive guitar, the fit and finish were far beyond expectations. The switchgear engaged nicely and the pots gave us a nice swell, which isn’t particularly common in sub-$200 guitars. It was relatively heavy for a scaled-down guitar at 9lbs, but the balance was so good we didn’t really notice.
The body itself is smaller than full-size and the bolt-on maple neck was, like most Ibanez guitars, very thin. It has a 22.2” scale, but still squeezes 24 medium frets onto the Jatoba fretboard. The nut is slim, at just 1.614”, which doesn’t leave a lot of room between the strings. But for players with small hands, it’s still well set up.
The neck profile is an Ibanez GRGM, which is similar to a slim D shape. It’s not quite as thin as a Wizard, but small-handed players will no doubt find it comfortable and fast-playing. We liked the large 15.7” radius, it lent itself very well to fast play, but wasn’t restrictive when we wanted to play chords.
As standard, the Mikro comes set up with .010” strings. They played well on this scale and didn’t become tiresome. We think 9s would also work well if you chose to gauge down, but even with smaller hands, the 10s were comfortable.
The Mikro uses basswood in the body construction, just like the more expensive Fender Telecaster. It’s proven its worth as a tone wood and definitely works well on the Ibanez. It is equipped with a pair of ceramic humbuckers, and a 5-way selector switch, giving you a range of great tones. As we briefly mentioned, this is also a hard tail, so while we weren’t able to perform any dive-bombs, we were rewarded with great tuning stability.
Verdict: Whether you’re an adult with smaller hands or seeking a gift for the young shredder in your life, the Ibanez Mikro GRGM 21 is about as good as it gets when it comes to electric guitars for small hands at this price point. It’s comfortable, easy to handle, and most importantly easy to play.
EVH Frankenstein Relic
A lightning fast, ultra slim neck designed for comfort and speed.
If you have smaller hands and you're looking for a high end guitar, it doesn't get much better than this EVH Frankenstrat replica. No detail has gone unnoticed with this guitar, and you don't even need to be an EVH fan to appreciate that.
It’s almost impossible not to recognize the EVH Frankenstein relic, or “Frankenstrat” as it’s sometimes known, as the weapon of choice of Eddie Van Halen. Everything that made Eddie’s original version one of the fastest-playing guitars in history, also makes this replica a great choice for players with small hands. It’s balanced, it has a pencil-thin neck, and might just be one of the coolest-looking axes on the market.
We’ve been waiting to get our hands on one of these for a while here at KGR, so it was a real treat to finally get to play one. Of course, the relic’d finish is perfect in an imperfect way. Because they’re hand-finished, each guitar is slightly different, but we loved this. The finish on our test model was everything we hoped it would be. Of course, the pickup selector is actually fake (more on that later), so we can’t comment on the feel, but the swell on the master volume knob was perfect.
At just over 7lb this was one of the lightest guitars in the entire review. It felt phenomenal both standing and seated. It’s a full-size guitar with a 25.5” scale and 22 jumbo nickel frets. The nut width is a relatively slim 1.6875”, which felt great in the hand and really encouraged fretboard exploration. The radius is a 12″-16” compound, which we found to be a perfect middle ground for chords and solos.
The neck profile is an ultra-slim C shape, which had an ergonomic feel, filling up the palm of the hand while still allowing us to reach for chords and fly up and down the neck. The neck also had an oiled finish, which we found to be one of the nicest feeling necks on any guitar we’ve ever tested. The body is full-sized, in a contoured Stratocaster style. As many players know, this is one of the most comfortable designs ever created. It’s made of basswood, which keeps weight down, while still providing great tonal benefits.
The 9-gauge strings that it came equipped with were perfect. We typically prefer light gauges for small hands at KGR, and the Frankenstein reminded us why. They were comfortable for prolonged periods and took very little pressure to fret notes, which ultimately made the whole playing experience more forgiving.
It’s loaded with premium features, including a Floyd Rose trem, with locking nut, allowing for huge dive-bombs while still maintaining pro-level tuning stability.
As we alluded to earlier, this model is only equipped with a single humbucker in the bridge position, yet it still comes with a 5-way selector switch and what would appear to be a single-coil pickup in the neck position. Well, the single coil and the switch are both fake. This is a nod to Van Halen’s original Frankenstrat, which like this replica, featured a fake neck pickup and switch selector to confuse other players of the era trying to copy his tones.
Verdict: If you have smaller hands and you’re looking for a full-featured guitar that will be comfortable, but not numb, the EVH Frankenstein Relic is the one for you. It has the true character of Van Halen’s original custom axe, and it’s perfectly suited to small hands with its slim, fast neck. We loved the screaming tones from the bridge-mounted humbucker, and of course the head-turning design.
Squier Jazzmaster Mini
A superb entry level guitar with killer looks and top level comfort.
Younger players in particular will love this reduced size offset Jazzmaster. It's an extremely comfortable guitar, with a reduced scale lentgth and a trim neck that players with smaller hands will find to be a perfect fit.
The Jazzmaster is another of Fender’s iconic designs that has been procured by their subsidiary, Squier, at a price point that is attainable at any budget. Squier took things a step further. Rather than just produce another foreign-made replica, they actually scaled down the original to make it comfortable for both young players and guitarists with small hands alike.
Right away, we found the offset design to be comfortable to hold. At around 6.5 pounds, it was the lightest model on test by some margin. The ultra-light weight did throw off the balance a little. Players over 5’10″ with smaller hands might find the bottom-heavy balance a little off-putting.
The neck has a short 22.75” scale, making it roughly a ¾-size instrument compared to full-size Jazzmasters. The maple neck has a Slim C profile, which felt great in the hand and helped to encourage proper form. Nut width was also the narrowest on test, coming in at just 1.598”. This combination of short scale, narrow neck, and slim nut were really perfect for players with particularly small hands, especially younger guitarists.
The biggest limitation of this guitar vs the others on these is the reduced fret count. It only had 20 narrow-tall frets. While beginners are unlikely to miss having the extras, more experienced players with small hands may find themselves wishing they had more range available. The 9.5” radius lent itself well to chords and at no point did we find that it made bends or other soloing techniques difficult.
The Mini Jazzmaster is made with a poplar body, which isn’t a bad tone wood, but it doesn’t have much character. Having said that, when you consider the low price of this guitar, getting solid tone woods at all is still a bonus. The relatively neutral sound profile of poplar helps the amp to shine in the end, anyway.
The factory setup included 9-gauge strings, which felt comfortable and easy to play. We didn’t have any difficulty in fretting notes and the low tension made expressive playing nice and easy. It features a dual humbucker pickup arrangement with a 3-way toggle for switching between them.
Verdict: We thoroughly enjoyed playing this Squier Mini Jazzmaster. Yes, it’s a scaled-down version of the original, but it comes with the same attitude and great playability. And it’s much more suited to players with smaller hands. It’s light enough to be a good choice for kids and adults alike, it sounds great, and presents a great alternative if you’re looking for something a little more classic than our best budget option, the Ibanez Mikro.
Jackson X Series Dinky DK3XR
A full spec super strat that’s ideal for players with smaller hands.
Metal fans in particular will love this Jackson. It offers a wide range of tones thanks to its HSS pickup arrangement, and the neck is so slim that guitarists of all sizes will find it to be fast playing and comfortable.
The Jackson X Series Dinky DK3XR is a highlight in the super popular Dinky series of smaller, easier-handling Super Strats designed for extreme comfort and awesome metal tones. There are a number of options in this Jackson lineup, but this one was our favorite.
Despite the Dinky name, this is still a full-size guitar with a 25.5-inch scale and 24 jumbo frets. The neck is made from maple and has a speed neck profile. The speed neck profile was skinny and incredibly comfortable. It features a 12-inch to 16-inch compound radius, which like the EVH Frankenstein, gave us the best of both worlds. Easy-to-grab chords and fast, accurate solos.
The body is made from poplar, and was one of the heavier models we tested, although we still wouldn’t call it heavy outside of the context of the best electric guitars for small hands. Nut width was 1.6875” which was narrow enough to allow our fingers to easily reach wherever necessary on the fretboard, but wide enough to allow for great string separation.
There are 3 pickups, and in true Super Strat style, they are set up in a HSS, or humbucker, single, single layout. The 5-way switch was a little scratchy in between pickups, but overall did the job well. It was equipped with a licensed Floyd Rose tremolo system, which while noticeably less robust than a genuine FR, still gave us good dive-bombs and tremolo action while retaining good tuning stability.
As is typically our preference on guitars for small hands, it was equipped with .009” gauge strings. They worked well with the Floyd Rose setup and played comfortably throughout the test. The Floyd Rose locking trem system gave us solid tuning stability even after heavy use, a big plus for the Jackson.
Verdict: Coming from a brand that produces guitars primarily for metal players, the Jackson Dinky X Series Dinky DK3XR worked out really well for small hands, too. It’s packed with great features, the neck is slim and comfortable, and the black body/white pickups combo looks amazing.
How to Choose the Right Guitar for You
Many beginners choose to buy a guitar kit to start off, but those are rarely optimized for someone with smaller hands.
If you or the person you’re buying for has smaller hands, it’s worth taking the time to research guitars that work best for that anatomy. While of course, everybody is different, there are particular traits that make some electric guitars better suited than others for players with smaller hands.
What Makes Electric Guitars for Players with Small Hands Different from Other Guitars?
Fundamentally, guitars for players with smaller hands are the same as any other guitar. They have pickups, strings, a body, a neck, and a headstock. The difference is the size of some of these components, in particular the neck and occasionally the body. To accommodate those with smaller hands, these guitars can have slimmer necks, narrower nut widths, shorter scale length, and easy-to-handle bodies.
What to Look For
While the 5 top suggestions we’ve given you above should cover all the bases, if you want to check out other options, here are some key points you need to keep in mind.
Nut width is the length of the nut from one end to the other horizontally across the fretboard. Narrower nuts are usually preferable for players with smaller hands as it means the neck itself isn’t as wide. When the neck isn’t so wide, it means that less stretch will be required to reach fingers around to the fretboard and play chords. With the right nut width, your playing will be faster and more accurate.
The neck profile on a guitar has a huge impact on how comfortable it is to play, and this is particularly true for players with smaller hands. You’ll ideally want to look for anything described as having a fast neck, a slim neck, or an asymmetrical neck. Usually D profiles are the most comfortable for smaller hands, but slim profile C shapes are also good options to consider.
Scale length refers to how much of the string vibrates when played open, so this measurement is taken from the nut to the saddles. A shorter scale length tends to mean less stretching out to play chords, and shorter distances during runs, making short scales great for players with small hands. Full-scale guitars shouldn’t be discounted and can be just as comfortable when paired with the right nut width and neck profile.
If you have smaller hands, you might also find it easier to handle a guitar with a smaller body. Again, this isn’t always true, but having a body you can easily control will allow you to play with better form and ultimately sound better. This has less impact when playing from a standing position, but if you’ll be spending a lot of time playing seated, it’s worth considering.
String gauge also affects the playability and comfort for players with smaller hands. Light gauges, ideally no more than .010”, are best to avoid excess tension, which can lead to difficulties in playing with expression, but can also lead to accelerated playing fatigue and discomfort.
We love producing these guides to help our readers find the best guitars for their specific needs. We sincerely hope you enjoyed it and found it useful. Getting the most comfortable guitar possible is going to feel better, and also help you to become the best guitarist you can be.
In summary, the Fender Player Telecaster was our Top Pick. It was extremely comfortable and got us the signature tones we expected, plus we loved the vintage styling! If you’re looking to spend less, take a look at the Ibanez Mikro GRGM21, a tiny shredder designed for fast licks. It fit smaller hands perfectly and is built far better than its price would suggest. Finally there’s our Editor’s Choice. The EVH Frankenstein Relic is the ultimate guitar for players with smaller hands. It suits most players well with its thin, fast neck, lightweight body, and incredible balance. It’s a superb choice in this category.