Playing Guitar with Small Hands (Solutions & Advices)

Playing guitar with small hands is certainly possible, and we have many famous guitarists with small hands, like Angus Young of AC/DC, who are renowned for their guitar playing sound, style and skills.

That being said, the simple fact is that by having small hands, you have a trait that is going to make your life as a guitar player a tad harder, especially at the beginning of your playing days, while you’re still lacking the almost endless hours of practice and even specific exercises that are going to address that issue.

This issue is actually quite common, and there are many different people asking all the right questions like:

  • What is the best guitar for small hands?
  • What are the best exercises for guitarists with small hands?
  • What are the alternative finger positions for guitarists with small hands?

Main Issues Connected To Playing Guitar With Small Hands

One of the main issues you’ll have as a guitarist with small hands is the fact that you will not be able to play the songs and exercises as shown and taught by most of the teachers and pros out there.

Standard guitar hand position for those kinds of songs could prove to be quite tricky or even impossible to perform.


Barre chords are another difficulty that will present itself if you have small hands, especially some of the more demanding and tricky ones. Some blues standards that prominently use barre chords are bound to give you hell, even though they are considered to be rather basic and easy.

The build of the guitar is also going to play a prominent role when determining if playing guitar with small hands is going to be difficult or not for you. You’d do well to keep in mind that, while some guitar builds are tied to the sound of the guitar, it certainly is not one of the major traits that would affect the sound you’re producing.

Solutions, Tricks And Hacks On Improving Your Guitar Playing – Even If You Do Have Small Hands

1. Make Better Use Of Your Pinky Finger

Pinky finger is commonly used for those hard to reach notes on the fretboard, and this rule is also true for guitarists with small hands.

However, you should also incorporate this technique with notes that you would usually play with your ring finger. This may not be exactly considered a proper technique, but it will sure make your playing better, and definitely easier.

Here is the Guitar Pinky Exercise

2. Choose The Right Guitar For Your Needs

Even though you may have already set your sights on an ax that is specifically designed for let’s say blues or country, like any guitar from the Gretsch family, the simple fact is that you’ll probably be better off with a piece that is more compatible with your physique.

We recommend the Alvarez Artist Series AF75 Folk Guitar for small-hand guitarist.

Alvarez Artist Series AF75 Folk Guitar

3. Practice Every Day

While this rule stands for every guitar player in the World, it’s especially true for players with small hands. Be prepared to devote a serious chunk of your time to practicing tough scales that will make do with guitar hand stretches.

Another thing you could incorporate in your practice routine is specific guitar hand exercises that will improve your reach. Here’s a great video with that kind of exercises: 

4. Experiment With Different Playing Techniques

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different playing techniques. While tapping may sound like something connected strictly to the ‘80s era, or just the metal genre, the fact is that it’s a legitimate technique that really comes in handy when it comes to guitarists with small hands.

Another thing you could use to improve your guitar playing is capo – even though it’s sometimes frowned upon by “regular” guitar players. This guitar accessory is a perfect solution when your physical limitations (like small hands) are hindering your progress as a guitar player.

There are a lot of Capo out there. But we recommend you checking the best selling Capo below:

5. Type Of Strings You’re Using

If you have small hands, using light gauge strings is bound to help you do stuff like bends or hammer ons and pull offs. That being said, be aware that the gauge of the strings you’re using are going to have an adverse effect on the sound you’re producing.


To sum up, playing guitar with small hands may sound at first like too much hassle, and for an absolute beginner it may come off as a really negative trait that will have a great impact on your guitar playing.

However, the truth is that with enough practice, dedication and love for the music and the instrument you’re playing, there’s nothing that can stop you from becoming a great musician and a great guitar player.

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Natalie Wilson

I've been an avid guitar fan for as long as I can remember and the day I embarked on my six-string journey at the young age of 5 truly defined the course of my entire life. I work as a professional musician, session guitarist, and guitar teacher, and would like to use this blog as a personal outlet to share my six-string knowledge with the world. Welcome to MusicalAdvisors.com

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Sam - June 20, 2019

My daughter has been learning the guitar, but has really small hands so she’s been struggling. These are some great suggestions, and I’ll be looking for a smaller guitar for her to play for now, as well. Thank you!


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