The Best Guitar for Small Hands — Acoustic and electric

If you’re in a hurry, the Baby Taylor BT2e won out as the best guitar for small hands overall. Jump down to read more or check it out on Sweetwater here.

The Fender Mustang was the small hands down winner in the electric category. Check it out on Sweetwater.

Recently I went searching for the best guitar for small hands, and was able to get my hands on 5 contenders.

I’ve never had hands that could envelop a fretboard. Other guys were playing these big chunky necked Gibsons with their thumbs muting the E string at the same time they were playing 9th chords. It never felt comfortable. I thought it was me.

Turns out, I wasn’t playing guitars that were suited for the physical size of my hands. After 15 years playing, you come to discover that it’s all about what’s comfortable, and what makes you feel better sitting in the groove. There are a ton of guitars that cater to players with small hands.

But which is the best?

It was a close call between the Martin and the Taylor small scale guitars. In the end, the Taylor edged the Martin out with better onboard electronics, slightly better action, and slightly better price.

When you’re working with a physical condition like smaller hands, you want the rest of the experience to be seamless. You want the instrument to dissolve into you as a player and get out of your way. Taylor is famous for making guitars that do that, and while the Baby line isn’t their front of house offering, it does what it’s supposed to.

Not every situation calls for the same axe. We can’t all be Willie Nelson. 

Once you know that you’re looking for in a guitar for players with small hands, you have to ask yourself what else you’re looking for. Where are you at in your guitar playing journey? Are you looking to rock out on stage with a band, record in a studio, strum some chords around a campfire? These are all relevant questions that you’ll need to answer.

Have you considered what you need? No? 

Well, read on to take a look at some of what makes the best guitar for small hands on the market today

Baby Taylor BT2e – Best Overall Guitar for Small Hands

The Taylor name among guitar players is well known. It’s one of those brands that everyone, almost to a person, wants to own at some point in their journey. The issue that puts most players off from ever owning one is the price tag.

The Baby Taylor BT2e is our pick as the best guitar for small hands.

Taylor guitars aren’t cheap.

And when you are bringing a pair of small hands to the party, dropping a month’s rent on a Taylor guitar quickly becomes out of the question altogether. With the ¾ scale Baby Taylor series, the San Diego based guitar manufacturer may well have solved both problems.

Taylor bills this as a travel guitar, or something professionals can use for songwriting. More to the point, the 22 ¾ inch scale means it’s perfect for smaller hands.

Unlike its full-size, top-line cousins, the Baby series has cut some corners on materials, as you’d expect. The soundboard of the guitar, the top, is sitka spruce, so it isn’t going to have the same richness of tone that you might expect from a Taylor.

It’s still a great tone. But it’s just, well, different. For a ¾ scale guitar, the sustain is unbelievable. Part of this excellent sustain and tone is due to the action on this guitar being as low as you’d expect from a Taylor. 

This guitar also stands out with the Taylor Expression System pickup and preamp. It sits under the saddle of the guitar and is calibrated specifically for the Baby series guitars. There’s a small control panel for tone and volume along with a built in tuner, which is nice to have. No matter the size of your hands.

It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. The material construction does mean you’ll have to pay careful attention to how you store it. And the idea that it’s ready to throw in the overhead bin of your average airline is laughable. 

But pick this instrument up, wrap your small hands around its slender neck, and you’ll never set it back down.

Pros:

  • Electronics are unparalleled.
  • Excellent action.
  • Bright tone.

Cons:

  • Basic materials at mid range price.
  • Neck joint.
  • Requires regular care.


Martin LX 1 – Best for Tiny Singer Songwriters

The Martin LX series, like Taylor’s Baby series is for Taylor, is Martin’s smallest guitar. In fact, the Taylor and Martin tick many of the same boxes when it comes to the best guitar for small hands. 

Martin LX 1 acoustic guitar.

While the Martin LX 1 might be small in stature, it isn’t small in tone. The sitka spruce soundboard dances when you strum a chord making sure you project each note into the room. 

It’s billed as a travel guitar, or an instrument designed for students like many in the class. But, it could easily find itself in that professional songwriter category as well. 

The onboard Fishman pickup makes this a great guitar to record direct if you want to do a cover or demo without fussing with setting up a mic. That said, the guitar sounds amazing live, so you should do yourself a favor and read our guide on the best mics for recording acoustic guitar.

The guitar features a modified body shape to slim it down, and the 23” scale feels comfortable. 

There’s not a lot in this guitar to dislike. What keeps it from being perfect isn’t what’s included, but what’s not there. The lack of an onboard tuner is glaring. It would have been an obvious item to include in a guitar targeted towards students. 

Sure, everyone has their phones on them at all times for the app, but why not include it? That said, this is a fantastic entry point to Martin Guitars, which, are, of course, spectacular instruments.

Pros:

  • Custom slim taper body.
  • Slightly longer scale.
  • Guitar projects beyond its size.

Cons:

  • No onboard tuner.
  • Basic materials.
  • No tone or volume control.


Fender Redondo Player Acoustic – Best for Acoustic Shredders Who Need a Cutaway

The Fender Redondo Player Acoustic is part of Fender’s recent “California” series where they’re trying to revive some of the fun, unusual, cosmetic aspects of the acoustic guitars the company produced in the 60s.

Fender Redondo Player acoustic guitar.

Aside from being aesthetically fun, these guitars also aim to bridge the divide between traditional acoustic dreadnoughts and their electric solid body guitars. Such as the Stratocaster.

What this means for players with small hands is that the California series features the Strat C shaped neck.

I tend to play my older Fender Catalina acoustic because the thinner C shaped neck allows my hands to move around the neck with ease.

My old Fender Catalina

Most regular full size dreadnought acoustics feature a chunkier neck that feels noticeably bigger in your hand. It’s the difference between holding a tangerine versus an orange.

Within the California series the Redondo has the widest range of features, and thus the widest range of potential players. In addition to the onboard pickup and tuner, the Redondo has a full size body for full size sound.

It also has a cut away, so players have access to the higher frets for working on lead parts. 

If you’re looking to straddle the acoustic and electric worlds, it’d be hard to go wrong with the California series, and specifically, the Redondo.

Do take a look at a few of the other California series acoustics. They have similar feels, but the body shapes differ enough that you may find a better personal fit.

Pros:

  • Has a cutaway.
  • Looks cool.
  • Slim electric C shaped neck.

Cons:

  • Not a short scale.
  • Middling electronics.


Fender Player Mustang – Best for Small Hand Rock Stars

The Fender Mustang guitar shape was introduced in 1961 when Fender was reworking their entire line of student guitars. These would include the Musicmaster and the Duo Sonic ¾ scale guitars.

Fender Player Mustang electric guitar.

Fender dreamed up the Mustang body after they held competitions for kids. They saw kids playing Teles and Strats that were enormous compared to the kid’s diminutive size. So, the 22” scale and ¾ size guitars were specifically made for players with small hands.

The result is a guitar that’s a lot of fun to play, well made, and relatively inexpensive. This trio of features made the Mustang’s reintroduction a welcome addition to the 90s alternative rock scene.

It became a favorite amongst female fronted bands as well because it was of such high quality.

On my most recent visit, I played the recently introduced player series Mustang, but this isn’t my first rodeo with this particular horse.

The model I tested had two single coils which was standard. But these days you can get just about any pickup configuration you’d like.

Squier also has brought the Mustang’s physical form factor back for small hands at an even more attractive entry level price.

Pros:

  • Mexican made
  • Hardtail bridge to adjust intonation
  • Updated player series pickups

Cons:

  • Player series doesn’t have phase switches
  • No tremolo


Epiphone SG Special VE – Best Budget Electric for Small Hands

The Epiphone SG Special is a lot of guitar for very little money. 

Epiphone SG Special VE

The SG got its name once Les Paul stopped working on the project. It was rebranded SG for “solid guitar.” Not the most innovative name in guitar history, I’ll grant you. But as soon as Gibson relegated the SG to second class status, it became an accessible entry point into the Gibson ecosystem.

Much like the Les Paul that followed, the SG has two humbuckers, a 24 inch scale, and the best bridge in the business. It allows players to dial in the distance between the strings and fretboard, also known as the “action.”

It’s this action adjustability along with the lightweight body that make it a great guitar for smaller players. The action is also a place a lot of manufacturers fall down when producing a cheaper version of their top of the line instruments.

That wasn’t the case at all with the Epiphone SG Special I sampled. My fear that the action would be too high and thus uncomfortable for small hands was completely misplaced.

When you pair the excellent action with the shallow D shaped neck on the SG, it lets even the smallest hands fly around the fretboard.

This cheap little guitar played like a dream.

Pros:

  • Price.
  • Adjustable action.
  • Many Epiphone SG variants.

Cons:

  • Body weight and center of gravity takes some getting used to.
  • Not great for sitting down.


Buying Guide

The Taylor BT2e is my choice for the all around best guitar for small hands. It ticks the most boxes for the widest range of players.

The Mustang is my choice for best electric guitar for small hands. You aren’t “making do” with the Mustang. It was designed to solve this specific problem.

But it may not be the best guitar for every use case. So you have to work your way through the gear buying guide to figure out which is the axe for you right now.

Knowing full well you can come back here for another round of gear buying.

What Type of Player Are You?

In other words, what type of music do you play? What do you like? 

Depending on where you’re at in your journey, you may not know yet, and that’s okay. 

Most players, even the heaviest metalheads, will need a solid acoustic in their arsenal. Which is why the Taylor found its way to the top of the heap.

What Are You Using This For?

Are you writing songs? Strumming chords at home for fun? Are you in need of a live guitar you can play standing up instead of sitting down?

The specific use case will help dial in exactly what you need. Again, the Taylor will get you there 80% of the time, but on occasion you need to crank it up to 11 live.

For that, check out the SG.

Is This a Forever Guitar?

There are a lot of compelling reasons not to skimp on your guitar. 

In fact, we have a whole article covering $1,000 guitars that just make a lot of sense.

None of these guitars cost that much, but they aren’t cheap either. Even though smaller guitars are often billed as travel guitars, that does not mean they can take extra abuse.

It’s all about finding the right tool for the job and then treating that tool with respect. Before you buy, make sure you know what’s required for upkeep and maintenance.


Conclusion

The Baby Taylor BT2e is the best guitar for small hands. It plays beautifully, sounds like a dream and doesn’t break the bank.

The onboard electronics are well thought out and a step above everything else in its class. With most cheaper acoustics, the pickup is an afterthought, but here the system is tuned to this specific model.

If you take care of it, the Baby Taylor BT2e will treat those tiny hands right for years to come.

When you want to crank up the volume and rock out, you’ll be in good company selecting the Fender Mustang. It’s the electric designed for the job and the electronic configuration options make it the obvious choice for almost any genre.

Don’t spend another day playing a guitar that wasn’t meant for your hands. Click on over and take a look at everything small hands can do.

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