If you have small hands, don’t let that influence what sort of guitar you play.  There’s an old chestnut in music that if you have small hands, you can’t effectively play a guitar with a thick neck.  That is patently not true, and in my experience, those with small hands actually initially do better playing a guitar with a thick neck.

I started learning how to play guitar on my Clapton Custom Stratocaster, and that guitar has one of the thinnest and lightest necks of any electric axe.  My hands are average size, and the Clapton can be hard to control because the neck is so lightweight and the “Soft-V” back of the neck has to be held “just so” to allow you to barre chords and effectively move up and down the neck.

When I “moved up” to a historic Les Paul Gibson Custom — with a tremendously thick neck — I actually found that guitar was much easier to play.  A thicker neck gives the guitar more heft in your left hand and that anchors your arm to your shoulder in a way the Clapton Custom cannot.  You also don’t have to press as hard to barre a chord because the thicker neck gives you a better fulcrum that more naturally helps you engage the strings against the frets.

Don’t let people tell you “your hands are too small” to play the guitar — YouTube is filled with genius children playing the guitar — and you can’t get hands any smaller than a toddler’s!

If you’re starting out playing a guitar — go acoustic first.  The thicker neck will help you adapt to thinner electric necks later, and the higher string tension will build up your finger strength and toughen up your fingertips so that the transition from acoustic to electric will be strong and capable instead of weak and unmanageable.

2 Comments

    1. Hi Gordon!

      Yes, whenever I feel down about my guitar learning, I fire up YouTube and do a search for “kids playing guitar” and I am instantly humbled by their talent and ability and I know that if they can do it, I certainly can, too!