In this article, I will give 4 practical tips for you to play guitar with small hands.
Playing the guitar with small hands is more difficult.
If you are a person with small hands, you are obviously at a disadvantage when it comes to guitar playing.
However, this does not mean that it is impossible.
One of the most common excuses I hear from people that discourage them from playing guitar is that their hands are too small.
But can your hands be too small to play the guitar?
As someone who naturally has small hands, I can speak from experience when I say they’re actually not that bad.
Sure, you may need to work a little bit harder at first.
But with enough practice, you will adjust to the point where you don’t even see it as a flaw.
Can you play guitar with small hands?
You can definitely play the guitar with small hands, and with perfection. With enough love and dedication to the instrument, the possibilities are actually endless.
Becoming a master guitarist is making the positive, conscious decision that you will become a great player no matter what it takes.
As long as you can think and dream of a size larger than the size of your hands, there is no limit to what you will be able to achieve.
Are your hands too small for the guitar?
Unless you’re a baby, your hands aren’t too small to play the guitar!
I’ve seen kids as young as 5 starts learning guitar.
So unless your hands are the same as you were 5 years old, then your hands aren’t too small for a guitar.
Watch this video of this 9-year-old completely tearing up a guitar. I bet her hands are a lot smaller than yours and they seem to work just fine.
Surprisingly no one’s hands, not even yours, are too small to play the guitar. There are several ways to comfortably ease and improve your playing even if you have a hobbit hand.
Fortunately, you stumbled upon this article where we will expand on the things you can do to work with what you already have and explain how you can also start playing easier from the beginning.
Your little hands will soon be the strongest and fastest of all.
How to play guitar with small hands?
#1 Practice using your pinky
The first tip I can give you to play guitar with small hands is to know how to incorporate your pinky finger.
By learning to use your pinky finger, you allow yourself more room and flexibility, while reducing the tension of your wrists and fingers.
One of the chords that helped me extend my pinky in the early learning years was the G major chord and using my pinky to play the third fret of the high E string (G note).
Another exercise that is particularly useful for strengthening your pinky is the chromatic scale.
The reason a chromatic scale is such a good exercise is that you will be playing every note in that specific range.
Here is a video that shows you exactly what you need to do.
As you can see, you will be able to learn all 12 notes that we use in music, while giving your four fingers a great workout.
An additional tip you can include here is to keep your fingers as close as possible to the fretboard, even when you’re not using it.
This will give you the ability to build speed and accuracy while gaining strength and endurance in your pinky finger.
Another way you can gain strength and dexterity in your pinky finger is to do hammer-on and Pull-off exercises between your ring and pinky finger.
While you’ll find that these are the two hardest fingers to work between, the gains and benefits are well worth the effort.
#2 Use a ¾ sized guitar
Much like shorter guitars, we have what’s called a ¾ guitar. Not only are they cute and comfortable, but the size of these guitars will make practicing a whole lot easier.
These lovable-sized guitars are extremely light and easy to carry just about anywhere. There are also some that you can fold and almost fit in your pocket.
When it comes to sound quality, many guitars are as good as full-stack guitars and you’ll still have electric or acoustic options too!
Many players, especially our short-handed friends, have reported being able to hit the notes well beyond what they normally would, thanks to the use of these types of guitars.
#3 finger skill building
Having small hands, it is very important to practice the skill of finger building. Naturally, the reach of your hands is shorter, so it is absolutely necessary to work on stretching and building that wider range that we need.
Since your fingers are so short, we need strength.
Realizing that you need to strengthen your hands really gives you a great start to the game.
There are a lot of ways we can work on building fingering skills, no matter if you are a complete beginner or if you are a professional player like Steve Vai.
Something we should touch on first here is the stretching of the fingers and hands. Just as if you were to stretch before any other workout, stretching before you practice the guitar can really help you maximize your full potential.
You can start by extending your hand outward, pointing your hand up, and gently pulling your fingers back toward you to extend your fingers deeply.
No matter the size of your hands, it is critical that you practice building your finger strength and dexterity as much as possible.
The best exercises for building that strength come down to things like the chromatic scale and any large-scale exercise where you combine all four fingers.
Of course, you’ll also want to have fun and play more musical things than just the chromatic scale.
Review the major and minor scales and learn the different positions as well. There are millions of resources and training videos, and I am here to guide you and point you to the best paths to take.
It is important to practice using a metronome. Usually, you want to get a specific exercise at a certain pace for 3-5 minutes straight.
#4 Use a guitar with a thin neck
An important tip to help expand your playing abilities with your little hand is to use thin neck guitars. Surprisingly, you will find that many guitar necks vary greatly in size.
The secret to play guitar with small hands is to improve the ability to play the guitar in any way possible.
Since you will naturally extend your fingers and work harder to reach certain notes, people with small hands are more prone to hand fatigue.
Using a thin neck guitar, such as an Ibanez, is much easier to play on something with a thicker neck, such as a Yamaha.
As someone who is accustomed to playing guitars with smaller hands, I can tell you that once I switched to playing thin neck guitars from brands like Ibanez and Alhambra, I was able to significantly increase my practice time without hand fatigue.
It is not our physical limitations that hold us back, but really only our mental limitations. If you can turn your passion for guitar into a daily routine, the possibilities are endless.
I hope you choose your dreams, take my advice, and decide that you will play guitar to the best of your ability.