6 Best Acoustic Guitars for Small Hands in 2020

Roz Bruce

6 Best Acoustic Guitars for Small Hands in 2020

Learning guitar, especially in the early stages, isn’t always easy. There are shapes to remember, finger positions to master, and you still need to remember how to hold the thing. It’s important to make it as easy as possible, by getting the guitar that’s the right fit for you.

If you’re a guitarist with small hands, there are certain acoustic guitar features that can help you out. Body size, scale-length, neck shape and body shape are all key considerations when catering for petite palms. We’ve took these into consideration along with build quality and price to choose our top 6 below. Updated 24th April 2020

Best Acoustic Guitars for Small Hands

1. Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor

medalBest all-round

Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor  

Talor’s BT2 Baby Taylor is a beautiful little acoustic with a rich sound that’s our top pick as the best acoustic guitar for small hands. Its 22 3/4 inch scale length and 1.68” neck make it super-easy to handle and its mahogany neck and top plus the rounded back give it a stunning resonance.

There’s no pick guard, so it might not suit aggressive players who want to protect the body but it will be perfect for those who play acoustic pop, folk or country music. There are fretboard markers to make navigation easy and the short neck also makes it comfortable to reach the higher frets. The body starts at the 14th fret, so you can comfortably play around in the E minor pentatonic scale that starts on fret 12.
Pros:

  • The solid mahogany top and neck give the guitar a rich resonance.
  • The ebony fretboard has a smooth feel and enables a warm tone.
  • The scale length of 22 3/4” makes it especially suited to small fingers.

Cons:

  • There’s no plug-in option, so if you want to perform live or record, you will need to mic it up.
  • It’s a little expensive for a starter guitar, if you’re buying for a child or young person.

 

2. Taylor GS Mini Mahogany Mini

medalBest professional

Taylor GS Mini Maogany Acoustic Guitar  

Another offering from Taylor, the mini mahogany is a professional product, with a price tag to match. It has a 231/2” scale length and a 17 2/3” body, making it more than suited to smaller hands and frames. The fretboard is ebony, which is smooth to slide around on and the body starts on the 15th fret, so you can get to those high frets with comfort and ease.

There’s a scratchplate on this guitar, to protect its beautiful body and there are fretboard markers to help you to navigate through the notes.

It’s not an electro-acoustic, but will suit those who want a high quality instrument to use around the campfire, or to mic up for recordings.

Pros:

  • The combination of mahogany and sapele give the guitar a warm tone and rich resonance.
  • The ebony fretboard is smooth and contributes to the guitar’s warm’s tone.
  • 23 1/2” scale length makes it comfortable for smaller hands to move around.
  • There’s a scratch plate included, to protect the beautiful body!

Cons:

  • It’s pretty pricey
  • There’s no plug-in option

 

3. Yamaha APXT2EW ¾ Size Acoustic-Electric

Yamaha APXT2  

The Yamaha APXT2EW ¾ size acoustic-electric combines top-quality woods with a small scale length and excellent functionality. With a solid, exotic wood top, the resonance is superior. On top of this, the APXT2EW has built-in electrics, making plugging in and playing live or recording a breeze, and a built-in tuner, so you needn’t worry about extra gadgets. The body is thin, and there’s a cut-away for easy handling and ease-of-access to higher frets. This guitar really is a beauty, and will suit anyone with small hands and a small frame who wants the option of amplifying their sound as well as playing unplugged.

Pros:

  • Solid, exotic wood top and rosewood fingerboard and bridge give it a smoothness and a rich sound.
  • The 22.81” scale length, thin neck, and small body with cut-away make it easy to play, hold and to reach higher frets.
  • It’s electro-acoustic, so you can amplify it with ease if you wish to.
  • There’s a built-in tuner.

Cons:

  • The body is pretty thin, so it won’t ring as loudly as some other acoustic guitars.

 

4. Oscar Schmidt OG1

medalBest for the money

Oscar Schmidt OG1 Acoustic Guitar  

Oscar Schmidt are excellent manufacturers of budget-friendly guitars that don’t compromise on quality. This one is no exception. Its rosewood fretboard makes the playing and the sound smooth, and the catalpa back and sides enable a fullness of tone. It’s available in lots of fun colours, including red, blue and pink, or you can opt to have a natural or yellow burst finish. The 3/4 size and the instrument’s narrow neck make it well-suited to children and smaller adults alike.

Pros:

  • Very budget-friendly
  • It’s available in lots of fun colours, as well as more ‘traditional’ options
  • The rosewood fretboard makes both the playing and the sound smooth.
  • The 3/4 size is well-suited to children aged 8-11

Cons:

  • The top isn’t solid, so the sound quality isn’t as good as some of the other guitars in this list.
  • There’s no pick guard to protect the body

 

5. Daisy Rock Pixie

Daisy Rock Pixie Acoustic-Electric  

Daisy rock are the most well known manufacturers of guitars for girls! The ‘Pixie’ model has a slim and narrow neck, especially designed for girls’ hands and the finish is available in either a stylish blue or a glittery purple. Although it’s full scale, the slimness of the neck and small body are perfectly suited to small hands and this will suit a teenage girl or adult woman perfectly. Despite the heavy focus on style, Daisy Rock don’t compromise on quality, and the mahogany back and sides, plus the instrument’s rosewood fretboard offer a rich, warm tone.

Pros:

  • The slim and narrow neck is especially designed for girls’ hands!
  • There’s a built-in pre-amp and tuner, so you’re all set to play live.
  • It’s available in either a stylish blue or a glittery purple!
  • The mahogany back and sides, combined with the rosewood fretboard give it a rich, warm sound.

Cons:

  • It’s very feminine, so might not be to everyone’s taste.
  • There’s no pick guard to protect its pretty body.

 

6. ¾ size Classical Guitar by Hola!

Classical Guitar By Hola!  

The final guitar on the list is a ¾ size classical, by Hola! Music. With it being a classical guitar, it does mean that three of the strings are nylon, making it easy on smaller fingers. The back, sides and neck are all made of mahogany, giving it a rich, consistent tone and exceeding what you might expect from the price. Whilst, unlike the other guitars, this one has no strap buttons (so you can’t stand up and play), it’s excellent for the beginner who is learning acoustic or classical music, requires a beautiful tone and would like to protect their fingertips from the pain of steel strings!

Pros:

  • It’s reasonably priced and of reliable, decent quality.
  • The mahogany back, sides and neck provides a consistent, rich tone.
  • The nylon strings are less harsh than steel on smaller fingers.

Cons:

  • There’s no cutaway, so it won’t suit those who want to reach the higher frets.
  • The top is laminated spruce, rather than solid.
  • Unlike some of the more pop-oriented guitars, this one has no strap buttons.

 

What to Look For in an Acoustic Guitar for Small Hands

Body Size

Small hands often accompany small bodies. If you’re shopping for a child, it’s worth thinking about whether you want a half-size, ¾ size or full-size guitar.

Half-size acoustics are recommended for children aged 5-7, whilst ¾ guitars are best suited to those up to aged 10. For 11+, full-size guitars might be preferred, though ¾ guitars are still perfectly appropriate, and often better for smaller fingers.

Scale-length

Something else to consider is scale length: the distance between the nut and the saddle. Any scale length of 24” or lower is considered to be a short-scale guitar. ¾ size acoustics will usually be short-scale, but some full-size guitars are, too. In our guide below, you’ll see both ¾ size guitars and full-size guitars, both with a short scale length.

Neck-shape

Another factor in a guitar’s playability is the neck shape. Different manufacturers have different neck shapes, but there are three main shapes:

C-Shape

The C-Shape neck is what it sounds like: a rounded neck in the shape of a ‘C’. They’re pretty shallow, as well as comfortable to hold. They’re usually the preference of those with smaller hands.

U-Shape

U-Shape necks are also more suited to larger-handed players.. They’re thicker than C necks and suit guitarists who prefer their thumbs to be on the back of the neck, rather than reaching over the side.

V-Shape

V-Shape necks are a bit more old-school. Like U-shapes, they’re suited to players with larger hands. However, V-shapes make it easier for large-handed players to reach the low strings with their thumb.

Neck Width

The width of the neck is really important because it indicated the necks you’ll be able to get your fingers around. Smaller neck width with a C shape neck are the easiest guitars to play for small hands and fingers.

Cutaway, or no Cutaway?

Some acoustic guitars have cutaways, whilst others have a fuller, more symmetrical figure. Those with cutaways include grand concerts, baby concerts, grand symphony and some dreadnought guitars. These guitars are often lighter than those without cutaways, can be easier to hold and they also make reaching the higher frets much more possible.

Guitars without cutaways include classical guitars, orchestra guitars and pacific guitars. These are more symmetrical and tend to have a louder, fuller sound. They do make reaching beyond fret 12 tricky, though, and the bigger ones especially can feel a bit bulkier to hold.

More Things to Look For in an Acoustic Guitar

There are other features to consider, that would be worth looking into whatever your hand size.

Which Woods?

Body and Neck Woods

The woods your acoustic guitar’s made from can make a real difference to the sound. Which wood is used to make the body, in particular, will determine whether your guitar is bright or bassy, resonant or dull.

The body of an acoustic guitar is made up of the top, back and sides. The materials for the top can be completely different to those used for the back and sides.

Common woods you can expect to find for a guitar’s body are mahogany and koa, which are both great for rich, resonant sounds. You may also find maple, cedar or sikta, offering brighter tones. If you find a guitar that uses one of these for a solid top, you’ve struck gold! Often, to save costs, manufacturers choose to use laminated spruce for the body’s top, which doesn’t sound quite as good as solid wood.

These same woods are also often used for the backs and sides, with similar tonal properties. Whilst they can be used for the neck, too, the impact this will have on sound is limited in comparison.

Fretboard Woods

Rosewood, ebony and maple are all common fretboard woods. Rosewood and ebony are both smooth and rich-sounding. Maple offers a brighter tone, which might suit country players.

Bracing

Bracing refers to the patterning of the wood inside the guitar’s body. These are lightweight woods attached to the guitar’s top, to help shape the tone from the vibrations. There are three main patterns to look out for, each of which create slightly different sounds.

Most acoustic guitars use X Bracing, whilst some opt for the more old-fashioned ladder bracing.

X Bracing Scalloped/Non-Scalloped

X bracing is the most common type of bracing. It’s what it sounds like: an X shape bracing, beneath the guitar’s top. This works to produce a well-balanced tone, as well as excellent stability.

Usually this is ‘non-scalloped’, but more recently ‘scalloped’ bracing has become popular. This is when the braces are cut out in the middle, giving it a curved shape. This reduces the weight of the bracing and leads to a more responsive sound, particularly bringing out bassier frequencies.

Ladder Bracing

Ladder bracing is a more old-fashioned design. It’s also common in lutes. It brings out higher pitches more than the lower ones, resulting in a less rounded sound than X bracing. Whilst they are excellent for clarity and projection, they won’t suit the player who is seeking a warm, balanced tone.

String Type

Acoustic guitars and classical guitars are often separated by their string-types. On an acoustic or electro-acoustic guitar, the strings are steel. These produce a bright sound that can get pretty loud. Classical guitars, on the other hand, have three nylon strings (G, B and E). These are softer on the fingers, and also softer-sounding.

There’s no ‘right’ string type to go for, but it’s worth being aware of the two different kinds. You’ll find both acoustic guitars – with steel strings – and classical guitars in the guide below.

Built-in Electrics?

Are you wanting to perform with this guitar, or record your playing? If so, it’s worth looking for something with built-in electrics, including a pre-amp. These make plugging in and playing extremely easy, whereas a purely acoustic guitar will require microphones to amplify and/or record.

Electro-acoustic guitars can be a little more expensive than straight-up acoustics, but they’re cheaper than buying all the extra gear you’d need to amplify or capture the sound of an acoustic guitar.

Built-in Tuner?

Some acoustics and electro-acoustics have built-in tuners. This can be really handy for on-stage or if you just don’t want the hassle of extra gadgets. It’s definitely something to look out for.

Summary

Acoustic guitars come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and there’s something for everyone on this list. If you require electric features, the Yamaha APXT2EW combines these with top quality woods, a small scale-length and a cut-away to make reaching the high frets easier.

If you’re looking for a bargain, the Oscar Schmidt OG1 and the ¾ size Classical by Hola! Music are both incredibly easy on the wallet. The Oscar Schmidt OG1 is available in lots of colors and offers a rich sound with a rosewood fretboard. Whilst the Hola! Classical guitar is smaller, and has nylon strings.

Whichever of these guitars you decide is right for you (or your child), I’m confident it will make the acoustic guitar learning journey as comfortable as possible for your small hands. It’s time to make your choice, sit up straight, and enjoy the ride.

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