Best guitar for small hands?


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BCGuitarist
04-24-2010, 01:30 PM
I'm a new member here so I'll give a little background about myself. I've been playing guitar for about 7 years now, playing everything from classical acoustic and now jumping into the punk/ska genre. I've owned about 5 different electrical guitars, and now that I'm a little more experienced I think I know what I'm looking for. The trouble has been finding it.

In essence, I want a guitar that I can pound power chords on, while still having a firm grip on the neck. I've learnt how to properly handle a guitar with my thumb on the back of the neck, but in high-energy performances that is not adequate for properly controlling the guitar. It might be fine for the studio, but when I'm playing live I want something I can get a firm grip on and quickly change positions to other power chords. Especially when I'm standing up, I find that my hand cramps up too much if I'm quickly changing positions with my thumb on the back of the neck. It's just too much pressure to try to control the neck that way, so ideally I would like to find a guitar where I can wrap my thumb around the neck to get a firm grip, while still being able to reach the lower strings for a power chord. I'm not looking to be like Hendrix and grab bass notes with my thumb, I just want to be able to comfortably take charge of the guitar neck.

The problem is, I have extremely small hands. From wrist to the end of my middle finger is about 7", but my fingers are disproportional small. My index finger only measures about 3". Therefore, it's been a challenge to find a really small neck where I can comfortably grab it and situate my hand into a power chord shape on the bottom three strings.

I've tried all kinds of different brands, but so far Fender has been the closest thing I've gotten to a comfortable neck. Some Ibanez models have a smaller depth, but because the neck is flatter it digs into my palm which is pressed against the outside part of the neck.

What I think would be ideal is a V-neck type neck, with a low depth and width. Right now I have a Lite Ash strat that has a gorgeous V-neck for solo work on the higher strings, and if I could find something with a small width at nut and smaller frets that would be fantastic. Like I said, this new guitar is going to be almost exclusively for power chord rhythms, so I'm not too concerned about bending notes or being able to play fast licks. I just need something loud, powerful, and most importantly, comfortable.

So does anyone have any suggestions of different brands/models I should take a look at? My best option I've found so far is a Squier 50's Vibe strat, in which I plan to put a Dimarzio Super Distortion S in the bridge. However, even that strat isn't PERFECT, it's just the best I've found so far.

So if anyone has any suggestions for guitars, or even suggestions for ways of positioning my hand, I'd be very thankful for any input. I know this is a long post, but as you can probably tell this is a very important issue for me. Thanks in advance for your help.

joey arce
04-24-2010, 01:45 PM
ok so do you want a thin neck or a shorter scale?

afrigginprodigy
04-24-2010, 01:45 PM
I can't help to much here, as I've got massive hands, but Ibanez S series guitars are pretty much perfect for everybody. The string spacing is a little to close for me, but that would probably be ideal for someone with small hands. The bodies are also sculpted, so they're very comfortable to hold against your body.

hansome21
04-24-2010, 02:11 PM
Your hands are bigger than mine I think and I shred on my prs se just fine (it has a very thick neck). It's all about position and angle.

cranium2001
04-24-2010, 02:24 PM
http://www.warmoth.com/pages/CustomNeck.aspx

If you purchased a Strat you could have warmoth make you a shorter scale neck. I think the scale is what you need to address.

Confuse-a-Cat
04-24-2010, 02:26 PM
I've just measured my own hands up, they're about the same size as yours, and I don't find them to be small. My Jackson is the most comfortable guitar I've ever played, and that has a wide flat fretboard, which takes a more reaching around than some others, but I don't have any problems with it.

If you want a guitar with a neck that's easy to reach around, then you're probably best off ignoring most of the 'metal' brands since they usually seem to have wide flat necks.

RHCP_Nirvana_FF
04-24-2010, 05:51 PM
Get somesort of Jaguar they have a small neck and a short scale and they are avaliable with humbuckers and single coils.

However if you are looking for a V shaped neck look at the Fender Classic 50's Series strat/tele/esquire (not the classic player!) they have V shaped necks with a 7.25 scale and I think overall the guitars are fantastic and they come fairly cheap. I have a 60's series strat and it has a comfortable C shaped neck and it fits my small hands perfectly.

BCGuitarist
04-24-2010, 05:54 PM
K, so the consensus seems to be to stick with Fenders then? And to look for shorter scale guitars? Now forgive the n00bishness, but won't a shorter scale just be shortening the distance between frets? The problem right now seems to be that I can't stretch the width of the neck, not up the length of it.

jeffc313
04-24-2010, 06:38 PM
K, so the consensus seems to be to stick with Fenders then? And to look for shorter scale guitars? Now forgive the n00bishness, but won't a shorter scale just be shortening the distance between frets? The problem right now seems to be that I can't stretch the width of the neck, not up the length of it.
fenders are known for longer scale length. Fender does make some with short scale (mustang, duo-sonic, jaguar) but most are longer scale (25.4) Gibsons and clones will generally have a shorter scale length.

Amroth
04-24-2010, 06:52 PM
How about a Music Man Luke or perhaps a Petrucci? They can rock and they're so small I seem like a troll brandishing a stick instead of the standard club when I play one.

Duv
04-24-2010, 06:56 PM
my hands are the same size as yours and I manage just fine on pretty much any guitar, and play with my thumb wrapped round.

have you considered your technique much. if you have, fair game, if not I think you need to seriously consider what you may be doing wrong.

cranium2001
04-24-2010, 08:51 PM
The shorter scale will help you reach from fret to fret easier. Does it get easier for you the further up the neck you go? If so that's what I mean.

BCGuitarist
04-25-2010, 12:06 PM
my hands are the same size as yours and I manage just fine on pretty much any guitar, and play with my thumb wrapped round.

have you considered your technique much. if you have, fair game, if not I think you need to seriously consider what you may be doing wrong.

On my Fender Lite Ash V-neck I can wrap my thumb around just fine for playing leads/most rhythm stuff. And if I REALLY stretch my hand, I can get the power chord position. However, for faster punk/ska rhythms, which require a lot of position changes, my hand just can't keep up and cramps up too much. I physically just cannot find a hand position where I can A. Reach the power chord form B. Have a firm grip on the guitar and C. Be comfortable.

If you had any suggestions/links you think might be helpful I'm more than willing to try new things, but I'm almost positive it's a physical size factor, not a technique problem.

How about a Music Man Luke or perhaps a Petrucci? They can rock and they're so small I seem like a troll brandishing a stick instead of the standard club when I play one.

The manager at my local music store recommended the Music Man. When I called, the closest dealer (still 40 minutes away) said they didn't have any in stock. When I researched any online, they were all $1000k+ which is way out of my price range. Does anyone else have experience with these guitars, and if they make cheaper "squier" models?

hminh87
04-25-2010, 12:50 PM
...if I REALLY stretch my hand, I can get the power chord position....
Just how small of a hand do you have? Even my sister has no trouble doing power chords. I think you just need to practice stretching your fingers more.
Take a look at Sungha Jung on youtube. If your hand is smaller than his then you're a hopeless case.

Grimriffer
04-25-2010, 01:13 PM
I read the thread annd it seams that your hands are hideously small! I had small hands at school but hands grow from lifting weights, pullups, shovel-work and etc)

cranium2001
04-25-2010, 01:59 PM
Just how small of a hand do you have? Even my sister has no trouble doing power chords. I think you just need to practice stretching your fingers more.
Take a look at Sungha Jung on youtube. If your hand is smaller than his then you're a hopeless case.

Take me strong hand.

BCGuitarist
04-25-2010, 11:03 PM
I read the thread annd it seams that your hands are hideously small! I had small hands at school but hands grow from lifting weights, pullups, shovel-work and etc)

...I hope that's a joke

bldbtchz
04-25-2010, 11:14 PM
Mate no offense but unless you've got some crazy super super jumbo frets, barely any difference, maybe you need to work on you're technique? a bad workman always blames his tools

http://www.gripmaster.com.au/

Will help you lots, address the cause, not the problem

hope this helps, I have a very small pinky, and then i broke my hand and rendered it nearly useless (broken metacarpal. ouch) got about 5 of these gripmasters and rehab'd over a few months and ended up playing better than i did before
x

STABxYOU
04-26-2010, 01:00 AM
Try an Ibanez ORM-1. It's gotta super slim neck, the profile is sort of like combining the best of a early 60s SG with the best of a Fender Bronco. It's slimmer than the normal Wizard II neck, and it's narrower at the nut, same width as an SG neck.

It's a 24" scale, like most Fender shortscales.

My hands aren't all that big, but they look like Paul Gilbert's on it.

zhilla
04-26-2010, 05:22 AM
Your hands aren't too small - you just need flexible fingers that do what you want them to, and you don't need to press hard to play powerchords - you don't need to press any harder than to play a normal note. Your strap should be supporting the weight of the guitar, and your thumb should just be there for support, not strength.

Oh - and you don't have small hands - my middle finger is fractionally over 2.5", and I don't have any issues with the length of my fingers playing guitar or 5 string bass. Anarkee (mod form the bass forum) has smaller hands than me, and is a bloomin good player. My next door neighbour's 10 year old daughter has teeny hands, and she doesn't have any issues playing power chords, open chords or barre chords.

If your hand is cramping up take a look at your technique - I'd suggest either you have a death grip on the neck or you need to change your posture. You say its worse when you stand - try raising your strap so your guitar is at the same level when you stand as when you sit down to play, and angle the neck upwards a bit so you keep your fretting hand wrist as straight as possible. That will do a lot more for your playing than a skinny neck.

Mr Pringle
04-26-2010, 07:29 AM
Whenever i see a small man playing guitar, i either think they're small or it's a big guitar. Although i've noticed that an Ibanez jet king is pretty good for small hands and might just do the trick, they aren't amazing guitars but are good for small hands i'd say.

Grimriffer
04-26-2010, 08:48 AM
...I hope that's a joke

no, luckily for you, it isn't :haha:

I'm serious. I got shovels for hands and I can reach the 22-23 fret easily when my pointing finger is on the 12th. In addition I like my guitars slung low(think Jimmy Page or Papa Het) because I got long arms and I'm like 6'2 feet tall so when I sit I can go from 12th to the 24 fret easily. Well I can go to 24th standing but its sllightly uncomfy(OK not slighlty :rolleyes: ).

Now go do some deadlifts and dig some graves, boy!

Amroth
04-26-2010, 05:20 PM
On my Fender Lite Ash V-neck I can wrap my thumb around just fine for playing leads/most rhythm stuff. And if I REALLY stretch my hand, I can get the power chord position. However, for faster punk/ska rhythms, which require a lot of position changes, my hand just can't keep up and cramps up too much. I physically just cannot find a hand position where I can A. Reach the power chord form B. Have a firm grip on the guitar and C. Be comfortable.

If you had any suggestions/links you think might be helpful I'm more than willing to try new things, but I'm almost positive it's a physical size factor, not a technique problem.



The manager at my local music store recommended the Music Man. When I called, the closest dealer (still 40 minutes away) said they didn't have any in stock. When I researched any online, they were all $1000k+ which is way out of my price range. Does anyone else have experience with these guitars, and if they make cheaper "squier" models?

They have a "squier" brand named OLP and they make decent enough guitars that are really cheap. I wouldn't say they are quality guitars but for straight up Rock N' Roll or similar power chord-heavy music they should do just fine. You can check out the OLP Lukather Signature since it is a very contoured and comfortable guitar. I'd say they are decent, comfortably light-weight stage guitars and that you can rock out on.

BCGuitarist
04-30-2010, 09:53 AM
I've been very impressed by the responses I've gotten, thanks guys!

I'm trying out a fender squier jagmaster today, so hopefully that address some of these issues. But I have another question for the all-knowing pool of knowledge in these forums. Are there any full-scale production guitars today with a 1 1/2" scale at nut? I can only find them on beginner 3/4 size guitars. I'm a physically big body, I just have small hands, so a 3/4 scale guitar on me would be laughable. So my question is, do any companies have this thinner neck on a normal size body?

fender-lespaul
04-30-2010, 06:31 PM
Don't know if you could find one, but Gibson Blueshawks are great necks and are quite small too. They go for about 600 of ebay.