#1
I know this may sounds like an excuse, and people would say it's just the matter of practicing and getting use to it. True, I agree, practicing takes the most part, but aside from that, does the size of your hands / fingers length really makes a difference in your playing? In other words, obviously people who have longer fingers can stretch and reach out further to hit notes faster that are further part away? Personally, I have a really small hands and short fingers. Most often when I compare my fingers length to others, mine is either shorter than the boys or the same length as some girls....sigh.

Furthermore, I found that people like to wrap their thumb around the neck and have it reach to the front side of the fretboard while doing solo to mute the unwanted notes, and also for helping bending notes. However, I found it a bit difficult to remain my thumb in the front side of the fretboard. My thumb tends to move to the backside of the neck, especially when I have to bend the notes far. It seems like I can bend the notes much further only when my thumb is at the back of the neck. The fat neck seems to stop my small hands from bending far when I squeeze with my thumb in the front, and there's no more space left, but the note still haven't reach far enough if you know what I mean...

I'm using a "Fender 57 Reissue Stratocaster Made In Japan Since 1993" 's 7.25" Radius C Shape Fat Maple neck. I'm wondering:

1) Is changing to another neck radius / neck profile going make playing easier? Usually is there a specific neck radius / neck profile that a guitarist with smaller hands would prefer more? Or is it totally personal preference?

2) Is there any advantage for smaller hands guitar players?
#2
i have the same issue as you, a lot of girls i know have fingers longer than mine... work around it

lots of great guitarists have small hands, segovia, angus young, john lee hooker, lightning hopkins...

in response to question one, i think its preference. I play a tele, and i really like baseball bat necks despite my small hands
"The man that hath no music in himself, nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils. The motions of his spirit are dull as night, and his affections dark as Erebus. Let no such man be trusted."
#3
For smaller hands the best thing you can do is use a neck with a slimmer nut and an overall narrower fretboard. A V-shape neck profile can help too, if you want to play thumb-over style. The actual thickness of the neck shouldn't matter much; neck thickness should be chosen for comfort, as the main thing a change in neck thickness will do is fill out and support your palm more/less. Ideally you want a decent amount of wood in your hand to support your hand correctly. Of course if you do have very small hands (I'm talking about your whole hand here, not just your fingers) then you may find a thinner neck is able to support your hand properly and offer you a little more reach with less effort, but it shouldn't make as much of a difference as the width and contour of the neck will.

See if you can try out a Baja Tele, a 50s Strat or a Clapton Strat. Those have V-shape necks, which may be all you need.
Yes, I know everything. No, I can't play worth a damn.
A child is trafficked and sold for sex slavery every 30 seconds. Support Love146.
#4
I have pretty small hands and haven't noticed any effects or limitations. A thinner neck may help a bit, but it's mostly just preference. Unless the neck is hard to handle or the frets seem too wide, I'd stick with what feels best.
#5
I have small hands, I don't claim to be a great guitarist but since I like playing stuff on higher frets, I think it's an advantage. Now piano... that's another story. Can barely reach an octave.
#6
My hands are not particularly small, but I know that there are chords my guitar teacher could reach that I simply couldn't. (And then there's Buckethead.)

But the beauty of the guitar is that there are usually multiple shapes for any given chord- while I might not be able to do the precise one my mentor used, I could probably find a different shape/voiceing of the same chord. OR I could try a different tuning in which what was formerly a brutal or even impossible stretch becomes a tight, boxy barre chord.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Apr 6, 2012,
#7
I have pretty small hands and I play mostly Jacksons with at least 12" radius and 25.5" scale length. I prefer the really thin neck profile on my DK1. I'm not sure the fingerboard radius is going to make any difference in terms of hand size, it's more of a preference to the style of music you're playing. Since I mainly play metal a flatter radius is preferable. However, you may find a 24.75" scale length preferable. Interestingly enough, I don't, even though my hands are pretty small. I think it's because I learned on a 25.5" scale, and I use the upper frets quite a bit, and they get pretty small on a 24.75", but this may not be an issue for you.

I don't think there's any real advantage or disadvantage to smaller/larger hands, it just changes how you're fingering is done. Some people might be able to reach something with their ring finer, and we might have to do it with our pinky. Just have to strengthen that sucker.
#8
i do have smaller hands and struggle to reach 5-6 fret stretches on a 25.5 scale guitar. sometimes on a 25.

its not an issue and i can play it, but i immediately notice it. its that type of thing where 95% of times its no issue, but the 5% can hinder my playing and what the point of your ideal instrument that hinders you at all?

thus, i gravitate towards 24.75 scale guitars. by lack of market, i look look at buying 25s, but i have pretty much ruled ant 25.5 scale out completely. 50% due to playability, 50% due to the feel of said guitars.

if i were ever 100% committed towards playing a strat, i would most likely to on warmoth and get a 24.75 conversion neck.

anything smaller than 24.75 is very nice for chordal work, but then my fingers get all jammed up past the 12th fret. too little space.
#9
i have small hands and yes there is difference .

- you cant play guitar standing up very low without pain in the wrist . i have to wear my guitar a lot higher than i would want to cause otherwise the pain is horrible on the fretting hands . so forget about playing punk rock style guitar at the knees

- playing with the "thumb over" is harder .


when you shop for a guitar .. i try to check the thickness /taper of the neck .. that help a lot for wrist confort . i think ibanez have very slim neck ..

agile SLIM model are very confortable . 17 mm taper/thickness .


forget gibson les paul 50's neck ( baseball bat ) or studio model .


i owned both fender stratocaster 25.5 and Agile( les paul copy ) 24.7 and i much prefer the 24.75 ..


cant go wrong with 24.75 scale and a slim neck .


i used to play wuith children size guitar ( like squier mini ) but now the agile slim model have solved my problem .
Bedroom rock star :

- Gibson Les paul Standard 2001 Honeyburst .
- Agile 3200 Slim
Last edited by Skysc at Apr 6, 2012,
#10
depends on how small, i guess. if you physically can't stretch, it'd presumably not help.

i don't have particularly large or small hands, i think, and in my case anyway, being able to stretch better was just a case of practising more.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#11
I think a narrower neck is the asnwer. A shorter scale legnth might help too. My first guitar (i still own it, though) ias a Epi SQ-180 my aunt gave me becaue seh wasnt using it, and the reason she bought it was because she haves very tiny hads and fingers. The neck on this thing is thin and narrow as a match, compared to other guitars I've tried. It did really great for me as a kid, but now, I have really hard time to play an A chord...

See, big hands and small hands aren't advantages or disavantages. It's just different. So try to find something you find comfortable and stick with it. And hand size and neck size isn't directly related either: Even though I have bigger hands then the average, I fing smaller scales cumfier to play. Zach Myers from shinedown haves prtty small hands, and he prefers big necks. It a comes down to what you prefer.
#12
I have tiny hands and I have no problems playing on a fat les paul neck or a fat '50s strat neck.

Eric Johnson has small hands as well, as do a lot of other guitar players. It's fine, you find your way to play.
#13
The best thing to do is learn how to position your wrist in accordance to the style that your playing.

By this i mean, if you require big stretches, try pulling your thumb down so that your fretting hand rests on the inside of your thumbs knuckle, and your wrist is lined up staight with your middle finger. This allows you to straighten up your fingers and get more sideways reach. It also lets you fret with less motion in your fingers.

When you need to do a more forcefull bend or a looser vibrato, you can swap back to having your thumb wrapped around the neck so you can have a bit more controll over the string.

Learning how to play both ways is important for people with smaller hands in my opinion, that's if you want to do more than tasty blues playing, which is "thumb over" all the way.
Last edited by Supernaut2k at Apr 6, 2012,
#14
I don't have big hands either, I can't do the freaky huge stretch stuff that Steve Vai and Paul Gilbert pull off.... at least not on the lower frets (maybe a possible advantage : its easier to play stuffs thats bunched together on the high frets)
#15
If your fingers can cover a four-fret stretch from the nut to the fourth fret, you're going to be just fine. The frets are farthest apart at that point, and they get closer together as you move up the neck. As many have said, a slimmer neck will probably help, but don't let that put you off of a great guitar with a fat neck. If it feels comfortable to you, then go for it. You'll do just fine. A lot of people with small hands have become fantastic guitarists. You can, too.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#16
if phil Keaggy can do it with small hands, short fingers and 9 of them, you can too!
Quote by Pan-Tallica
Quote by jrcsgtpeppers
But theres no reason why i cant be free like a raspberry stuck to the back of a horny elephants ass.

This is maybe the worst comparison in the history of comparisons.
#17
No, Marc Ribot has tiny hands and he can play teles. I have big hands and I prefer shorter necks.
Quote by L2112Lif
I put a ton of my capital into SW Airlines... The next day, THE NEXT DAY these nutters fly into the WTC. What the hell? Apparently no one wanted to fly anymore, and I was like "What gives? God damnit Osama, let me win a fuggin' game!"
#18
Shawn Lane shredded and pulled off some crazy stretches with tiny hands! Keep working and you'll reach your goals.
Die troll

Dean VMNTX (EMG set)
Peavey 6505+ 112
+ a buncha teh pedlulz
#19
Excuse me guys, if I'm not wrong mine would be a Fender 57' Reissue Stratocaster MIJ Since 1993 that has a 7.25" Radius C Shape Fat Maple neck. But I'm not too sure if it's a 25.5" scale or 24.75" scale length guitar, can anyone tell me judging from the pics below? or how do I find out? Please excuse me for the newbie question...

And judging from the pics below, do you guys think my small hands short fingers is alright on this fat neck, or do you guys think it looks like it would be easier if I change to a shorter scale length and slimmer neck? Or it doesn't look that bad maybe it's just my immature technique / perhaps wrong posture?




#20
I'm not sure if it's the angle of the camera or what, it does seems like my fingers isn't that short in the pics above, but my hands and fingers are still always shorter comparing to the boys and abt the same size as the girls, or sometimes even smaller! That stretch is done when I tried really really hard and it didn't feel comfortable at all, it's not like a stretch that I can easily make while playing. Here, maybe these pics makes more sense. My fingers are not only short but also quite stubby, maybe a wider neck would give more space for my stubby fingers, but then a slimmer neck would be easier for my short fingers and small hands. Seems like I'm stuck in the middle LOL.


#21
don't wrap your thumb around.

also hand size doesn't matter.

if it did only giant could play bass.
Jumping on dat gear sig train.
PRS Hollowbody II / BKP Warpigs
Strandberg OS6T / BKP Aftermath
Strandberg OS7 / Lace Poopsticks
Skervesen Raptor 7FF / BKP Warpigs
Skervesen Raptor 6 NTB / BKP Juggernauts
Hapas Sludge 7 FF / Hapas Leviathan
Anderson Baritom / Motorcity Nuke BKP Sinner Anderson H2+
Warmoth Baritone / BKP Piledriver
Ibanez Rg2120x / BKP Nailbomb

Blackstar ID:Core Beam
#22
Quote by Jimmy25
But I'm not too sure if it's a 25.5" scale or 24.75" scale length guitar, can anyone tell me judging from the pics below? or how do I find out? Please excuse me for the newbie question...


Get a tape measure, measure the length of the strings from the nut to the bridge, that will be the scale length
#23
^^^ nearly sure that's 25.5". most fenders are.

your hands look fine. you're stretching from the 4th to the 10th fret there. how often do you have to stretch further than that? o_O
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#24
no it doesn't matter. check this out her hand is half your size. ....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njG_dQC-cnk

put the thumb on the back of the neck, like said.
Jenneh

Quote by TNfootballfan62
Jenny needs to sow her wild oats with random Gibsons and Taylors she picks up in bars before she settles down with a PRS.


Set up Questions? ...Q & A Thread

Recognised by the Official EG/GG&A/GB&C WTLT Lists 2011
#25
I have very wide meaty palms and short'ish fat fingers.

I like this thread cause Ive wondered the same.

I have an ESP and the neck is wide across the fret board, but the neck is slim and fast as far as thickness. I find my hand cramping a lot with this guitar because of the slim neck I have to squeeze even more to fret and chord. Ive now realized that I need a fat neck to take up my large palm real estate and give support.

My ESP Standard is for sale BTW if anyone is interested. Check the classifieds forum!
#26
Quote by Skysc
i have small hands and yes there is difference .

- you cant play guitar standing up very low without pain in the wrist . i have to wear my guitar a lot higher than i would want to cause otherwise the pain is horrible on the fretting hands . so forget about playing punk rock style guitar at the knees

- playing with the "thumb over" is harder .


when you shop for a guitar .. i try to check the thickness /taper of the neck .. that help a lot for wrist confort . i think ibanez have very slim neck ..

agile SLIM model are very confortable . 17 mm taper/thickness .


forget gibson les paul 50's neck ( baseball bat ) or studio model .


i owned both fender stratocaster 25.5 and Agile( les paul copy ) 24.7 and i much prefer the 24.75 ..


cant go wrong with 24.75 scale and a slim neck .


i used to play wuith children size guitar ( like squier mini ) but now the agile slim model have solved my problem .


Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I thought i was some sort of freak because trying to play standing up is excruciating. I'm almost at the point of giving up on rhythm guitar completely; doing a Chuck Berry rhythm with my pinky while standing is practically impossible and sounds like shit.
Hopefully a shorter scale and/or thinner neck will help. I currently play an epiphone Dot which doesn't hve a thick neck but does have a fairly wide fretboard.
anyway, keep trying different necks until something fits is the lesson here; just wanted to say thanks for letting me know I'm not alone with this.