Dreadnoughts can be cumbersome, and other standard sized acoustics can be a real hassle to play if you’re a player on the smaller scale.
If this is a hobby you want to love but just can’t seem to find the right sized guitar, you’ve come to the right place.
Whether you’re buying for your child or just looking to get a guitar that not only sounds good but feels great to play, this list of the best acoustics for small hands has a wide range of excellent guitars for you to choose from.
Coming in at #7 we’ve got a starter guitar from Hola! Music, the HG-36N. This guitar in itself is nothing super special, but its handy beginner’s bundle comes with picks, a strap, and two months of free live lessons, a value worth multiple times the total cost of the instrument itself.
Taking the win is the California series Fender Redondo Classic. This acoustic electric is all solid wood and features a fast-playing slim taper neck that makes riffing and throwing down chords a breeze for even the smallest hands.
The Top 7 Best Acoustic Guitars for Small Hands – Overview
|Yamaha JR1 FG
|Fender Redondo Classic
|Ovation Celebrity Standard CS28P-RG
|Martin LXK2 Little Martin Koa
|Taylor Baby Taylor BTe-Koa
|Hola! Music HG-36N
Hola! Music HG-36N
- Top: Spruce
- Body: Wood
- Back: Mahogany
- Neck: Mahogany
- Fretboard: Walnut Wood
- Starter player’s pack with picks, strap, and gig bag
- ¾ sized body great for smaller players
- Extremely low cost
- Average tone
- Pickguard is unattached
Hola! Music specializes in instruments made to get beginners off the ground in a hurry.
The HG-36N is a ¾ sized acoustic that sits comfortably in the lap and requires no unreasonable amount of stretching to get going on.
Although its tone is just average due to its laminate top and standard bracing, it just hits the mark for what you need in a practice setting.
It’s not too loud, so parents won’t have to worry about going crazy listening to the first couple months of mis-fretted de-tuned chords.
The HG-36N is sold as part of a basic player’s pack which includes a strap to reduce playing fatigue, always useful picks, and the best addition, two months of live free online guitar lessons.
Teaching yourself any new skill or hobby can be a challenge without the proper guidance, and with these free lessons you can be sure that you or your child will quickly advance from the miserable first weeks of learning basic chords to the pleasure-filled days ahead of making real music.
Martin LXK2 Little Martin Koa
- Top: Koa
- Body: Sitka Spruce
- Back: Koa
- Neck: Natural Stratabond
- Fretboard: Richlite
- Modified 0-14 body size gives 14 frets clear of the body
- Slightly larger and louder than a ¾ sized guitar
- Martin quality at a low price
- Laminate woods don’t sound as pure as solid
The rival short-scale guitar to Taylor’s Baby models, the LXK2 is Martin’s koa edition of their signature Little Martin series. Look here for an in-depth look at this model’s cousin, the Little Martin LX1.
The LXK2 has a modified concert style body whose size falls in between a ¾ size and a full size dreadnought, making it small enough for players with smaller hands and giving a boost to its overall tone and volume.
Like most smaller guitars it features a reduced nut width, so fretting chords and licks is painless and easy.
You won’t get the same brightness from the Little Martin as you will from the Baby Taylor, as the body is bigger and deeper and the laminate woods used in the LXK2 emphasize the bass end more than the mid and treble.
It’s put together really well, following the line of quality common to all Martin models, and its HPL construction makes it resistant to climate-induced warping, making for a great travel acoustic.
If you’ve always dreamed of playing a Martin but are hesitant to pay loads for their full-size dreadnoughts, the LXK2 is a great option.
Taylor Baby Taylor BTe-Koa
- Top: Mahogany Wood
- Body: Mahogany Wood
- Back: Koa Wood
- Neck: Sapele Wood
- Fretboard: Mahogany
- Behind-the-saddle piezo picks up more tonal nuances than under saddle designs
- Bright, plucky tone
- Taylor branded quality
- Tone can be too bright for picks at first, mellows with time
If you’ve done any research into small acoustic guitars, you’ll know that Taylor’s Baby series is one of the highest ranked names in the game.
Taylor assures high quality in each of its instruments and remains one of the most sought after brands of our time thanks to the attention to detail and superior craftsmanship inherent in all of their models.
We’ve talked about the Taylor Baby guitars in other reviews, but this was our first time checking out the Taylor Baby Koa.
Koa is a wood you might know from traditional Hawaiian ukuleles and is not a very common guitar tonewood. Its main flaw is that in new instruments it can be extremely bright sounding.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you love a bright sounding instrument, but for a common acoustic tone it’s a bit of an outlier. Fortunately, koa “breaks in” over time, meaning as it ages it becomes more mellow and warm sounding but retains its punch and clarity.
The Taylor BTe-Koa is great for small hands in that it’s all around a small guitar but carries a big, professional voice that you can play anywhere from at-home to plugged-in on the stage to meet all your musical needs.
We’ve got a full breakdown of the Little Martin vs. the Baby Taylor here.
Yamaha JR1 FG
- Top – Laminate Spruce
- Body – Locally sourced tonewood
- Neck – Locally sourced tonewood
- Fingerboard – Rosewood
- The smaller version of Yamaha’s famed FG series
- Clear, rich tones
- Small scale and great playability
- Laminate top and unknown back and sides wood make overall tone variably inconsistent with each model
We love Yamaha’s FG series and were happy to try out the mini version with the JR1.
The Yamaha JR1 FG keeps all the perks of great playability and good tone that we love about the full-size FG series, while reducing the body and scale size to provide an acoustic that is great for small-handed players.
If you’ve played a Yamaha, you know that they keep their acoustics traditional, with a tone that sits slightly above average overall but is well-balanced and immensely enjoyable to riff in.
It’s bright, clear, and well articulated, and Yamaha’s scientifically designed bracing pattern maintains a solid response and decent volume for a small-sized guitar.
The JR1 FG makes a great travel instrument, a perfect student guitar, and an exceptionally well-designed affordable model for any player with small hands looking for their first instrument.
- Top: Spruce Wood
- Body: Meranti
- Back: Rosewood
- Neck: Nato/Mahogany
- Fretboard: Rosewood
- Slim neck profile for fast, fun playing
- Smooth cutaway for easy upper fret access
- Yamaha’s cutting edge acoustic electronics
- Laminate top reduces tonal purity
Yamaha’s APXT2 is their ¾ sized edition of the popular APX500II model.
It features an extra-slim neck that is great for players with small hands or anyone who enjoys a faster acoustic neck.
With simple but powerful and clear-sounding electronic capabilities and a smooth cutaway, you can plug in and practice upper range arpeggios with no problem.
Unfortunately, the APXT2 is made with a laminate top and unknown back and sides wood, so while it still sounds alright, it lacks the premium tone of higher end Yamaha acoustics.
Despite the tonewood choices, it’s still one of my favorite smaller acoustics thanks to its great playability and comfortable design.
Ovation Celebrity Standard CS28P-RG
- Top: Wood
- Body: Composite
- Back: Composite
- Neck: Maple
- Fretboard: Rosewood
- Ultra-slim neck and shallow body for maximum playing comfort
- Full-size acoustic with crisp, highly articulated tones
- Upper end Ovation electronics
- Rounded Lyrachord body may be an unusual feel for some players
The first guitar I became familiar with was an Ovation, and I’ve remained a big fan of theirs 16 years later.
I first played acoustic to prove to my parents that I had the dedication to learn an instrument so that they would buy me an electric, so I practiced rock solos and heavy metal arpeggios for hours on this Ovation.
You might think that sounds tiresome, but thanks to Ovation’s super slim neck profile and staggeringly low action, I was able to pull off arpeggios that would be impossible on most other acoustics.
Players with small hands will immediately notice the difference in playing an Ovation, as their necks are slim, with a narrow nut width, reduced string spacing, and an overall feel of an electric guitar.
The Celebrity Standard Classic has all these features and a beautiful look to top it off. Its maple and Lyrachord body form a tone that is overall heavy in the high end, but with enough bass to make rhythm work sound like a semi-chorus filled dream.
You’ll have to get used to the unusual body design, as the convex back of this guitar doesn’t sit in the lap like standard dreadnoughts. But, once you plug in and see how good it sounds thanks to the optimum design and high quality pickup + preamp combo, you’ll be more than happy to learn to adjust to the necessary posture changes.
Fender Redondo Classic
- Top – Solid Sitka Spruce
- Body – Solid Mahogany
- Neck – Mahogany
- Fingerboard – Pau Ferro
- Electronics – Fender/Fishman pickup + preamp combo
- All solid wood for sonic superiority
- SlimTaper “C” neck profile for electric guitar playing feel
- High quality Fender design
I saved the best for last and now am pleased to introduce you to the Redondo Classic from Fender’s California series of acoustic guitars.
You’ll notice right away that this is an unusual acoustic, but in all the right ways.
Its body is designed for ultimate comfort and reduction of playing fatigue, using a slope-shouldered shape and gently curving cutaway that tops most other acoustic models in total posture support.
You’ve come looking for guitars for small hands, and you can’t get any better in a full-sized acoustic than the Redondo Classic.
Its neck is similar to those found on Stratocasters, with a vintage SlimTaper profile that gives you enough support for hours of chording but a narrow enough radius that you can solo the night away.
The all-solid wood construction gives you the purest, richest tones, and its quartersawn scalloped X bracing pattern maximizes volume and durability.
If you want a guitar for small hands that’s still big in voice and volume, the Fender Redondo Classic is the best choice available today.
Who Should Buy an Acoustic Guitar for Small Hands?
If you’ve tried playing a full-sized acoustic but easily tire from painful stretching and suffer from frequent hand and finger cramps, a guitar for small hands could solve your problems.
These guitars are great for petite people, whether they be women, children, or just smaller-framed guys.
You might think the best option is to struggle with a full-size acoustic for the rest of your musical journey, but you have options and there’s no need to put yourself through an unpleasant experience when you can buy a guitar that is sized to meet your needs.
Want to see some guitars we think are specifically good for girls? Take a look here.
What Makes a Guitar Good for Small Hands?
There are a few factors at play in these guitars — nut width, scale length, and fingerboard radius.
The nut width is the measurement of the guitar’s nut, the horizontal bar at the top of the neck that controls string spacing.
The narrower the nut, the closer the strings, and the less you need to stretch your fingers in order to form chords.
Scale length is the distance between the nut and the saddle.
The shorter the scale length, the closer the distance between frets, and the less you need to stretch to play complicated riffs or chords that span several frets.
Fingerboard radius refers to the profile of the neck, or how much it curves and at what angle. Larger radiuses require more of the palm of your hand against the back of the neck, while smaller radiuses allow more reach around. You can learn more about fingerboard radius from this article by Sweetwater.
Each of these guitars has been chosen by a combination of these attributes, and are all generally smaller than full-sized guitars in each area, making them the better choice for players whose hands feel overwhelmed by standard-sized acoustics.
Can People with Small Hands Play Full-Size Acoustics?
I’m a firm believer that nothing is impossible, and that if you’re determined enough you can do anything you set your mind to.
Sure, people with small hands can play standard acoustics, but when the option is available to buy a guitar of comparable tone and quality with a size that is more comfortable, I think you should take the smaller choice.
My hands are about average, and I can play a standard neck with no real problem. However, I often opt for these smaller guitars because they feel more fun and don’t require me to overexert myself for huge stretches.
I can play faster and with less effort on smaller acoustics, so I always try to get guitars with slim necks.
If for whatever reason you’re determined to play a full-size acoustic but have small hands, my advice is to take it slow, do proper warm-up exercises, and take a break if you start to feel a lot of pain or cramping.
Are you a beginner looking for a standard sized acoustic? We’ve got you covered in this list.
Can These Guitars Be Upgraded?
For most of these guitars, there’s not a lot of upgrading that can or should be done.
All except the Hola! Music HG-36N come with solid tuning machines, so there’s no need to upgrade the tuners except for on this model if you find that it keeps coming out of tune.
The main way that most acoustics can be improved is by upgrading or adding a high-quality electronics system. This can really boost your musical experience, allowing you to play with effects or increasing the quality of your sound on-stage and in-studio.
This article describes the different types of acoustic pickups you can choose from, detailing the benefits of each variety.
Are These Guitars Good for Children?
If you’re shopping for your kid’s first guitar, I would recommend any of the ¾ sized models listed here.
Children who have expressed a huge interest in playing music might be worth the investment in one of the higher end guitars such as the Baby Taylor or the Little Martin.
If you think there’s a chance they’ll soon become disinterested in this new hobby, don’t spend too much, and opt instead for something like the Hola! Music model.
The larger acoustics in this list, such as the Ovation or the Fender, have body sizes that will be too big for children younger than, let’s say, 11 years old. So for your younger and smaller kids, keep the guitar in the proper size category and get one of the ¾ sized models.
We’ve got a full review of great kid’s guitars you can check out here.
The Final Word
I love a good short scale, slim neck acoustic, and have had a great time reviewing the models in this list.
They’re all super fun to play, and most of them sound exceptionally good for guitars in this category.
If you’re tired of hurting yourself trying to hit those Satriani-style chords on a standard dreadnought, do yourself a favor and really consider getting a guitar that’s made to suit your size.
And don’t forget, there are plenty of good electric guitars for small hands, with the best models reviewed by us here.