Guitarists With Small Hands: Some Advice
Most of the best guitarists have large hands equipped with long fingers. You may know them to play fast and complex chord voicings with their large hands. Some of these include Paul Gilbert, Eric Clapton, John Mayer, and Jimi Hendrix. Having bigger hands allows you to reach for large interval jumps and play fast licks.
Many of the guitar legends that have been around for a long time, such as Prince and Angus Young, didn’t have massive digits. They have changed how we play the guitar forever. There are still many people out there who can still be great at playing the guitar despite having small hands.
Having smaller hands tends to only present problems in the fretting hand. In this article, we’ll talk about tips on overcoming these issues.
Get The Right Guitar for You
It’s tempting to buy a dreadnought acoustic when you first start playing. However, most dreadnoughts are not designed for small hands. They might not be able to handle most basic chord patterns.
The most common sizes of acoustic guitars are 3/4 size, Grand Concert, Auditorium, Dreadnought, and Jumbo. Travel guitars are small and have the same size neck as dreadnoughts.
Most of the time, you’ll find a full-sized guitar at your local music store. However, there are also some companies that make smaller sizes, such as the 3/4 and 1/2 sizes. These are usually shorter necks and have smaller bodies.
Although a small size may be a plus, a 3/4 guitar is typically heavier and quieter than a full-sized one. There are a few high-quality options, such as the Little Martin, Yamaha, and the Les Paul Express. Ed Sheeran has reportedly chosen the Little Martin as his preferred guitar.
If you’re an acoustic player, you might want to consider investing in a grand concert, travel, or parlour guitar. These instruments have a wide range of bright and rich-sounding tones, while some of the smaller models are hard to find at music stores.
Aside from a grand concert, you can also play electrics and full-sized acoustic guitars. They’re also made to accommodate small hands. Aside from the shape of the body and the length of the neck, other factors such as the spacing on the strings and the bridge’s width can also affect the sound.
Guitarists With Small Hands: Some Advice | Short-Scale Guitars Are Your Friends
There’s nothing wrong with kids and adults playing short-scaled instruments, but there’s also a sacrifice to maintain the variety of playing styles. For instance, with these types of instruments, playing on the higher frets can be very challenging.
One of the most essential factors you’ll want to consider when choosing a new guitar is the distance between the frets. For instance, if you’re a smaller-handed guitarist, you might prefer a Gibson with a larger-than-normal fret difference over a smaller one with a lighter body. This is because this type of preference is natural, so it’s best to try out various instruments at your local store.
In addition, it’s important to note that most famous small-handed guitarists use regular-sized instruments. For instance, if you look at the list of notable individuals who play these instruments, most of them play standard-sized instruments.
Contrary to popular belief, having small hands doesn’t automatically prevent people from playing standard-sized instruments. Most of these individuals have already used these types of instruments and will continue to do so in the future.
Stretch Your Fingers
Even if you have large hands, you still need to learn how to stretch them out in ways that are unnatural. This is especially important since most people struggle with basic chords when they first start learning to play the guitar.
If you have small hands, these exercises may not be ideal. However, by practicing these exercises, you can easily overcome any limitations that you may have. For ten minutes a day, you’ll find that these exercises can suddenly feel achievable.
Before you decide that you need a guitar for smaller hands, make sure you have already done these exercises. Doing these exercises will allow you to stretch out your hand even further.
Like athletes, musicians should also regularly practice stretching to improve their flexibility. Doing so can help prevent injuries and keep them from happening while playing. Aside from improving their posture, it can also help them warm up their hands before they start playing.
You can start by doing these exercises by stretching your hands and forearms. Then, proceed to stretch your wrists and fingers in different directions.
When performing these exercises, make sure that they are not painful. Also, keep in mind that you should do them slowly and gently.
Guitarists With Small Hands: Some Advice | Start Using Your Pinky
Most finger charts that you’ll find online and practice books are designed for people with larger hands. While they may not necessarily say that using your left-hand pinky is the best technique, most instructors will still recommend using your standard ring finger. Using your pinky will be hard, but it will eventually become second nature. Most guitar lessons will teach you to use it as a last resort, but if you have smaller hands, then it’s also a good idea to use it in places that are usually marked for the ring finger.
In order to reach notes that are outside a standard scale box, most guitarists rely on their left-hand pinky. This is a common technique, regardless of hand size. But for those with smaller hands, the fingers play a far more important role. If you’re a guitarist who has small hands but still relies on your left-hand pinky, then consider using it in places that are usually marked for the ring finger. Doing so will allow you to play a certain part without losing too much control.
One of the most difficult aspects of this technique is learning how to use your left-hand pinky. Because it’s the weakest part of your hand, it will always be unable to do half of what your ring finger can do. In order to improve my legato, I had to practice it for several months. Due to this, I’ve gotten much better at playing solo. Getting used to using your left-hand pinky isn’t as easy as it sounds, and it will take some practice to get it going. Keep it up, and eventually, even the most difficult patterns will become second nature.
Higher Frets Are Not Your Enemy
The higher portion of the guitar’s body is where most of the great soloing moments were made. It’s a great range that allows guitarists to cut through the music without getting stuck in the middle. If Jimmy Page and Joe Perry use this technique, it will work for them.
If you’re a guitarist with small hands, this area is where you should feel most at home. For those with big hands, the higher portion of the body might feel cramped.
If you’re new to playing the guitar, then start practicing with patterns on the 12th fret. However, you will need some time to get use to this technique. Most lesson books and videos don’t allow you to practice single-note playing on higher frets until later in the curriculum.
Although it’s not ideal for practicing on the 12th fret, it’s still possible to get used to playing on higher registers during your training. For guitarists with small hands, playing on these higher notes will allow them to feel more comfortable and quickly.
If you’re struggling with a certain part of the guitar designated for the lower part of its body, try playing it up an octave. Doing so will allow you to maintain the same notes. Although it might not be ideal for everyone, this technique is still beneficial for those looking to improve their playing.
Guitarists With Small Hands: Some Advice | Don’t Worry About Barre Chords
If you’re not a beginner, barre chords can be challenging to master. Even though most people can play them, they can be difficult to master if you have small hands. When musicians play a barre chord, they usually use their index fingers to hold all of their guitar strings. This finger then acts as an anchor for the rest of their fingers.
This technique can be very challenging to master if you have small hands. In order to play a barre chord with small hands, you need to use your thumb to hold the low bass string. When doing so, make sure that you’re placing your thumb under the frets of your guitar. Many musicians tend to let their thumb go lazy while playing, so try keeping it under the surface of the guitar until you’re ready to use it.
Changing Your Tuning
While waiting for your strength training to start, try out alternate tunings. Doing so will allow you to give your fingers a break from some of the more challenging chords in standard tuning.
If you’re having difficulty reaching the bottom of your E-string power chords, try dropping D tuning. Doing so will allow you to rest your sixth string on the same fret as your fourth and fifth strings.
To make it easier to switch between chords, I barre all three strings. This method allows you to play each string individually.
Although dropping D tuning is a great way to get some delicious riffs out of your guitar, it doesn’t have to be strictly for heavy playing. This method works well if you’re planning on adding more notes to the higher strings. It can also barre minor and suspended embellishments on the lower strings.
Guitarists With Small Hands: Some Advice | Using a Capo
It’s very frustrating to see fellow guitarists trash-talking about using a capo. For some reason, it’s viewed as cheating.
For those who have small hands, a capo can be a lifesaver. You can use this to play songs that feature barred open-chord voicings like “Under the Bridge” from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. However, it’s important to note that if you can’t barre a chord shape on the third fret due to how far your fingers can stretch, then you’ll have a similar problem the following day.
If you’re not able to improve on a certain technique or song due to limitations caused by your small hands, then using a capo is fine. It’s not a cheating technique, and your audience will still care.
Consider Light Gauge Strings
The choice of gauge strings for your guitar is a subjective matter. For most people, choosing the right gauge strings for their needs is a matter of preference. If you’re having a hard time performing simple bends, then light gauge strings may be a good alternative. They’re also easier to use on the hammer-ons and pull-offs.
Aside from being lighter, light gauge strings also sound brighter than their heavier counterparts. They’re also more forgiving, so you won’t have to replace them as often. They also tend to deliver a more balanced sound.
Aside from being lighter, light gauge strings also sound brighter than their heavier counterparts. They’re also more forgiving, so you won’t have to replace them as often. On the other hand, heavier gauge strings are more likely to “buzz.” They also allow for greater dynamic range due to how hard they hit.
Finally, if you’re playing with light strings, try using a lighter pick instead.
Guitarists With Small Hands: Some Advice | Final Thought
It’s common for people to think that having large hands is necessary for becoming a great guitarist. However, while modern instruments and styles cater to big-handed players, there’s no reason why you can’t also succeed with small hands.
Although some of the most prominent guitarists, such as St. Vincent, Angus Young, and Prince, have only small hands, other great guitarists such as Jerry Garcia and Django Reinhardt have adapted their playing without using their fingers.
Before you start playing the guitar, you must choose the right instrument. This will allow you to develop a deeper understanding of the guitar and its various tunings, chord voicings, and lead techniques.
All those tough chord progressions and walk-up solos will be a piece of cake before you know it.
Now, how to get the guitar tone you want?
Advancing your way throughout the guitar journey is a wholistic process which includes two main pillars: 1. Improving your playing skills; 2. Tweaking the guitar effects and amps to shape your guitar sound.
We all have a guitarist idol that we dig the sound of, right?
Getting the guitar sound of your favorite guitarists/band can be very costly and frustrating. It can require years of expertise to achieve your desired guitar tone.
Don’t worry, you don’t actually have to spend that much money and effort to get any guitar tone you want. Deplike Guitar FX Amp Sim suite plug-in got you covered on all Windows, macOS, iOS and Android devices. All you have to do is plug your guitar and play!