Are my hands too small to learn guitar? Can I still play the guitar with small hands?

Are my hands too small to learn how to play guitar? This is a question we get asked a lot.

I’ve taught dozens of people with small hands and they tend to be very aware and conscious of their hand size and it worries them.

Relax, there is no such thing as having ‘too small’ hands to play guitar. Everyone can learn to play the guitar.

Yes, I know that you’re hands are particularly small and you think you may be the exception to this rule, but you’re not. 🙂

I’m going to write this again because people get so hung up about this:

There is no such thing as having ‘too-small’ hands to play guitar.

Let’s look at some specific tips to help.

Tips for playing the guitar with small hands

Here’s something you need to understand before we look at the other tips: There is a finite distance between the tip of your thumb and your index finger. This is your ‘fretboard reach’ and if you have small hands you need to maximise this.

are my hands too small to play guitar

Tip 1: Buy a guitar with a THIN neck.

Strangely, the girth of guitar necks varies a lot. Some are almost double the thickness of others! The thicker the neck, the more it takes from your reach…

If you have small hands/fingers/palms then it’s very important you maximise your reach. Buying a thin-necked guitar is the best and fastest solution for this.

Go to your local guitar shop and compare the neck of a classical acoustic guitar to an electric Ibanez guitar. You’ll be amazed at the difference.

Tip 2: Have perfect posture.

Your posture is everything. Make sure you are using the correct technique to actually hold and play the instrument. This is a video I made that shows you the ideal way to address the instrument and fret chord shapes:

Tip 3: Move your wrist forward

If you have small fingers you MUST move your wrist forward and under the guitar neck. Don’t have your wrist behind the neck with your fingers curving round to the front. Move your wrist forward under the neck. (It will feel precarious at first.) This gives you maximum reach.

Tip 4: Fret notes with your absolute fingerTIPS

Don’t fret notes with your fingerprints, use your fingerTIPS. (As close as possible to the finger nail without it being painful.)

Tip 5: Use ‘extra light’ strings

These strings are thinner and easier to press down. This makes everything easier. Do it. (Your local guitar shop will restring your guitar for about $10/£10.)

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Tip 6: Play easy chords

While you’re getting started you should stick with the easiest voicings of standard chords. I call these stepping-stone chords and they are a fundamental part of my guitar-teaching philosophy.

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Tip 7: Don’t be defeatist

Don’t be downhearted about your small hands and think you are fatalistically doomed to learn guitar. (I’ve seen this happen!)

Everyone has some ‘impediment’ that’s an obstacle to them learning and you are no worse or better off than anyone else. There are a lot of people who are worse off than you.

For example, some people have poor motor skills, or no sense of timing, or they are stupid, or they don’t practice, or, or, or…. There are a thousand things that can make learning guitar harder!


If small hands is your obstacle don’t sweat it, just resolve to practice smarter (using these tips) and often. Remember to play songs you love and you will progress quickest of all because you will enjoy your practice time more.

I hope these tips help you, now go and play! 🙂

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