Do you have small hands and think playing guitar is tough? Don’t worry! In this article, we’ll discover some cool tips that make playing guitar easier and more fun for people with small hands.
For guitar players with small hands, it’s helpful to practice finger stretching exercises, use lighter gauge strings, opt for guitars with shorter scale lengths, and experiment with alternative chord shapes and tunings.
Read on to learn about stretching your fingers, using the perfect guitar, and other neat tricks. By the end, you’ll see that small hands can make big music too! Let’s get ready to strum some awesome tunes!
How to Improve Guitar Playing With Small Hands
Stretching is crucial for increasing finger flexibility and reach on the guitar, especially for players with small hands.
Start with simple exercises like spreading your fingers as wide as possible, then making a fist, and repeating this several times. You can also practice touching each finger to your thumb in succession to improve agility. Another helpful exercise is to gently press each finger back at the first joint, enhancing flexibility.
Consistent stretching, done daily, can significantly increase your finger’s range of motion over time.
#2 Use Your Pinky Finger
Using your pinky finger effectively is key to maximizing your reach on the guitar fretboard. If you have long reach, you might get away with ignoring the smallest finger, but if you are struggling you should the extra it provides.
Start by including your pinky in basic exercises, like scales or simple chord shapes, to build strength and dexterity. Gradually introduce more complex chords that require pinky use.
The pinky might feel weak at first, but with regular practice, it can become as capable as your other fingers. This will expand your playing abilities and allow you to reach notes and chords that were previously challenging.
#3 Pay Attention to Your Thumb
The position of your thumb on the guitar neck can greatly impact your reach and comfort. For small hands, it’s often helpful to keep the thumb on the back or middle of the neck, rather than wrapping it over the top.
This positioning allows for a wider stretch between your thumb and fingers, making it easier to form chords and reach distant frets. Be mindful of not straining your thumb and adjust as needed for comfort and maximum reach.
#4 Keep Practicing
Regular practice is essential for improving dexterity and building strength in your fingers, especially when you have small hands. Set aside dedicated time each day for guitar practice, focusing on exercises and songs that challenge your finger stretching and strength.
Over time, consistent practice will not only make difficult chords and scales easier but also enhance your overall playing technique. Remember, progress might be gradual, but persistence will lead to noticeable improvements.
#5 Changing Your Tuning
Tunings with lower string tension or tunings altering certain strings like Drop D tuning, where the sixth string is tuned down from E to D, can be particularly beneficial for guitarists with small hands.
Lower string tension makes strings easier to press and changing the note of certain strings can simplify the finger positioning for many chords and allows for easier access to power chords.
It reduces the need for stretching across multiple frets, making it easier to play a wider range of songs without the physical strain often encountered in standard tuning.
Try Using a Capo
Using a capo is a great way to change the key of your guitar without complicated fingerings. For those with small hands, a capo can be especially useful as it allows you to play songs in different keys while using simpler chord shapes.
By clamping the capo on various frets, you can raise the pitch of the strings, enabling you to play more comfortably in higher registers with familiar and easier chord shapes.
#6 Altering Your Chords
Two basic changes have been already mentioned above, but we’ll mention them again, as they also fit in this part of altering your chords (look at #2 and 3):
- Adjusting the position of your thumb
- Using your pinky-finger
They both allow for a broader reach across the fretboard and help in playing chords that might otherwise be difficult with smaller hands.
Substitute Barre Chords
Barre chords can be challenging for players with small hands. An effective solution is to substitute full barre chords with simpler shapes or partial barre chords.
For example, instead of a full F barre chord, you could play an F major 7 or a smaller version of the F chord that doesn’t require barring all the strings. These substitutions can make playing much more manageable without sacrificing the essence of the chords.
Raise it an Octave
Playing chords higher up the neck can be easier for small hands. This technique involves shifting chord shapes to a higher octave, where the frets are closer together.
It can reduce the amount of stretch required and make it easier to form chords. This approach can also add a unique sonic quality to your playing, offering a different texture and tonal variety to your music.
#7 Altering Your Notes
Playing the same notes on different strings can be a useful technique for guitarists with small hands. This method involves finding the same note on a string that’s closer to your reach, thereby reducing the need for stretching across the fretboard. This approach can make playing scales and melodies more accessible and comfortable.
#8 Try Tapping
Tapping is a guitar technique that can be particularly beneficial for players with small hands. It involves using the fingers of your picking hand to ‘tap’ notes on the fretboard, allowing you to play melodies and solos without the need for wide stretches.
Tapping offers a way to play faster and more complex sequences with less physical strain, making it a valuable skill to develop for enhanced playability.
#8 Choosing the Right Guitar
For those with small hands, choosing smaller guitar sizes, like palor guitars or even a ¾ size guitar can be a great choice. These guitars are smaller in both body size and scale length, making them easier to handle and play.
The frets are closer together, which reduces the need to stretch fingers too far. A smaller size guitar can be particularly beneficial for young players or adults with smaller hands, providing a more comfortable and manageable playing experience without sacrificing sound quality.
Scale Length and Neck Shape
The scale length and neck shape of a guitar play a significant role in its playability, especially for individuals with small hands. A shorter scale length means the frets are closer together, reducing the need for wide stretches.
The neck shape, whether it’s a thinner, flatter neck or a more rounded profile, can also affect how comfortably your hand fits around it. When choosing a guitar, consider trying various neck shapes and scale lengths to find what feels most comfortable and suits your playing style.
#9 Use Lighter Gauge Strings
Using lighter gauge strings can significantly ease the playing experience for guitarists with small hands. Lighter strings require less finger pressure to fret and bend, reducing the strain on your fingers and hands.
This can be especially beneficial for beginners who are building up their finger strength and dexterity. Lighter strings also tend to produce a brighter tone, which can be an added benefit for certain styles of music.
#10 Set Up Your Guitar
A proper guitar setup can greatly enhance playability. Adjusting the action, which is the height of the strings above the fretboard, can make a big difference.
Lower action means less distance for your fingers to press down the strings, making it easier to fret notes and chords. It’s also important to ensure the neck is properly aligned and the intonation is accurate. A well-set-up guitar not only plays more comfortably but also sounds better.
What is the Ideal Hand Size to Play Guitar?
There is no ideal hand size for playing the guitar, as players with various hand sizes have excelled on the instrument. While larger hands might have an advantage in reaching wider frets and chords, smaller hands can be more agile and precise.
The key is to adapt your playing style and guitar setup to suit your physical attributes. With practice and the right techniques, players with small hands can perform as effectively as those with larger hands.
Conclusion- Don’t Give Up
It’s important to remember that persistence and practice are key. Every guitarist faces challenges, and overcoming them is part of the journey.
Don’t be discouraged by the size of your hands – with the right techniques, guitar setup, and regular practice, you can play just as well as anyone.
Keep exploring, adapting, and most importantly, enjoying your guitar-playing journey. Your dedication will lead to rewarding musical experiences.