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Tips For Guitarists With Small Hands

Updated: Aug 22, 2022

online guitar classes
online guitar classes

Large hands and long fingers are common physical traits shared by some of the best guitar players. Having bigger hands definitely gives an edge in playing complex chord voicings, large interval jumps, and fast licks.

However, many guitar legends, such as Angus Young and Prince, did not have large hands and look at how they forever changed how we play the guitar. You can also check on Instagram watching tiny 8-year-olds shred on the guitar like they've been doing it for decades. Despite having small hands, you can become a great guitarist if you learn guitar online.

Because smaller hands only create problems with the fretting hand, the following tips focus mainly on overcoming that challenge.


Musicians should stretch on a regular basis to improve their flexibility. In fact, issues arise due to a lack of flexibility rather than finger length. Also, stretching helps you warm up your hands before playing, which can help you avoid potential guitar injuries.

Start each practice session with a basic stretching routine. Start by massaging your hands and forearms, then stretch your wrists and each finger. Keep your fingers stretched in different directions. Keep in mind that these stretches shouldn't be painful! Slowly and gently perform these exercises. You can learn how to perform these stretches by taking online guitar lessons for beginners.

Use your pinky finger.

If you have big hands, you can avoid using your pinky because you can fret those notes with your ring finger; if you have small hands, you'll have to get used to using all of your fingers. Also, certain chords will be much easier to play if you use your pinky finger instead of your ring finger. If you don't have to stretch far when using your pinky finger, go ahead and do so. This will relieve tension in your hand and arm and prevent fatigue.

Pay attention to your thumb.

This tip from online guitar classes will help you avoid thumb injuries while playing guitar. Avoid putting your thumb over the neck as much as possible as if you were holding a baseball bat. Instead, you want to keep your thumb as close to the neck as possible. In general, wrapping your thumb around the center of your neck works well.

This rule is often broken, particularly if you like to fret notes with your thumb like Limi Hendrix or John Mayer, but if you have smaller hands, you'll want to avoid doing this as much as possible because it causes a lot of tension on your thumb and wrist.

Buy a ¾-size guitar.

Many ¾ or "travel" sized guitars on the market are perfect for people with smaller hands. A great thing about these guitars is they typically have a shorter neck length, making it easier to stretch across different frets. They're also very light and compact, making them extremely portable.

Also, many of these ¾-sized guitars outperform their full-size counterparts in terms of sound quality. In fact, they sound so good that you can see these guitars being used by touring musicians on a regular basis.


Finally, you can overcome physical limitations if you devote a lot of time to practicing what you learn from your online guitar course. The hours you spend practicing will reveal various methods for overcoming obstacles, and you may even develop your own unique style of playing guitar.

Even if you don't know what to practice at first, forcing yourself to sit down and practice random things will eventually reveal what you need to work on and what you've already mastered. To summarize, practice when in doubt.

Don't give up

When you have physical limitations, it may seem impossible to become a great guitarist, but it isn't. Many legendary guitarists have lost parts of their fingers or arm movement but have not let these barriers limit their ability to play guitar. They decided not to give up, and that decision led them to become some of the most influential guitarists of all time.

Django Reinhardt

Django Reinhardt was one of Europe's first and most influential jazz musicians of the twentieth century. Even today, he remains one of the greatest guitarists of all time. He was a gypsy jazz pioneer, and many of his compositions have since become standards.

Reinhardt was caught in a caravan fire that badly burned his entire body in 1928 before he started his first band. He could not use his right leg and had to walk with a cane for the rest of his life. More importantly, he lost the ability to use his left hand's fourth and fifth fingers. He'd never fully recovered from this, but his determination to work around the limitation led to him mastering the ability to fret the guitar with only his index and middle fingers. Listening to some of his recordings, it's actually quite amazing how fast he can play with only two fingers.

Jerry Garcia

Jerry Garcia was an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Garcia was a founding member of the rock band The Grateful Dead, which was extremely popular during the 1960s counterculture era. He was the band's lead guitarist, and during his tenure, he became known for his ability to go on long, soulful guitar improvisations. His improvisational lines had a unique ability to blend blues, rock, jazz, and bluegrass.

Garcia was also a big fan of Django Reinhardt's music, and he saw Reinhardt as a role model because of his inability to use his ring and pinky fingers. Garcia himself lost two-thirds of his right middle finger in a childhood accident. This did not, however, prevent him from using fingerstyle techniques.

Final Words

It is just two examples from a long list of great guitarists who have overcome severe hand and finger injuries. In the end, having small hands isn't a drawback. To become a great guitarist, all you need to do is keep working on your craft. If you're interested in what you should practice and how to practice, schedule an online guitar course trial at Mela Music School!


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