Does Hand Size Affect Guitar Playing? | Ask the Experts

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When you hear about some of the greatest guitar players, like Slash, they are known to have larger hands. Naturally, some people developed the idea that the larger the hand is, the easier it is to handle the guitar. Although there is some truth to this idea, it doesn’t mean those with shorter fingers or smaller than average hands can’t play the guitar at all.

As a general rule, people with larger hands are at an advantage when playing the guitar. Unless their fingertips are too wide, they have a firmer grip on the guitar neck and can easily switch cords. Those with smaller hands may struggle, but everyone can create their own style or buy custom guitars suited for them so all hand sizes are fine for playing guitars. 

Hand sizes are a topic of great debate for guitar enthusiasts; however, they shouldn’t stop anyone from taking an interest in playing the guitar. This article will discuss how much your hand size will affect your guitar playing. So if you’re insecure or confused about your hands, you can gain some insight and tips from here.

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Does Hand to Guitar Size Ratio Matter?

Realistically, it is evident that larger hands give people more space to hold a guitar and maneuver their fingers around. Larger palms better support the neck, and long fingers let you reach chords easily, but that doesn’t mean they’re a requirement. There are different ways that people can adjust to playing their guitar according to their hands. 

To understand whether your hands are considered big or small in the guitar world, you should measure them. By searching other guitarists or asking people on forums, you can get an idea of which category you fall in and what techniques or tips will work for you. Always remember that your practice will determine how well you play at the end of the day.

Large Hands

Hands that are average or above the average length come under the large hand umbrella. The majority of great guitarists indeed possessed long fingers. Critics also say that hand sizes limited some guitarists who made it big but didn’t go further. So, it is accurate to assume that your hand size gives you an advantage compared to others.

You can adopt your own styles to play, but you don’t have to consider too many limitations when buying your guitars. One thing you need to remember is the fret size. As someone with a larger hand, medium jumbo or jumbo sizes would suit you better. If you use smaller frets, you might struggle with stiffer movement as they are closer to one another. 

You don’t have to compromise too much on chords or tuning, so you can learn from and follow tutorials of almost anyone you can find. Large hands don’t automatically make you a great player; that requires significant amounts of patience and practice

Small Hands

Those with hands smaller than the average population can place themselves in the small hands category. You won’t have the same abilities and flexibility as those with longer fingers and broader palms; however, you can adapt according to your needs. Nowadays, there are many guitar customization and size options in the market.

Rather than going for standard-size models, you can look for what suits your hands. Based on your finger and palm length, you should judge the neck of the guitar. On top of that, be mindful of the fret size. You should opt for small or tall thin frets, based on what fits you better. Other frets may be too wide for you to manage.

Generally, the model that allows you to wrap your hand and reach most chords should be your go-to. You can also substitute the chords and tension of the strings to get your desired sounds. Don’t be discouraged by the number of alterations or limitations you face. Your skill as a guitarist isn’t measured by your hand size.

The Best Way To Play The Guitar

The best way to play any guitar is based on how comfortable you are throughout it. For your hand, there are some important form aspects you should know. Your grip on the guitar’s neck, movement of your fingers, and the ability to glide your hand are all necessary. You should ensure that you have an adequate range of motion for all the movements required.  

Tackling Chords 

Chords are the biggest hurdle for hand sizes. The C chord will be hard to reach and get used to if your hands are small and you’re a beginner guitarist. On the other hand, if your hands are too big or thick, the A and E chords become a struggle. 

While playing, you should try to be flexible with your fingers, but you can always substitute challenging chords with others. 

Learning the CAGED system will help you play the same chords around the fretboard. If you’re comfortable with one chord shape, you can move that shape around to play different chords. Changing the tuning also helps you sound the way you want.

Correct Guitar Playing & Habits

Other factors such as posture, what fingers you use, and how you use them are also interchangeable. While you should strive to have good form and posture, you can alter it to what is comfortable. 

Sitting down while playing is more manageable than standing for some. Similarly, using fingertips rather than fingerprints may be better too. 

Press on the frets at their edges and not at the center of the fret. Pressing on the fret edges is a great habit and it also minimizes pressure and gets you a good tone.

What Actually Matters

The most significant takeaway is that there is no one way to play the guitar. Neither can different styles be ranked best to worse. 

Your performance as a guitarist is heavily influenced by your comfort, practice, and personal preferences. While you should take inspiration and learn from others, you don’t have to play like them to be a good guitarist.  


Q. Do People With Small Hands Struggle With Playing Guitars?

No, it is a misconception that solely hand sizes determine how easily someone can play the guitar. There are some hurdles players with small hands will have to overcome, but it’s nothing practice can’t help with.

Q. Should You Consider Your Hand Size When Buying a Guitar?

You should look for a model while keeping your hand size in mind. You can buy any type of guitar, but some models may be too large or too small for you. You should choose what you can hold comfortably.  

Q. Are All Guitars Made For Large Hands?

Guitars are made for everyone. Some models may be more accessible for a few people to play with, while others may be uncomfortable. You may struggle with a standard guitar but enjoy a ukulele if you have very small hands. It all comes down to preference. 

Final Thoughts

Hand size influences the technique you play your guitar, but it doesn’t determine if you’re a good or bad guitarist. Your hand size isn’t something you should lose sleep over, but you should make some choices keeping it in mind. At the end of the day, how well you learn will impact how well you play. 


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