I received a question recently from a player with smaller hands about purchasing a steel-string guitar that fits him. I had a couple of thoughts that I passed along:
Small hands suggest a couple of things to me concerning guitar size:
1) a 1-11/16″ width neck (many are 1-3/4″ now);
2) a short-scale neck; meaning a 24.9″ neck length – approximately – instead of the more standard 25.5″ (approx). Short scale makes the strings more supple and reduces lateral stretching a bit in the fretting hand.
3) a smaller body size; Martin 0, 00, and 000 guitars, for example, are short scale, while OM and dreadnoughts are normally longer scale. However, this is not always the case. My wife Greta Pedersen’s customized Collings OM has a short-scale neck, a 1-11/16″ nut width, and a deep body of rosewood. That is a killer guitar!
If you have access to a GOOD guitar store, play many guitars to see how they feel and sound to you. Good guitars have individual personalities, so play several before deciding on one.
A quality guitar store will help you find one that fits your physique and temperament, set it up so that it plays comfortably, and service it (and you) for years to come.