Can You Play a Guitar With Short Fingers?


Are you a small-handed guitarist? If so, then congratulations! A lot of great musicians were small-handed. In fact, one famous guitarist, Eric Clapton, once said that he would rather play an instrument with short fingers than one with big ones. The fact that having long fingers has more advantage when playing guitar, short fingers are just as suitable as well. Short fingers can play perfectly fine, as this depends on the passion of the person and zeal to learn the art of playing a guitar.

So if you want to learn how to play the guitar but have difficulty stretching your fingers to reach the strings, this article is for you. You will learn what adjustments need to be made and how best to make them.

Can You Play A Guitar With Short Fingers

You can play the guitar with short fingers. It’s not a big deal; you don’t have to worry about it because most guitars are designed to fit your hand size. The main thing that makes playing the guitar difficult is not being able to stretch out your fingers properly when they are too close together or too far apart from each other.

The good news is that most of these challenges can be overcome by learning how our hands work, which helps you understand why certain techniques work for some people and others don’t or vice versa.

You can learn how to play a guitar with short fingers, but some adjustments will probably have to be made. The rest of this article will tell you what those adjustments are and how to make them.

Keys to Playing Guitar with Short Fingers

Having short fingers can be a real challenge when it comes to playing guitar. But if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, there are plenty of ways for you to overcome this limitation. If you want an easier way into the world of guitar playing, then read on!

Be Patient

You can’t expect to play guitar with short fingers right away. It’s a process that takes time and practice. But if you’re patient enough, your playing will improve over time.

Don’t give up! Stick with it! If you are frustrated or bored with learning guitar with short fingers, take some time off from practicing and return later when your frustration has passed.

Don’t compare yourself to others. You’ll get better at what makes sense for your life experience and priorities than comparing yourself against someone else. They may have had more access or resources than you did when they started teaching themselves how to play their instrument of choice because they didn’t know any better either.

Practice A Lot

Practicing is the most important thing you can do to improve your playing. This is something that’s often overlooked. The more you practice guitar, the better you’ll get at it. You might not be able to play an entire song right away. But after practicing for just one week or so, especially if you’re using the suggested exercises, your fingers will start feeling less stiff and less painful. That means they’ll be able to stretch out even further when they reach their limit during playing sessions!

Use a Capo

A capo is a device that clamps on the neck of the guitar and raises the pitch of all the strings by a set amount. It’s used to make it easier for you to play in different keys and make your guitar sound better.

Capos are available in many shapes and sizes – some even double as an amplifier! Velcro straps usually attach them so they won’t fall off during performances. If not, they’re pretty cheap pieces of hardware that cost less than $10 at any music store.

The best thing about using a capo is that it allows different tunings while still saving space inside our instruments. All you need do is unscrew one screw at each end before playing your favorite songs on guitar.

Most guitarists hear about capos for the first time while learning guitar with short fingers, which helps them throughout their music endeavors.

Low Action

Low action on the strings and fingerboard, so that you can bend notes easily with your short fingers (this is called action). The lower the action, the easier it will be for you to play guitar with short fingers since there’s more room between your fretting hand and fretboard surface.

Light-gauge Strings

There are three reasons you need light-gauge strings; they are easier to play, easier to bend, and easier to fret.

Light-gauge strings are easier on your fingers, allowing for faster and cleaner playing with short fingers than heavier gauges would allow for if you had longer fingers.

Use a Small Body Acoustic or Electric Guitar

If you have short fingers and struggle to play certain chords or notes on a full-sized guitar, consider using a small body acoustic or electric.

Many acoustic and electric guitars have very large bodies and necks. This translates into wider string spacing at the nut and at the bridge. Wider string spacing means your fingers must stretch further when fingerpicking or playing chords.

Smaller acoustic or electric guitars are easier to hold and more comfortable for people with small hands. They have shorter scales, meaning they’re easier for you to access and reach without having your arm stretched out too far from your body.

The strings themselves are shorter than those on larger guitars, so it won’t take as much effort to press them down by your hand. No worries if this sounds too much work for something so simple as pressing down on some strings. Some guitars even come equipped with built-in tuners that allow players interested in learning how to do things right away!

Try an Alternate Tuning

Try an alternate tuning if your fingers are too short to reach the frets of standard tuning comfortably. Alternate tunings are just that, alternate. They have their own set of chord shapes and scales, so you can use them to play songs and riffs that would otherwise be impossible for you to play on an acoustic guitar with standard tuning.

Alternate tunings also make it easier for other musicians who might be playing with you because they’re used to hearing these alternative chords/scales in their repertoire as well—and they’ll want yours too! This can lead them to advise how best to get started learning new things like this one. After all, everyone knows how hard it is when someone starts trying something new but doesn’t know exactly where their fingers should go next.

Have the Right Posture

The first thing you need to do when playing guitar with short fingers is to have the right posture. If your finger position is incorrect, playing without straining your fingers or causing pain in other places on your body will be difficult.

You should always try not to have hunched shoulders; instead of having them rounded forward like an old woman’s back, keep them straight and relaxed with arms at their sides. This will help relieve tension from muscles around the neck area which could cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS).

Move Your Wrist Forward

If you have short fingers, playing guitar with your fingers pressed against the fretboard can be hard. However, you can make this easier by moving your wrist forward. It will help stretch out the chord and make it easier for you to reach notes on the neck of your instrument. Using a capo, you can also adjust how far into the guitar’s body you place your hand.

Finger Strengthening Exercises and Stretching

Finger strengthening exercises are a great way to improve your guitar playing. They help strengthen the fingers, which increases their strength and improves your ability to hold notes.

Here is one of the common finger strengthening exercises:

Hold your hand with fingers spread out wide. You should be able to feel all of your fingers individually on both sides of your hand. This exercise is designed to work specifically on each finger individually.

Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself

The next important thing to remember is that you don’t have to be perfect. You can still learn to play guitar, no matter what your fingers look like!

So don’t be too hard on yourself if you make a mistake at first. Don’t compare yourself with other people who seem way more talented than you are. They may not even know that they have short fingers!

You’re never going to master playing the guitar if you constantly feel bad about yourself because of something as simple as having short fingers or not being able to reach certain notes on the fretboard, which happens sometimes.

Perfect Set-Up

Set up your guitar properly. If you’re using a normal-sized guitar, ensure that its sitting is in its right place on your body. This is helpful so that when you strum or pluck it with your fingers, they’ll be under control and not fall off when playing chords or melodies.

Your hand should also have enough space between its knuckles to not interfere with other instrument parts being played by someone else—this includes keyboards!

GuitarType of User
Baby Taylor BT2Ideal for young players and beginners
Seagull S6Good for professional users due to the extremely hard to bend and play nature
Ibanez GRGBoth Small and Long fingers due to their ease of use
YamahaBest for short fingers


Now that you’ve got the basics, it’s time to dive into these tips and tricks. Be assured you’ll be able to figure out how to play guitar with short fingers. But if you don’t, don’t worry!

Everyone knows how hard it can be to change your habits and routines. That’s why you should keep practicing and listening to some of your favorite songs. When the time comes for you to try out these tips again, they will hopefully come a little more easily than ever before.

Sourav Biswas

Music is my life and I love to play guitar so much. It's been a part of me for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a musical family, and my parents were always supportive of my passion for music. I am also a freelance writer who has been writing for over 10 years. I have written for both online and offline publications, including Amazon and Medium.

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