A very common problem for those with short fat fingers when playing the guitar is the lack of comfort in our hands when we hold the instrument and play it. In fact, when we pick up the neck of the guitar and try to form chords or play some notes, we may feel that our fingers may not be adequate enough for the good performance of the instrument.
It is common to find people who claim to have fingers that are too fat and too small to be able to successfully play the guitar, and because of this they choose to change instruments or simply stop playing. But, in case we are one of them, we should not be discouraged. Instead, we can look for other alternatives to make the execution more bearable until our hands get used to it.
If we have fat and short fingers we should not think that playing the guitar will be impossible. The hands require constant practice to adapt to the movements on the instrument and the hardness it may have. Thus, everyone can achieve a good technique and sound with the help of study and practice.
However, we can take a shortcut to make the practice more enjoyable and less stressful. That is, we can look for a guitar that is more comfortable and that adapts better to the shape of our hands. In this way, we will feel more comfortable when playing the instrument and we will achieve better results more quickly.
The best guitar for fat and short fingers is a guitar with a thin neck and a not so curved fretboard. In this way the hand will be able to go completely around the neck and the fingers will reach all six strings of the guitar. This allows the musician to play without having to stretch his fingers so far to reach the frets.
At the same time, a guitar that does not have such small frets is also convenient. This is because, at the moment of playing, the musician will have more space to place each finger on its respective fret.
The best guitars for big and short fingers are chosen mainly on the basis of the shape of their necks and the curvature of their fretboards.
Generally, the greatest difficulty of short fat fingers is found in the hand that steps on the strings over the frets. Thus, it is convenient to find a guitar whose neck adapts to the curvature of the hand and that does not force the musician to lose his natural position when he has to play some notes or chords.
Three guitars are presented in this selection:
Being all-electric, they have several features that make them comfortable to play with fat and short fingers. You could certainly find many options on the market. Therefore, these can be taken as a reference when buying a guitar with similar characteristics.
The Mini Stratocaster is a very practical guitar for people with short fingers, especially for children. Many times children find playing the guitar complicated due to the size of their fingers versus the size of the instrument.
This guitar has the classic slim C-shaped neck, typical of Fender Stratocaster guitars, which makes it easy to grip. The nut of this guitar measures about 40mm (1.6 inches), allowing for easy finger reach to all six strings on the fretboard.
At the same time, the reduced size of the guitar makes the strings acquire less tension, being soft to the touch with the fingers and, consequently, allowing a more fluid execution.
The Squier Affinity Telecaster is also a Fender guitar, so you’d expect the neck to have the classic C shape. This type of neck will be very versatile for people with short fingers as it makes it easier to grip by adapting to the curvature of the hand.
The nut of this guitar measures about 40mm (1.6 inches), is really narrow, especially considering that we are not talking about a mini guitar but a standard size guitar.
At the same time, the Squier Affinity Telecaster is a very affordable guitar compared to other guitars. It is an option if you want to get a comfortable instrument with good sound for a low price.
The Gibson SG has been one of the most used guitars in the music industry. It has a D-shaped neck, resulting in a slim neck that will allow you to reach all the strings more easily.
In turn, this guitar usually has a fretboard radius of around 305mm (12 inches). This radius makes the fingerboard almost flat, making it easier for the player to finger along the neck.
The Gibson SG has proven to be a good quality guitar and, due to its characteristics, very comfortable for those musicians who need lightness and room for their fingers.
What would be the ideal guitar neck shape and fretboard radius for a player with small hands and short, thick fingers?
The most ideal neck shape would be the C shape. This type of neck allows the hand to bend as much as necessary to reach the strings with ease. At the same time, the radius of the tuning fork may vary according to the musician’s objective. If the person wants to play rhythm guitar, a seven or nine inch radius would be ideal, while larger radii will be better for fingering.
Les Paul guitars can be difficult for small hands to play because of their wide necks. However, the Gibson Les Paul 1960 V3 guitar is one of the slimmest Les Paul models and could be useful for many people with small hands.
Guitar strings normally influence every beginner regardless of the shape of their fingers. After a lot of practice the hands get used to touching the instrument.
Classical guitars usually have a thick neck and require the thumb to be kept in the middle of the neck at all times. This is an effort for people with small hands, as it will be difficult to reach all the strings at first. If it is too painful or uncomfortable, you could opt for one of the guitars mentioned above until the hand acquires dexterity.