You are here:

Guitar - General/Smaller hands affect potential to play guitar?


Hi Lynne,

I grew up playing the violin, got away from music for a long time, and now am really interested in learning acoustic guitar beyond the basic chords.  I traded in my former Yamaha model for one that is much more comfortable to play, easier action, thin neck, beautiful sound.  However, I cannot help but feel flattened whenever I watch someone (usually a guy) contorting his fingers into all kinds of bizarre chord shapes.  My hands aren't tiny but they're not huge either (when I spread my hand out, the span is about 7 1/2 inches from thumb-tip to pinky-tip and 6 1/2 inches from bottom of palm to middle finger-tip).  

I don't need to be Leo Kottke but I would really like to become a decent player and I'm just wondering if hand size is ever a real impediment, or does it have much more to do with hand strength?  Are there specific "hand calisthenics" that guitar players do to improve their ability to do the more difficult chords?

Thank you for giving your time!  I appreciate it.


Hi, Tina--

Your hands are not too small to play guitar. I have had many students whose hands were not finished growing and they did fine with all of the chords.

The strength that is required to play chords can be developed by simply playing the chords. It will take time, but your fretting hand will gradually become strong and agile enough to master any chords that you may encounter.

Your can, if you wish, try squeezing a small rubber ball with your fretting hand for strength. For dexterity, there are many guitar exercises that you can find just by doing a search for "Guitar Dexterity Exercises".

The main thing is that you must be patient. At first the chords may not sound like you want them to sound, but with practice, it will all come together. Just be patient and enjoy your progress!

Absolutely Free Lessons

Guitar - General

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Lynne May


Any question relating to guitar playing: scales, chords, music theory, arpeggios, soloing, chord progressions, key signatures, buying a guitar, guitar tabs, writing guitar music, musical styles including rock, blues and classical. I can no longer answer questions as to the value of a guitar. Please do not flag your question as "Private", as this prevents other readers from benefiting. I will no longer answer "private" questions.


I have played guitar for 30 years. Fifteen years of that time I spent traveling nationwide as a performer. I have owned and operated May Music Studio in Washington state for the last 20 years. I also teach piano and drums. Recently I have started a website which provides absolutely free music lessons:

Publications expert author

Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts

©2017 All rights reserved.