LEARN Correct Right & Left Hand Technique in 20 minutes

Bass Guitar For Small Hands [Practical Tips & Guide]

Need a Bass Guitar For Small Hands?

If you have small hands or looking for a bass guitar for a child, then you should be looking to buy a short scale bass.

If you already have a standard scale (full size) bass, then there are many technique variations that you can use to help to get around the bass with small hands.

If you’re looking for a bass guitar for small hands then, a short-scale bass is the easiest way to play. Playing bass will also become easier over time if you use your pinkie finger more often.

There’s a good chance that having small hands won’t be your main problem if you truly have small hands, but believe it or not, having small hands isn’t such a big deal for most people. I’d like to describe all the ways that smaller hands can make playing bass more comfortable.

Bass guitar starter packs usually contain everything you need to start playing straight away. You can teach yourself bass guitar by using bass guitar beginner books here.

Why Is It Difficult To Play Bass When My Hands Are Small?


The fundamental problem associated with playing the bass and having small hands is what we shall address in this article. The two problems are as follows:

  • Finding it difficult to reach notes.
  • Not being able to press down notes on the fingerboard.

This is a big problem, but fortunately, you have a good deal of options to try. Trying out different things will help you figure out what works for you.

It is very likely that this is not an issue with your hands being small if none of these applies to you. Now that we have discussed everything, let’s look at how you can play the bass with smaller hands.

Short Scale Bass Guitar For Small Hands

Even after practicing or no matter what you do, you still have trouble playing the bass when you have small hands, then you should consider getting a short-scale bass. You can choose any best short scale bass guitar or start with a standard bass scale length that feels comfortable.

How long is a bass guitar? A bass guitar’s scale length is simply the distance from the bridge to the nut on the headstock. Basses usually measure around 32 inches (81 cm) long. Even some bass guitars are longer than 34 inches (86 cm).

Short-scale basses may have a scale length of fewer than 30 inches (76 cm), resulting in closer fret spacing as well.

My personal experience is that short scale basses don’t make a huge difference if you have trouble reaching frets, but I have heard from many people who claim it really does.

You still have quite a bit that you can do to make playing a normal-sized bass a little more manageable if you aren’t able to afford to purchase a short-scale bass. There’s a lot to know about bass guitar for small hands but you must start with you feeling comfortable.

For Children Wanting To Play Bass


You should 100% get a short-scale bass when you have a child who would like to learn the bass. Since they have smaller hands than adults, this is the reason. The physical limitations of a child under the age of 12 make a short scale essentially essential.

The Key To Bass Guitar for Small Hands Is To Strengthen Your Pinkie Finger

Many people shy away from using their pinky fingers when they first begin playing the bass for a long time. Most people’s pinkie fingers are too weak to play with, which is why they do not play with them. Having a smaller hand makes it important to be able to use your pinky to its fullest ability since it provides you with the most reach.

It’s normal to have a short finger when you’re just learning, but you are also cutting out a lot of flexibility that you might need when you play the bass. Your pinkie finger will feel unnatural and weird at first, but over time, you will no longer feel this way. Then how do you strengthen your pinkie finger? Despite the time involved, it’s actually quite easy. My two methods are as follows.

Strengthen Your Pinkie Finger Playing Octaves

The game is perfect for anyone who enjoys slaps. Slap is filled with octaves and why not use them to your advantage?

My index finger and ring finger were my first fingers to play octaves with. On a bass, an octave spans three frets, so this makes sense at first glance.

However, playing octaves with your pinkie as opposed to your ring finger is a very effective way to develop quite a bit of strength in your pinkie.

Even though using your pinkie will feel weird at first, you will be building a lot of strength in this way. Making sure that only your pinkie touches the string will build strength quickly. You shouldn’t touch your ring finger. It now feels more natural to me to play octaves with my pinkie just because I’ve gotten so used to it.

Use Your Pinkie For Hammering On & Pulling Off:

Simply pick up your bass and do this exercise anytime you feel a muscle in your pinkie finger tightening up. I still do this from time to time just for fun and to build up strength quickly.

For this exercise, you simply perform hammer-ons and pull-offs as fast as you can with your pinkie, again and again. Your pinky should extend as far as you can.

Performing this will tire your pinkie within a few seconds. In order to move your pinkie at full speed, your body will not allow you to keep going. Performing this exercise 2-4 times a week is enough when you are a beginner, because you should give your fingers and arm some time to recover. If you keep doing this for one month, your pinky finger will be just as strong as the rest of your fingers!

Buy a Finger Strengthener

There are devices that you can buy which are designed to strengthen your fingers. While they are designed perfectly for stringed instruments, particularly bass guitar, they are also good to for developing overall finger strength for sport, gaming and general craft, gardening and workshop tasks.

Finger Strengthener

Musiin Finger Strengthener for Bass Guitar Players – Finger Resistance Training

Finger Strengthener varigrip

VariGrip Sport Adjustable Resistance (Medium-Extra Heavy) Bass Guitar Finger Strengthener

Don’t Forget to Warm Up Before Playing

Playing well can be greatly improved by just doing a simple five-minute warmup before each game. Warming up is important if you have smaller hands because you will sound better if you are comfortable. Warming up in a couple of ways will help you to play more easily. Here are some warm-up exercises you can do.

Stretching Really Helps

You can achieve a lot by simply stretching your fingers out. Whenever you like, you can do this without even needing your bass. My favourite method of opening my hand is just to widen it up as wide as possible and then tighten it up again. The area where your fingers meet your hand should feel quite stretched when you do this. Putting this simple stretch into practice for 10 to 15 repetitions will serve as a good warm-up.

Exercises to Warm-Up

There are actually some easy exercises you can do to warm up your hands before you begin playing if simply stretching your fingers isn’t enough for you.

I always warm up by playing octaves up and down my neck as a quick little exercise. The first octave I play on the E string is an octave above the next, and then I work my way up to the 12th fret, then I begin playing down.

I then repeat the process with the A string instead. Flea uses this exercise (where I obtained it) and it’s great for warming up.

Similarly, you can simply play scales on different parts of the neck as another great exercise. Your next time on the piano should be easier if you warm up properly.

The Right Place to Put Your Thumb:

You might not even have a problem with the size of your hands! Some people don’t realize how important it is to place your thumb correctly and how much reach you can gain by doing so.

When I changed my poor habits and started playing with my thumb correctly, I gained more reach than in the past. Here’s how you should place your thumb for maximum reach.

Your Thumb Is Placed In The Middle of the Neck

Your thumb should be placed behind the second finger in the middle of the width of the neck.

Beginner bass students have a bad habit of sticking their thumbs up the neck too far when playing.

Your thumb is way further up the neck than it should be if it starts wrapping around the neck to the point where it almost hits the low E string with it!

If you flip your thumb up so that it’s completely behind the neck, your fingers (especially your index and pinky) will have an easier time reaching notes on the lower strings.

The end result is to basically add more length to your fingers, which is advantageous for several reasons.

Hold The Neck Upwards at a 45 Degree Angle

Just point your neck at a 45-degree angle upward. You do not have to bend your wrist because the neck is in this way, making grabbing notes easier. All notes will be easier to reach this way.

Keep The Strap Tight Will Help Playing Bass Guitar For Small Hands

By adjusting the strap, you can also reach the notes better by raising your bass. The bas will hang too low if the strap is too loose, making it difficult for you to play comfortably.

My recommendation is to purchase a strap that locks if you do not already own one. No matter how much you move, locking straps keep the strap from falling off.

You may need to pull the strap a little tighter if your hands are small so that the bass can sit higher. With both this movement and angling the neck at a 45-degree angle, you should see a significant gain in controlling notes that are farther away from one another.

Do More Practice

Up until now, we discussed a lot about how to improve how much reach you have, so just to mention this section as we get ready to discuss easier ways to press strings down.

It may very well be your problem right there to not have been practicing enough. Even if your hands are small or large, learning a new instrument can be very uncomfortable and you may just need to practice more to find comfort. Even if you practice multiple hours per day, if you are still finding things hard, keep on reading.

Putting Enough Pressure On The Strings

So far we have discussed how to create better reach if you have small hands, but we haven’t really talked about how to make it easier to press down notes in general.

A wider range can certainly help here, but when the notes still need to be pressed down all the way, you need the ability to reach pretty far. The buzzing will otherwise be unpleasant and nobody wants that. Pressing notes all the way down can be improved in two ways. Firstly, you should make sure you press hard enough to produce a note each time.

You’d be surprised how many people miss this simple detail when they are on autopilot.

Next, try pressing harder than necessary to help. You should avoid developing the habit of pressing down too hard as you will eventually want to press down lightened up for speed and tone. As a beginner, however, it may be best just to make sure that you can press every note down.

Lower The Action On Your Bass

If you find you have to really press on the note to make it ring out fully, then this tip is essential. As you may not be aware, your bass’s action refers to the height between the strings and the fretboard.

Almost all basses have an action that is too high right out of the box, so you have to press the string down much further and therefore, harder.

Because you have to exert more effort to reach notes, having smaller hands makes this even more difficult. As you go up the fretboard, the action is typically going to get higher as well, so if you have to reach for notes above the neck, the notes will be harder to play.

You can try to do this yourself or if you want the job done right, take your bass to a guitar technician you will set up your bass perfectly so it plays ‘like butter’. This will help playing the bass guitar for small hands.

Use Light Gauge Strings

Changing to lighter strings for your bass will help you press the notes more easily. “Light” strings refer to how thick they are, or their string gauge. It’s quite likely that you’re using strings too heavy for you if you have never heard of string gauges before! Thick strings produce a fuller, richer sound, but they are also more difficult to play. To make pressing notes easier, you should use a lighter string gauge.

Look for the packaging when buying your next set of strings. The lighter, or even extra light, the better. I strongly recommend that people with smaller hands use lighter strings since they won’t have the strength or power that someone with larger hands will have.

You can still have a pretty good bass sound even if you lose some of the tones. It might even be impossible to notice the difference. The strings feel definitely different, though!

Light strings still appeal to me even though I have pretty big hands because they provide so much freedom. Take a shot at them. Changing the string gauge later is always an option if you don’t like them.

Final Words: Bass Guitar For Small Hands

Playing bass guitar notes with small hands is very achievable! There’s not much to worry about there. I truly believe that anyone can play bass because there are so many ways to make it easier. In the worst-case scenario, you may need to buy a short scale, but for most of you, just making a few minor adjustments to your technique or tweaking the playability of your instrument should be sufficient to get you up and running as soon as possible! It will feel weird to play the bass when you start out, so before you make major changes to your technique, you should practice for a little while

Please Share
Featured Posts

You can teach yourself bass guitar by using bass guitar beginner books.

You’ll be playing the best beginner bass guitar songs in no time. Fun and easy to play.

Bass guitar starter packs usually contain everything you need to start playing straight away.

Share With Your Friends

About Bassic Training

Jeremy Playing bass in Hairspray The Musical Orchestra Pit Welcome to Bassic Training. I’m Jeremy, a professional bass guitarist from Australia. Our goal is to help you fast-track your progress and learn correct bass guitar technique and musicianship.




Best Beginner Bass Guitars
Under $300

Asmuse Headless Electric Bass Guitar

Music Man StingRay Ray4 Bass Guitar

Squier Bullet Bronco Bass

You May Like These

Recent Articles

Greatest electric bass players
Beginner Bass Guitar Tips

30 Greatest Electric Bass Players Of All Time

Table of Contents1 The Premise2 What You’ll Discover…3 30 Greatest Electric Bass Players Of All Time4 James Jamerson5 Paul McCartney6 Carol Kaye7 Jaco Pastorius8 Marcus

Beginner Bass Guitar Tips

Brief History of the Electric Bass Guitar

Compared to most modern instruments, the electric bass has a relatively short history. There were many influential bass players who carved out and redefined the