If you have small hands and want to choose the right guitar to fit you, getting the radius right can make or break things. Do you know the right fingerboard radius for small hands?
What is a Fingerboard Radius?
The fingerboard radius is the curvature of the neck from the lower to the upper fret. A small fingerboard radius will give you a flatter neck, making it easier to play notes and chords. Likewise, a large fingerboard radius will be more curved and will make playing difficult for smaller hands.
What Kind Of Radius Is Best?
As with most things, not all radii are created equal. Depending on how you want to play, the radius you select will be the one needed.
Small Vs Large Fingerboard Radius Choices
Small hands, should you go for a large or small radius fingerboard?
I recommend you to first take yourself as your own guinea pig. Get whatever radius that feels right to you. Then try using it in combination with what guitars that feel good and intuitively fit you. You can always adapt to the guitar later on while learning.
What’s The Best Radius For Small Hands?
If you can’t get a natural feel for things, then I recommend a small radius to get that feel. As an example, my self-built electric guitar has a 25.5 inch scale length and I went with a 7.25 inch radius as it felt intuitive to me while playing. It seemed flat and wide enough when I strummed chords, but still kept the strings close enough together for more intricate playing such as soloing or fingerpicking.
It’s about using the right things and finding the right way of doing things. If you have small hands, play guitars with 25.5 inch scale length (or whatever fingerboard radius you feel comfortable with) and see how it feels for different chords and styles of guitar playing. If the strings feel too close together or it feels uncomfortable strumming chords, then increase the radius a bit until you get that confident feeling again.
It’s all about experimenting if you’re not sure which one is right for you. That’s also why you should be open to change as things can always be adjusted.
This is how I found my natural fingerboard radius to be a little below 25.5 inches (like 22 inches). It allows me plenty of room for more advanced techniques and styles of guitar playing on the neck. I also realized that 7.25 inch radius was one that allowed me to be more comfortable strumming chords while also having enough space between the strings for lightning picking or soloing.
Final Words On The Right Fingerboard Radius
In conclusion, I recommend you take time to experiment with different fingerboard radii that are comfortable to the hands. Also, practice if you have small hands and don’t feel confident with your choice. If you get stuck on certain style of guitar playing and can’t play certain chords or techniques, then make adjustments to the radius in order to get that right feeling again. It’s about finding the right things that work for you when playing and using it as a tool for progression.