“The electric bass is such a big instrument, I have small hands, can I even play it?”
“I have small fingers, I won’t be able to stretch my hands so much!”
If you’re getting discouraged with thoughts like these, then this article is going to make you feel super-motivated.
I’ll be going over the 5 best bass guitars for small hands covering various budget segments, so you don’t have to waste your time endlessly hopping over the Internet.
Top 5 Best Bass Guitars for Small Hands
A typical bass has a scale length of 34”, and some people might find this too long for their stature.
If you find a full-sized bass uncomfortable or difficult to play, you have two solutions:
- Either get a short-scale bass (31” or less scale-length), or
- Find a bass with slimmer or narrower neck profile
Both are equally good options. Short-scale basses today are just as good as conventional basses, so you don’t need to worry about the sound or construction quality.
On other hand, if you really want the 34” bass, you can consider the ones with thinner or narrower necks. There are plenty of those as well.
To make it easy for you, I’ve done all the labor including research, narrowing down the recommendations, and categorizing them based on budget and application.
Without further ado, let’s find out what’s the best bass for small hands!
1. Best Overall – Squier Classic Vibe Mustang Bass
It was certainly very close, but I decided to go with Squier Classic Vibe Mustang to be the best bass guitar for small hands.
Everything about this instrument is simply top-notch!
Catch the ‘60s classic vibes with this iconic design of the original Fender Mustang:
- Split single-coil pickups
- 1960s-inspired headstock markings
- Slick vintage-tint gloss neck finish for an old-school vibe
- Premium nickel-plated hardware, vintage-style tuners, and beautiful laurel fingerboard
It not only looks good, it feels good as well.
Being a 30” short-scale bass you’d expect it to be easy to play. Well, it’s way more than that.
The slim C-shaped neck plays like a dream, add to that a real bone nut and some nice tuners and you get a bass that can give much more expensive instruments a run for their money.
The only domain remaining now is the sound.
Yes it won’t beat the traditional 34” sized American or Mexican Fenders but considering it’s only a fraction of the price, I’d say it’s very close to that classic Fender tone.
With so much to offer, the Classic Vibe Mustang is an ideal choice for beginners and intermediate bassists. Even if you are a big person, it’s a joy to play.
- Looks pretty with that vintage vibe
- 30” scale and C-shaped neck are a blessing for smaller players
- Fender-designed alnico pickup produces a rich and versatile sound
- Might require some setup out-of-the-box
- Not as powerful as its American or Mexican brothers
2. Best Full-Scale Bass for Small Hands – Ibanez GSR200
As I mentioned in the beginning, you don’t NEED a short-scale bass if you have small hands. Technique will always trump size when it comes to bass.
With that being said, I’m sure many of you are looking for a full-sized option in the first place.
That’s where the Ibanez GSR200 comes in!
Now there are plenty of full-scale basses that will do just fine even if you have small hands, but this particular Ibanez GIO model beats every other when it comes to value for money.
You get surprisingly good build quality and finish for the price– smooth fret ends, stable tuners, smooth knobs. Also the agathis body isn’t very heavy.
But what makes it great for smaller players is the slim neck profile:
- 41mm width at the nut
- About 21mm neck thickness
- 19mm string spacing
… ideal for small fingers even with the full 34” scale.
The pickups are quite interesting on this one. You get a split and single-coil combo with an active PHAT-II Bass Boost EQ. Although the pickups are passive, the EQ will require a 9v battery.
The sound itself is great though – very versatile. You can get growly as well as smooth tones out of it. The active bass boost works like a charm if you need a thumpy deep bass.
I’d like to point out that few buyers received units with poor setup including fret buzz and uneven knobs. Luckily, most of them were able to fix those easily with a basic out-of-the-box setup.
- Excellent quality and performance for the price
- Comfortable body and neck profile for players with smaller stature
- Active Bass Boost II adds a lot of low end thump
- Sounds very versatile once setup properly
- Not the most powerful pickups
- Active EQ requires a battery
- Some buyers have reported quality control issues
5-String Version – Ibanez GSR205BK
Ibanez also makes a 5-string model of their GSR200 electric bass. In my opinion, this is the best 5-string bass for small hands if you’re on a budget.
3. Premium Pick – Fender Player Jazz Bass
Fender’s Player line-up has both the Precision and Jazz basses for the same price, but I think the J-Bass is a better option for players with small hands.
This is because of the slimmer C-shaped neck on the J-Bass that tapers towards the nut.
Whereas the neck on the P-Bass is thicker with wider string spacing. (1.5” nut width on the J-Bass vs 1.625” on the P-Bass).
Not only that, the general consensus is that the J-Bass is more versatile and is suited for pretty much any occasion – be it recording, practicing, live gigging in coffee shops and other venues.
Coming to the pickups, the J-Bass uses dual Alnico single-coil pickups. And I really like them!
You can dial in a wide range of sounds – deep fundamentals from the neck pickup and bright, funky tones from the bridge pickup.
If that wasn’t enough, you get 3 knobs, one for each bridge pickup volume, neck pickup volume, and tone. This really lets you achieve the desired tone – smooth, growly, bright, warm, you name it.
I don’t think I’ll have to go over the build or hardware for this one.
Everything is simply excellent:
- Sturdy classic-styled alder body
- Flawless construction and finish
- Perfectly contoured frets
This is an ideal middle-ground if you’re not willing to spend thousands of bucks on Professional or Performer series basses.
- Traditional Jazz Bass aesthetics
- Flawless fit and finish
- Slim neck that’s only 1.5” at the nut
- Great alternative to the more expensive Fenders
- None really
4. Budget Pick – Fender Squier Bronco Bass
If you’re a high school student who can’t spend thousands on a premium bass, take a look at the Squier Bronco Bass Guitar.
It might not be the fanciest bass on this list, but I think this instrument packs a lot for its humble price tag.
The Bronco uses Poplar wood for the body and is lightweight. You get a very comfortable C-shaped maple neck with 1.5” nut-width which is ideal for smaller hands.
If you remember the single-coil pickups from the Affinity Strat, this has pickups very similar to those. Some people might find it plain but if you like the sound of it then you’re good to go.
Here’s the fun part – The Bronco is a very popular bass for upgrades and mods.
Considering its price and how well it takes upgrades, this makes total sense! Everything from the:
…is super-easy to replace. And once you do that, you’ll want to play this bass over other expensive ones.
It’s a solid option for beginner bassists on a budget. But the bass itself is more than just a “beginner bass.”
The Bronco has a classy look, versatile tone, and its value for money can’t be beaten. In my opinion, it’s the best bass guitar for small hands under $200.
- Great for any small, medium, or large gigs
- Superb value for money
- Lightweight and comfortable for any players
- Easy to upgrade or modify
- Could have had better tuners
Alternative – Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet Bass II
The Gretsch Electromatic Junior Jet II is another popular instrument in the electric bass community and for good reason.
Before you get discouraged by its basic no-frills design, let me tell you that it’s a well-built bass with powerful pickups that can deliver some serious output.
Hardware is pretty decent for the price too – Basswood body, maple neck with a walnut fingerboard, Synthetic bone nut, dual mini humbuckers, and die-cast tuners.
The 30” scale combined with a sleek D-shape neck is a great combo for players with small hands.
If you need something a little different than all the Fenders and Ibanez options, then this affordable bass from Gretsch is for you!
5. Best for Kids – Ibanez GSRM20 miKro
My final recommendation is a 3/4 bass for all the kids who want to start with their bass journey but are intimidated by the large size.
At 28.6” scale-length and an overall length around 39”, this bass is only slightly larger than a full-sized electric guitar.
Now even before you ask me if that comes at a cost of sound – Not at all!
Yes, it WILL sound quite a bit different than a full-scale bass. This bass in particular has plenty of midrange and decent highs. The low-end is definitely there but don’t expect to be very deep or punchy.
But it sounds pretty versatile for its price.
Where it shines is definitely the playability – Being among the smallest basses on the market, this is a very easy bass for small players. Nut width is also narrower than most other basses at 38mm (1.5”).
A concern many people have with cheaper products is the hardware.
Well, it is what you’d expect at this price. Plastic tuning knobs, plastic nut, average passive pickups, poplar body and jatoba fretboard.
Well, the cheap plastic nut and knobs are easily replaceable, and it’s something I wouldn’t complain about at this price.
But if you really need to go with a size this small, there isn’t a better option than the Ibanez GSRM20 miKro.
- Does not sound like a toy
- Extremely affordable
- Playability is next to none for small players
- Decent hardware for the price
- Feels and sounds very different from a standard bass
- For any application other than practicing, a larger bass will be better
Best Bass for Small Hands: Final Thoughts & Verdict
So these were my recommendations for the best bass guitars for small hands. All of them offer superb quality for their respective price segments.
To summarize, here’s the TL;DR:
If you’re tight on budget, go with one of Squier Affinity Bronco or Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet Bass. Both of them offer terrific quality for the price and take upgrades very well.
But my favorite bass is certainly the Squier Classic Vibe Mustang, not because it’s the best bass out there or anything, but it checks all the right boxes and still comes well under $500.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a fault with this one unless you really compare it with the more premium ones.
What Bass is Best for Small Hands?
If you’re on a budget then the Squier Affinity Bronco is one the best bass guitar for small hands. An equally decent alternative is the Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet II.
Both of these are short-scale basses and are super-comfortable for smaller players.
But if you have a little more cash to spare, I highly recommend the Classic Vibe Mustang from Squier or even the premium Fender Jazz Basses.
Is a Short Scale Bass Easier to Play?
Short-scale bass guitars are usually a lot easier to play than their full-length counterparts. This is due to the lesser string tension as well as the smaller size.
This is also the reason why short-scale basses are preferred by beginners, students or young players with smaller hands or fingers.
The best part is that this doesn’t affect the sound or versatility in most cases, provided you pick a good-quality instrument. Yes, there is a lack of upper overtones due to shorter strings, but you do get fatter “boomy” bass to compensate for that.
Can I Play 5 String Bass with Small Hands?
Since 5-string basses have wider necks they’re quite a bit harder than 4-string basses. This problem amplifies if you have smaller hands.
Luckily, there are still great 5-string options that come with slightly narrower nut-width and smaller string-spacing. You can also get short-scale versions of them. These can be ideal if you want to play a 5-string with small hands.
Ibanez have some great 5-string options with shorter scales and narrow necks – SR 5-string series and GSRM25 among others.
Is Short Scale Bass Good for Beginners?
Yes, short-scale basses are the perfect option for beginners who find the traditional 34” bass too heavy or big.
You get much easier playability thanks to the shorter neck and overall smaller body dimensions. They also have less tension on the strings and are easier to tune, so you won’t have sore fingers as often.