Chimensch wrote:A fascinating subject indeed, especially for the many approaches that different people have to solving problems. I also have very small hands. I asked my teacher if I would benefit from a smaller scale guitar but he put a quick end to the discussion by showing me that his hands are smaller than mine. I'm finishing my third year and we're getting into some fifth-year pieces. So far, I haven't encountered any problems that couldn't be solved by correctly positioning the thumb. Also, I'm not willing to close the door on the world of standard sized guitars. I find the idea of having an opportunity to play a really fine guitar and saying, "Oh, I can't play that one, it's too big" to be repugnant. Then, there was my Italian wife's comment that it was very "American" of me to immediately think of solving a problem by buying something. She has small hands and plays the organ and the question of buying an organ with a small-scale keyboard has never come up. And what would be the point? Organs are usually found in churches and you play the one that's there. I doubt that the piano teacher who said she is buying a small-scale guitar is also planning on buying a small-scale piano.
I hope you don't mind me saying but a lot of that is just simply wrong. What you seem to be saying is that finger/hand size is completely irrelevant and providing you practice enough then that 7 fret stretch is within your capabilities.
It's an absurd position to take. There are adults (quite a number) who have a hand size the equivalent to that of a child's.
There is a limit to the span of their fingers. It is a physical limit. No different to the physical limit that states that John Williams can't reach a fret 1 to fret 9 stretch or that someone at 5 foot tall is never going to win the Olympic high jump.
The Guitarist John Mills had a little test for determining suitable Neck dimensions. Finger the F, F# and the G (on the treble 'E' string) with fingers 1,2 & 3. Keep all those fingers fretted and then reach over with finger 4 to the G# on the bass 'E'. If you cannot reach it you need a Guitar with smaller Neck dimensions.
I think I'll go along with Mr.Mills. He's taught a few people in his long career. I also have a lot of experience with Guitars of varying string lengths and Nut widths, from 670 mm all the way down to 570 mm's. From Nut widths of 55 mm's down to 46 mm's. The combination
of shorter string length and narrow Neck width is extremely important for players who's hand size is petite. Fortunately for those players who have short fingers, they also tend to have thin fingers to match. A narrow neck width and the subsequent tight string spacing isn't usually a problem for them.
The alternative can lead to frustration with the instrument and/or the possibility of permanent hand injury.