Just like our beloved instruments, not every guitarist is built the same. We come in all different shapes and sizes, and nowhere is that more evident than in our hands.
Some have small hands, short fingers, long fingers, big hands, and big fingers. It is those last two that can often cause headaches for guitarists.
Finding a guitar that is comfortable to play is just as important as one that sounds great. Our larger-handed fellow musicians often struggle to find a comfortable instrument. But I have got your back today with a selection of some of the best wide neck guitars.
The Washburn Comfort G55CE is an excellent guitar. It strikes a great balance between comfortable playing and great sound.
Washburn hasn’t called the G55CE the Comfort for nothing. Comfort is truly the name of the game with this guitar.
The neck has a nice thickness to it, with a nut width of 1.75 inches to allow for a great grip without becoming uncomfortable. I also found it to be smooth enough that moving up and down the neck feels easy.
The frets are well-spaced to and my fingers weren’t becoming squished up. This is especially evident higher up by the body. The higher frets are also easily reachable thanks to the generous cutaway.
I found the body to be just as comfortable as the neck. The Grand Auditorium body is wonderful to play with while sitting or standing. The G55CE’s body sits in that great sweet spot where it is big enough to still have a boomy sound, but not too big to be cumbersome.
My favorite part of the body is definitely the rounded top of the body. While it is nothing new on an acoustic guitar, it isn’t something you see often.
This rounded top gives your arm a comfortable resting spot while playing. I usually have to stop playing guitar because my arm becomes too uncomfortable on the top of the body.
Of course, comfort isn’t everything in an acoustic guitar, it also needs to sound good. And the G55CE sounds just as great as it feels.
I was a bit skeptical that an all-laminate guitar would sound good. The G55CE, however, manages to have a well-rounded sound for a laminate guitar.
The sound is fairly centered, not leaning too heavily to either the bright or warm side. That doesn’t mean that it sounds flat and the sound is quite vibrant.
The guitar isn’t overly resonant or loud, though. Luckily, Washburn has included a Fishman Presys+ pickup and preamp, so playing the guitar through an amp solves the volume issue quite well.
The preamp also gives the guitar a great amount of versatility. With a full 3-band EQ, Brilliance, Notch, and Phase. This gives you a lot of room to shape the G55CE’s sound however you wish.
- Comfortably spaced frets with a generous cutaway
- Shaped body top to rest your arm on more comfortably
- Fishman Presys+ pickup and preamp sound great
- Sound is a bit thin and soft
At first glance, the Seagull S6 looks like your standard acoustic guitar. But as the saying goes, “Looks can be deceiving”.
Seagull has clearly gone with a more substance over style approach with the S6. Instead, they have poured all of their focus into an instrument that sounds great.
The sound of the S6 is very clear, very full, and very vibrant. I find that it leans a bit more to the bright end of the tone spectrum, but still has a lovely touch of warmth.
The guitar’s body is large enough to provide a loud and resonant sound. You also have the option to plug the guitar in if you need some extra volume.
The preamp is a bit disappointing to me, however. It only has a Treble, Bass, and Volume knobs. It also features a fairly basic, but handy enough, tuner.
This focus on sound has led to the S6 missing some conveniences. There is no cutaway. That means that you will probably not be playing the 17th – 21st frets all too often. I think the S6 is clearly more geared towards rhythm and fingerstyle players, and not as much to lead playing.
The neck itself is also a bit thicker than what you normally find on an acoustic with a nut width of 1.8 inches. It took me a little while to get used to the neck. If you don’t play acoustic too often you might struggle a bit with the neck. For beginners, I might suggest looking at other acoustic guitars first.
If you don’t mind getting used to the neck and don’t need the higher frets, then the Seagull S6 is a great guitar. I don’t really see the guitar’s simple look and minor inconveniences to be a deal-breaker.
But I still think the guitar more than makes up for it with its excellent sound. Its relatively low price is also a great incentive to pick up the S6.
- Fuller and richer tone than most guitars in this price range
- Comfortable enough for most guitarists
- Neck does take a bit of getting used to
- 17th – 21st frets aren’t easily reachable
3. Guild D-120
The Guild D-120 is not only a fantastic-looking guitar, but a fantastic sounding one as well. It is one of those guitars that you can just feel the love and care that has gone into creating it.
The tone of the D-120 is immediately noticeable. It has a full and warm, yet quite mellow, tone.
I actually get a vintage feel from the D-120. I almost automatically started playing older blues stuff on the D-120. It just has that sort of sound.
The guitar’s great tone is all thanks to its completely mahogany body and neck, with a rosewood fretboard. Not only does the mahogany give it a great tone, but also a fantastic dark brown look.
The D-120 is also a very comfortable guitar to play in my opinion. The jumbo frets make it easy for those with larger hands while not being uncomfortable for smaller hands. The neck is a slim C shape with a nut width of 1.75 inches.Which I think makes it thick enough to provide a great grip for any guitarist of any skill level.
The D-120 sadly doesn’t have a cutaway. So, the 17th fret and up is likely just going to sit there unplayed unless you have a longer reach.
Something else I find a bit disappointing is its lack of electronics. I prefer electro-acoustics for the convenience they provide for gigging.
This limits the D-120 for me to a studio guitar. But it is one fantastic studio guitar to have.
Besides the lack of electronics and no cutaway, I can’t really find anything wrong with the Guild D-120. It is just a fantastic guitar that is so well-made and such a great value for money.
- Full mahogany body looks fantastic
- Full, warm, and vintage tone
- A great choice for studio recording
- 17th fret and up is hard to reach
- No pickup or preamp
4. Ibanez AC340
Ibanez isn’t often associated with acoustic guitars. Just because they are better known for their high-quality electric guitars, doesn’t mean they don’t also know how to make excellent acoustics.
Their Artwood series AC340 is not only one of their best acoustic guitars, but might be one of the best budget acoustics out there.
The AC340 is made from a few less expensive woods, Okoume for the body, Nyatoh for the neck, and Ovangkol for the fretboard. That doesn’t mean it is cheap by any means, though.
I think the build quality is excellent. The guitar is as sturdy and well-built as any more expensive guitar.
Playability is also fantastic. The neck is fairly slim with jumbo frets. With a rather odd 1.771 inch nut width. But I still thinkfretting is a breeze and moving up and down the neck is smooth.
The body is also very comfortable. It is a bit smaller than other acoustics in my opinion and is a bit thinner in the middle. This makes the guitar sit a bit tighter to your body I feel which makes playing much more comfortable than larger bodies.
More importantly, the guitar’s tone is just as high-quality. Okoume is comparable to mahogany which I feel gives the AC340 a similarly warm tone to that of a mahogany guitar.
Its smaller body doesn’t affect its volume and resonance much. To me, the AC340 is still quite loud and even louder than some other larder bodied guitars.
Some common shortcomings are present on the AC340. The lack of a cutaway makes reaching those higher frets a bit of a challenge. And the lack of electronics means you will only be able to play the guitar mic’d up or with a detachable mic or pickup.
Given the AC340’s price, however, these shortcomings are less of an issue for me. I don’t really expect budget acoustic guitars to have these types of conveniences like I would with a guitar twice the price.
- Smaller body makes playing more comfortable
- Slim neck with jumbo frets for fast and easy playing
- Full, warm, and vintage sound
- No cutaway or electronics
5. Martin D-10E
Martin guitars are among the most well-known and sought-after acoustics. Unfortunately, Martin guitars are also quite known for their high price tag.
But fortunately, Martin does make some more affordable guitars. One such guitar is the D-10E.
The D-10E is technically one of Martin’s entry-level guitars, but that doesn’t mean there is anything beginner about this guitar. I don’t think Martin have taken any shortcuts with this guitar and it is just as high-quality as any of their higher-end models.
This guitar is extremely comfortable to play. I think the frets are big enough for those with larger hands and the neck is smooth and comfortable. The nut width is also a comfortable 1.75 inches.
The sound of the D-10E is basically what you can expect from a Martin. Crisp, clear, and vibrant, this guitar just sounds fantastic.
Interestingly though, the guitar didn’t sound perfect out of the box. I felt the tone was actually a bit flat in the beginning. This concerned and confused me since I have never played a Martin that sounded flat. But luckily the tone improved as I played until it settled on that beautiful Martin tone.
One thing that I found very interesting was the tuner and volume and tone control. Where the tuner and preamp usually sit on top of the guitar, Martin has gone with an interesting solution. They have put the tuner and volume and tone controls inside the body of the D-10E.
This was of course done to hide it and make the electronics as discrete as possible. I personally don’t mind having the preamp on top of the guitar’s body. I actually find it a bit annoying having to reach inside the sound hole to turn on the tuner or to adjust the tone and volume, and then have to look at a small LED through my strings.
But other than the awkward placement of the tuner and controls, my only other issue with the D-10E is the lack of a cutaway. Other than those two small issues, the D-10E is about as fantastic as you would expect a Martin guitar to be.
- High Martin quality at an affordable price
- Rich and vibrant tone
- Tuner and controls are a bit inconveniently placed
The Ibanez ACFS380BT is a bit different from the other guitars on this list. Mainly, it is a baritone guitar instead of a regular acoustic. This sets it apart in two main ways: its size and its sound.
Baritone guitars are slightly larger than their regular cousins. Their body is a bit wider and their necks are longer.
The length of the neck is especially notable. While the ACFS380BT has a fairly standard 20 frets, its neck is almost two inches longer than that of a regular acoustic.
This means that the frets are larger than those you will find on a regular acoustic. This is great for guitarists with larger hands. The more space between frets gives your fingers more room to move.
That does of course mean that you also need to stretch a bit further to reach frets, especially closer to the headstock. If you have smaller hands, a baritone might not be the right guitar for you. The same goes for the larger body as it might not sit as comfortably.
This larger size also affects the sound of the guitar. Baritones have a much deeper, more booming sound.
If you are looking for a brighter tone, then you also probably won’t like a baritone. They have a lot more emphasis on the low end. Baritones are much more suited to guitarists looking for a heavier, darker, moodier, and more atmospheric sound.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the 380BT is its dual pickup system. The guitar features a block contact pickup at the sound hole, and a T-barr undersaddle pickup.
The reason behind this is because the 380BT is intended as a fingerstyle guitar. Modern fingerstyle incorporates a lot of percussion and tapping on the guitar. Having two pickups at different points on the guitar helps to pick up all of these elements much more clearly. Each pickup also has an independent volume control.
- Full, deep, and boomy sound
- Two pickup system for greater sound quality
- Independent volume controls for pickups
- Larger size might make it uncomfortable for someTone is somewhat limited to bass-heavy styles
Wide neck acoustic guitars are designed to allow musicians with large hands and fat fingers the freedom to move up and down the fretboard comfortably. Although the dimensions of the neck undoubtedly impact this, the material that is used for its construction also plays a large role.
The two most common tonewoods used for the wide neck of an acoustic guitar are mahogany and maple. Both of these materials provide a good balance of longitudinal robustness and is easy to shape.
Due to restrictions being put on certain wood types, manufacturers have needed to think outside the box in recent years. That has lead to the emergence of new, more sustainable tonewoods, like richlite being used for some necks.
Should I Buy a Wide Neck Guitar?
While wide neck guitars are designed with guitarists with larger hands and fingers in mind, I don’t think you should necessarily jump straight to wide neck guitars.
I believe in starting with the smallest solution first and working your way up. The issue might not be with the size of your guitar’s neck.
Changing Your String Gauge
In some cases, the issue might not even be that your neck is too small. It might simply be that you aren’t using the right strings.
For fat fingers, going down a gauge or two can often solve any issues you have. The lighter gauge should make it easier for you to fret your strings, making playing easier.
You don’t want to use a very heavy gauge with an acoustic guitar anyway. Try starting on 11- or 10-gauge strings. If you are still struggling, go down to 9’s or even 8’s.
Choosing the Right Fret Size
Another solution might be to get larger frets. Frets come in different sizes and their size can have an effect on your playing.
If you have larger hands, try going for medium jumbo or even large frets. Larger frets make bending easier and are generally more comfortable to play if you have larger hands.
Choosing the Right Scale Length
Similar to fret size, the scale of a neck also plays a major role in how comfortable a neck is. A longer scale neck will have frets that are more spaced out.
This of course means that there is more room for your fingers to move between frets. If you have larger hands, I would recommend going with at least a full-scale 25.5-inch neck.
This should be the perfect scale for most guitarists. But if you are still struggling, then try a guitar with a longer scale, like a baritone.
The downside of a longer scale is that you will have to stretch further to reach frets. But this usually isn’t a problem for guitarists with larger hands.
Choosing the Right Neck Width
If none of these other options work, then you should try a wide neck guitar for fat fingers. If the issue is that open chords or power chords feel very cramped, then a wider neck will be the likeliest solution. Although, wider frets can also help.
I would still make going with a wide nut guitar my last resort. A wider neck might seem like it is the solution, but can sometimes actually be worse. This is especially true for beginners who don’t yet have the dexterity to reach strings that are further apart.
Technique is Also Important
If you have gone through all the different types and sizes of necks and you are still struggling, then the issue might be your technique.
Unfortunately, if you have larger hands, you just have to be more aware of your technique. Particularly when it comes to playing chords.
The problem might simply be that you aren’t keeping your fingers vertical enough. Try moving your thumb more towards the center of the neck. This will give you more leverage to curl your fingers so that you use more of their tips.
You can also try fretting a chord differently or using a different shape. For example, you can use one finger to fret the A and D strings in E minor. Or bar the G, B, and e strings in D major.
Chords also have different shapes that sound similar enough. Open chords can be played as bar chords.
Open chords also have simpler fingerings. C Major, for example, can be played without fretting the third fret on the E string.
Playing in an open tuning can also make chords much easier to fret. You don’t, and in fact shouldn’t, have to stick to the basic chord shapes.
Are My Fingers Just Too Big?
No. Not only is there no such thing as having too large fingers for playing guitar, but that is not a healthy mentality to have. Anyone can play guitar, regardless of the shape or size of their hands.
Johnny Hiland, an amazing country guitarist, and Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, best known for his cover of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, are two great examples of guitarists with large fingers. Israel also famously played Ukulele (which is much smaller!).
Practice Makes Perfect
As cliché as it is, practice is important. If you practice enough, you will eventually be able to play, regardless of the size of your fingers.
These are just a handful of the best wide neck guitars for fat fingers. Hopefully, one of the guitars on this list is the perfect one for you.
And just remember, the size of your hands and fingers don’t determine your ability to play. With the right guitar and a little bit of practice, anyone can become a master of the instrument.