There has long been attitude that rock music and guitars are for men (and boys). And frankly it’s outdated and just plain wrong. Women and girls love the guitar just as much as anyone else and are just as capable of learning to become amazing players.
In fact you only have to look at the evidence: in 2015 Fender surveyed new guitarists across America and found half of them were women, in 2019 half of those buying a new Fender guitar were female and in 2020 Fender’s Play App found approximately 45% of its new guitarists were female, up 15% from 2019.
The facts don’t lie: women want to and are learning the guitar virtually the same as men. Which should come as no shock to anyone with half a brain. There is a long history of amazing female guitarists from Joan Jett, Joni Mitchell and Bonnie Raitt through to the likes of Taylor Swift, Annie Clark (or St Vincent as she’s better known) and Nita Strauss who are rocking it today.
However, whilst there’s no difference in the ability to learn guitar between male and female it doesn’t help to ignore the obvious physical differences between boys and girls. Smaller hands, different body shapes etc. All can make a difference in the size and type of guitar that may be more suited to both sexes.
So if you are a woman looking to take up the guitar or buying a guitar for your young daughter then this guide should help you to find the perfect axe to start with.
Buying a Guitar for a Woman: What to Consider
Before getting a guitar everyone should consider a few things. But women may have some extra considerations to think about.
As women tend to be smaller than men sometimes a smaller guitar can be more comfortable. Especially when you’re a beginner and getting to grips with the fundamentals of holding the guitar, wrist position etc.
This is more important to consider when looking at acoustic guitars. That’s because they come in a wide range of sizes. Electric guitars are fairly universal in size (there are 3/4 sized electric guitars but I wouldn’t recommend them).
Parlor and Concert guitars are a great place to begin as they’re that bit smaller than the larger acoustics. Ed Sheeran famously plays a parlor guitar, the Little Martin, so don’t think of them as being inferior in quality.
It’s not a necessity to start with a smaller acoustic guitar. Many people go straight to the full jumbos or dreadnaughts.
But there are definitely advantages and you may find it easier with something smaller that you can get comfortable with. With time you can try and possibly move up to dreadnaught or jumbos.
Scale length essentially refers to the length of the neck. It’s the distance measured between the bridge of the guitar and the nut (you may not be familiar with those terms: check out our guide to the parts of the guitar or what a nut is for more help).
Having a shorter scale length usually makes it easier to play if you have smaller hands and shorter arms. That’s because the distance between the frets is smaller on a shorter scale guitar. This is great if you’ve small fingers but a nightmare for guys with big, meaty hands and chubby fingers!
The most common scale length is 25.5″ for Fender’s and 24.75″ for Gibson’s. Around 25″ is roughly average. So look for a 23″ or 24″ scale length if you want something a bit shorter. The Fender Bullet Mustang has a 24″ scale length and is a brilliant beginner electric guitar.
The fretboard radius is the measurement of the curve of the fretboard. If you’ve never picked up a guitar before you might be surprised to learn that the fretboard (that’s the part where you place your fingers) isn’t flat. It’s actually arced.
We measure that arc and refer to it as the radius. Different radius make the guitar feel and play differently.
For those wanting to play faster and more technical music then a flatter radius without much curve is preferred. Those who want to focus more on strumming chords will find a rounder neck with smaller radius better suited.
It’s not the most important aspect of the guitar, especially when you’re new to it, but it’s also worth considering.
Guitars, especially electrics, can be heavy. Having a Gibson Les Paul hanging from your neck for a couple of hours is a sure fired way to develop back issues.
So it’s a good idea to look at the weight of the guitar before buying it. Most acoustics are lightweight due to their design (they’re basically hollow) but electrics vary in weight a fair amount.
I’ve got a Fender TC 90 which is a thinline semi-hollow body guitar and in comparison to my old standard Les Paul it’s roughly 5lbs lighter. That may not sound like a lot but when you pick them up it’s so noticeable. Even more so when they’re slung around your neck!
So weight can be massively important when it comes to comfort and playability. If you’re 5ft 3″ and 120lbs then a lighter guitar is definitely going to help.
Style of Music
Most guitars can play most styles of music. But there’s no denying that some are suited more to some genres better than others.
For example if you want to play fingerstyle or have your heart set on singer songwriter type songs then an acoustic guitar is what you want. Alternatively if you love rock music then you’re going to need an electric guitar.
Then within the types of guitars you can break it down a bit further. Most guitarist playing country or pop aren’t using Jackson guitars as they are marketed and designed for a more hard rock and metal audience.
So giving some thought to the type of music you want to play and what your long term ambitions might be is important for deciding which way to go when buying your first guitar.
While this isn’t really specific to buying a guitar as a woman it’s still important to consider if you’re a beginner or new to the guitar. When you’re first starting out you don’t want to spend too much on something you aren’t sure you’re going to stick with.
Many people, both male and female, give up guitar quickly. You don’t want to have spent an awful lot of money on a hobby you realize you aren’t going to continue with. So setting a realistic budget is key.
Best Acoustic Guitars for Women
- Great quality for the price
- Well established brand
- A good size: small but not too small
I feel a little biased putting the GS Mini first because I own one myself but it’s a brilliant little guitar. And it’s popularity is testament to that.
I can’t count the number of people I’ve seen busking or in YouTube videos using the Taylor GS Mini. It’s gained a reputation for being an absolutely outstanding and affordable acoustic guitar.
The GS stands for ‘Grand Orchestra’, which is a large guitar Taylor make. The GS Mini is just a smaller version of that.
It comes in a Rosewood, Mahogany and Koa models but the Mahogany is the most affordably priced. There is a difference in sound between the 3 models but it’s not enough to justify the higher price of the other two as far as I’m concerned.
The GS Mini is not a parlor guitar, but it is smaller than regular acoustic guitars. The reduced sized body and scale length (23.5″) make it a great guitar for travelling as well as learning on. If you’ve got smaller hands it’s ideal and going to feel extremely comfortable.
Overall it’s a cracking guitar that’s used by beginners all the way through to very experienced and skilled guitarists. You can’t really go wrong with it!
- Sounds absolutely fantastic
- Great quality for the price
- Looks and feels wonderful
The Seagull S6 is an absolutely incredible guitar. But you will be paying a little more than most on this list.
I believe it to be worth it though. Because you get a guitar that both sounds phenomenal and plays like a dream. Very few, if any acoustic guitars have a depth and fullness of sound in the same price range.
Be warned though! The neck on the Seagull S6 is a little wider than the other guitars listed here. So if small hands are a worry for you then sadly it may not be the best choice.
The other consideration is that the Seagull is full sized. That may or may not be an issue but the likes of the Taylor GS Mini and the Little Martin are specifically designed as smaller guitars and that might be what you’re searching for.
The best advice would be that you try every guitar in person. Buying blind can be a bit of a minefield!
Body: Mahogany, Sitka Spruce, Spruce
- Full, rich tone
- Very comfortable
- Durable and strong – unlikely to break
Made popular by a certain Mr Ed Sheeran the Little Martin is a Parlor guitar – so cute and small. It’s got a very comfortable neck with a nut width of 1-11/16” that is ideal for chords if you’ve got smaller hands.
I was expecting the Little Martin to be quite boxy and flat sounding but it’s surprisingly resonant and rich. It won’t have the depth of sound of its bigger Martin brothers but for a small, affordable travel guitar its great.
It’s made very well too. I’m guessing Martin envisioned people travelling a lot with the Little Martin and realized it needed to withstand some punishment. So you can feel safe knowing it’s not going to break if you drop it or don’t treat it as well as you probably should!
A brilliant choice for those just starting out on the guitar or is worried about their small hands.
- Top brand name
- Loud and resonant sound
- Good neck for small hands
Along with the Little Martin the Taylor BT2 is probably the most well known smaller sized acoustic guitar. And for good reason as it’s a real winner.
A scaled down 3/4 version of Taylor’s dreadnought guitar, it has a shorter scale length of 22.75″ and 15.5″ body length. Although made by Taylor the BT2 Baby differs from the GS Mini mentioned earlier in size with a narrow and more shallow body. It’s a smaller guitar in the same vein as the Little Martin LX1E.
But don’t let that fool you into thinking it won’t cut it sound wise – it’s got far more volume and resonance than its size would make you think. And with its comfortable and narrow neck it’s ideal for small hands.
A quick browse through reviews on the likes of Amazon shows lots of female guitarists singing its praises. A popular, small acoustic guitar that does exactly what you would want from it.
- Thin body for comfort
- Popular with women guitarists
- Reputable brand
Yamaha have a long history of acoustic guitars and so you can feel reassured you’re getting a decent product with them.
The APX600 features a thin body that makes it very comfortable overall and easy access to the upper frets. Whilst not a full size guitar it’s larger than a parlor and has a 25″ scale length.
So you may find it slightly more testing when it comes to making chords or if your hand size is a worry. But it’s still a relatively small and playable instrument so that shouldn’t be a problem.
Lots of Amazon reviews are from women, quite often older women, commenting on how it suits them as they have small hands, arms and are petite. So it definitely fits the bill in that regard.
(There is also the Yamaha APXT2, a 3/4 size that you could look at if you want that very small size)
Body: Maple, Sapele
- Very reasonably priced
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Large, clear and full sound
Another Taylor, you might be thinking!? Well they’re just that good when it comes to acoustic guitars.
The Taylor Academy 12 is actually designed with those new to the guitar in mind. So if you’re a beginner it’s the perfect choice.
But that doesn’t mean they’ve reduced the quality or made these guitars inferior. In fact it’s good enough so that as you grow in skill it will keep up with your improvement. Basically you won’t have to go out and replace it as soon as you become even a little bit proficient (unlike far too many other entry level guitars).
With a smaller nut, so a smaller fretboard, it’s very comfortable to play and extremely lightweight. A very clear and full sound, it punches above its weight considering the price and beginner label. ANC of course you’re in safe hands with Taylor as the make.
- Beautiful Koa body
- Good electronics
- Slim jumbo body
Slightly more expensive than the other choices listed here, the Takamine GN77KCE is a Mini Jumbo acoustic-electric guitar made from a beautiful looking Koa.
Whilst a jumbo body might normally be too big if you have a small frame Takamine have taken the jumbo size and scaled it down, both in width and length. You end up with a slimline and comfortable guitar that is easy to play and looks great.
Koa guitars tend to be more expensive and what you’re paying more for is the tone. Koa tops give a very warm sound with excellent sustain and clarity. The GN77KCE is no exception.
With good electronics (in built tuner, equalizer etc) it means playing live is simple. So if you’re intending to gig at any point you can feel confident the Takamine will be able to cope.
- Amazing smooth tone
- Handmade to the highest standards in the USA
- Extremely easy to play
I was hesitant to include the Martin D15M as a price of around $1500 felt like too much. But whilst most beginners won’t want to spend anywhere near that amount there are some who like to start with the best!
And make no mistake, the D15M is a quality instrument. There’s nothing wrong with entry level guitars and nowadays you get so much bang for your buck with them. But a really good Martin made from some of the best wood is a truly wonderful thing.
The D15M just sounds fantastic. Handmade from mahogany and with a warm and rich tone you’ll struggle to better with anything else.
It feels so well crafted, the warmth and sustain is phenomenal and you will be unable to put it down! Thats if you’re willing to spend that bit extra, of course.
12 Best Guitars For Female Beginners (Acoustic & Electric)
Best Electric Guitars for Women
- Fantastic quality for the affordable price
- Great neck for small hands and beginners
- Humbucker pickups for great tone
I’ve long been a big fan of the Bullet Mustang and have sung its praises for being underrated. For a such a reasonable price you get a really fantastic guitar.
The quality of not only the hardware but the neck and overall build far surpasses most of the competition of beginner guitars. Plus it looks really cool! (that shouldn’t be important but let’s be honest, we like our guitars to look the part!)
It’s a good choice for female beginners as it’s short scale means a more comfortable neck to play with less distance between the frets.
It may be a guitar designed for beginners but it’s so much more than that. You can be assured you’ll be getting a really great instrument that shouldn’t need upgrading for a long time.
- Part of the incredible Classic Vibe Series
- Lightweight and great neck
- Classic looks
It’s genuinely amazing how much better entry level guitars have improved in the last 10-15 years. Go back 20 or so years ago and they were pretty terrible – badly made, awful quality control, hard to play.
But now the cheaper guitars aimed at beginners are incredible. And Fenders Classic Vibe range might be the best of them all. These are guitars that are perfectly capable of not only learning on but playing professionally.
The Thinline Telecaster is a semi-hollow body guitar with a 9.5mm radius. That means it’s very lightweight because of the hollow body and has a really comfortable and easy to play neck.
Dual humbucker pickups is a bit if a departure from the classic Telecaster single coil twang you might expect but that’s definitely not a bad thing. It just makes it more of a blues or rock machine!
I’m a big Telecaster fan generally and a lightweight thinline with easy to play neck struck me as a perfect guitar for a female beginner. But really any of the Classic Vibe range, be that a regular Telecaster or a Stratocaster etc. will be a brilliant first guitar.
Body: Poplar with mahogany veneer
- Iconic looks
- Very light to hold
- Smooth, slim neck
Epiphone are Gibson’s more affordable, entry level brand of guitars. That’s not to dismiss them as poorer in quality because they make some very sought after guitars.
The Eiphone SG Special is a more stripped back version of the Gibson SG. It features the standard SG scale length of 24.75″ with 12″ radius and 22 medium jumbo frets.
One area where Epiphone’s are preferable to their Gibson bigger brothers is weight. Gibson’s, especially Les Paul’s, are heavy. Really heavy!
Epiphones are usually made from lighter wood and generally weigh less for this reason. The Epiphone SG is a great example of this as it’s poplar body makes it considerably lighter (7lbs) than most of its competitors.
If you’re a big fan of straight up rock music and that’s the style you want to play then the Epiphone SG will be perfect. The two humbuckers and slim taper neck make for an unbeatable rock guitar.
- Great for heavy metal and hard rock
- Versatile pickup congratulation
- Lovely looking finish
If you’re a metalhead at heart and want to be shredding up and down the fretboard then you’ve got to consider an Ibanez! Known for being popular amongst hard rock and metal guitarists and for having very slim and fast necks, Ibanez make some outstanding guitars.
I remember the first Ibanez I played. My friend had a fairly entry level one (I forget the exact model) and I picked it up to gave a go and couldn’t believe how fast and effortlessly my fingers were moving. I was used to playing a pretty clunky 2003 Squier Strat and this relatively cheap Ibanez felt like a dream in comparison.
So I can fully recommend Ibanez’s for beginners. And the GRX is a great place to start. It’s one of the most popular beginner guitars of all time.
The HSH pickup configuration – humbucker, single coil, humbucker – gives you a wide variety of options for different tones. From blues to heavy metal you won’t struggle.
The neck is thin, thinner than most in fact, and once again suits smaller hands. It’s a good weight, light enough without feeling like a toy or that it’s not substantial enough.
Overall the Ibanez GRX70QASB is a really solid, versatile guitar that is fantastic for female beginners who want to rock hard!
St. Vincent Music Man
If money is no problem and you want something that really stands out then the St Vincent by Ernie Ball Music Man is going to be a great choice. There are very few guitars like this one!
Designed by Annie Clark, also known as St Vincent, it was created to fit and adapt to the shape of a woman’s body. As the world of guitars has been dominated by men it’s no surprise that up to this point guitars were all conceived by and designed for men.
So it was time women got at least one guitar made with them and their needs in mind.
“I wanted to design a tool that would be ergonomic, lightweight, and sleek. There is room for a breast. Or two.” – Annie Clark on designing the St Vincent guitar
Very lightweight, weighing just over 6lbs, and ergonomically suited for female guitarists, it is striking in its appearance. Not being a woman I can’t comment on how comfortable it feels but I can on how it sounds and plays.
It’s a phenomenal thing of beauty. The roasted neck is as good as you’ll ever play. Music Man’s are noted for these necks and they’re sublime. Combined with a slim profile it makes playing everything feel so effortless.
The drawback? It’ll cost you around $4,000. Even the Sterling version, which is Music Man’s more affordable subsidiary (like Fender’s Squier and Gibson’s Epiphone) is roughly $1,100. This is not a guitar for those with a strict budget!
When buying your first guitar here are a few things to consider:
- If you can then try before you buy! A guitar might sound perfect for you when reading about it online but the reality when it’s in your hands could be very different. I was convinced I was a Les Paul guy – the sound, the pickups, the fact almost every band I liked played them. So when I finally played one it was such a disappointment. I just didn’t gel with them. Turns out I’m a Telecaster sort of guy! So getting your hands on, holding and playing as many guitars as you can will help you to make the right decision.
- If you have to buy online though, and I understand it’s the only option for some people, try to take advantage of places like Amazon that allow you to return guitars for no cost. That way you can try them out without any worry.
- Factor in to your budget a full setup for your new guitar. If you’re spending huge amounts on a real high quality, handmade instrument then you can expect it to reach you ready to play and fully setup. But the more affordable, mass produced guitars are shipped from the factory without that full setup. Sometimes you get lucky and they still play well but it never hurts to take a new guitar to Guitar Center or a local luthier who can set the intonation, action etc. so it plays as best as it can.
Buying a new guitar can be tricky but it’s also exciting! The promise of learning a new skill and the fun you’re going to have with your instrument – it’s hard to beat.
So hopefully these guitars for female beginners have helped you to find either yourself or someone you know a brand new axe.