Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

OK! I admit it! I've Got Small Hands and Short Fingers! Help


Digger

Recommended Posts

Now it's just not fair! I've got small hands and short fingers which has made learning guitar quite difficult so far.

 

Barre chords, some power chords and in fact bridging more than 3 frets at the same time are all but impossible for me with these hands. What should I do? What's that, take up harmonica....sorry but my dog goes nuts when I try to do that!

 

Anyone else with this problem? Have you managed to overcome it in any way short of breaking all fingers and resetting them wider apart?

 

Come on boys and girls, give me some hope????~

 

Dig

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now it's just not fair! I've got small hands and short fingers which has made learning guitar quite difficult so far.

 

Barre chords' date=' some power chords and in fact bridging more than 3 frets at the same time are all but impossible for me with these hands. What should I do? What's that, take up harmonica....sorry but my dog goes nuts when I try to do that!

 

Anyone else with this problem? Have you managed to overcome it in any way short of breaking all fingers and resetting them wider apart?

 

Come on boys and girls, give me some hope????~

 

Dig[/quote']

 

You'd be surprised how flexible and pliable the hand can become enabling great stretches with use and practice. Dudley Moore the actor (The "Arthur" guy from the films) was also an extraordinary pianist capable of incredible octave-plus stretches on the piano. I met him back in the 70's and shook his hand and noticed his hands were extremely small compared to mine which are probably medium-average and I couldn't even come close to the keyboard stretches he did. It's largely a matter of practice and stretching and I'm certain with time you'll overcome the problem. Paul McCartney also has relatively small hands and still does pretty well on guitar as well as on piano and bass which has an even wider stretch requirement. Good luck...you can do it...just hang in there.

 

...and Al's your uncle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

same here .I have never been able to comfortably play barre chords so gave up in my teens (1960's ) bothering .every loves my .The guitars I played all had thick necks ,far thicker than many today as they had no truss rods .I just worked round it and most people seem to imagine I am a good guitarist ,and I certainly got by playing in bands and clubs .everybody liked my ability to keep a strong constant rythymn going .I learned that many famous jazz guitarists dont play full chords,but often the guys transcripting or tabbing them put them in , and I just bluffed and faked my way round it ,If you cannot play like your favorite long fingered star ,just ignore him and play your own style ,I played 60's pop ,blues ,flat picking country ,folk and jazz , never using a barre chord .If I have to use `a capo to match my voice and chords together ,so be it.you will be amazed at what you can play on the top three or four strings and get away with plus some diving onto lower strings instead of playing a full chord . Its your guitar and your style .free up and use it .All you have to do is practice and be good at what you do . I have have never go more than a painfull squawk from a Harmonica,frightened of swallowing it .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i have smallish hands and shortish fingers for a guy... and i'm still in my first year (first 8 or 9 months actually) of learning, and had a hard with barre chords at first - like everyone - but can now do them without any problem at all... finger strength and flexibility come with practice... it takes a bit of time but you'll get there...

 

one thing i found helped was to consciously push my (fret hand) wrist forward (ie. to get it completely underneath the neck, not behind it... if that makes any sense) so my hand was as flat across the frets as possible... makes applying even pressure and reaching the frets easier...

 

maybe try to find a guitar with a slightly thinner neck too (both in height and width)... i find my Epi LP to have a nice slim neck and i find it makes things easier... but you just end up adapting to whatever neck you have

 

 

don't give up!

 

 

good luck!

 

 

cheers

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have double the trouble...fairly short FAT fingers. About to sell a nice squier bullet because the strings are so close together when I fret one string... I get more like 1 1/2 or 2 strings. Maybe you should look for a guitar like that...narrow skinny neck ..I bet a 5 year old could play this one. I need the wider neck so as not to dampen the next string when I cord. I do fine with my Studio and a Tele build I have tho..because they are wider.

Capt

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have double the trouble...fairly short FAT fingers. About to sell a nice squier bullet because the strings are so close together when I fret one string... I get more like 1 1/2 or 2 strings. Maybe you should look for a guitar like that...narrow skinny neck ..I bet a 5 year old could play this one. I need the wider neck so as not to dampen the next string when I cord. I do fine with my Studio and a Tele build I have tho..because they are wider.

Capt

 

I found it harder to play my Strat's last year because of a lack of playing for a few years and my fingers getting thicker with age. Found a Dot cheap from a playing musician and discovered the fretboard was great for my hands. Added a Gibson Special half a year later from the same guy and have not touched my Strat's for over a year. I just can't play them anymore.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I suggest practice and stretches over changing your guitar. Same for having "fat fingers" - it's just technique, try to use a different part of your finger and keep trying, you'll figured it out - I had the same thing. When I was in highschool I used to physically spread the fingers of my left hand with my right during class. 10 years later, I'm a freak b/c the stretch of my left hand is about 1" longer than my right...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I found it harder to play my Strat's last year because of a lack of playing for a few years and my fingers getting thicker with age. Found a Dot cheap from a playing musician and discovered the fretboard was great for my hands. Added a Gibson Special half a year later from the same guy and have not touched my Strat's for over a year. I just can't play them anymore.

 

That was my problem too Nickblues..had been away for awhile and found my fingers (along with everything else) had fattened up...lol

Capt

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well digger, you're in gOoD company. Hank Garland had that same problem and came up with one of these . . .

 

30.jpg

 

Byrdland. This is the Epi Elitist version. Guarantee'd to put the lead back in yer pencil fursur. 23 1/2 scale and a thin-line body to match. I HIGHLY recommend it, as do several of my brethren on this forum.

 

?;^)~

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's largely a matter of practice and stretching and I'm certain with time you'll overcome the problem.

 

Agree.....some things I can't strech to' date=' and I have big hands, so I've learned to overcome by adapting. I'll slide to where I need to be if I can't strech. No wrong or right way really, just whatever works...unfortunately don't happend over night though.

 

Granted some necks might make it easier, but the size of your hand shouldn't impear you from playing. Definitely don't give up hope....I know you'll get it.

 

....anyhow just my worthless 2 cents.

 

BTW...LOL...check the bear paws on Johnny Hiland.

 

[youtube']http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGlbmEIoGhg&feature=related

 

...and one more on a different size neck. LOL...I mean he got some short fingers and fat hands. He's amazing IMO.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A stratocaster has the neck you will probably like. It's thin and the width of the fretboard is narrower than Gibson style necks. I have fat fingers and the Gibson neck fits me better, except I have trouble wrapping my thumb over the top. I can do it on the Strat, but the strings are closer together than I like. I play both...somehow. You'll adjust in time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I found it harder to play my Strat's last year because of a lack of playing for a few years and my fingers getting thicker with age. Found a Dot cheap from a playing musician and discovered the fretboard was great for my hands. Added a Gibson Special half a year later from the same guy and have not touched my Strat's for over a year. I just can't play them anymore.

 

 

sell the strat to me

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Fella's,

 

I appreciate each and every reply and your suggestions. There is a lot of good advice and encouragement in there which I will certainly take on board.

 

Also just being told by people that really assuring me that I will get over the problem means a lot so thanks again.

 

Hey Spud,

 

Hope you caught up with my first post yesterday where you got a mention in despatches. Thanks again for today.

 

Have a good one everybody!

 

Dig

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Plenty of good advice above I think. The stretch will improve with time.

Place your hands together palm to palm and splay your fingers as far as you can. You'll probably find that your fretting hand has about an inch and a half more reach than your picking hand. There's the evidence ! :)

 

I have fairly small hands too. We're pretty much stuck with them I'm afraid [Transplant surgery has a way to go yet ;^)].

 

The assumption that a skinny neck is the best option with small hands can be a bit of a red herring.

If you're a "shredder" with a neo-classical thumb on the back style of playing, a shallow neck may be a good idea.

But for more typical blues and rock "thumb over" styles the skinny neck isn't always the most comfortable and can result in extra playing fatigue.

Deeper necks are often more comfortable and relaxing. The hand works much better when it's relaxed.

If the neck sits nicely in the palm with your fingers positioned corectly over the fretboard, it will feel very comfortable and there's no subconscious feeling that you have to grip the neck...which is where the tension and fatigue often begins. The problem for those of us with dinky flippers is that a deeper neck can often feel just too big and club like.

That's where the neck profile starts to be significant and where necks with a slight V profile start to score.

There's less wood in the shoulder area of the neck and the perception is of much reduced bulk for a similar depth.

So consider the shape of a neck...not just how big it looks or initially feels.

I think it may be true to say that those of us with smaller hands actually develop a better feel and understanding of neck shapes...because we've had to ! :-k

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good insight, Smoke.

 

Those with long fingers...you may be a bass player and not know it.

 

I never really thought about it, but I continued to play my Strat for years after I bought the Gibby LP Studio because the LP fat neck just felt strange. I had played the Strat for about 15 years. When I bought the Epi Lp Custom, the slim neck grabbed me right away and I never went back. I still think my fingers move faster on the Strat, but the slim LP just feels better, and it almost matches the neck on my Alvarez acoustic. I like having a similar neck on both.

 

There's a lot of personal preference here. I'd advise anyone to try out at least a dozen types of guitars before making a decision about what works for them. Guitar stores know that if you hang around enough, you'll buy something (grin). They'll be patient.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Definitely a lot of great advice above!

 

Another thing to remember is there are many different chord voicings available on the fretboard. You can usually find one that is closer together from a fingering perspective. Don't neglect open strings as possibilities. The different voicing won't sound exactly the same however it should work as a substitute until you get your stretch where you want it.

 

From an improvising/solo perspective, all twelve notes, can be found within a 5 fret span across 3 strings. Typically this is a 4 finger/position (one finger per fret) range with an index or a pinky shift/slide covering the fifth fret. No reason you cannot cover a 3 fret range and use both the index and pinky shift to accomplish the 5 fret span.

 

I'm not trying to be Captain Obvious. There are just so many possibilities on my fretboard that it was easy for me to overlook some of them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...