View Full Version : Serious/Dumb question.

04-29-2003, 03:02 PM
Is it possible for someone to have the wrong hand and finger build to play guitar. A few years back I played around with my friends acoustic and was having a difficult time playing chords. I didn't have a hard time with picking scales and arpeggio's, but chording at the time was somewhat difficult. Now that I have decided to get serious with it, is it possible to have to short of fingers to really play the guitar the way I want, which is to play some rythm but mainly lead.

This may sound weird but I have included the measurements of my fingers on my left hand...

Index = 2 3/4
Middle = 3 1/4
Ring = 3
Pinky = 2 1/4

With my fingers closed, the span of my palm, measuring from the bottom of the index finger to the bottom of my pinky is 3 1/2.

This may be a weird topic but it is a concern too me.

If anyone has some tips on how to help, or know of some books that help the digitally challenged, your comments are greatly appreciated. I know practice, practice, practice, but also would like to have some advice. Thanks.

04-29-2003, 07:44 PM
My first guitar teacher had very short fingers and he said that at first he had a little trouble with some chords shapes but overcame it fairly quickly. I'm not aware of any specific methods or teaching materials for small fingers but there are pleanty of different instruments with thinner necks and more narrow nut widths that could help.


04-30-2003, 12:39 PM
Django Reinhart could only use two of his left hand fingers because of a fire, and he adapted to it.

The Bash
05-02-2003, 11:03 AM
Well, I've Never actually measured my fingers but...my hands are pretty small. Trust me, they'll strech. IS it a disadvantage? Well never having had big hands I've no clue what I'm missing. I mean sure there's things Steve Vai could reach that I never in a millon years could. Then again when you get to the upper frets you gotta bit of an edge. Vai actually has his guitars altered slighty to accomadate his huge fingers.
Just use what you got to the best of your abilty.

05-02-2003, 02:03 PM
Appreciate your guys responses and encouragement. Last night I went to the local music store and picked up a couple of books to start learning with. I am thinking of taking lessons there as well.

05-02-2003, 04:23 PM
What' up?

I've got smaller hands than yours...I dun really have too much problem playing...ok...there are some chords that I can never physically be able to play but for most of the chords its not much of a problem...I do have have some problems with wide intervals especially if its played on one string...

So dun worry...and ROCK ON DUDE


NP:-BLS:1919 Eternal

05-02-2003, 04:49 PM
The great advantage of the guitar, is that you can play the same note in so many different places, therefore there various options on what fingerings to use for any specific situation.

05-03-2003, 04:37 AM
I wouldn't really worry about it too much. Everyone's hands are different in a million ways.

An old buddy of mine is a short little guy with stubby fat fingers about 2" shorter than mine. I have no idea how he can play anything, but he can play SRV, Vai, Vito Brata, Satriani, etc note for note and ALL BY EAR, no tabs! He also can bend like a monster with EVERY finger, without bracing or anything. In my opinion he's a virtuoso.

I have another buddy that has incredibly huge hands. Each finger is like a tree trunk in thickness and about a mile long!;) He can play everything, especially old Van Halen, Pink Floyd, etc. How does he fret just one string cleanly? I have no idea...

My hands are long and thin (palms, fingers, thumbs, etc). Except for my pinky on my left hand, it's probably 1/4" shorter than my right pinky! How did that happen? I asked my mom but she didn't have any answers for me!:D I've learned how to skip strings like a maniac to avoid bigger stretches when standing.

Everyone compensates for various differences in physical attributes. It's not that big of a deal.

05-04-2003, 11:20 AM
You guys just might be surprised at how far you can stretch with them small hands. I'm a small guy and I got my hands to stretch pretty far when I was playing back about 9 yrs ago. I just picked it up again after 4 yrs, and I'm gettin some good stretches.
The trick for me was just building chords, and building more chords...lol...it was a habit for a while. My favorite ones were between the 5th and 14th frets. You can get some pretty kool sounding chords in there. I got my ideas from studying Randy Rhoads.

Killer fun

Bongo Boy
05-04-2003, 05:28 PM
Originally posted by Leviathon This may sound weird but I have included the measurements of my fingers on my left hand...

Index = 2 3/4
Middle = 3 1/4
Ring = 3
Pinky = 2 1/4

With my fingers closed, the span of my palm, measuring from the bottom of the index finger to the bottom of my pinky is 3 1/2.Not to be out-weirded, I measured my left-hand fingers and got identical stats--except my ring finger is actually just slightly shorter. Measurements subject to variables, of course.

All I can tell you is we all have assets and liabilities, and I believe they are both all in the head, not in the hands. I believe the biggest liability I can have is to get frustrated--it's not something that can be easily 'conquered'--you really have to decide it's simply not going to happen in the first place.

If I have to design (or select) chords around what my hands can do, until they learn to do better, then that's what I'll do. I'm even willing to play music I wouldn't normally have thought to play, if that's what it takes. My anatomy will NOT be a reason to give up!

The Bash
05-04-2003, 07:35 PM
Just for fun I measured mine too and came up with the same results. Though the Span (with hand closed is actually 3).
But that's not as important as how far one can expand.
All I can say is strech out a lot (Don't Hurt Yourself, Go Slow, Take your Time). I think everyone should warm up with sum hand streching, but I think with smaller hands it's even more so. My hands expand so much further when I'm warmed up good.
That's important so one doesn't do themselve and injury and have to go on the RnR DL.
I've had students with a lot smaller hands than mine and if they had the desire, they got them to strech :)

05-07-2003, 01:04 PM
Thanks guys for the support. I have been practicing as much as I can and have been noticing improvements in being able to play chords. It's nice too know that I am not alone. I think the one thing that will really help me is to take some private lessons from a guy who knows how too play some good lead guitar.

I want to be able to play some rythm, but nothing IMO, sounds better than a great sounding guitar solo that has all the mixes of shredding and melodic interpretation.

06-07-2003, 08:55 PM
I have stubby fingers and small hands...Its really hard to play, so I had to practise really hard constantly and stretch my hands and fingers a hundred times over and over again before they were flexible enough to I could play.

06-22-2003, 06:09 AM
I do stretches every time before I play. I use the same ones that petrucci uses. Check out his rock discipline video, or book to see how he does it. The stretches reeeeeeeeealllly help out a lot.

07-10-2003, 04:22 PM
if you go to http://chrisjuergensen.com he has a lesson on there about stretching etc called "Unreachable chords" or something to that effect. If you check it out it might help.