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View Full Version : short, fat bratwurst fingers



bluecollarman
08-20-2002, 02:49 PM
(apologies to Bongo Boy for stealing his description of his fingers)!

I fall into the same catagory, short fingers which are not quite as lean and mean as they were when I was young and lean.

What additional challenges are there for aspiring guitarists with "short" fingers?

nickwellings
08-21-2002, 09:41 PM
BTW: I think Shawn Lane has really sutbby fingers.

I think.
Meaning the challenge is mental.

Unless you need to stretch.

EricV
08-21-2002, 10:12 PM
A few things come to mind...

Nick said that he thinks that Shawn Lane has stubby fingers. I dunno whether that is true. If it is, it makes Shawns playing even more amazing, cuz he can play amazing stuff, involving really wide stretches at about light speed. Paul Gilbert once was aksed about Shawn, and he played these insane licks, involving wide stretches with the left hand plus tapped notes from the right... and then Paul said "Of course, Shawn does all that with only ONE hand"...
Thinking about that, someone once said ( sorry I donīt remember who it was ) that he saw a classical player with very small hands / short fingers, who still was able to play the note C on every string... at the same time...

And someone else once said that it is even good to have short or stubby fingers, cuz it kinda limits you. You donīt even attempt stuff that people with long fingers do... and therefore thereīs less of a risk of hurting yourself trying to attempt the 12 fret stretch... :)

I dunno whether itīs really a true limitation... I think it depends on where ya wanna go, how much you practise etc. I think you can compensate small hands, stubby fingers etc.
Eric

bluecollarman
08-21-2002, 10:46 PM
Thanks, Eric. Appreciate the advice.

Bongo Boy
08-22-2002, 01:05 AM
Originally posted by EricV
I dunno whether itīs really a true limitation... I think it depends on where ya wanna go, how much you practise etc. I think you can compensate small hands, stubby fingers etc.
Eric

...plus, always remember: it's not how big they are, but how you use them :D

fortisimo
02-25-2006, 01:14 PM
when i sterted playing guitar, my first teacher wrote
me a differant fingerings than what i use today.
they were not orgenized by 3 notes per string,
it was orginized by what closer, so naturally they
were easyer. they were 50 years old fingerings
that jazz musicians used. so you might want to consider
using them. they're harder to build speed over.
but if your fingers are becomming a problem
it might be usefull. play till you drop!!!!

RandyJ
02-25-2006, 01:53 PM
Please have you ever seen Michael Romeo's(Symphony X)hands!They're short and chubby but this guy can dance all over the fretboard!Believe me short fingers are not an issue for guitar playing!

Rizla
02-25-2006, 02:15 PM
Let me tell you something, I have LONG fingers, but they're not fat, they're thin-ish, like steve vais fingers. They're quite weak really, and my span is USELESS. I can't put my first finger comfortably on the first fret, and then put my 4 behind the fret on the 6th fret, and I've seen guys going beyond that with smaller fingers than me. I should be able to stretch like stretch armstrong with my fingers, but no...

jade_bodhi
02-25-2006, 05:35 PM
when i sterted playing guitar, my first teacher wrote
me a differant fingerings than what i use today.
they were not orgenized by 3 notes per string,
it was orginized by what closer, so naturally they
were easyer. they were 50 years old fingerings
that jazz musicians used.

My teacher is teaching me what he calls "short chords," three-note voicings, that require playing only three strings and muting the rest. These are favored by jazz guitarists because they are movable and therefore versatile across many tunes. I particulary miss the full sound of a five- or six-string resonance on some tunes, especially folky stuff. And muting is another technique to master, but the muted sound is good for comping a tune.

warlock
07-29-2007, 05:25 PM
A few things come to mind...


Thinking about that, someone once said ( sorry I donīt remember who it was ) that he saw a classical player with very small hands / short fingers, who still was able to play the note C on every string... at the same time...


Eric

heh, i just came accross this.....I know it's and old thread but it was in a similar thread thing at the bottom of a page..........anyway....wouldn't you need six fingers to do that? I mean to play C on every string at the same time.......?

forgottenking2
07-30-2007, 05:05 PM
Not if you tune all your strings to C :D

warlock
07-30-2007, 05:09 PM
Heh, that would mean "no fingers" then :)

forgottenking2
07-30-2007, 07:29 PM
Not if you play them on the 12th fret ;)

warlock
07-30-2007, 07:53 PM
You got me there.......

forgottenking2
07-31-2007, 03:11 AM
ha ha I wonder how this guy really did it though. I am betting it wasn't standard tunning.

warlock
07-31-2007, 03:19 AM
heh yeah.....there was a picture floating around the net of a kid in some third world country ( maybe Texas :) ) that had six fingers on one hand.........I don't think he played guitar though......I think the above mentioned stretching must be an exaggeration though.........who knows......

TMV
08-01-2007, 09:03 PM
I can't believe what I'm reading! If you play guitar and you play often. As often as your heart desires, then you will build up the speed to do exactly that which you're mentally denying yourself. Your mind has no concept of impossible! Look at George Thoroughgood! The man made million's and made millions of people happy, with that he prided himself on playing every one of his song's with just three chords!

Practice! Practice! Practice! And I can as well as quarantee that you will over come each and every concept of limit's! The more you work that beautiful guitar, the more that exercise will diminish the pudginess of your finger's. Maybe not like those that you admire so furiously..., but then when a blind man sets up and plays guitar like a virtuoso. What makes you think you are even as brutally disabled as he?

I have seen some of the finest guitarist's with pudgy fingers make great strides in the music industry! Because they saw that little limit as an opportunity to become even more devoted than the maestro's of guitar talent! I myself find Yngve Malmsteen a total loss, because he was so perfect in everybodies eye's..., and yet he couldn't play one straight song. He had to go all over the fret-board! Look at Vinnie Vincent! He could play like fire..., but he was so restricted in his song contruction that it began to sound like the same song most of the time!

Imagine, divine, inspired, inventive and new. The mind is the greatest talent in music! Beethoven was deaf as he wrote most of his compositions! Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was an enchanted composer! But his talent wasn't in his pyshical form..., the music he created was made straight from his heart! The world is full of anomalous talent, men with minds that dare take a handicap and will it..., to strive for the glory of their soul's! Pudgy! Hell no! Wickedly diverse! Brutally inventive!

MrCheese
08-09-2007, 03:11 PM
i have laughably small fingers - stretching from 1st to 5th fret is a real struggle and playing a lot of shred type material is tough.

what i have realized is that regular practice helps and accuracy in terms of hand placement and finger accuracy is critical if you have small hands. simply, you just have to be more accurate and less sloppy that some guy with longer fingers. For me to be able to get some of the stretches, my hand (i.e. thumb placement, hand angle, "finger hovering" etc) has to be absolutely spot on with no margin of error.

forgottenking2
08-09-2007, 06:38 PM
My hands are average (and square... I kind of have Boxer's hands) and when I started out I had the same problems everyone has at the beginning. First playing a C major chord was a nightmare. Then the F chord almost made me quit. Then the pentatonic 1 4 stretch was somehow always a tad too short. The list goes on and on but with practice it's all possible. Right now I am working on some of those crazy close position 7th chord inversions. Some of those stretches are pretty wild and it's hard to just grab them like your stock drop 2 voicings. I think it's a matter of practice. Everyone has different sets of hands but we are all capable of making music. It's just a matter of finding what works for us.

Revenant
08-09-2007, 09:56 PM
Look at guitar players like Frank Gambale and Michael Angelo Batio.

They have fat sausage fingers, but those sausages move with extreme precision and speed. Those two are among the top 10 of cleanest and fastest players.

My fingers are small and thin, and I used to think that these baby hands couldn't stretch, but all it takes is practise. I sat down and practised regularly, and found at last that those 3 note per string diminished arpeggios weren't as impossible as they seemed at first glance.

So it all comes down to practise, practise practise. I remember seeing this guitarist who was dwarfed and had deformed hands(looked really awkward). At first glance, you'd think "No way this guy can guitar" but he plays like a monster!

So I think the handicap ought to be realy severe before it impairs your playing ability.
I've grown to love my thin little fingers because they give me the advantage to play more precisely on the higher frets. Of course, I have less genetical strength than those with fat fingers. So I think both kinds of hands have their advantages and disadvantages. Fat fingers are strong, thin fingers are precise in the higher frets.

ChrisJ
08-10-2007, 05:01 AM
Let me tell you something, I've been teaching for twenty years both in the States and overseas and I have yet to find a student with smaller hands than me. It has never been a restriction and if God came down from heaven and asked me if I wanted longer fingers, I would ask for peace in the middle east in exchange. Don't need them. Because of my small fingers do I tend to play chords with smaller stretches? No. I can play most anything I see fit if I dedicate a little time to it and relax. I think I wrote a lesson on IBM, let me take a look.......

Found it, written three years ago (yikes!):
http://www.ibreathemusic.com/article/144

A few years ago I met Stevie Wonder in Tokyo. A friend plays in his band and he introduced me to him. When I shook hands with him I was overwhelmed by his giant hands with the fattest fingers I have ever seen. I wondered how he could play the piano like he does with them big fingers. Just goes to show you, finger size, big or small, fat or skinny doesn't mean much one way or another.

-CJ

Wintermute
09-19-2007, 02:37 AM
I have the longest fingers in the whole website.

EvilSmurf
12-25-2007, 02:58 AM
I sat down and practised regularly, and found at last that those 3 note per string diminished arpeggios weren't as impossible as they seemed at first glance.

They ARE impossible. Anyone who claims anything else is either a liar or reincarnated Shawn Lane!
Does anyone know had Shawn especially long fingers or not? Don't know how else those strethces are possible.

Padawan
12-25-2007, 09:00 AM
I think Shawn Lane hold his guitar in a classical position, if you try it you will see that this way you can stretch way further, Rusty Cooley and other Neo-shredders play that way and can do really impossible stuff.
So if you have short fat bratfurst fingers this might be the trick, but then it would take a lot of time to get used to it if you played in the normal position before.

EvilSmurf
12-25-2007, 12:12 PM
I think Shawn Lane hold his guitar in a classical position, if you try it you will see that this way you can stretch way further, Rusty Cooley and other Neo-shredders play that way and can do really impossible stuff.

Like those crazy pentatonic shred licks Rusty does... Pentatonic scale ain't just for noobs ;)

joeyd929
12-25-2007, 03:01 PM
(apologies to Bongo Boy for stealing his description of his fingers)!

I fall into the same catagory, short fingers which are not quite as lean and mean as they were when I was young and lean.

What additional challenges are there for aspiring guitarists with "short" fingers?

I don't think finger size or shape has any affect in a negative way. I see jazz cats with big fat fingers. Danny Gatton had fat sausage like fingers. Other players like Rusty Cooley have long dangley fingers like I have.

My fingers are thin and long, always in the friggin way, I always bump my fingers because they are long and dangley.

If I was going to ask for long and dangley, it would not have been the fingers that I would have requested to be like this.. (laffs)

Chino_rebel
12-25-2007, 07:16 PM
Look at the finger length thing, my fingers/hands are about the smallest, shortest, but at least they have fat round ends. I doubt I'd have an easy time developing "classical" type finger ends and nails. Then I saw a pic in the paper of John Lee Hooker and lo and behold, round finger ends like mine. I guess he used a pick, but all is possible.

There's an Australian guy on YouTube who plays Django Reinhardt stuff and who answers emails, he shreds!

Obivion
12-26-2007, 06:14 PM
If you seriously have trouble, you could always get a 3/4 scale guitar. I've seen one of the best jazz guys (can't remember who) shredding away on one of them.

Chino_rebel
12-26-2007, 06:49 PM
Oblivion I actually have something called a "parlour" guitar right now, and it's oK .... but what's funny is, I went into a Guitar Center and was looking around .... Wow a guitar like Djanjo used to play, so I just have to molest that one, and it's a full size, at least, and wow was it easy to play. I mean, I was picking out stuff and doing bends like crazy, and I was thinking when I left, How could this big ol' guitar be easier to play than mine? Well, it IS! So, I got some finger-eze or whatever that spray's called for mine, and am not doing so much practice at one time that my fingers get really sore, and it'll come.

and I have no worries, because when the kind people of the street have tossed enough change in my case to get one of those Django guitars, I'll be able to play it just fine!

Thanks!

joeyd929
12-27-2007, 12:05 AM
Check this link out..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UN3i89Va3HE

As I said before, Danny Gatton had fat fingers, doesn't seem to be an issue.

Chino_rebel
12-27-2007, 05:42 AM
Wow he rips!

Almost like my experience with violin, it's almost like my fingers felt .... too fat....

But, one thing about short fat fingers though, finger STRENGTH. I'm a raw noob and mine just don't tire out.

Clamusi
07-12-2008, 04:02 PM
Look at guitar players like Frank Gambale and Michael Angelo Batio.

They have fat sausage fingers, but those sausages move with extreme precision and speed. Those two are among the top 10 of cleanest and fastest players.

My fingers are small and thin, and I used to think that these baby hands couldn't stretch, but all it takes is practise. I sat down and practised regularly, and found at last that those 3 note per string diminished arpeggios weren't as impossible as they seemed at first glance.

So it all comes down to practise, practise practise. I remember seeing this guitarist who was dwarfed and had deformed hands(looked really awkward). At first glance, you'd think "No way this guy can guitar" but he plays like a monster!

So I think the handicap ought to be realy severe before it impairs your playing ability.
I've grown to love my thin little fingers because they give me the advantage to play more precisely on the higher frets. Of course, I have less genetical strength than those with fat fingers. So I think both kinds of hands have their advantages and disadvantages. Fat fingers are strong, thin fingers are precise in the higher frets.

I am also a new player and find the same problems as you had. I also have small hand. My height is 157 Cm. Please let me know what to practice and how to measure the improvement.