Fingers too large for chords?

Discussion in 'Guitar Lessons' started by Dragon1413, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. Dragon1413

    Dragon1413 Senior Member

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    Is it possible to have fingers that are too wide to play guitar (chords)? It doesn't seem to matter how I adjust my fingers, angle my wrist or position my thumb. I just can't seem to get my second finger to fret a note without deadening or muting the string below it when it try to play a chord (D7 most recently). Any advice...in addition to practice? Or switching back to bass?
     
  2. AngryHatter

    AngryHatter Senior Member

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    Jimi had huge fingers.
    I don't have tips, since my fingers are small but I am sure there must be a way.

    Serious request: Post pics of you just holding the neck...i.e. your fingers draped across it - to get an idea of the scale we're discussing.
     
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  3. River

    River Senior Member

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    I prefer wider necks for that reason, and have a really bad time with narrow necks, like an Affinity Strat's. Practice does play a big role, of course, and some chords I just don't play "correctly", especially if they have to be played quickly. But I find myself doing just fine with my narrow-necked jazz box because it has ultra-low action and light strings. I don't have to press as hard, so my fingertip doesn't flatten out and into the other string.
     
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  4. Dragon1413

    Dragon1413 Senior Member

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    It might be as River suggested and my fingertips are flattening from pressing too hard. I don't think I have gi-normous hands or anything. I know I need more practice. Just get frustrated sometimes when I can't get the positioning right to practice.
     
  5. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Senior Member

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    Play on your fingertips, with plenty of arch in each knuckle.

    Playing with a full band, I end up playing more fragments than full chords, anyway. It's rare when I'm playing a barre chord. I focus on thirds and sevenths when I'm playing blues and jazz, or root/5 power chords playing heavy rock.
     
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  6. GRASS

    GRASS Senior Member

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    Never had a problem with Epiphones but I have a couple of Squier teles that I find impossible to play some open chords but I use them as lead guitars :)
     
  7. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

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    I used to give guitar lessons to a guy who is 6'3" and an iron worker by trade. He has fingers the size of kielbasa sausages but he still did pretty good at guitar. Having a wider neck like River already said does help. You also may have to find the best way to play chords etc. that works for you even if it is not technically the "right" way to do it. Keep up on your finger tips and don't let your fingers lay flat on the fret board and that will also help keep from muting the open strings.
     
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  8. Boppy

    Boppy Senior Member

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    You just have to adapt your technique. I have a friend with huge-ass hands and he plays bluegrass mandolin (!).
     
  9. brokenarrow5

    brokenarrow5 Senior Member

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    and hey, just play hard with what god gave ya-- make it your style- sometimes some finger overlapping sounds cool
    just do your thing, i have sloppy fingers, but i have accepted i will never be a technical guitarist and i am ok with that and have fun with it
     
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  10. Zenzeypher

    Zenzeypher Senior Member

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    for chords I always work on the tips, ive got big hands and found it hard to play lightly, i mooshed the crap outta that thing when I first started...I bit a hole in my acoustic the first week I owned it, week two it was in the street in pieces....So I understand your frustration.

    I played lighter and tipped the fingers and it became much much easier, for root notes I squish the shit out of the board...I can pull an acoustic powerchord by barring the ring finger...which is bad, I gotta get that pinky back in action again.

    learn to enjoy it regrdless, some of my favorite players are "sloppy" don't mean they don't got style.
     
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  11. AngryHatter

    AngryHatter Senior Member

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    Fingers like sausages.
    :laugh2:
     
  12. SexyGibson

    SexyGibson Senior Member

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    It all about technique. Keep practicing and it will come.
     
  13. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

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    I used to joke about that with him and he always laughed :D
     
  14. HOT-BRIT

    HOT-BRIT V.I.P. Member

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    the more you practice the smaller your fingers become
    it is all perception
     
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  15. Dragon1413

    Dragon1413 Senior Member

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    Lots of good advice. Thank you all I've been applying most of it and am seeing progress. I'm trying to break myself of the habbit of pressing too hard when fretting.
     
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  16. SteveGangi

    SteveGangi V.I.P. Member

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    A lot of times here, you will see people talking about "trying on" different guitars, to see which one "fits them" best. There is a reason for that.

    They are all different in sound and in feel. Wide, narrow, different shapes, cross sections, etc.
     
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  17. Nay

    Nay Senior Member

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    A common problem for new guitarists is adjusting you hands. If you play bass, you'd obviously understand.

    As river said, if you press heavily your tips flatten. With a bit of dexterity you'd be suprised and how lightly you need to press guitar strings, especially if they are light gauge.

    However, I do know someone with abnormally fat fingers (iirc, the conversation paned out that his jewelery finger size is z+6, if that means anything to anyone!). He however, would find playing guitar exceptionally difficult if he did... but not saying he couldn't.

    I have fattish, stubby fingers and I manage. I find the gibson scale fretboards easier to chord with definately. Oh, and many guitars use that scale, its not just gibson...

    And as for technique, it helps a lot. Try getting the tips of your fingers as perpendicular to the fretboard as possible. You can be sloppier on bass...
     
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  18. Zenzeypher

    Zenzeypher Senior Member

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    If you're really stuck just throw on a shit load of overdrive ;) haa


    When I first started lead, fresh off bass, I played tons of different guitars...I badgered everyone in every music store around this area, I played Aria Strats, Squier Telecasters, Epi Les Pauls, Rockburn Les Pauls, Danelectros, Tokai Firebirds ....everything I could to see which felt better. I ended up learning on an old Pink Aria STG003 Strat copy.. Had a flatter radius which I found easier to fret on for some reason so I learn't with that a few months... I played Telecasters for the shape of the neck then moved over to Les Pauls...cus let's face it...Everyone has to own one at least once and found it such a different animal.

    But as mentioned you get better and it's good to move about to see which suits you better. I had an Epiphone I had to sell because I just couldn't get on with it... Played a Les Paul Burny and it reopened my eyes.

    I guess after that ramble what im getting at is there's no set way and there's nothing wrong with trying everything you can to make the journey easier.

    different strokes eh.
     
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  19. moodyedge

    moodyedge Senior Member

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    I have the opposite problem......My pinky finger is too small..so I tend to play with the other 3.....For lead stuff anyway.....The surface area of that finger is small so hitting the string isnt always that easy depending on the chord. I guess everybody has their own way of playing.



    I noticed Gary Moore using the 3 finger technique for soloing......is there many other people that do? It's probably quite common. Longer fingers helps no doubt.
     
  20. Lampens

    Lampens Senior Member

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    Look at Redd play. He has fingers like the marshmallow man in ghostbusters.
    He's doing pretty good.
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQRjsyGNDsA]Redd Volkaert on Double Stops - FREE LESSON - YouTube[/ame]
     
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