Short fingers


p-neale
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p-neale
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01/12/2016 7:21 pm
Hi there, Ive just joined the site and really enjoy it. But my problem is that I have short fingers so playing on the top part of the finger is quite hard sometimes. Is there any technique/tip to overcome this. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Regards,

Paul
# 1
GT Staff
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GT Staff
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01/12/2016 8:01 pm
Originally Posted by: p-nealeHi there, Ive just joined the site and really enjoy it. But my problem is that I have short fingers so playing on the top part of the finger is quite hard sometimes. Is there any technique/tip to overcome this. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Regards,

Paul


What exactly do you mean by playing on the "top part" of the finger? Do you mean pressing down frets directly via your finger tips?
# 2
p-neale
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p-neale
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01/12/2016 8:37 pm
Sorry for misleading, but yes that's exactly what i mean
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GT Staff
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GT Staff
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01/13/2016 6:17 pm
Originally Posted by: p-nealeSorry for misleading, but yes that's exactly what i mean


No worries - first, I'd point out that it doesn't have to be directly on the tip of your finger. In fact, it's probably more often going to be just a centimeter or so down towards the front of the last jointed portion of your finger.

Second, you will need to curl your fingers a bit and make sure that you're not putting too much stress on your wrist.

So I'd say curl your fingers until you're coming straight at the fretboard and then relax a little bit. Whatever spot you're at is probably where you'll be the most comfortable.

Hope this helps!
# 4
spheinrich6
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spheinrich6
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01/17/2016 2:01 am
I have the same problem along with thick fingers. What I do is make sure my palm isn't touching the neck anywhere. I also move my thumb into different areas of the back of the neck (low e, middle) depending on what note or chord I'm trying to play. It worked well for me and I found it easier to make chord changes too.
# 5
linda p
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linda p
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01/17/2016 11:59 pm
I'am so glad to hear someone else is having this trouble. My fingers are short an I'm woking on barre chords wah wah. It's so frustrating to me. One thing I have learned is when fretting you really have to bring your fretting hand almost in a C pattern. This keeps you from palming your hand on other frets. You really have to work at the position that works for you. It took me 6 months to figure that out. As far as fretting the top, I put dots on my fingertips. When I'm playing if the dots are looking at me my position is wrong. I do sometimes make them off a bit of the center ,as long as I can't see the dots I'm good. Now if anyone has any advice on these blasted barre chords I would appreciate hearing from you. Hope that helped you two out some....lindap
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01/18/2016 2:06 am
Originally Posted by: linda pI'am so glad to hear someone else is having this trouble. My fingers are short an I'm woking on barre chords wah wah. It's so frustrating to me. One thing I have learned is when fretting you really have to bring your fretting hand almost in a C pattern. This keeps you from palming your hand on other frets. You really have to work at the position that works for you. It took me 6 months to figure that out. As far as fretting the top, I put dots on my fingertips. When I'm playing if the dots are looking at me my position is wrong. I do sometimes make them off a bit of the center ,as long as I can't see the dots I'm good. Now if anyone has any advice on these blasted barre chords I would appreciate hearing from you. Hope that helped you two out some....lindap


For barre chords, are you doing the full barre position? I might advise reducing that to just a couple of notes instead of the entire shape.

Start with the first two, then add the third, then the rest, etc.
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johnpnj1
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johnpnj1
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04/13/2016 12:49 pm
You know...I have fairly short, thick fingers, and I have a lot of trouble with the C chord. My ring finger has a difficulty stretching away from my other fingers. I know it IS possible because I've seen people with fingers like mine pull it off with ease...but is there a trick to it?
If so, please share!
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jarkko.eklund
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jarkko.eklund
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04/13/2016 3:06 pm
Originally Posted by: johnpnj1You know...I have fairly short, thick fingers, and I have a lot of trouble with the C chord. My ring finger has a difficulty stretching away from my other fingers. I know it IS possible because I've seen people with fingers like mine pull it off with ease...but is there a trick to it?
If so, please share!


Hold your guitar on fairly upright position. If you play while sitting, have the body of guitar to rest to your left thigh, and the headstock at least at your shoulder height. Keep our fretting hand thumb behind the the neck, not around it.
# 9
johnpnj1
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johnpnj1
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04/14/2016 12:18 pm
Cool, thanks for the tip!
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jarkko.eklund
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jarkko.eklund
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04/15/2016 5:19 am
You're welcome!

That kind of posture keeps your arm relaxed and allows more mobility to the fingers. It's no accident that classical and flamengo players usually have thein guitar this way even standing and using a strap.
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bomt1999
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bomt1999
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06/24/2016 11:16 am
mine are the same
# 12
Guitar Tricks Admin
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06/24/2016 4:48 pm
We actually have an article in our blog for this very situation!

Check out our tips:
https://www.guitartricks.com/blog/Why-Your-Fingers-ARE-Good-Enough-for-Guitar
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact us.
# 13
billswaim
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billswaim
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08/21/2016 3:19 pm

I have somewhat normal fingers but also had trouble with a barre (many years ago) I think all do to some degree. After lots of practice it really does become easier (then natural) but as stated earlier, you need not barre all to low E. There's also the alternative to use what I call the 'grip' where your thumb takes care of the low E. Both will become 2nd nature after much practice up and down the fretboard. Keeping the headstock high is also a big help! Keep working and don't be afraid of mistakes, dead strings, etc......just work on it daily without wearing your hand out!
# 14
johng4060
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johng4060
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08/21/2016 4:57 pm

I go along with jarkko.eklun for years I had the same problem until I came across a classical guitar site which suggested holding the guitar neck at a fairly high angle which then allows the fingers and wrist to be in a position to reach almost any part of the neck with less strain.

Yes good technique is always reccomended but should not be the absolute be all and end all of becoming a master player....never give up....checkout Django Reinhardt.
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les.paul57
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les.paul57
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08/21/2016 7:57 pm

Whether you are a veteran player or just starting out, the one thing you need to remember is it's all about muscle memory. If you are playing a chord and all the strings ring true you are doing good. Keep practicing that chord by switching back and forth with other chords. Take your time to make sure the strings all ring true on every chord before switching to the next. As you do this the muscles remember and return to that position faster and faster every time. Even seasoned player need to do that when learning new and different riffs and chords.
# 16
ingog
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ingog
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08/22/2016 9:39 am

Originally Posted by: GT Staff
Originally Posted by: p-nealeSorry for misleading, but yes that's exactly what i mean


No worries - first, I'd point out that it doesn't have to be directly on the tip of your finger. In fact, it's probably more often going to be just a centimeter or so down towards the front of the last jointed portion of your finger.

Second, you will need to curl your fingers a bit and make sure that you're not putting too much stress on your wrist.

So I'd say curl your fingers until you're coming straight at the fretboard and then relax a little bit. Whatever spot you're at is probably where you'll be the most comfortable.

Hope this helps!


I don't mean to be picky, you said cenimeter but you meant millimeter. A dime is about 1.6 mm. A centameter (cm) is 10 millimeters (mm) which is about the thickness of 6 dimes.
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Donnie M
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Donnie M
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08/22/2016 2:31 pm

I have problems with reaching the right frets for lead work. I try Eddie Van Halen stuff, and my fingers simply don't reach that far! Are there alternatives to the positions for one string arpeggios? I also find it difficult to land my right hand finger on the string to "Tap" the upper note. I often miss, and that just deadens the string. Really puts holes in my "wall of sound" !
# 18
Jeff_Moore
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Jeff_Moore
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11/16/2016 6:01 pm

I agree that unless your fingers are much shorter than normal, most of the issue is practice, flexibility and muscle memory. When I started playing years ago, I almost went back to the store and asked if I could get a guitar with wider spaced strings as my fingers were 'too fat' to play the strings clean in an open c chord. Over time I found that my fingers were faster, thinner and longer than they seemed at first. The frustration is tough though. I didn't think it was possible to break into a sweat playing open chords at a slow pace, but I managed to do it. The mental game in improving an instrument is key--for me, especially at first, breaking my practice time into small chunks was helpful. Four 15 minute practice sessions with a few minutes inbetween seemed much more productive than an hour straight practicing. :)

JM


# 19

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