finger issues with pentatonic scale


tammielyn.ts
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tammielyn.ts
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10/07/2020 12:34 am

I'm fairly new player. i've been learning scales a bit, and want to work more on them, to memorize, play etc. i watched a video on the pentatonic scale. I absolutely think i will not be able to do it. I am 55 and have rheumatoid arthritis and not sure if that is affecting my ability, however, pressing the Low E string on the 3rd fret and also at the same time the low E on the 6th fret?? I will post a picture of what my pinky does. my fingers quiver. i can't even move my index finger to the next string let alone what my pinky is supposed to be able to accomplish. holding my hand out away from the guitar i can spread my fingers pretty well, but that is spreading them out, not curling them to press a string down. Will i ever be able to do this? How important in the learning process (i really want to be able to master playing the scales and all that will enable me to do down the road musically) and how will i ever do it? I'm the kind of person who says, 'how hard can it be' so my attitude in life is good, but i'm saying regarding this and how my fingers and hand feels, 'i think it's going to be impossible' help anyone and everyone


# 1
tammielyn.ts
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tammielyn.ts
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10/07/2020 12:44 am

Tried to upload a pic to show you all, can't, error occurs, to show you the direction my pinky faces. i think this is going to be one thing that will be impossible for me unfortunately


# 2
Tinpan
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Tinpan
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10/07/2020 1:07 am

Hi. Far from an expert here but maybe try the same exercise further up where frets are closer together and just practice the pentatonic in say C (8th fret) for a bit and work your way back as they strengthen up. It takes a while for fingers to co-operate but they will get stronger a little each day.


# 3
manXcat
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manXcat
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10/07/2020 2:38 am
Originally Posted by: tammielyn.tsI'm fairly new player.[/quote]

Time (exposure) will take care of much of what you're currently experiencing if [u]it's not a physical restriction[/u]. Don't be in a rush even though being older one is mindful of the time remaining imperative.

Originally Posted by: tammielyn.tsI am 55 and have rheumatoid arthritis and not sure if that is affecting my ability[/quote]

[br]I should think that rheumatoid arthritis probably is. Depends upon how bad it is?! Only you can know how restrictive and/or painful it is for you. Any arthritis in the hands and fingers is going to be a dexterity encumbrance that's for sure. You have my empathy, appreciating that that doesn't help with playing scales.

Originally Posted by: tammielyn.tspressing the Low E string on the 3rd fret and also at the same time the low E on the 6th fret??[/quote]

[br]Scales don't require the fretting (pressing) of any two strings simultaneously. Consecutively yes, concurrently no, so I'm not quite following you.

[quote=tammielyn.ts]Will i ever be able to do this?

A smartphone vid of your hand and fingers in action would help, and it gives me no pleasure to be the naysayer, but it doesn't sound like it. At least not scales or fast licks. Rhythm guitar possibly yes, assuming you have the strength in your fingers.

From as you've described, in your case there appears to be a physical limitation. Depending upon the severity of that, all the will in the world won't overcome it where it's actually a physical disability. Just how biology works and life is. But having reached 55, you already know that.

[quote=tammielyn.ts]How important in the learning process (i really want to be able to master playing the scales and all that will enable me to do down the road musically) and how will i ever do it?

I think the salient question is, can you still enjoy playing guitar if that's just not possible? Your mind is still working so you can understand the theoretical inter-relationship of scales and chords and how they relate to music and guitar. Playing rhythm (strumming chords) is still fun, is still making music, and is an important arguably critical part of performance in making music collaboratively.

[quote=tammielyn.ts]I'm the kind of person who says, 'how hard can it be' so my attitude in life is good, but i'm saying regarding this and how my fingers and hand feels, 'i think it's going to be impossible' help anyone and everyone

[br]Here's my take. I'm a decade older than you. I'd like to be able to ride my motorcycles like I did even 20 years ago. I can't. If I tried, I'd assuredly end up with seriously debilitating injuries. That applies to so many physical things including guitar, albeit in the case of guitar, without the same degree of physical risk of acute injury.

Some things we have just left to late to pursue without encountering some limitation. I'm fortunate in that I only have mild arthritis that doesn't really prevent me pursuing playing scales or licks, yet, but I also don't have the motor skill reflex I did when I was 20 or even 30 either, and find that frustrating regardless that I understand why, am aware of the fact, and accept it. I just work harder at and with what I've got now knowing that its inevitible with age, health issues [u]must[/u] become limiting eventually, visitation of memento mori not occurring beforehand. I know I'm never ever going to be a shredder, not that that was even an objective were it even possible within the who knows how long I have left to play guitar.

[br]I think when older, one has to set physically achievable goals and expectations, taking into consideration the individual hand we've been dealt. That's not a negative mindset. That's confronting a reality we'd rather not head on. I wish I had a more encouraging answer, but superficiality isn't in my DNA. Enjoy what you can do now, and dedicate yourself to doing what you can do, and do it well. Sincerely, all the best.


# 4
ChristopherSchlegel
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ChristopherSchlegel
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10/07/2020 2:44 am
Originally Posted by: tammielyn.tsi've been learning scales a bit, and want to work more on them, to memorize, play etc. i watched a video on the pentatonic scale. I absolutely think i will not be able to do it.[/quote]

First & foremost, everything on guitar is hard & seems impossible at first. :)[br][br]Especially if you are an adult learner & your hands are already feeling tired & old! So, let's take a step back here.

Why are you looking at that lesson on the G minor scale using the 3rd & 6th fret? What purpose do you want to use that scale for? What do you intend to accomplish with it?

If you want to learn the pentatonic minor scale & play it in a blues context (a typical application), then try this tutorial instead.

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=189

1. It's easier to play because it uses open strings.

2. It's a series of simple basic licks aimed at beginner level skills.

3. It shows the scale in the context of a musical form. In other words, it gives you a practical purpose for the scale.

Next, I think we already discussed you having trouble with the action on your acoustic guitar being too high. The heavier strings & typically higher action of an acoustic will make any scale playing difficult for a beginner.

Do you have access to an electric guitar? If you can, try to play that scale on an electric. You will find the small neck, lower action & lighter strings make it much easier to play many things, scale lines being one of them for sure.

I know you already have an acoustic, but have you considered buying a cheap Fender Squier? They can get had new for under $200 & used for $100. If you are dedicated to the goal of playing guitar it might be the way to go if your hands are having that much trouble on your guitar.

Originally Posted by: tammielyn.tsI am 55 and have rheumatoid arthritis and not sure if that is affecting my ability, however, pressing the Low E string on the 3rd fret and also at the same time the low E on the 6th fret??[/quote]

What lesson or pentatonic scale pattern are you working on exactly? it's possible to play the same note in more than one place on the guitar. So you could play this G minor pentatonic scale pattern:

|--------------------------3---|

|---------------------3-6------|

|-----------------3-5----------|

|------------3-5---------------|

|-------3-5--------------------|

|--3-6-------------------------|

Like this instead:

|--------------------------1-3-|

|---------------------1-3------|

|----------------0-3-----------|

|----------0-3-----------------|

|-----3-1----------------------|

|--3----------------------------|

[quote=tammielyn.ts](i really want to be able to master playing the scales and all that will enable me to do down the road musically) and how will i ever do it?

What exactly are your goals with guitar & music?

[quote=tammielyn.ts]I'm the kind of person who says, 'how hard can it be' so my attitude in life is good, but i'm saying regarding this and how my fingers and hand feels, 'i think it's going to be impossible' help anyone and everyone

That's a good attitude! It will help in this situation. :) I'm willing to bet you can find a way to play, but you might have to adjust your expectations.


Christopher Schlegel
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# 5
snojones
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snojones
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10/07/2020 3:48 pm

I would also add that, many guitarists hardly use their pinky finger. Watch Eric Clapton. He hardly uses his pinky. Eric Clapton is still touted as a Guitar God today. Django Rheinhardt only had TWO FINGERS! He is a legend.

Physical limitations will have their due. You work with the tallent and dexterity that you brung to the table. How far you can go with that tallent is unanswerable until you try. If you can't accomplish some skill now, don't let it stop you from continuing to developing your ablities as far as you can. Arthritis or not, every player deals with limitations. Some get much farther than others. In this regard Attitude may not the do all, be all. But you will never get out of the gate without it.


Captcha is a total pain in the........

# 6
tammielyn.ts
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tammielyn.ts
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10/08/2020 1:00 am

Thanks everyone for the help! Well, i do tinker around on YouTube and one of the guys on there GuitarSage is his name Erich Andreas, i was looking for 'scale' videos to learn a bit and found one he was doing teaching 'know one guitar scale know them all' He was doing that in this video. I will check out the tutorial you suggested Christopher thank you! I actually looked further into YouTube and found a guy who discussed 'secrets' to stretching the hands and said it is not a problem with my hand. Actually, with regards to the arthritis, it is mild and i have found playing the guitar has helped my fingers. I mentioned this in this context because i thought with my pinky wanting to go one way and it's supposed to go the other, maybe it's anotomical?? I am very interested in getting an electric guitar too and will purchase one, and the suggestion is great Christopher! My uncle is a professional musician, acoustic, and i got in touch with him and he will be checking out my guitar, changing the strings back to my preferred and check the set up. So that solution is in the works. I am so new, and want to learn not just to 'play songs' but everything the guitar has to offer and what it's about and scales included in that. Do i know fully what playing scales will do for me in the world of guitar playing and music, not even close, so i can't answer your question the what are your goals with music in the context of wanting to learn scales. i feel quite able physically and trusted this youtuber and what he was teaching. think i'll stick to Guitar Tricks for these fundamental things, so i appreciate being pointed in the right direction. Any other tutorials on this site for beginner scales? tx all for your patience with me!


# 7
faith83
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faith83
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10/08/2020 1:48 am

My two cents...

If you're a beginner still, and it seems you are, I think it's way too early to make any kind of pronouncements on what you can and can't do. I know this from experience -- I have a weak wrist and posted a similar thing awhile back about how I absolutely, positively would not be able to physically manage barre chords.

Literally a week later, after playing around with them a bit, I figured out how to make it work. Now they're just chords like all the rest, albeit a bit more challenging.

Someone else already said time and practice will solve most of it. Not to say that you may not have some kind of physical limitation, but again, it is WAY too early to be able to tell that with any kind of certainty.

So play on... you will be surprised at what time, practice and growing confidence will accomplish.


"I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk."

# 8
ChristopherSchlegel
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ChristopherSchlegel
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10/08/2020 2:18 pm
Originally Posted by: tammielyn.tsi was looking for 'scale' videos to learn a bit and found one he was doing teaching 'know one guitar scale know them all'[/quote]

One easy trick to learn the whole guitar! :)

Originally Posted by: tammielyn.tsActually, with regards to the arthritis, it is mild and i have found playing the guitar has helped my fingers.[/quote]

That's great news! Regarding your wayward pinky, I think most problems with dexterity can be solved with focused & repetitious practice.

Originally Posted by: tammielyn.tsI am very interested in getting an electric guitar too and will purchase one, and the suggestion is great Christopher!

More great news! I hope your uncle helps you figure it all out.

[quote=tammielyn.ts]I am so new, and want to learn not just to 'play songs' but everything the guitar has to offer and what it's about and scales included in that. Do i know fully what playing scales will do for me in the world of guitar playing and music, not even close, so i can't answer your question the what are your goals with music in the context of wanting to learn scales.

Fair enough. I admire your enthusiam! Scales are used in many different musical contexts. They are absolutely fundamental to playing. But when I hear a beginner mention learning pentatonic boxes I wonder why. What's the plan, the goal? They are fun & can be useful, but it really helps to keep learning in order & in context.

[quote=tammielyn.ts]Any other tutorials on this site for beginner scales?

Lisa covers basic major & minor scales in GF2 (chapters 2 & 6 in particular). Have you worked through that yet?

https://www.guitartricks.com/course.php?input=fundamentals2

I have a series of lessons aimed at beginners learning scales in my older GF2.

https://www.guitartricks.com/course.php?input=fundamentals2(discontinued)

Hope that helps!


Christopher Schlegel
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# 9
tammielyn.ts
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tammielyn.ts
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10/09/2020 11:58 pm

hey, wish i knew how to answer everyone individually and specific to points you all made as you do to me, but am i ever relieved to hear i should hold off on this and that it will naturally come up in this program! i will have a look at the blues link you sent me Christopher. I did purchase the D'addario strings as per suggested, and thanks Faith for the encouragement that i will get this! I just learned to make the F Chord and i thoughts months ago when seeing it, i never would be able to. so one step at a time, not jump up a flight all at once! Thanks again


# 10
ChristopherSchlegel
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ChristopherSchlegel
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10/10/2020 7:28 pm
Originally Posted by: tammielyn.tshey, wish i knew how to answer everyone individually and specific to points you all made as you do to me, but am i ever relieved to hear i should hold off on this and that it will naturally come up in this program![/quote]

Good deal. Best of success with it!

[quote=tammielyn.ts]I just learned to make the F Chord and i thoughts months ago when seeing it, i never would be able to. so one step at a time, not jump up a flight all at once! Thanks again

Excellent. Keep going!


Christopher Schlegel
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# 11

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