Topic: Stubby fingers

I often find it difficult to play the right chords due to stubby fingers. I have a peavey that I use and I'm repairing an old Espana to be used. I find that when I try making some chords that my fingers either won't strech or bend to form the chords. I know that, with time, I will have more mobility with my fingering. I am going to look for an acoustic with a thinner neck.
Should I play on a thinner neck guitar until I get the mobility or should I play on what I've got?

If you're not happy with what you have...
Then you'll never be happy with what you get...

Re: Stubby fingers

You have a point, a difficult one. I have relative small hands, but I noticed that while playing, your fingers get more flexible. One of my best guitars is a Fender Telecaster, reissue 1952, pistache green, and custom made, but only for the European market. And even the fact that this one of the best guitars in the world, especially the sound, I realise now, after reading your topic, that I play not that much on the tele, just because of a thicker neck.
I wrote this already a lot, if I should keep 1 electric guitar, it will be WITHOUT DISCUSSION my PRS CUSTOM 24, thin neck, light and from 1993, and they were inspired by Gibson and Fender, Ted McCarthy was a very important man in the Gibson plant  (CEO from 1948-1966)
After the Santana story,Paul Reed Smith gave him one of his guitars to try out, Carlos couldn't beelieve his ears, he asked another, and: there is the success story, with the help of the same Ted McCarthy.

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Re: Stubby fingers

Play what you've got for the very practical reason that you've got it.  Further, if your fingers get the flexibility to play on a wider neck, when you can afford a guitar with a thinner neck, you'll not have lost anything. 

I had exactly the same situation, except that I've got long narrow fingers.  I meant having a guitar with a thick, wide neck and then moving to a guitar with a thin neck.  It was an easy transition. 

If you've got the wherewithal to afford a guitar with a thinner neck immediately, then go ahead and get one.  But if it's a choice of playing poorly on an ill-fitting guitar and not playing at all, then play poorly on an ill-fitting guitar until you can afford one that does fit you.  Your effort will be rewarded.

- Zurf

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Re: Stubby fingers

I stress this point to my guitar students relentlessly! Size does not not matter, in terms of ones' hands. The only advantage to having large hands is being able to use the thumb in a 'wrap around' technique to play bass notes on barre chords. This is a bad habit for large and small handed people. It limits ones reach for fills and flicks. What you need to focus on is thumb placement on the back of the guitar neck. Your thumb should be on the lower third of the back of the neck. Keep your wrist straight and almost any reach you wish to attain will be possible. I'm not saying you'll have the same span as a large handed person but proper,efficient technique will always conquer genetics.

Ask Lots, Learn Lots,

Give everything but up.

Re: Stubby fingers

Thanks to everyone.
I'm not giving up. Sometimes it can get frustrating being around others and they make music and I make noise.
I know that everything comes with time, practice, and patience.  Sometimes I let the frustrations of the work day roll over into my music. I don't ever take the frustrations home with me, but sometimes one frustration will only add to another.
Maybe I'll take out the frustration on a couple of golf balls.

If you're not happy with what you have...
Then you'll never be happy with what you get...

Re: Stubby fingers

eagle, I too have short stubby fingers.
I usually cheat with the chords when I cannot stretch my fingers.
But like you said, thru time threy will get better, I find mine have got a little better, and I really mean a little lol
I cannot barr chords properly if at all either because of my fingers, so again, I cheat.

I am sure there are finger exercises you can do, I am sure I read this on the net somewhere a while ago.


ye get some that are cut out for the job and others just get by from pretending

7 (edited by ebigham1 2007-11-08 01:42:46)

Re: Stubby fingers

Hey Eagleeye,

My hands are small also. When I first started palying it was hard to stretch my index and pinky 3 frets apart from the first fret to the fifth and play the notes clearly. Now I can stretch them 5 frets apart from the first fret to the seventh.

Keep trying you will get it better.


Re: Stubby fingers

I have shorter fingers than some and it prevented me playing a shuffle pattern I  wanted - it reuqires a six fret stretch - however I can play it along the neck and with a bit of practice in the 5th position - a capo helps

I think the moral of the story is that everone has things on the guitar they would like to do but can't - but you may be able to find work arounds

Re: Stubby fingers

need some one to me about finger stretching i know it is some where on this chat list

Re: Stubby fingers

Old Doll.

Why Blend in with the Crowd ? When you were made to stand out !

Re: Stubby fingers

We all know what they say about the length of fingers and other parts of the anatomy. Has everyone heard Eric Bibb? (In My Father's House); not the same as the title currently posted on Chordie. Does anyone have any long fingers for sale?

Re: Stubby fingers

Ha Eagleeye5851 cool

I have thin fingers and can't stretch because my little fingers curve in at the last joint (I can barely make 5 frets from the first and I've been playing over 32 years. Gonna have to work out how long it really is soon!)

Andre Segovia (Sp) is reputedly one of the greatest Classical Guitarists of all time. He has/had fingers like sausages and it didn't stop him being brilliant!

I would say that for sausage fingers, a wider neck is desirable; for stretch, a shorter scale length.

Whatever your problems, keep trying to defeat them, but don't let their stubbornness defeat you! Workarounds work!

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