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Fat fingers 'ffect fretting

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Montezuma
(@montezuma)
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I am sure this must be a common thing but I have not seen anything on the topic.

I have fairly large fingers - not sausages by any means - but my middle and ring fingers only just fit between the strings on my guitar (Washburn 10S - steel string acoustic). I have to ensure they are perfectly placed which can be a nuisance.
Often, I bend a string slightly to give the finger more room, but not too many chords allow for that because the string one bends towards will of course be muted so one has to bend towards a not-needed string.

I wonder if there are tips and tricks to help the fat fingered get around unintentional muting. (Or perhaps slimming tips -sorry 'bout the pun - for fat fingers!)

I am about to buy an electric and I will definitely choose as wide a neck as possible, but I feel that one ought to be versatile and not have to avoid certain guitar brands because of neck width/string spacing.

Thanks
Ola

“Poetry and Hums aren't things which you get, they're things which get you. And all you can do is go where they can find you.” - Winnie the Pooh


   
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BmanCV-60
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Yes, pretty common.

I traded my first guitar in because of this, although if I'd been practicing more I probably wouldn't have needed to . Try laying your fingers on the the frets at diffferent angles - this and the wider neck of my Epiphone has helped. I still stumble, but it's getting better. As one wise sage on the board said (in effect) " with enough practice it really won't matter much how wide the neck is, you just play".

"...I don't know - but whasomever I do, its gots ta be FUNKY!"


   
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dogbite
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extremely common. that is why we all work with what we got. you'll find a way to stop muting a string after you cannot stand it any longer.
as for reducing fat in fingers, true fact, you can soak your fingers in gasoline (not reccomended). gasoline permeates the skin and literally dissolves the fat. growing up near a gas station the mechanic had the skinniest bonest fingers. he cleaned car parts in gasoline.

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JoeHempel
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extremely common. that is why we all work with what we got. you'll find a way to stop muting a string after you cannot stand it any longer.
as for reducing fat in fingers, true fact, you can soak your fingers in gasoline (not reccomended). gasoline permeates the skin and literally dissolves the fat. growing up near a gas station the mechanic had the skinniest bonest fingers. he cleaned car parts in gasoline.

Thanks for that!! I think I've found my new diet plan.....bathe in gasoline :D :D :D

I've got fat fingers too, but they are short as well, so maybe that helps, but it still makes it hard.

In Space, no one can hear me sing!


   
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rparker
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I've got that problem too. A couple of my guitars have wider frets than normal. I bought one of those wholesale club sets due to lack of knowledge. Long story short, I got frustrated after two months of not hitting a C-chord cleanly without it taking 15 seconds. I walk into a guitar store to inquire about possibility of wider frets. The guy hands me the Ibanez and I hit the C on the first try. Sold. So, I closeted the wholesale club guitar and had progress ever since.

I actually officially call the Ibanez my "starter", thereby absolving myself of responsability for making a stupid purchase. :lol: :lol:

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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unimogbert
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I am about to buy an electric and I will definitely choose as wide a neck as possible, but I feel that one ought to be versatile and not have to avoid certain guitar brands because of neck width/string spacing.

Ola

I think this is counter-productive thinking. Do you expect to be able to fit into pants that are 4" too small just because that size might be more common?

Just take it as part of your learning that your physique doesn't work with certain guitars. And don't let it bother you. There are lots of guitars that ought to work for you. Find them. (and enjoy the trip!)

Unimogbert
(indeterminate, er, intermediate fingerstyle acoustic)


   
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Montezuma
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Topic starter  

I think this is counter-productive thinking. Do you expect to be able to fit into pants that are 4" too small just because that size might be more common?
Just take it as part of your learning that your physique doesn't work with certain guitars. And don't let it bother you. There are lots of guitars that ought to work for you. Find them. (and enjoy the trip!)

Ha ha, good point about the pants. (I am trying to keep my belly from expanding too much with age & beer - some of my favourite pants are getting distinctly uncomfortable.)

When I bought my acoustic (steel string) I didn't give the spacing much thought. It was a problem to start with but has distinctly reduced, though it is still there. I tend to agree with the theory of learning that says if you face yourself with challenges things become wonderfully easy when you reduce them. (Best example is the advice to gradually increase practice tempo to a speed way too fast for you then when you slow down again you find it easier to play at tempos that stretched you before).
Similarly, I feel that the subtle techniques that I have developed to cope with fat fingers, and the need for pinpoint accuracy of placing my fingers, will make accurate fingering a breeze when I play a guitar with wider spaced strings.

I guess the converse is true too - I don't want to fall in love with a guitar and find I have to reject it for string spacing reasons.

I do agree with you though - since I will still be playing the acoustic - I will get something less cramped this time out.

Thanks for the input guys. (dogbite - i think I'll give the gasoline technique a miss!)

Ola

“Poetry and Hums aren't things which you get, they're things which get you. And all you can do is go where they can find you.” - Winnie the Pooh


   
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unimogbert
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To some extent everyone needs to learn how to play and certain beginner problems may seem like it's the instrument rather than the beginner.

But string spacing really matters. I bought an inexpensive Epiphone guitar for camping. Didn't play it enough before purchase to notice that the neck was just too skinny for me to play properly. It wound up being a Christmas present for my niece (who has the right sized fingers for it and is really, really happy :-).

Unimogbert
(indeterminate, er, intermediate fingerstyle acoustic)


   
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quarterfront
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I don't have fat fingers. I thought I did. I also thought my fingers were too stubby.

I expected all of the great guitar players would have long skinny fingers until I started actually looking at their hands. Hendrix did, but Stevie Ray Vaughan didn't. And so on and so on. Everybody has different hands and everybody plays different because of that. What a cool world!

I was working backstage on Christmas Carol with this guy I know, Danny Cox, a local blues guy of note here in Kansas City, and he had his guitar in the green room and was giving informal lessons to a couple of kids in the cast. I'd never paid attention to his hands before. Great guitar player, mind you. I looked and saw that his fingers are, I kid you not, like Johnsonville Bratwursts. But his playing is tight, rich, expressive, subtle, and there's only one guy sounds like him.


   
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Vic Lewis VL
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Fat fingers, huh? Hmmm - take a look at this guy - Leslie West.

He's pretty large. In fact, let's not beat about the bush here, he's bloody ENORMOUS. Huge. Probably, in medical terms, grossly obese. Fingers like sausages? Yep, and we're not talking chipolatas, either.

Didn't stop him though, did it? Those fingers are FLYING on that fretboard.....

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


   
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BmanCV-60
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Fat fingers, huh? Hmmm - take a look at this guy - Leslie West.

He's pretty large. In fact, let's not beat about the bush here, he's bloody ENORMOUS. Huge. Probably, in medical terms, grossly obese. Fingers like sausages? Yep, and we're not talking chipolatas, either.

Didn't stop him though, did it? Those fingers are FLYING on that fretboard.....

:D :D :D

Vic

Can't argue with Mountain! :shock: Thanks Vic, truly inspiring!

"...I don't know - but whasomever I do, its gots ta be FUNKY!"


   
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csmart01
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I have friends who play very well and they do NOT have skinny fingers. I would say mine are average to big and I suffer the same problems of hitting (muting) the adjacent strings. One thing I have found is not so much he position or angle but the pressure; when you start playing you go nuts over pressing on everything (barrs, hammer ons, notes,...) but if you only press as hard as you need to you'll (or at least I did) find your finger tip doesn't flatten out as much and get in the way.


   
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hdixon
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extremely common. that is why we all work with what we got. you'll find a way to stop muting a string after you cannot stand it any longer.
as for reducing fat in fingers, true fact, you can soak your fingers in gasoline (not reccomended). gasoline permeates the skin and literally dissolves the fat. growing up near a gas station the mechanic had the skinniest bonest fingers. he cleaned car parts in gasoline.
Soak them in gasoline? Come on - ya gotta be kidding right?


   
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Scrybe
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I wouldn't bend the strings - you'll put the note out of tune and even if only slightly so, it will probably sound bad.

I'd choose guitars with wide necks, there's no shame in that, justlike there'd be no shame in me choosing a small-scale guitar if my fingers were short. As it is, I play a range of guitars with different necks, but my favourite is my strat because I have fairly long (for a chick) skinny fingers and I find the neck of my strat best suited to my hands.

And there plenty of famous and talented guitarists with fat fingers, as Vic noted. More examples just off the top of my head....Buddy Guy, T Bone Walker, Buddy Whittington (guitarist with Jon Mayall), I think Dimebag Darrell's fingers may have been fairly wide too, and it didn't stop him blazing down the neck either. It's a combination of practice (applies to everyone) and choosing gear to best suit your needs (applies to everyone).

Heck, if finger size really counted as a significant factor in playing ability, your local music school would have a finger-measurement device you'd have to pass through before getting a place. There's a damn good reason why they don't.

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Rahul
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Try playing a classical. It has a wider fretboard.


   
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