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Finding it hard to stretch my fingers

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Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 1
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Hello! New here and completely new at guitar. Got it last week. I am quite musical in that I used to play clarinet, flute and self taught a bit of keyboard. But guitar is soo hard! I didn't want to spend too much on a practice guitar so I got a Yamaha F310 full sized acoustic. Been having a little tinker and getting used to holding it right and holding the pick right. I've been just practicing on one string at a time going up on the frets. E string on 5th fret with index finger then 4th fret with middle finger etc then moving to A just to get a feel of where my fingers go. I'm finding it difficult to stretch my little finger over so I have all four fingers down. When I get that finger down the others slightly move so the sound isn't clear at all. This makes my finger and hand sore and cramp-like. This should improve with time and practice I hope. I have quite small hands and am wondering if I can still learn a guitar! Any tips? Also this is normal but I'm constantly looking down at the frets to place my fingers then looking over where I'm picking. So it's really slow going lol. I can't see the high E string without tilting the guitar slightly either :( am I being too hard on myself? Lol Thankyou

Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5342

Yes, you're being too hard on yourself.

Do the one-finger-per-fret-four-fingers-down exercise at the 12th fret to start with, the frets are closer together there. Move it down the neck a fret at a time once you can achieve the desired result without thinking about it.

Small hands - no issue.

Don't tilt the guitar back to look at the strings - look over the top of the guitar.

Looking at the frets to correctly place the hands - unless you plan on playing in darkened rooms with your eyes shut, I'm not sure I can see a problem here.

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at:

Active Member
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 5

The body has incredibly adaptive abilities. Direct attention to an obstacle is not always necessary for the obstacle to disappear. Focus on your favorite music and learn your favorite songs.

This will do two things:
1. Keep you excited about playing music and guitar.
2. Allow you to naturally develop and make improvements perfectly tailored to the sounds that already excite you emotionally.

Learn the chords to your favorite tunes and practice changing chords slowly. Within a few days (or hours) you will notice muscle memory working for you.

Guitarist, Songwriter, Audio Engineer

Credits include Bellator, Lego and NewAlliance Bank

Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1497

When not playing guitar and not needing your hands (watching TV or something else passive) put a tennis ball between your fingers pushing them apart to the point of stretch but not to the point of pain. Leave it theare for a long time, then move to the next space. This will help speed the process. My wife does this with Parkinson's Disease patients to keep their hands from closing and stiffening up.

I was predominantly a sax player when I was young. On songs where sax wasn't needed, the bass player showed me a few things and picked up his guitar so we could have a 3 guitar band. It was a Fender Precision bass, and I couldn't stretch intervals at first, but had to jump them. In time, my fingers stretched all by themselves. It just takes doing it.

Now I compare the spread of my left and right hands, the the left can stretch a lot more.

Bodies are adaptable.


Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats >^. .^< >^. .^<

Active Member
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 9

I loosen up my fingers by pulling them back for a few seconds, then clenching on a stress ball.

I also learned recently that cracking your fingers and knuckles doesn't actually hurt or affect your hands in anyway. The snaps you hear are just air pockets and my fingers sometimes feel better when I do that, after a couple hours of practice.

Danica Levy,
Marketing Manager for Levy's Leathers.

Active Member
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 12

i see many people asking about this, Like others said do some excercises that will both help your fretting abilities and inadvertently help your stretching, one thing you shouldn't do is do " no guitar finger excercises " like train ur wrist to barre chord by using that thing people use to strengthen forearms in the gym, everything is ment to be a natural phase. Your anatomy will never be the problem, i have tiny hands and my fingers stretch pretty nicely and neatly.