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Ohhh... this small hands.. *sigh...

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(@fallen-im)
Active Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 3
Topic starter  

Hi,

Im a newbie here. Im starting get really frustrated about scaling. Im trying to learn the intro of Under the Bridge by RHCP and the scale part of the intro is giving me a very hard time (not to mention im practicing it already for more than a month).. I have seen a dozen of covers and they seem to do it very easy as if they dont put any effort.. i observe that their hands are kinda bigger than i have and their fingers can go easily to any fret with pretty speed.. im wondering, is it the guitar im using.? if so, what could be the best guitar i can practice with, designed for individuals like me who has small hands. or what other things i can try.?

any of your advice will be very much appreciated.

by the way, what i have is an Applause guitar ae227 and im 5'5" tall (hope this helps)

cheers.!
^_^


   
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(@davidhodge)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 4472
 

Many of my younger students want to learn this, or "Crazy Train" or some other song that involves strectches that are too big for them at present. How they manage to do it is by remembering that the note at the fifth fret of the low E string is the same as the open A and the note at the fifth fret of the A string is the same as the open D. That allows them to concentrate only on the notes at the second and fourth frets of those strings, which is a lot easier for their small hands. You might want to try that and see if it heps.

By the way, if you keep at it, your fingers will get use to making the stretches. First, allow them to jump from fret to fret. If you anchor your index finger at the second fret you're making it harder on yourself. Be sure you're not grabbing the neck with your thumb. That also limits your fingers ability to reach the desired notes.

I hope this helps. Not being able to watch you do it means a bit of guesswork on what advice to give!

Peace


   
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(@moonrider)
Noble Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 1305
 

As someone who has small hands, I can say the problem isn't the size of your hands, it's that your hands can't stretch that far yet. There's no easy way to develop the stretch. it takes time and practice.

Playing guitar and never playing for others is like studying medicine and never working in a clinic.

Moondawgs on Reverbnation


   
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(@hobson)
Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 794
 

Welcome to GN. As has been said, you can usually find another way to play the same thing or something so similar that most listeners aren't going to notice. As someone who also has small hands (index finger 2 1/2"), I know that it can be frustrating. I also know that occasionally I'll find things that I simply can't play or can't play well enough to suit me. For me some barre chords are still difficult and some reaches are impossible. I've been at this over 40 years.

Yes, you can find a guitar with a shorter scale, which makes some difference. A thinner neck makes more of a difference. Certainly the problem could be the guitar you're using. Not necessarily only the size, but the fact that it's a cheaper guitar and may not be set up properly. If you can make the reach but get a thunk instead of a clean note, it could be the guitar and not just you.

Renee


   
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(@trguitar)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3709
 

I agree, you will stretch better with time and increase your reach. I don't have small hands though so ..... :roll: My fingers aren't overly long but they are slender and I have big palms. I am blessed, but you can still do it with time.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


   
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(@fallen-im)
Active Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 3
Topic starter  

sometimes i feel im getting nowhere whenever im practicing..
but i guess the answer is to keep my self in being busy and be stubborn in practicing.

i really appreciate your responds
thanks everyone for your help.!

*high 5.!
^_^


   
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(@liontable)
Estimable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 146
 

Don't worry!

When you're playing it shouldn't even matter if you progress, because that's the way you do. Just relaxing takes you further than trying really, even overly, hard. I personally enjoy even the technical exercises, just find your groove in it. Look for the things you enjoy in practicing, every exercise has something that'll probably appeal somehow.

Something I often do, and I feel it helps, is imagining I can play it. I saw it in some Steve Vai interview, and by thinking about being able to play it you learn it faster, because your mind is already settling on the idea. It could be bogus, but I find it an enjoyable one if it is. Don't worry, it's not a race, you won't ever finish after all :)


   
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(@joehempel)
Famed Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2415
 

I have VERY small hands...my 15yr old nephew has bigger hands than me. It just takes alot of stretching practice. There is no one drill I did. As an example, a stretch from 2-5, which should be one finger, one fret is very very hard for me. I can make the stretch, but having to hit notes on other strings between there is hard. But just recently I was able to hit a 2-6 stretch and a 3-7 stretch....VERY uncomfortably, but I could hit it in time.

keep on doing it, it'll eventually come! Don't do what I did and purposely avoid songs that had those stretches in them just because they were there.

In Space, no one can hear me sing!


   
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(@apache)
Reputable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 301
 

I've got really small hands too, and like the others have said over time it does get a easier to stretch..
sometimes i feel im getting nowhere whenever im practicing..
but i guess the answer is to keep my self in being busy and be stubborn in practicing.

Trust me - I think we all go through phases like that - then all of a sudden you seem to get a breakthrough and also remember that this is meant to be fun too....

I've been playing just over a year, and quickly realised the guitar was more difficult that I thought it would be, but I'm really glad I've stuck with it :D

Although I hadn't banked on developing GAS.... so 3 guitars later....


   
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(@blueshoes)
New Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 2

   
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(@s1120)
Prominent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 848
 

OK.... well lets start out by saying that I dont have the small hand issue... Im lucky having big hands, and long fingers.... But that being said, Im also kinda a newbee playing. I have struggled in the past also doing some of those streaches. I have learned that a few min of warm up on the guitar, a little hand streaching I picked up somewere, [ make a light fist..then slowly open, and fan out your fingers as far as you can.. slowly... ] and then going back to the guitar and giving it a shot slowly, it comes to me. The guitar also matters. I have a epi accustic and also a Les Paul electric. the LP has a real nice thin neck that is real easy to play, and you can get some good streaches on it. the Acustic on the other hand has a thick, wide neck, that can make it much harder to hit the notes... So its not so much the scale lengh, but the cross section of the neck its self that effects it.

Paul B


   
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(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5480
 

I've got short fingers, a bit of arthritis and started later in life. I can't do some of those stretchs comfortable still, but it seems like every few months I find myself able to do a bit more than a few months earlier. Same with barre chrods and such. With them, it's been being able to do entire songs without major pain, but that was partially caused by a non-guitar injury.

I know where I am messing up, and that is not doing the exercises as recommended by everyone who's ever taught guitar. :oops:

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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(@johnny-lee)
Trusted Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 48
 

The problem definitely isn't small hands as this video of little North Korean guitarists proves

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtjvVgNMPtI

If those kids can do it with a guitar thats almost the size of their own body, anyone can develop the ability to get a little more stretch from their hands.

Also, I happen to play Under The Bridge and I can say it can be a very cool sounding, but difficult song for beginners to learn. It took me a while to nail that intro.

One tip I can give is to use the "thumb over" position for the initial D major instead of the usual barre chord form. Makes that chord easier. Second thing is, don't do the little embellishments until you just have the basic chord change down. And finally, practice really slow on this one. You need to be very accurate or it will sound like crap.

Hope that helps.

My writings on playing guitar => No B.S. Guitar


   
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(@fallen-im)
Active Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 3
Topic starter  

Hi everyone.!
I really really really^nth want to thank you those who replied and posted their help about my issue. Its been almost 2 months since i posted this thread. And after those almost 2 months of practicing and doing your suggestions and tips, it gave me a TREMENDOUS IMPROVEMENT.! I can now play the intro of Under the Bridge by RHCP with minimal finger stress and decent speed. And I just finished learning the verse and im soooooooooooo excited to learn more new songs.! :mrgreen:

And i just want to share to my fellow newbies around here some things that i have learned based on my experience and i believe that also essential in learning guitar.

here it goes..

1. Time... Allot a time dedicated on practicing your guitar. In my case, since when I alloted a time for my guitar, it helped me to be more focused. It somehow help me relieve my guilty feeling whenever i picked my guitar despite of the tons of errands and unfinished works that surrounds me. Now, its me like telling to myself that its ok to ignore these BS surrounding me for a moment. Since that they will get their turn anyway, once im done with my bonding session with applause (my guitar).. :lol: hihi.!!

2. Drop the magazines..! I love collecting guitar magazines. But once i realized that i spent more time in reading my magazines, watching videos and reading lessons on the internet, it gave me a huge FACE PALM.!! I was too foolish to resort too much to these.. But good thing that i now come to my senses and realized that what i really need more is an actual practice with applause.. :)

3. Imagine yourself playing soooo good as if your a pro.. Yep, go and daydream.! I got this from an inspirational video of Steve Vai. Seeing yourself playing (or doing) it really gives you more motivation and more confidence. This help me to be 'back on the track' whenever any obstacles make me feel discouraged or whenever I feel lazy. Its like you picturing what you want or what you wanna be. And from there, it will help you to know what has to be done.. And if you ask me, i had now a list of what im going to daydream next, after this one..lol :lol:
Thanks Mr. Vai.!

4. Do not.. and do not take a shortcut..! I guess i was one of those newbies who are more to just learning new songs than learning music. Before, whenever i practice playing (with my friend) and get stuck to a challenging part of a song, what i always ask him to teach me is a shortcut. A shortcut is something like playing it in an easier (not right) way but only "kinda sounds right".Taking a shortcut will somehow feel achieving something but it will lead you nowhere.. Avoiding difficult part of the songs wont get you anywhere. What i advice is just be stubborn in taking those 'longcuts' (i dunno if there such a word :roll: ) until you perfect it. Besides, growth is about overcoming challenges, so never evar take a shortcut..!

5. Rest. This is what i take for granted the most which i believe made my practice soooo ineffective. Whenever i have a free time to practice and feel so motivated, what i do is spend hours and hours with my guitar ignoring the stress on my hands.. What I was thinking was like its ok to ignore the stress so my hands will get used to it. So guess what.?! What i developed is not finger speed.... but 'finger cramps' *sigh :cry: ... I say dont rush it. Whenever your hands feel tired, take a 5-10 mins rest (and do some stretching, it helps a lot.!). Once you get back to your guitar, your hands will feel more somehow stronger and faster (or maybe its just my imagination :? ) and will make your practice more efficient.!

Hope my 'based from experience' lessons will also be a help to you guys..
Just to wrap things up, i must say that (as we all know) its true! : practice makes perfect
(but in my case im still getting there.. i hope)

just keep practicing and of course, enjoy your guitar..!

Until then.!
high 5.! ^_^


   
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(@vic-lewis-vl)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 10264
 

High fives it is, then! Only just caught up with this thread - I probably decided not to comment because I'm 6'5" and blessed with big hands and long slender fingers. And it took me a while to get the intro to UTB - and I still don't play it "properly!" Having said that, though, I have had a few hand injuries over the years - usually when I'm feeling good about the progress I've made - which have limited my hand speed and dexterity.

As has already been said, there's no easy way to achieve speed, dexterity and fluidity - it takes time, hard work and practise. Glad to see you've put the hard yards in, and glad to see it's paying off!

: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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