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(@incognito167)
Estimable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 110
Topic starter  

I'm ever so sorry to bring this topic up once again, but it really is something i need to sort out sooner rather than later.

Finger length and left wrist bend.

Basically i've got short fingers and to play notes on the low E i have to bend my wrist somewhat, so that my fingers don't mute the other strings and so that i fret with the "tip" of my finger rather than its "pad".

Since i am very much a beginner, i know that some (actually all) of my problem come from the fact that i do not have the finger strength or co-ordination and also that i am having to think about finger palcement etc. As such i'm bending my wrist too much.

The thing is, is that playing notes on the low E is uncomfortable, since i'm having to really cock my wrist back and as well as being an awkward position, i'm getting pains on the "knuckle-side" of my wrist.

Hopefully this is all just a product of my poor beginners from and technique, so are there some hints/tips/instruction you can give me, and/or show me some pictures that can alleviate this discomfort.

This is really getting me down because i want to just get on and start really practising, but i don't want to hack away using bad form and potentially causing damage.

Help! :(

Mart.


   
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(@nicktorres)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 5381
 

You'll have to show me pics but I haven't seen a player that can't hit that low E with good hand and wrist position.

Try this, put the neck of the guitar in your palm of your left hand. Touch your thumb and middle finger together on top of the neck, forming an O.

Let me know if you can do that.


   
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 Mike
(@mike)
Famed Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 2892
 

1. Adjust your strap to raise the guitar up more on your body

2. Angle the neck up more.

3. Do finger exercises to loosen up your fingers (as a beginner you are probably all tensed up)

4. Try..... (I know it's hard in the beginning).......to relax.

5. Remember that the guitar is fun. If you act like it's a job, you will end up treating it like a job.

Have fun and good luck.


   
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(@incognito167)
Estimable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 110
Topic starter  

Nick, i can touch my thumb and middle finger around the neck (and this is a classical guitar, which i always thought was a little wider) but i can't touch my thumb to my pinky.

What i'll do, is take some pics of my wrist and hand position, and then maybe you could give me some feedback.

To help you to assess, are then any particular positions you want me try and do (i spent ages trying to phrase tha so it would sound kinky, but knew i would fail!).

Thanks, and i'll post them soon.
Mart.


   
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(@nicktorres)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 5381
 

If you can touch those two together around a classical guitar neck, you have all the stretch you need.

You wrist needs to be relaxed, but it doesn't need to be static. Don't worry about moving it slightly.

Now it shouldn't ever get cocked into some claw shape, but it won't remain perfectly straight either.

Tracker has some good points. Raise the neck up a bit, I even push the headstock end away from me a little. If you are cheating by looking at the frets, then you are probably rotating the top of the guitar towards you. Stop doing that. That makes you rotate the wrist further to make up for the neck angle.

Keep your elbow relaxed and hanging, not tucked in, not chicken winged.

Picture this, your fretboard is a mirror. When you place a finger on it, the finger and its reflection make the top half of that O shape.

Let your fingers come down to the fretboard. The best way to practice this is to have all of your fingers above the frets in the chord shape and imagine just dropping them down. No stress. Don't hammer them, just relax and drop them down.

By the way, not only will you master this soon, but you will look back and wonder what the problem was. Feel secure in that everybody had to go through this. I did, Clapton did, EVH did, Segovia did, and David Hodge did too.


   
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(@incognito167)
Estimable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 110
Topic starter  

Nick, Tracker, thank you for your advice.

I guess i just wanted to know that i do have the ability to play (i keep remembering that Simpsons episode, where one of Lisa's teachers says that her hands are too small and that she'll never be any good at the sax. Ha! Look at her now. Yes, i know it's a cartoon!)

I'll defo keep trying, and i'll let you know how i get on.

Thanks again.
Mart.

(ps Tracker, i don't treat it like a job, but i wouldn't mind getting a pro record deal :wink: . Though since i'm still asking about wrist alignment, i guess it'll be a while before one of those comes a' knocking!)


   
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 Mike
(@mike)
Famed Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 2892
 

I just said that because it seamed like you were all stressed out over it and it doesn't have to be that way.

The first things you do when you have a problem is stop and relax. Like Nick said, EVERYONE goes through these things.

Learning the guitar is going to be a long process. I don't think anyone here can say it isn't. You just have to make sure you have everything before you go on this long journey........don't forget to pack your patience!!!!!

Again, have fun!!!

Oh yea, like mom always says, "sit up straight".


   
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(@incognito167)
Estimable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 110
Topic starter  

Tracker, you were right, i was stressed. I just kept thinking that i didn't want anything to get in my way and hold me back even more. I'm 22 and even though i know that's not old, i keep wanting to get good quickly, so as to not waste any more time! I'm not rushing ahead or anything, i'm taking my time to learn the bascis properly and thoroughly (hence the need to sort out position worries early on) but the longer it takes me to really get on my way, the longer it'll take me to get where i wanna be!

Thanks again for your help. :)

Mart


   
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(@olive)
Estimable Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 126
 

On top of all of the great advice that everyone else has given, I thought I would mention thumb position. Having your thumb in the middle of the back of the neck can really improve your reach. It doesn't have to be permanately anchored there, but next time you're having a hard time reaching the E take a look at your thumb and make sure it's not creeping up over the top of the neck.

Some articles that might help you out:

Posture
Fret hand position (with photos)

Hope this helps!

"My ex-boyfriend can't tell me I've sold out, because he's in a cult, and he's not allowed to talk to me." --Dar Williams


   
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(@incognito167)
Estimable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 110
Topic starter  

Thanks Olive.

Really appreciate the help people. Though i'm still open to any more hints and tips.

Mart.


   
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