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Problems with hands

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VinManAgent11
(@vinmanagent11)
Active Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 6
Topic starter  

I some of you might have had this problem, and I would really appreciate some help. You see, I have pretty big hands compared to most people around me (hand itself is 8 inches, and each finger is 3 inches), and when I play some chords, or even simple notes, I sometimes hit the high E string with the palm of my hand. When I readjust my fingers/hand, the strings are played okay, but my wrist starts hurting. I'm thinking either: posture, practice, or just "getting used to it", but it doesn't hurt to check, right (heh, little joke, 'hurt'...)?

And don't get me started about the guitar-store employees who constantly suggest I get a bass (though I wouldn't mind learning sometime later).

"War does not determine who is right; only who is left."


   
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NoteBoat
(@noteboat)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

If I had to guess from your description, I'd say you have the neck at too low an angle. Raising the headstock a bit should allow you to arch your fingers without having the wrist pain (which probably comes from dropping your wrist too much because of the low neck)

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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Mike
 Mike
(@mike)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2892
 

First try what NoteBoat suggested. If that doesn't work "try" this.

*Disclaimer* - There are pro's and con's to what I am going to say. People can argue to they are blue in the face but, this works for me.

My hands are 9 inches long. People will say to put your thumb behind the headstock in the middle. I can NOT do that, my wrist kills me when I do that normally (barre chords are another story). I found that having a baseball bat grip works for me(<again, works for me, maybe not you).

"Try" it out and see if it helps. If not, disreguard what I said.

Either way I hope everything works out for you.


   
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Wes Inman
(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5582
 

I agree with Tracker. People with large hands tend to use the baseball grip more. People with small hands need to keep their thumb in the middle of the neck for reach.

Many people put Hendrix down and say he had poor technique. No. He had very large hands. He rarely used his pinky. He could easily fret with his thumb over the neck. Look at pictures of Chuck Berry. He also had huge hands. He does not use his pinky much either.

Whatever YOU have to do to fret a chord so that it sounds properly is correct. And you certainly don't want to do things that cause pain. Over a long period of time you can injure your hand severely.

Jimi Hendrix

Chuck Berry

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
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VinManAgent11
(@vinmanagent11)
Active Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 6
Topic starter  

Thanks for the tips guys! The baseball grip seems a lot more comfortable, and I've actually seen quite an improvement by elevating the neck a little more too. I felt putting my thumb behind the neck was a better way to learn, but from what you told me, it should not hinder my progress if I use the technique that is most comfortable (for me).

I have also tried playing on my left leg, instead of right, and that too has increased my performance.

"War does not determine who is right; only who is left."


   
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paul donnelly
(@paul-donnelly)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 1066
 

Your hands don't sound so large to me; I think you just need to work on your posture. Don't press your guitar's neck into your palm, and make sure your wrist is straight. Reposition your guitar as needed to achieve this. Use the weight of your arm to fret, and not squeezing from the hand. That should fix things with a little practice. I'm betting you're just not used to the feeling of playing without much of a grip on the neck, and that's why you're hitting strings. Unless you're using it to bend, your hand doesn't need to touch the neck. You want to hand your hand from the neck by your fingers.

I recommend getting comfortable with the thumb-behind-the-neck position as well, since it's useful when you want to make long stretches. Just move the neck to a position that lets you use a straight wrist, and you won't hurt yourself.


   
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thepoliteone
(@thepoliteone)
Active Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 9
 

Hi Paul,

You said:
Use the weight of your arm to fret, and not squeezing from the hand

How do you do this?

Thanks,
-Andrew.

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness."
-- Mark Twain


   
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pcparrothead
(@pcparrothead)
Eminent Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 26
 

I am a newbie as well and I have rather large hands
in the beginning it was hard for me to learn new chords

I would say a safe guess....my middle finger is every bit of 4 inches long
I try to work on the thumb behind the neck...but catch myself with "baseball bat" grip all the time.

one thing I worked on that helped was to use more of the "tip" of my finger to fret with. (fingers pressing almost straight into the fretboard)
I am able to get the strings to ring cleaner this way

but, like I said....I am a beginner.
might make sure to listen to the instructors on the board like NoteBoat!!


   
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steve14437
(@steve14437)
New Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1
 

Anybody have an issue with "double-jointed" thumbs? This has been an issue with barre chords for me and I would appreciate suggestions. Also, when I try to root a major barre chord on the A string, like a Bb, I am having trouble getting the B string fretted without muting the high E. I have tried using index to barre and using the middle, ring and pinky to fret strings D,G and B but it seems awkward. I have also tried barring the same three with my ring finger but that tends to mute the high E again.

HELP : (


   
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paul donnelly
(@paul-donnelly)
Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 1066
 

To fret with the weight of your arm, you need to hold your finger pretty firm. You then place your fingertip on the string and let your arm hang a bit. Keep your wrist straight to conduct the force properly, and pull your elbow back a tiny bit so your finger stays on the neck rather than letting your arm fall to the ground. That would be a little useless. Don't let your arm hang so much that it takes a huge amount of force to keep it from falling. You do need to hold it up some. The force for fretting should come from gravity and from pulling back a little with your fretting arm.

When you fret properly, as I described above (it's also described in more detail at http://www.guitarprinciples.com ), you won't have trouble with your thumbs and barre chords. Since all the force is coming from the arm and from gravity, the thumb isn't involved. You'll need to pull back more for chords, and yet more for barre chords. So, although my fretting hand thumb is double jointed, no trouble.


   
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Narn
 Narn
(@narn)
Estimable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 192
 

Steve 14437. You don't neccessarily need the high E string to ring to make an A chord as you get the same note on the D string anyway. With the E muted or not you still have the same chord, just a different voicing of it. Although the High E muted is not usual way it's played in terms of the notes for the chord it is not strictly nedessary. If you want to get it down though the only suggestion I can offer is to work on it, you may eventualy get the flexibility you need to get your finger to bend the way you want.

"You want WHAT on the *&%#ing ceiling?" - Michelangelo, 1566


   
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undercat
(@undercat)
Prominent Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 959
 

I have to disagree with you, Narn, I consider getting that high E out a necessary part of your technique.

I have very fleshy fingers, and initially found myself accidentally muting all sorts of strings unintentionally, but part of raising my quality of guitar playing has been getting to the point where I consistently play chords and sound every note. That becomes progressively more important as you learn more and more complex and difficult to finger chords.

For me, most of the time it was not an issue of flexibility, rather, an issue of finger placement and precision.

Do something you love and you'll never work a day in your life...


   
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