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frustrated beginner; are guitars designed for men?

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(@notes_norton)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1497
 

My duo partner is female, and she plays guitar.

If your hands are too small, they do make short scale guitars. Most Gibson/Epiphone electrics have a shorter scale than Fenders, and are easier to reach across the frets. And I've seen "specialty" guitars that have a scale even shorter than that. But I think unless you are really tiny, you shouldn't need one.

But while learning a musical instrument, we all have times when we seem to progress for a while and then when we seem to stall at a particular level. Really though, you are not stalling, your body is just recoiling and getting ready to take a giant leap forward. You just have to keep at it an persevere until it takes that giant leap.

And yes, most rock musicians are Male, but it isn't an exclusive club. Most of us don't care what gender, race, religion, or persuasion you are, all we care about is the music you make.

If you want to see a female guitarist that can rip 90% or more of the other guitarists on the planet (and make it look easy), check out Orianthi Panagaris on YouTube or anywhere else. Most of us males would love to have her hands.

So hang in there, learning to play music isn't instant gratification. But I'm glad it isn't. If it was, everyone could do it. And if everyone could do it, people wouldn't pay me to have so much fun.

BTW, these 3 guitars have very slim necks, Gibson scale, and should be easy for someone with small hands:

Epiphone Casino - Gibson ES-33o
LTD EC-50 (modded by myself)
Insights and incites by Notes ♫

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<


   
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(@mighty-windy-gurl)
Active Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 6
Topic starter  

Yeah, I think I was being a whiner and blaming the guitar and hands/fingers for my difficulties. I can get the G chord if I place my fingers correctly and not sloppily. It's just that in my haste to make chord changes in time, I'm letting the accuracy of finger placement slip. It's frustrating--it seems at this point like I have to make a choice between keeping in time or getting the chords right. I've practiced chord changes a lot, a lot, a lot, and I still can't do them quickly enough to keep a song going. I'm working on Blowin' in the Wind with fingerpicking from the fingerpicking lesson on this site. Which, for now, sounds like "How many ... [long pause] roads must a ... [long pause] man walk down."
But it's hard to keep motivated when you keep trying and trying and can't get something/keep making the same mistake. But I'm not giving up. I've also learned to quit one thing that seems too hard and work on something else for a while, and then come back to the first thing. For a long time I hated fingerpicking and only liked using the pick. But I'm starting to get a feel for it, and you can do fun things with chords with the fingerpicking. And in a way, fingerpicking seems a bit more forgiving.
I'd love to get a new guitar (I'm starting to see how people end up spending so much money on guitars), but I'm going to stick with the one I have for now. Yes, certain things are a stretch, and I have to keep working at body and guitar position, but it's not impossible.


   
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(@notes_norton)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1497
 

Sometimes progress is agonizingly slow. Sometimes you just leap ahead. Music is like that. Don't let it get you down. It will happen when it is ready to happen.

If you must play it slower to get it right, play it slower. It's OK and you need to teach your fingers to play it right more than you need to play it fast. The speed will come all by itself.

And remember, music is gender neutral.

And if Jazz is your thing and you need a great female role model, check out Emily Remler. Unfortunately she went to the great gig in the sky too soon. She had total control of the guitar and was a great jazz player (Not a great girl jazz player but a great jazz player).

So keep at it, have fun, play it correctly, and the speed will come all by itself when your body is ready for it.

BTW, I saw Jeff Beck's DVD Live At Ronnie Scott's and it convinced me I need to learn electric with my fingers instead of the pick. What he does on that DVD is jaw dropping (and my jaw doesn't drop easily). Rent it if you can (and there is a great bass player on the DVD who just happens to be female).

Notes ♫

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<


   
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(@noteboat)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

Is that Tal Wilkenfeld? I saw her with Beck 3 years ago, and she blew my mind!

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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(@notes_norton)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1497
 

Exactly.

She looks way too young to play with that much maturity.

And on the DVD, Beck does some things that are simply astounding (and the camera operator must be a guitar player because he/she put the camera on the right place to show what Beck was doing).

If you can rent this video, do it. Whether or not you are into Jeff Beck's music, you can't help but admire his mastery on the Strat.

Notes ♫

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<


   
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(@estrago1)
Active Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 5
 

All you have to do is keep practicing. I remember when I started playing, my hands couldn't reach certain notes. But I just kept doing finger exercises that helped stretch and strengthen my hands. If you just keep practicing and doing finger exercises, you'll be able to reach any note on the fretboard.


   
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(@sean0913)
Trusted Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 65
 

There are a couple of guitar companies that are specifically geared for women in terms of their designs and scale, and such.

One is called Luna Guitars, and the other is called Daisy Rock. Maybe you'll see something that appeals to you. Good luck. I cannot relate with the frustrations but I can sympathise. I know how hard it is to learn to begin with. Id hate to see anyone miss out of the joys of guitar, male or female!

Best,

Sean

Guitar Instructor/Mentor
Online Guitar School for Advanced Players
http://rnbacademy.com


   
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