Is There Any Hope For Those With Small Hands?, Palms too narrow to play well
Plaidman
Jan 15 2010, 11:48 PM
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From: California
I've been struggling for a long time trying to play things that require much bigger hands than I have (I was issued small child hands for some reason). Most people say "Get a guitar with a narrow neck." I have a guitar with a narrow neck. Though my fingers are short, the length of the fingers is not the issue...the real issue is the narrow palm.

When I have my hand outstretched with the fingers touching each other, the measurement from the outside of my index finger to the outside of my pinkie is just under 3 inches. This makes it so that I must use my index finger and pinkie to do power chords where most other players use index finger and ring finger (I only get 2 notes with mine instead of 3).

It also makes it so I can't play certain things at all, like the opening to "Hot For Teacher" by Van Halen as I can't reach the 3rd and 7th frets with my index and pinkie stretched as far as they'll go.

Short of a hand transplant, or breaking and trying to stretch my hand somehow, are there any exercises that I can do that will enable me to reach up the neck farther? I'm frankly on the verge of selling my guitar, which I really don't want to do... but the point of playing guitar is to play what you want to play on it and most of what I want to play requires man-sized hands.

Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks in advance for your time.

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MickeM
Jan 16 2010, 12:09 AM
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Sry I didn't get the description of what measures were short but anyway.. I think a short scale guitar could help. Like a Gibson (all models I think) which have a shorter scale - i.e shorter between frets - than f.example a Fender Strat or Tele.
I think a Fender Jaguar has an even shorter scale than a Gibson LP.

If you browse around I'm sure you can find scales down to 22 inches.

A good solution, although more expensive, could be to have a neck custom made with the desired scale that'd suit you.

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audiopaal
Jan 16 2010, 12:16 AM
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I have very small hands as well..
Some guitars I struggle with, but I'm so used to my guitars now, I don't see it as a problem smile.gif
But there are many things I'll never be able to play because of this, but I compensate and practice the things I can play and try to be the best I can be at that smile.gif

Micke is Right, Gibson necks probably suit you, at least after getting used to it.
Their Slim Taper neck (60's neck) is awesome by the way smile.gif

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kahall
Jan 16 2010, 12:17 AM
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From: Springfield Missouri USA
Your hand is the same size as mine, which seems pretty normal to me. You either worded how you measured that wrong or I don't understand it. Unless someone were to have huge hands and fat fingers I would say most people would get 3" or roughly 8 cm measuring with the fingers together.

I get discouraged sometimes as well but I just had to accept the fact that there are some things I just can't do. Usually I can find another way to play a particular chord which is never as good as the original or intended way but it is all I have. I still try and practice it the right way if I can get close to making the stretch and sometimes I am eventually able to do it. That is probably the reason why there are a lot of good guitarists that never do anything really complicated but they are still considered very good players. Don't sell the guitar just over come and adapt. ;-)

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Plaidman
Jan 16 2010, 12:24 AM
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From: California
Thanks, guys! I appreciate the help and encouragement. I didn't realize there were guitars with shorter distances between frets. I thought the distance between frets would need to be the same so the notes up the neck would be correct.

I'll check it out. I currently play an Yngwie Malmsteen Strat with a scalloped fret board. I find this guitar is easier for me with my small hands than a regular-neck Strat as I don't have to press as hard on the strings... it tapers down pretty narrow actually. I too have to try and play things in a different way up the neck so I can reach. It's just highly frustrating. biggrin.gif

Thanks again...

Actually, the measurement between my fingers when together is 2 and 3/4 inches...

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This post has been edited by Plaidman: Jan 16 2010, 12:25 AM
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intemperateContr...
Jan 16 2010, 12:37 AM
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From: Dallas, Texas - U.S.A.
QUOTE (Plaidman @ Jan 15 2010, 04:48 PM) *
I've been struggling for a long time trying to play things that require much bigger hands than I have (I was issued small child hands for some reason). Most people say "Get a guitar with a narrow neck." I have a guitar with a narrow neck. Though my fingers are short, the length of the fingers is not the issue...the real issue is the narrow palm.

When I have my hand outstretched with the fingers touching each other, the measurement from the outside of my index finger to the outside of my pinkie is just under 3 inches. This makes it so that I must use my index finger and pinkie to do power chords where most other players use index finger and ring finger (I only get 2 notes with mine instead of 3).

It also makes it so I can't play certain things at all, like the opening to "Hot For Teacher" by Van Halen as I can't reach the 3rd and 7th frets with my index and pinkie stretched as far as they'll go.

Short of a hand transplant, or breaking and trying to stretch my hand somehow, are there any exercises that I can do that will enable me to reach up the neck farther? I'm frankly on the verge of selling my guitar, which I really don't want to do... but the point of playing guitar is to play what you want to play on it and most of what I want to play requires man-sized hands.

Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks in advance for your time.



Okay, dude. You don't need a narrower neck width (height wise), but you need narrower fret spaces. And remember, this takes
nothing from your talent - a simple custom fit if you will. You deserve it! Find some one worthy and get them to make it for you.
All the best, man... cool.gif

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Ivan Milenkovic
Jan 16 2010, 01:39 AM
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I understand your concern, but you should really hang in if you like guitar playing and music. The fingers may not be that big of an issue, since I've seen some very small kids play very good guitar. I think the main problem for you is keeping yourself motivated enough and try to adapt your way of playing to your hands. It may spawn a completely new technique or a style if you cannot play some songs that you like. Perhaps doing it the way you can is a good way as well?

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Staffy
Jan 16 2010, 06:37 AM
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Ivan is totally right here, small hands had never stopped someone form making/playing great music. It's just to find the way around it and make it Your own way. And when the day is done, it doesn't really matter if You can play other peoples songs good - You shall be able to play Your OWN somgs good.... biggrin.gif So just rock on!!!

//Staffay

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Ruzz
Jan 16 2010, 12:58 PM
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I agree with the other guys on this man..
I know this is easy for me to say, but you shouldn't let this be a problem to you.
Of course this limits you from playing every style of music known to man..
But again how many people can you think of who have mastered many styles? (Except Muris tongue.gif)

Check out this guy:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSnUwA6c67k

He does not have any arms at all!
But that does not stop him from making great music..

Everything is possible..
Keep making music my friend!

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This post has been edited by Ruzz: Jan 16 2010, 01:01 PM


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intemperateContr...
Jan 16 2010, 01:24 PM
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Again, get a custom made guitar so you will not have any limitations to your talent.
Get new legs - not a wheelchair - if you can. I maintain my former statement. biggrin.gif

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Daniel Realpe
Jan 18 2010, 06:18 PM
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Don't give it too much thought. Just play what you are able to play now, and eventually your hands will naturally will be able to stretch themselves.

And besides you can always use your right hand to complement.

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Bogdan Radovic
Jan 18 2010, 10:58 PM
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You shouldn't feel discouraged since we all have different hands and everyone can learn to play guitar with some motivation and practice! Try to find an instrument that fits you better and practice! You will have to adapt some techniques to your ability, and with time you will be able to reach more and more. Keep rocking man and don't look at it as disadvantage as it's not. There are no ideal hands (body type etc) sizes for playing an instrument.

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