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Old 08-24-2013, 06:29 PM   #1
arabhrslvr
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Fret Hand Finger Issue

Hi there...

New to UG and learning to play the guitar. I'm not currently taking lessons, but started by learning the notes on the fretboard, which was pretty easy for me. I'm trying to teach myself how to play.

I am now working on finger positioning for playing a few simple chords...G, C & D major. I am having a really hard time keeping my fingers off other strings.

As an example, for C major, my 3rd finger inadvertently touches the 4th string, 2nd finger touches 3rd string, 1st finger touches 1st string. I can keep my fingers off if I'm only using my 3rd & 2nd finger...but the minute I put my 1st finger on the 2nd string, I can't keep the other two fingers straight & off the other strings. This is the same for the other chords...as soon as I use apply a finger on the 1st or 2nd string, I'm no longer able to keep the other two fingers in place and away from other strings. It sounds like %@$!&

Is this just because I'm new to playing, is this common? I felt like I was really understanding everything, and now I am a bit discouraged because I "get it" but I physically can't "do it". For a girl, I have pretty long fingers/big hands...not fat I don't think. I do have acrylic nails, but they are very short, my fingertip flesh extends above/longer than my nails. I am able to hold down any single string without issue with the flesh of my fingertip, straight down. And I don't know if this is a no-no or not, but it's almost easier for me to use my pinky than my 3rd finger on the 1st/2nd string. But that doesn't totally resolve the issue.

Thanks in advance for any tips.

Last edited by arabhrslvr : 08-24-2013 at 06:35 PM.
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Old 08-24-2013, 07:37 PM   #2
Junior#1
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In situations like this, the 2 usual suspects are the angle of your wrist and the position of your thumb. Your wrist should always be as straight as possible, but still bent enough that you can get directly on top of the strings with your fingers. Your thumb should almost always be behind the neck except for when doing bends, vibrato, and some chords which require it. Some pictures would also help us look for other causes and imperfections with your technique.
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Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
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Old 08-24-2013, 08:24 PM   #3
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Hey thanks...I'll try to get some pictures.
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Old 08-24-2013, 08:49 PM   #4
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Here are some pics...had to take them from video as I'm alone right now...hopefully this works...I seem to also have a hard time separating my 2nd and 3rd fingers on the fretboard. This is my attempt at C major.


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Old 08-24-2013, 09:31 PM   #5
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I see 2 things you could change that will make things easier: First, angle the neck up a bit. It will reduce the strain on your wrist and will make it easier and more comfortable to play. Second, turn your thumb so it's perpendicular to the neck instead of parallel. Get a bit of space between the neck and the palm of your hand. It'll give you more freedom and room to move around.

As for separating your 2nd and 3rd fingers, that will come mainly with time and exercises for finger independence. Such as this:

Code:
e|-----------------------------------------1-4-2-3- B|---------------------------------1-4-2-3--------- G|-------------------------1-4-2-3----------------- D|-----------------1-4-2-3------------------------- A|---------1-4-2-3--------------------------------- E|-1-4-2-3-----------------------------------------
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Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
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Old 08-24-2013, 09:47 PM   #6
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Awesome, thanks so much for the insight! I'll practice those things tomorrow. I find watching myself in the mirror helps too
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Old 02-19-2014, 07:07 AM   #7
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I'm a 55 year old newbie, teaching myself also. I have these EXACT same issues myself. Thanks for the recommendation(s). I've been "into" music pretty much the better part of 50 years, starting with piano lessons at 5 yo. Never did really learn to play good, wouldn't practice.
Started band in the 5th grade playing the trumpet. Stayed in band all through high school, played the baritone/euphonium my senior year. Still play today in our church orchestra. So reading music isn't a problem, just learning where the notes are on the guitar. To compound the, maybe, so-called "problem", I'm a lefty. So I did buy a lefty guitar.

Now, are there any finger "exercises" a person can do to limber up the joints? Like while driving or just sitting around doing nothing. Playing a valve instrument, you don't have to really bend the fingers or wrist too much.
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Old 02-19-2014, 07:45 AM   #8
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Junior pretty much nailed it. This may get taken care of by applying Junior's suggestions, but the only other thing I'd experiment with is moving your elbow out from your body slightly. Try making a C chord and holding it in place. If you then move your elbow forward a bit (maybe an inch or so), you should see your fingers stand up a bit and become more perpendicular to the fretboard.
Good luck!
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:19 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by se012101
Junior pretty much nailed it. This may get taken care of by applying Junior's suggestions, but the only other thing I'd experiment with is moving your elbow out from your body slightly. Try making a C chord and holding it in place. If you then move your elbow forward a bit (maybe an inch or so), you should see your fingers stand up a bit and become more perpendicular to the fretboard.
Good luck!



That's what I'm seeing, my fingers may be too "flat" with the fretboard.
That's why I was asking about exercises to make my fingers and wrist a little more agile.

I suppose everyone holds their guitar a little differently to fit their own "shape". Though I've never really paid much attention.

Last edited by mbalexander : 02-19-2014 at 08:24 AM.
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Old 02-19-2014, 10:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbalexander
That's what I'm seeing, my fingers may be too "flat" with the fretboard.
That's why I was asking about exercises to make my fingers and wrist a little more agile.

I suppose everyone holds their guitar a little differently to fit their own "shape". Though I've never really paid much attention.


There really isn't that much variation at all in players who are any good with some very outlying exceptions.

Really the best thing you can do is keep playing and make sure you're aiming for decent technique, warming up your fingers by doing some gentle stretches and trying to keep your hands loose through the day will help with not feeling stiff when you first pick it up but there's not much that will help you with actual technique more than simply playing and keeping yourself aware of what you do.
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Old 02-19-2014, 03:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaphod_Beeblebr
There really isn't that much variation at all in players who are any good with some very outlying exceptions.

Really the best thing you can do is keep playing and make sure you're aiming for decent technique, warming up your fingers by doing some gentle stretches and trying to keep your hands loose through the day will help with not feeling stiff when you first pick it up but there's not much that will help you with actual technique more than simply playing and keeping yourself aware of what you do.




Thanks. Stretches is sort of what I started doing a couple days ago, thinking that it certainly couldn't hurt anything.
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:35 PM   #12
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Your fingers are too perpendicular, you should place them diagonaly like this:

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Old 03-05-2014, 07:55 AM   #13
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I just picked up my new Taylor NS24e-G yesterday. I tried it on for size & fit last night & I think it's going to work out great. I think the nut is 1 3/4", so the strings are a LOT farther apart, and they're nylon too.
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