#1
I been wondering for the longest time A bunch of things related to technique.this is going to be a long read

im just going to list the bunch of questions and elaborate on them so they are not so cut and dry.

(A) does your hand ever stop cramping up when you Do barre chords?

(B) can you actually build muscle in your fingers?

(C) should i practice the material of electric guitar exclusively in electric so when i switch guitars don't bring the habits of playing from other guitar.

(D) advantages of different string gauges?

Alright i don't even know how to start to describe issue precisely so im just going to start typing and hopefully it makes sense

(A) Barre Chord Issue

I Have 3 Guitars A classical(nylon),acoustic Taylor(steel),Fender(stratocaster),Esp-JH600

when i do barre chords in nylon is piece of cake as well as in the electrics
but on the Acoustic Steel Strings is a pain in the butt.I been playing for 7 years and cramping never goes Away.If i'm playing for a little bit i can endure it and play just fine but after awhile you start to feel that burning sensation

I know the solutions Are

A.Fret close to the metal bar to exert less force
B.thumb position on back helps with grip and fingering better
C.chord fingering and alternatives to it

This is not so much an issue if you are to quickly press down and strum and changes of chord but sustaining the grip for longer periods is what kills my barre chord technique

and that's where my 1st question comes it does it ever go away? or is it something you must endure with steel strings?


(B) Build Muscle in Fingers


I been playing for awhile now and it makes me wonder is there a limit as to how much strength you can develop in your fingers?

I been playing for a while and i don't feel my fingers any stronger, but i do feel my picking improving since my fingers are just getting better synchronizing.learning songs helps my fingers play other songs since a lot of songs share commonalities
which brings me to the next sections

(C) Practicing on Electric on Acoustic
Do i Waste my Time trying to learn electric guitar songs on acoustic?
will my fingers get stronger through practicing in an acoustic and this will transfer to better playing in electric?
The reason i Practice in acoustic I feel if i can dominate it there that in electric it would be such a piece of cake since it requires less strength in bending and barre chords

(D) String Gauges
this is similar to the last section.
If practicing with more tension in strings and thick gauges don't make your finger stronger? Should i just choose String gauges that makes my guitar playing more effortless or overcoming it will make me a better guitar player?
my guitar stuff:
ESP JH-600
ValveKing 112
DigiTech Whammy Pedal
Taylor 314CE
Dunlop SW-95 Slash Wah Pedal
Cordoba C7 Nylon String Acoustic Guitar
Metal muff
Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster Ash
#2
A. Practice and relaxation are the key. If you play mostly electric or nylon then steel string acoustic barre chords are gonna be harder. Maybe use a lighter gauge?

B. Guitar requires very little strength. Good technique is always the key. It does require very specific muscles to have some endurance, but after 7 years you should be fine. Like I said before, you might just need more practice with a steel string acoustic to develop that endurance.

C. I play different on acoustic than when playing electric. I don't think playing acoustic to improve electric skills really makes a lot of sense. I've jammed out electric songs on acoustic, but usually I play them different. I don't know what else to say here, I don't mess with acoustic enough.

D. Its all preference. I prefer .011s on my strat because of the feel and sound. That doesn't make me right or wrong, its just my preference. If playing heavier strings hampers what you want to do, then use lighter strings. I wouldn't use heavy strings if I thought they were holding me back.
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
#3
A. Practice makes perfect. No shit.
B. Not much strength is required, but it helps. Honestly, going rock climbing will build muscles in your fingers more than flat out playing.
C. There you go. I cant play much on high action nylons because I play on my electric 99% of the time. Its all about practicing it, which means you need to work out what you want to play and why. Its a personal thing, really. You choose what instrument you play on.
D. Preference. Calluses will build faster on heavier strings, but its all about tone and feels. For example, I keep switching between 9-42s and 10-52s, based on feels and shit.
#4
B) Strength isn't solely produced by muscle. Some of it is neurological, whereby the muscles can learn to contract harder, producing more strength without additional muscle.
#5
A) Yes, if you play correctly. It sounds like you are doing 2 things wrong. First, I think you are probably using too much pressure, and second, you are probably using your thumb to apply the pressure when you should be using your fingers. Your thumb is only there to support the neck. Nothing more.

B) You can build muscles in your fingers, but really you don't need much for playing guitar. You don't need a death grip. Some steel string acoustics can be a bit harder to play, but even still, you shouldn't need to fret with all your might to get the notes down.

C) The only thing that's a waste of time when it comes to practicing is practicing bad habits. As long as you are using proper technique, it doesn't matter what guitar you use.

D) Pick a string gauge that's comfortable for you and appropriate for whatever tuning you use.
Quote by Geldin
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.
#6
I have to say this, if I don't it'll just annoy me:

There are no muscles in your fingers. The muscles that control your fingers are in your forearm.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Album.
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#7
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
I have to say this, if I don't it'll just annoy me:

There are no muscles in your fingers. The muscles that control your fingers are in your forearm.

This is what I came here to say.
#8
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr


There are no muscles in your fingers. The muscles that control your fingers are in your forearm.


'twould explain why I look like Popeye

I have noticed some muscle growth on the side of my little finger though.

I've only ever changed between .10 and .09 e strings, but I did feel a difference in the string feel and the tone, however slight.
#9
Quote by Livingtime
I have noticed some muscle growth on the side of my little finger though.


When I said there are no muscles in your fingers I was being quite literal, there is only one muscle in your hand and it's attached to your thumb. It is quite literally physically impossible for you to have noticed muscle growth in your little finger.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Album.
Legion.
#10
(B) Build Muscle in Fingers

I been playing for awhile now and it makes me wonder is there a limit as to how much strength you can develop in your fingers?

I been playing for a while and i don't feel my fingers any stronger, but i do feel my picking improving since my fingers are just getting better synchronizing.
*sigh*

The following 3 terms have not been mentioned once in this thread, not once.

Legato
Hammer-on
Pull off

See quote at bottom of sig.

Legato first, picking second. Legato first, picking second. Legato first, picking second. Legato first, picking second. Legato first, picking second. Legato first, picking second. Legato first, picking second.
#11
B) Plenty of non guitar stuff you can do to improve those muscles. rock climbing, farmer's walks, forearm curls, pullups. Hard labor work and little finger exercise machines too. And I don't know about you, but I play bass sometimes too, and drums, and many instruments. Some of them do require a tad more strength and arm muscle work than guitar. Never a bad thing to be stronger, and the hoes like nice forearms, joe. Think outside the bun...

and just cus i'm a douche, you said you have 3 guitars, and listed 4
#12
I didn't see anyone else mention this, so I will... You say you don't have any trouble barring on the nylon-string or the electric, so likely it's not your technique.
However, it may be the guitar.
Have you had the guitar set up properly? The action, especially the action at the nut, adjusted?
This will make a world of difference.
I've explained many times that many guitars, even expensive ones, are shipped from the factory with the action too high, since the manufacturer can't make everyone happy and it's a lot easier to lower the action than it is to raise it.
So, they expect the user to have the action adjusted to what he/she likes.

Another thing to look at is your playing position. If you are holding your instrument in a position that results in a lot of wrist-bending, then you're going to be fatigued more quickly than if you use a more-efficient straight-wristed one.
Look at the way classical guitar players are taught to position the instrument. (they call this the "embrochure", if you want to get fancy.)
It may not look all cool and sexy, but it will definitely help with the mechanics of playing.
#14
Quote by chuck knuckles
B) Plenty of non guitar stuff you can do to improve those muscles. rock climbing, farmer's walks, forearm curls, pullups. Hard labor work and little finger exercise machines too. And I don't know about you, but I play bass sometimes too, and drums, and many instruments. Some of them do require a tad more strength and arm muscle work than guitar. Never a bad thing to be stronger, and the hoes like nice forearms, joe. Think outside the bun...

and just cus i'm a douche, you said you have 3 guitars, and listed 4


FFS Again guys: There are no muscles in your fingers
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Quote by Steve Albini
Remixing is for talentless pussies who don't know how to tune a drum or point a microphone.
#15
Quote by Slashiepie
FFS Again guys: There are no muscles in your fingers


Yes, we got the point, but there are muscles that control the fingers.

Look, maybe if I use size 7 font you'll understand.

WE HAVE MUSCLES THAT CONTROL OUR FINGERS

see I told ya.
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
#16
Quote by mdc
*sigh*

The following 3 terms have not been mentioned once in this thread, not once.

Legato
Hammer-on
Pull off

See quote at bottom of sig.

Legato first, picking second. Legato first, picking second. Legato first, picking second. Legato first, picking second. Legato first, picking second. Legato first, picking second. Legato first, picking second.

...the "m" is for "magic".
ESP Horizon FR II (EMG) / Ibanez Prestige RG1570 (DiMarzio Crunch Lab & LiquiFire pickups)
#17
Quote by Slashiepie
FFS Again guys: There are no muscles in your fingers

Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
When I said there are no muscles in your fingers I was being quite literal, there is only one muscle in your hand and it's attached to your thumb.


Since you guys are such big fans of anatomical nitpicking

There are 19 muscles in your hand, technically your fingers although most of them end at the proximal phalanx of your fingers so if you look at a transversal section of the distal parts of your finger you won´t find any muscles just their tendons

For thumb:

M. abductor pollicis brevis
M. adductor pollicis brevis
M. flexor pollicis brevis
M. opponens pollicis

For little finger:

M. abductor digiti minimi
M. flexor digiti minimi
M. opponens digiti minimi

General:

M. palmaris brevis
Mm. lumbricales I-IV
Mm. interossei dorsales I-IV
Mm. interossei palmares I-III
Last edited by Facecut at Oct 9, 2012,
#19
I'll join in on the size 7 bullshit.

You don't need strong muscles to play guitar well, you need controlled, relaxed and synchronised hands and fingers. Strength is irrelevant.
#20
Practice and relaxation are the key. If you play mostly electric or nylon then steel string acoustic barre chords are gonna be harder. Maybe use a lighter gauge?


I play mostly Steel String since i like the tone better.

Practice makes perfect. No shit.

Obviously but after 7 years of playing and not being an issue anywhere else but steel. I feel like im missing something.

I have to say this, if I don't it'll just annoy me:

There are no muscles in your fingers. The muscles that control your fingers are in your forearm.


that's why i posted the question as "can you actually build muscle?"

if is not the muscles stronger what is making a person improve their strength in Barre chords or in Bending?

*sigh*

The following 3 terms have not been mentioned once in this thread, not once.

Legato
Hammer-on
Pull off


I have no problem with those

I didn't see anyone else mention this, so I will... You say you don't have any trouble barring on the nylon-string or the electric, so likely it's not your technique.
However, it may be the guitar.
Have you had the guitar set up properly? The action, especially the action at the nut, adjusted?
This will make a world of difference.
I've explained many times that many guitars, even expensive ones, are shipped from the factory with the action too high, since the manufacturer can't make everyone happy and it's a lot easier to lower the action than it is to raise it.
So, they expect the user to have the action adjusted to what he/she likes.

Another thing to look at is your playing position. If you are holding your instrument in a position that results in a lot of wrist-bending, then you're going to be fatigued more quickly than if you use a more-efficient straight-wristed one.
Look at the way classical guitar players are taught to position the instrument. (they call this the "embrochure", if you want to get fancy.)
It may not look all cool and sexy, but it will definitely help with the mechanics of playing.


I have a taylor 314Ce i always used same strings that company uses elixir mediums.
I have never adjusted the action.

maybe i should look into it but i have never done it before and people tell me not to mess with the truss rod.

i thought the action had to do mostly with how high the strings are if you want to play slide guitar so as to avoid fret buzzing with slide
my guitar stuff:
ESP JH-600
ValveKing 112
DigiTech Whammy Pedal
Taylor 314CE
Dunlop SW-95 Slash Wah Pedal
Cordoba C7 Nylon String Acoustic Guitar
Metal muff
Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster Ash
#23
I started having hand cramping problems when I joined a band that tuned down to c standard and I switched to heavier strings- 12-56 (like that Malcolm guy in ACDC).
One thing that helped was keeping my potassium high because lack of it encourages muscle cramps. I would either put a banana in my case on have the bartender make me a drink with tonic water( lots of potassium.)
That was way back in 2002. Then 2004 I went to the Sabbath/ Priest( with Halford)
and it got me curious about string gauges cuz Tony sounded much heavier that Glenn and KK. So here is what Tony uses .008, .008, .011, .018w, .024w, .032w for standard tuning stuff. This info is on his website. I tried it and felt it was impossible. Then I began to have pain in my hands like shooting nerve pain. So I tried it again and also bought a treble booster that I plugged into my low gain input. For amp settings I again researched early Iommi interviews to find that he generally used Bass-0 mids-10 treble 10. The light strings really have a reduced treble response but still I expected it to sound nasty like Fender/Tele.To my surprise it sounded totally killer!. So I have been playing light strings since then and have recorded a couple of CD's with no more pain.