#1
I have been trying for about a year to stretch my finger spread between my index and pinky finger to no avail.

As a matter of background, I have broken or jammed my fingers in my left hand multiple times as a kid playing football, volleyball and basketball. In addition to the normal inflexibility that comes with old age (49 now), my pinky finger is bent in towards the middle of my palm, and when I fold it in, it even points more to the middle of my hand. Right now after trying for a year to achieve a four fret stretch, I still cannot reach it.

As my teaching has progressed, it is now clear that this lack of ability to achieve four or five frets is holding me back. I have tried the usual drills my two previous teachers have given me such as fingering across the frets with each finger, starting at the highest frets and working down over time, but I really have not made any progress.

I have also resorted to taking my pinky finger and stretching away from my hand while driving using the steering wheel, but that has not helped either. I have inserted a tennis ball between the third finger and the pinky while watching TV, but still nothing.

My teach keeps telling my that over time, it will eventually loosed up, but he teaches a lot of kids and I think at my age the ability for the muscles and tendons to loosen just isn't there.

I hope I am not doomed to not have the ability to stretch but I am now looking for other ideas. I have searched the internet but have not really found any good ideas.

Help me. . .I am frustrated. . . .
1999 Gibson LP R9
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#3
warm your hands up. like literally hold a mug of hot water or something. should help loosen some.
#5
If you haven't already watch John Petrucci's 'Rock Discipline.' The warm-ups section has several stretching excercises that if you do consistently, will increase your finger span.
#6
Quote by Tempoe
thumb well behind the neck

This.
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#7
Trying not to thread hijack but, is it abnormal that I can do a 6 fret reach (1-6) and I'm 13?
#8
Quote by Tempoe
thumb well behind the neck


Well, I do have a tendency to have it on top.

(I have also been working hard to keep the hand perpendicular as much as possible to the neck. But it starts to be a lot lick learning to play golf--too many 'swing thoughts'.)
1999 Gibson LP R9
2006 Tele John Cruz Masterbuilt
2007 MIA Strat Sunburst
2008 PRS SC-J Thinline Black Cherry/Bigsby (for sale)
2009 Zerberus Hydra II
2009 Custom Red Strat

Traynor YCV-50 Blue
#9
Quote by jackson player
Trying not to thread hijack but, is it abnormal that I can do a 6 fret reach (1-6) and I'm 13?


Thats great, its hard for me on mine
#10
Quote by jackson player
Trying not to thread hijack but, is it abnormal that I can do a 6 fret reach (1-6) and I'm 13?


You make me sick!!!

Just kidding . . .I wish I could do 5 or 6 frets.
1999 Gibson LP R9
2006 Tele John Cruz Masterbuilt
2007 MIA Strat Sunburst
2008 PRS SC-J Thinline Black Cherry/Bigsby (for sale)
2009 Zerberus Hydra II
2009 Custom Red Strat

Traynor YCV-50 Blue
#12
Quote by jcoley2
Well, I do have a tendency to have it on top.

(I have also been working hard to keep the hand perpendicular as much as possible to the neck. But it starts to be a lot lick learning to play golf--too many 'swing thoughts'.)


That could be your problem, try practicing with the thumb low behind the neck, it takes some getting used to, especially with legato.
Last edited by Tempoe at Dec 22, 2008,
#13
Quote by T!AN
If you haven't already watch John Petrucci's 'Rock Discipline.' The warm-ups section has several stretching excercises that if you do consistently, will increase your finger span.


No, I have not. It's 1 hour 57 minutes long. Anyway to download that into iTunes to drop into my iPhone to watch on a plane?
1999 Gibson LP R9
2006 Tele John Cruz Masterbuilt
2007 MIA Strat Sunburst
2008 PRS SC-J Thinline Black Cherry/Bigsby (for sale)
2009 Zerberus Hydra II
2009 Custom Red Strat

Traynor YCV-50 Blue
#14
Quote by jackson player
Trying not to thread hijack but, is it abnormal that I can do a 6 fret reach (1-6) and I'm 13?


Yes, and I used to do longer from first fret. It's a GOOD THING.
Also, check out Django Reinhardt.
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#15
Quote by jackson player
Trying not to thread hijack but, is it abnormal that I can do a 6 fret reach (1-6) and I'm 13?


Don't know, don't care. I hate kids who act like their age makes them better than everyone else.

Anyway, TS, I hope that there is a way to help you. As someone else said, check out John Petrucci's Rock Discipline warm up bit. The exact bit that I think the other person is referring to is on youtube and it's a very helpful excercise to help with stretching. It starts from small stretches like 1-4 and ends with massive ones, so over time if you can stretch further, this excercise can always benefit you in reaching yet another goal.


EDIT:
Quote by jcoley2
No, I have not. It's 1 hour 57 minutes long. Anyway to download that into iTunes to drop into my iPhone to watch on a plane?


Yeah, but the bit that might help you is on youtube for free and it really helps to have a guitar in your hands while you watch it.
#17
Hey check look up the word clinodactyly on google I think we have the same thing on our pinky fingers. I didn't really mind until I had to bend and pick the string underneath but I just started using my ring finger instead of pinky for long stretches that I need to do fast and I just use my pinky when needed but, I can stretch my from Index 1st fret to pinky 6th fret and, index 1st fret to 7th fret ring finger. My pinky is about half the size of my middle and bent inwards as well. In my youtube video you can see my bent pinky.

Here you go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17KYXcZFRpI&feature=channel_page
#18
Well blame your parents, my pinky is about 1 cm longer than it should be so i can do 6 pretty easily.
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#19
buckethead is the answer.

i played "for mom" and "white wash", after that i started making my own songs similar to how those are played, which is basically holding a very large chord and playing up and down the chord and occasionally changing a few notes around. for a beginner some of these chords are fairly difficult.

i did this for about 3 months and now if i fully spread the fingers in my left hand my pinky and thumb are completely parallel (which compared to my right hand is about a one inch difference)

ive played for 2 and a half years and my finger range is larger than a friend of mine who has played for 5


EDIT- just checked, i can very comfortably do a 6 fret stretch, im afraid of straining my hand to do a 7 though
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Last edited by conor1148 at Dec 22, 2008,
#20
What I try to do is bend my pinky finger and index finger to their sides when I'm just chilling or watching TV, somewhat of a habit. If you do it for long periods your chance on reaching further frets is higher, in my opinion. I am 17 years of age and can barely do a stretch of fret 1-7, but can comfortably do 1-6. I have very big hands though, I'm guessing that increases your fret reach a bit. Look around, there might even be some instructional videos for such a thing.



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Last edited by bloodycomfort at Dec 22, 2008,