#1
When I play guitar, particulary when I'm stretching, my first finger bends inwards so I'm playing with the side of my finger instead of the tip.

Is this normal? How can I fix this problem?
#2
That's normal below the equator. Above the equator, the opposite is true. Solutions? Move to America or buy a left-handed guitar.


Actually, that's just a myth, kind of like that drains flow counterclockwise down-under. -Don't you believe that either.

Anway, if you haven't been playing long, this might go away with practice. My first 6 months playing it felt like contortionism to play a freaking G chord and I avoided it like the plague. Then all of a sudden I realized that one song I had just picked up used that shape a lot and I'd been doing it for a while with no problems without even noticing.

If you're playing on a 25.5" scale guitar, perhaps a 24.75" one might suit you better (if your curvy fingers also happen to be short). That doesn't relegate you to the world of Gibson; some of the Fender offset body styles have short necks, too.

Cheers...
Last edited by jetwash69 at Dec 1, 2009,
#3
I'm only 15 so what your saying is when my fingers grow longer I can get an average 25.5" guitar but for now stick with the smaller scales?
That's if practising doesn't work?

Thanks for the advise =)
#4
Well...
If your 15 and you still have short fingers they'll probally stay that way cause you won't grow very much anymore. But fender/squier make good guitars with short scake length.also try epiphone/gibson and some ibanez
Quote by L2112Lif
I put a ton of my capital into SW Airlines... The next day, THE NEXT DAY these nutters fly into the WTC. What the hell? Apparently no one wanted to fly anymore, and I was like "What gives? God damnit Osama, let me win a fuggin' game!"
#5
Well, I stopped growing when I was twelve, but I didn't seriously pick up a guitar until I was over 30.

Whether you actually grow more or not, over time if you play hard and stretch, your reach will increase.

In the meantime, you might want to experiment with some short scale guitars. Do you live near a Billy Hyde music store, or another large store with a lot of selection? (I'm guessing Billy Hyde is similar to Guitar Center in USA, but I've never been there, so forgive me if that's a bad assumption). If you do, just set aside an afternoon to go mess around with a bunch of guitars and see what feels good.

I guess my main point though, is that what feels awkward when you first start playing will tend to work itself out over time, so whatever you do, don't give up!
#6
There are some good guitar shops around here and most specialise in metal (which is what I like to play) but I cannot afford those kind of guitars at the moment.
I currently have my friends old Strat and a shitty practise amp.
#7
So just ride it out with the Strat for now. It might limit what you play for a while, but no biggie... Even some of those metal guys go for the short scales. Hetfield uses them most of the time and Hammet plays a lot of stuff on LPs & Vs. I can't reach a lot of Hammet's legatos on Death Magnetic on my 25.5" scale guitars (all of them have that scale).
#8
I was wondering if there comes a point where you go from being not very good to quite good, kind of like an epiphony.

I don't want to seem stupid but when I was playing guitar hero I went from sucking at easy to being able to play expert well in a short time. I could just play for faster and complex parts and hit the right shapes to chords and it was all like second nature.

Right now though I just want to learn as much as possible and keep practising because I just love playing guitar.

One last thing, can someone show me some good guides with pictures on changing guitar strings (I don't think these strings have ever been changed), changing the bridge height and accurate strumming?

Thanks you guys are so nice and helpful
#9
You'll get lots of epiphanies (sp?) - when you start to nail open chords, when you realise you can change smoothly between open chords, first time you play a barre chord with no muted notes, first time you improvise a solo and it actually sounds ok, when you realise you can improvise and move up and down the neck with it..... and you'll go through phases of feeling like you suck, then realising you can play something and thinking you're actually getting decent, then trying something new or hearing someone good and realising you still suck, just slightly less than before lol Just enjoy the journey, try not to compare your progress to other people and keep learning

As far as setup goes: [thread]602241[/thread]
#10
I haven't got to that point yet :-). I've been playing about 3 years now, but I'm an old dog learning new tricks. I won't consider myself quite good until I can play Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and metal licks at 200+ bpm.

After a year I found myself able to finger most of the chords I come accross fairly easily and do the progressions quick enough for it to sound like a song.

As for stringing, here's a good way but it's a pain until you figure out how much slack to use:
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=602241

Here's another way but it might not hold tune as well:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgib50ROqRc (from 07:30 - 0:80)

Change those strings ASAP!!!! Rusty strings will wear down your frets. Big time. and Fast. (I learned that the hard way on both my Strats! In just 2 years!)

On a Strat, the saddles adjust independently with the 2 set screws on top of each saddle (if you're talking action). Get the action too low and the frets will buzz. You may have to adjust the truss rod, or intonation too. Those are more advanced settings; for now I'd let a guitar tech handle those for you unless you're supercomfortable those concepts after you read about them at UG and watch enough U-tube videos.

Bridge angle is set by the balance of tension between your strings and the trem springs (adjusted by moving the claw farther (tighter) or closer (looser) to the trem. When there's more tension on the strings than the springs, the angle will be higher and you can bend notes with the trem. If the springs are tight enough, then the bridge will sit flat and you will only be able to slacken strings with the bar, not bend notes/chords. This will make tuning more stable, though.

Accuratate strumming comes from dedicated practice. Remember to strum & pick up and down. You might skip some up strokes or downstrokes, depending on the rhythm. Read up on alternate picking for more on that.

Don't forget to use a metronome.
#11
Quote by ShannenName
I was wondering if there comes a point where you go from being not very good to quite good, kind of like an epiphony.

I don't want to seem stupid but when I was playing guitar hero I went from sucking at easy to being able to play expert well in a short time. I could just play for faster and complex parts and hit the right shapes to chords and it was all like second nature.

Right now though I just want to learn as much as possible and keep practising because I just love playing guitar.

One last thing, can someone show me some good guides with pictures on changing guitar strings (I don't think these strings have ever been changed), changing the bridge height and accurate strumming?

Thanks you guys are so nice and helpful

well i cant post pics but ill try and describe it as well as i can.
1 when you change strings take one off at a time and when you put it through the post you want to leave enough room on the string so you can wind it about 5 times around the post. and with the g,b, and e string you can puy it through the hole twice.
2 and as far as the bridge height you can either A open the back and tighten down all the springs but make sure theyre all evenly tightened. or B theres little posts in the saddle that you can use to lower them. i would suggest the first method ( which i did on my jagmaster) cause after words its alot easier to fret notes and chords.
3 for acurate strumming im guessing you mean you have problems with notes ringing that shouldnt be ringing. i would say use your left hand fingers to mute any strings that arent being used also you can use your left hand thumb on the low E. also palm muting helps alot with that to and also your gonna need to learn it cause later on youll notice alot of songs need it.

i hope i helped you
Quote by L2112Lif
I put a ton of my capital into SW Airlines... The next day, THE NEXT DAY these nutters fly into the WTC. What the hell? Apparently no one wanted to fly anymore, and I was like "What gives? God damnit Osama, let me win a fuggin' game!"
#12
3 for acurate strumming im guessing you mean you have problems with notes ringing that shouldnt be ringing. i would say use your left hand fingers to mute any strings that arent being used also you can use your left hand thumb on the low E. also palm muting helps alot with that to and also your gonna need to learn it cause later on youll notice alot of songs need it.


I think I get you. I mean if I try to do xx225x where the x's are strings I don't want to hit I will not be able to do that without muting those strings.
Also someone told me that that is a bad habit?
#13
Quote by ShannenName
I think I get you. I mean if I try to do xx225x where the x's are strings I don't want to hit I will not be able to do that without muting those strings.
Also someone told me that that is a bad habit?


Careful there... Xs in tabs mean dead notes, i.e., actually muting them hard with your fretting hand so you get a percussive sound out of them.

The word picture you painted matches this tab: --225-

It would be a bad habit to mute strings you don't want to sound, yet still strum all the strings. You should only be strumming or plucking the strings you want to get sound from. Sometimes that requires finger picking (check out Classical Gas or Stairway to Heaven for examples).

I think what Irish Punk means is that you need to control all the strings on the guitar. Any guitar played at stage volumes will make a lot of unwanted noise if you aren't keeping the strings still that aren't supposed to be sounding. Guitars with hot pickups will to that too, even at low volumes. But you still only strike the strings you're needing sound from, whether they're open, fretted, or intended as percussive muted sounds.

Also, as far as the bridge height goes, be aware that if you tighten down the strings all the way, then you won't be able to use the whammy bar to raise the pitch of a note/chord. That will interfere with a lot of surf music, particularly many songs as played by The Shadows. It can affect a lot of other genres, too. The advantage, is you'll get slightly better tuning stability that way, and a little more range on your dives. Not worth it in my book, but it's all a matter of personal preference.
#14
Quote by jetwash69
Change those strings ASAP!!!! Rusty strings will wear down your frets. Big time. and Fast. (I learned that the hard way on both my Strats! In just 2 years!)


Wait what? How long were you going w/o string changes? I go maybe a month tops and it still looks as though there is possible wear. I play about 3+ hours a day.

On topic, your outside fingers (ie: pinky and pointer) should bend inwards (towards your ring and middle) when you're stretching relatively far. Try stretching your fingers out w/o the guitar. Try to make the distance between your pinky and pointer as large as you can. Now bend your fingers, they "curve" in towards your palm. So when they're on the fretboard this may look a little odd when flattened against it. It's perfectly normal. You really don't need any special guitar. That's rediculous. Youtube has plenty of little asian girls with fingers as long as 2 of your knuckles and they play fine. Just pick up something that feels comfortable to you and you enjoy playing. Your fingers/hands adapt to what you're playing. Hard stretches/chords become easier the more you play.
#15
Quote by Naptime
Wait what? How long were you going w/o string changes? I go maybe a month tops and it still looks as though there is possible wear. I play about 3+ hours a day.


OK, I see how that could be misinterpreted a bit. The strings weren't on the Strats for 2 years straight, but they only got changed about every 8 months or so until I noticed how worn the frets looked @ the 2 year point.

I hadn't seen anything about old strings damaging frets, just the tone freaks talking about not liking the tone after a couple of months or days (the extreme ones).

We had strings on an acoustic for like 4-5 years or more. Several "pros" told us the strings were just fine even at the 3-4 year mark. It wasn't played much for the first year or 2 we had it, and who knows how long it sat around before that. It wasn't played much for the last year and a half, either, but I just changed them recently for the heck of it. The old strings were freaking black and felt really nasty, like fine grit sandpaper. They had to be abrading the heck out of the frets. That's when I put 2 & 2 together and realized that the Strats' frets probably wouldn't have worn so fast if we kept them with fresh strings.

Just bought a floor model guitar that had been in the store for at least a year. I'm pretty sure it still had the original strings; the b & g strings were black, but didn't feel that bad. The frets don't show too wear, although it got a lot of play in the store.

So Naptime, if you had 3 guitars with floyd rose bridges, would you still change the strings monthly on all of them?
#16
lol, f that noise! I've never had a floyd rose, but I hear it's quite the pain to change strings. I change mine quite often since strings are so cheap. I've got locking tuners also so the whole process takes almost no time at all. My mothers' guitar had strings much like yours were until I restrung it the other day. My finger tips would be black after playing and it ripped my hands up Fast Fret + 1xStrings/mo is what works for me .
#17
I change my strings about every 6 weeks, including the ones with floating bridges. I never planned it as 6 weeks, that just seems to be when my strings are worn enough to make my intonation screwy.
#18
since strings are so cheap

How much would a set of strings cost?

if you aren't keeping the strings still that aren't supposed to be sounding

How do you do that though? I mean I can do it slowly but at speed it just seems impossible! Even when I think I just hit the strings I wanted to I look down and others are vibrating...urgh frustrating
#19
A packet of strings costs about £5 here.

Watch freepower's vid on muting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIEnzboW0Hc

If you can do it slowly its just time and practice to be able to do it at faster speeds. Remember when you could only change chords really slowly and thought you'd never be able to play a song up to speed? Same thing
#20
What is the difference between a 24.75" and a 25.5" scale guitar?
I mean like what are the disadvantages of each?

The 2 guitars I'm looking at are B.C. Rich NJ Deluxe Warbeast and a ESP EX-401DX

The B.C Rich is a 25.5" and the ESP is a 24.75". Can you tell me if these are good choices or not?
#21
Quote by zhilla
I change my strings about every 6 weeks, including the ones with floating bridges. I never planned it as 6 weeks, that just seems to be when my strings are worn enough to make my intonation screwy.


Yeah, but you're like superhuman. Plus you have a border collie helping you with those strings. My terrier isn't quite that smart. If my undergrad were in Aerospace instead of my masters, I'd probably be able to calculate the compensation on tuning that E string and all the others so I'd overtune each one just right and could do it in 15 minutes. Since I did all my aerospace calculations in Excel with no idea of why those formulas worked, it takes me 3 hours to change the strings on each of my FRs. Maybe it'll take me less time now that I've finally figured out how to stretch B and e withouht breaking them on that last stretch. But even with the easy guitars, since I'm a perfectionist, it takes me an hour just to chance the strings on my Strats by the time I've stretched and re-stretched, etc. each string to where there's less than a one cent difference in tuning 3 times in a row per string after each stretch.

I've only been at this a few years myself, too, so perhaps I'll find some shortcuts that'll make it faster. But for now, it would take me 15 hours of work to restring the whole fleet, and I'm not doing that every 6 weeks.

BTW, zhilla, don't feel bad about that Spider. I still have my firts amp...an MG. You've got the worst "American" amp, and I've got the worst "British" amp. How ironic.
#22
Quote by ShannenName
What is the difference between a 24.75" and a 25.5" scale guitar?
I mean like what are the disadvantages of each?

The 2 guitars I'm looking at are B.C. Rich NJ Deluxe Warbeast and a ESP EX-401DX

The B.C Rich is a 25.5" and the ESP is a 24.75". Can you tell me if these are good choices or not?


The B.C. Rich you're talking about is one of their better guitars. The LTD is one of ESP's lower end guitars--although the quality will be similar. If you wanna play metal leads, the Warbeast will be better, just because it has 24 frets and you wanna play metal. That ESP is great for rhythm or if you wanna play "leads" like for St Anger or like on The day that Never Comes, but it only has 22 frets.

You might also wanna try an Ibanez XPT-700 Xiphos. It costs the same as the B.C. Rich, but the quality is way up there compared to both those other guitars. It's only inexpensive because it was made in Indonesia. But it's still got some premium parts like DiMarzio D-Activator pups. You'll find mixed reviews on the Edge III trem, but I've never had any problems with it.

So it's all a matter of preference....
#23
The 24 vs 22 frets doesn't really bother me because I don't think I'll be going that high.
Also what is the scale of the XPT-700 Xiphos?

I believe the DiMarzio D-Activator are humbucking? Well that is what someone has told me, just seems confusing that they are humbucking pickups :S

Does the tremelo go up aswell as down?

Do different fingerboard materials have different sounds or feels? If they do is it very noticeable?
#24
On 24 vs 22, that's what I thought when I bought my first guitar, and it was fine when I was mainly playing White Stripes, Offspring, and surf songs. It was even OK for most rhythm work in metal, but when I started playing metal solos it got frustrating really quickly. Also, that's where the Strat tremolo ran out of range. So that's when we picked up our Xiphos. It is a 25.5 scale guitar. Most 24 fret guitars are 25.5 scale, but the Epiphone Prophecy line (fixed bridge except the Futura & EM-2), the Dean Trivium guitars, and some others are 24 frets with 24.75; you just have to look harder to find them. Buckethead has a Les Paul like that, too. Some of the LTD EC series have it and so do their Vipers, but they have fixed bridges.

The D-Activators are humbuckers (you can tell because it looks like 2 single coils right next to each other). They have 4 wires, so if you wanted to change out one or both of the vol/tone potentiometers to "push-pull" potentiometers you could wire it so that the signal only goes through one of the coils when you pull up on the knob. That lets you choose between humbucking sounds and single coil sounds. Most people call that a "coil tap" although technically it's really "shunting a coil" because it just shorts out one of the coils. A true coil tap would be having the coils wound in a way that brings one of the leads out partway through the winding so you could choose between getting your signal from the full winding or from a partial winding. In the US, you could change those potentiometers out for around $20. Down Under it could cost a bit more, but I'd recommend trying to find an All Parts dealer. I don't think the main All Parts website will ship internationally except to their dealers.

D-Activators are some of the hottest passive pickups you can get. They are designed to give you all the advantages of active pickups, without any of the disadvantages. Whether DiMarzio achieved that or not is a matter of personal opinion, but in general they are highly regarded. A lot of people will tell you that these sound much better than EMG pickups on solid state amps. It's popularly believed that EMG active pickups sound terrible unless you have a tube amp. I don't have enough experience with the EMG actives to have an opinion on that. What's confusing about D-Activators being humbucking?

The Xiphos has an Edge III trem. It's kind of a low-profile version of a Floyd Rose and, yes, the trem goes up and down, with the same range as any Floyd (all the way from completely slack up to over a step up--depending on tuning and adjustment). Lots of folks bitch about that trem because the metal is kinda cheap, but I've had it over a year (and that guitar was a floor model in the store for probably over a year, too) and there's no problems or signs of wear at the fulcrum. My other Ibanez has the original Edge trem, and I see zero difference performance-wise.

Yes, different fingerboards do have different sounds & feels, but they are extremely subtle. I have maple and rosewood fingerboards. I like the look of the maple, and hypothetically I like ebony, but I don't enough experience with ebony to rate it. If your technique is correct, your fingers will hardly touch the fingerboard (maybe just during heavy bending or vibrato), so "feel" shouldn't be much of an issue. You can darken rosewood so it looks more like ebony. Try them all out and see what you like and how much of a factor that needs to be for your decision.

I'm not even going to get into the "sonic" differences because they're so subtle that I doubt very many people could tell what's what in a blind test, particularly with the kind of distortion used in metal. Your pickups, amp, pedals, & settings will have a million times more impact on your tone than anything from the guitar's composition.

The main quality issues I've seen in B.C. Rich guitars was with the necks--warping, fret height issues, sharp fret edges, etc. If you find one without those issues then you might be OK with it.
#25
Quote by jetwash69
Yeah, but you're like superhuman. Plus you have a border collie helping you with those strings. My terrier isn't quite that smart. If my undergrad were in Aerospace instead of my masters, I'd probably be able to calculate the compensation on tuning that E string and all the others so I'd overtune each one just right and could do it in 15 minutes. Since I did all my aerospace calculations in Excel with no idea of why those formulas worked, it takes me 3 hours to change the strings on each of my FRs. Maybe it'll take me less time now that I've finally figured out how to stretch B and e withouht breaking them on that last stretch. But even with the easy guitars, since I'm a perfectionist, it takes me an hour just to chance the strings on my Strats by the time I've stretched and re-stretched, etc. each string to where there's less than a one cent difference in tuning 3 times in a row per string after each stretch.

I've only been at this a few years myself, too, so perhaps I'll find some shortcuts that'll make it faster. But for now, it would take me 15 hours of work to restring the whole fleet, and I'm not doing that every 6 weeks.

BTW, zhilla, don't feel bad about that Spider. I still have my firts amp...an MG. You've got the worst "American" amp, and I've got the worst "British" amp. How ironic.
lol hardly superhuman compared to your masters and ability to break B strings and yeah, I guess it helps having Max to change my strings for me. I have to pay him in sausages every time he does it and he refuses to teach me to change them myself

Cheers I don't feel too bad about my Spider - its still better than I am anyway

Re 22 vs 24 frets - I rarely go above the 22nd fret, but I do find my 24 fret guitars have better upper fret access so might be worth trying both out. Loads of pretty easy solos (they must be if I can play them lol) go up to the 21st and 22nd fret pretty regularly so its worth knowing you can play them comfortably.
#26
Thanks for the explaination's I just love reading through them all and learning heaps.

So that Ibanez sound really good at the moment and I'm probably going to choose the white one over the black one (I'm nit-picking here because it's so hard to choose between black and white) because the neck looks slightly weird compared to the body (colour wise). I would have prefered ebony if the sounds and feels are only really subtle because I like my neck to be darker than the body.

Just have to find the money somewhere hahaha.

My last enquiry for now is similar to the fingerboard material question. Does the material of the body effect the sound or anything else (like weight)?
#27
Yes. Although I have electrics made of alder, mahogany, & basswood & I don't think anyone would be able to tell me which was which if I posted MP3s.

The wood definitely has a bigger effect on weight than on tone.

Most useful info on this subject can either be found here: https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1052639&highlight=wood or in links found there. Never mind the brash approach from that thread's Thread Starter (TS).

In my humble opinion other factors will have far more effect on tone, such as: pickups, pickup location, type/quality of bridge, quality of electronics, Potentiometer values, capacitor values, type and quality of neck joint, and how many pieces of wood were glued together to make the guitar (1 piece guitars are extremely rare; most bodies are made of 3, but low-end guitars can be made of 5 or more--not including the neck). And that's just in the guitar. Instrument cable lenght/quality, # of effects in the chain (& whether they're true bypass or not), and most of all the amp and how it's set will have even more effect on tone. Nothing defines tone more than your amp and the effects you're running into it.

So I wouldn't worry about tonewood for now. Maybe if you build one some day. Otherwise other factors will point you to the right guitar for what you want to do with it, and the wood it's made of should suit that purpose.

As you save your money for the guitar, you should have plenty of time to try out a lot of guitars in the stores and see what you really like.

Hopefully we provided good information to help you make an informed choice. Over time you may find yourself purchasing a number of guitars so you can have different tunings and play different types of music with them. When I bought my first guitar all I knew was that Strats were good enough for Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Eric Johnson, Adrian Smith, Eddie Van Halen (kind of), Dick Dale, etc., etc, so I figured they'd be good enough for me. And they were to get started, but soon I found their limitations and had to get more gear to play the things I wanted to. One of these days that might take me into the 24.75 scale length world, too. But I'll have to get a lot better first to be worth it.

Don't hesitate to ask more questions if they pop up. You can PM me after this thread goes cold. Hope you're done with that string change and it went well? Cheers.
#28
Quote by ShannenName
How much would a set of strings cost?


How do you do that though? I mean I can do it slowly but at speed it just seems impossible! Even when I think I just hit the strings I wanted to I look down and others are vibrating...urgh frustrating


Well I think you should keep doing what your doing but gradually build speed. I would start it of slowly and watch exactly what the left hand is doing and then add some speed and soon you can tell by feel.
Just like once you start drop tuning regularly at first you'll need a tuner to help you get the low e to d but soon you can do it by feel.
Quote by L2112Lif
I put a ton of my capital into SW Airlines... The next day, THE NEXT DAY these nutters fly into the WTC. What the hell? Apparently no one wanted to fly anymore, and I was like "What gives? God damnit Osama, let me win a fuggin' game!"