#1
I've had this in the back of my mind for some time. If you can't play a chord because you can't make your hand/fingers stretch enough, then what? I do believe there are alternate fingerings for some chords, right? But are there times when you're just stuck, can't play a certain chord in a song, and just have to search for an easier song to play?
Really want to invest in a new guitar, but if I'm going to be beating my head against such roadblocks to no avail in future, I'll save myself 500.00 smackers (Ibanez S520, light violin sunburst).
I will say thanks to some of you for your encouragement as to whether I will adapt to a 25.5 scale length. I have, but barely. For me, it's all about how I hold my hand around the 1st-5th frets.
#2
Going from a 24.75 to a 25.5 isn't really much, but it depends on the person... (I think that's what you're asking here?)
Bass Gear:

Mensinger: Speesy
Fender Precision 1989 (CIJ Rosewood)
Fender Steve Harris (CIJ)
Lakland J Sonic 5
Epiphone Explorer
Maruszczyk (custom) Jake

Ashdown CTM 100
#3
Quote by Fisheth24
Going from a 24.75 to a 25.5 isn't really much, but it depends on the person... (I think that's what you're asking here?)

You're right. Going from a 25.5 to a 3/4 neck isn't much of an improvement. I've resolved to using a capo if I have to. But dang, wouldn't that look amateurish on an electric guitar as opposed to an acoustic?
#4
Nope, I've seen people use capo's on Electric before, even in bigger bands. Never bothered me!
Bass Gear:

Mensinger: Speesy
Fender Precision 1989 (CIJ Rosewood)
Fender Steve Harris (CIJ)
Lakland J Sonic 5
Epiphone Explorer
Maruszczyk (custom) Jake

Ashdown CTM 100
#5
Quote by Fisheth24
Nope, I've seen people use capo's on Electric before, even in bigger bands. Never bothered me!

Thanks for saying that. Needed to hear that. I've just never seen a capo on an electric that I can remember. Probably, since the guitar neck seems so magical, if you put a capo on the second fret, it is exactly like having a 3/4 neck anyway.
Where do you think people typically place the capo on a 25.5 electric?
Last edited by pointnplink at Dec 30, 2014,
#7
Quote by pointnplink
Thanks for saying that. Needed to hear that. I've just never seen a capo on an electric that I can remember. Probably, since the guitar neck seems so magical, if you put a capo on the second fret, it is exactly like having a 3/4 neck anyway.
Where do you think people typically place the capo on a 25.5 electric?



Wherever they need to put it to get the sound they want. There is nothing wrong with using a capo on an any guitar. I don't even know why this is something that has to be talked about to be honest.

If you are needing to you a capo due to not being able to reach certain chords, then that's fine. However, you should be practicing without a capo as well to try to get your hands acclimated to those chords that do require a stretch. Challenging yourself is how you get better!
Quote by C O B H C
If you want to get really technical about it..

1. Grab sticks.
2. Bang sticks on drums.


^how to play drums.


UG POKER
#8
Quote by pointnplink
But dang, wouldn't that look amateurish on an electric guitar as opposed to an acoustic?


That never stopped Keith Richards or Carl Perkins.
#9
All chords have alternate forms, of course, and you can simply play the chord higher on the guitar if you prefer.

There are other solutions.

If you have a Variax guitar, you can set up an alternate tuning (they call it "virtual capo") that will position your hands in an area that has frets that are closer together while allowing you to produce the same *voicing* that you would have without the virtual capo. String tension never changes, but what goes into the amp will be in a different key from standard tuning. There are both 25.5" and 24.75" scale Variax guitars as well.

I've run into stretch problems, but on piano. I was playing a transcription of some of Dave Brubeck's recordings and came to one section that I couldn't handle. I called the transcriber to confirm that his work was correct. Sometime later I was able to meet Brubeck himself backstage at the Hollywood Bowl, and asked him to hold up his hand. He laughed, and immediately identified the piece I was trying to play. Then he unfolded this huge alien paw with fingers that went well beyond mine (I have XXL hands and can easily play a C to F above octave C cleanly). He was sort of a freak of nature, and there was no way I was going to play that chord in that voicing with my hands.
#10
To be fair, you don't need a Variax to use alternative tunings.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#11
Mike Ness from Social Distortion constantly uses a capo. You do what works, not what looks cool.
#13
Quote by jpnyc
That never stopped Keith Richards or Carl Perkins.

...so I guess I just insulted those dudes.
#14
Quote by adambauman31
what chord are we talking about?

Well, the one I'M talking about is the one in Aerosmith's, "Walk This Way", where Joe Perry goes, "doodle-doodle-doo/doo-doo-Doodle-DOODLE-Doodle...doodle-doodle-doo/doo-doo-Doodle-DOODLE-Doodle...(Tyler)"LIKE this!"
You know. That one!
lol
Don't know the name for it.
Last edited by pointnplink at Dec 30, 2014,
#15
I use a capo all the time. On acoustic I'd say 95% of the time, and on electric about 1/3rd of the time.

It's really fun, especially if you do drop tuning. It's such a simple solution to changing keys and yet electric - guitar players avoid it like the plague. I'll play in drop C and work a capo up and down the neck. Allows for way more interesting voicing combinations.
#16
People usually don't use capos because they can't play certain chords. They do it to change keys but keep a certain chord form. In other words, if you like the C shape but need to play a song in D, capo goes on 2nd fret.
With that said, if it helps you, go for it. But like others said, I'd be willing to bet practice and hand position will fix your problem.

By the way...
Never ever ever ever ever do something (or avoid something) in music/art because the way you think other people will perceive it. Guitar is an instrument that you must make contact with to makes sounds. That's your only limitation, the only thing you're REQUIRED to do
#17
Quote by DrRockter
Mike Ness from Social Distortion constantly uses a capo. You do what works, not what looks cool.

I noticed Ness has a capo that is virtually unnoticeable. Then there's those that looks like the handle on a fire extinguisher. Pretty much the same?
#18
Just keep practicing them. I don't have particularly large hands either. What I've found is it's more about muscle memory and building comfort than the size of your fingers. If you can stretch them the length of frets 1-4, you've covered nearly every conventional chord there is. Even if it kinda hurts now, the pain will go away with time

Go look up Jess Lewis playing Guthrie Govan if you need inspiration. She's got tiny hands and she can do it.
#19
Quote by mjones1992
Just keep practicing them. I don't have particularly large hands either. What I've found is it's more about muscle memory and building comfort than the size of your fingers. If you can stretch them the length of frets 1-4, you've covered nearly every conventional chord there is. Even if it kinda hurts now, the pain will go away with time

Go look up Jess Lewis playing Guthrie Govan if you need inspiration. She's got tiny hands and she can do it.

What about using a capo with THIS guitar:
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/RG550XHBSP
I think you're spending an extra 100.00 for six extra frets you'll rarely, if ever use. However, if I set a capo on the second, or even SIXTH fret, wouldn't that solve my small hands issue with chords? I have small, oblong fingertips (those of some people are perfectly rounded...about the size of a dime, up to a nickel). They should be pretty nimble on those very thin fretting areas around the 25th-30th fret.
Did I just come up with a really great solution?
Last edited by pointnplink at Dec 30, 2014,
#21
Quote by pointnplink
I noticed Ness has a capo that is virtually unnoticeable. Then there's those that looks like the handle on a fire extinguisher. Pretty much the same?


Their are several types. They all have the same function, relatively. The big differences between them tend to be how big and clumsy it is, how it clamps and therefor how it affects the shape of your tone (sharp or flat), and how tight it gets (if it's a pure clamp or residual string vibration still comes through).

I own only shubb and G7 capos. I use shubb on my electric and 12 string acoustic and my G7 on my acoustic. I cant praise shubb enough. They're pretty cheap (compared to high end ones), super small profile (probably what ness had), and imo maintain a solid clamp without affecting pitch any. My G7 was 4 times the price because it claims to be a perfect capo, it's solid, but no better than my shubb.

Also, this topic got hijacked by capo talk. Capo should not be a solution to chords. I'm not saying don't use it, just be careful not to become dependent on it.
#22
Quote by vocoderboy
cut the chord in half eg play the root and the note that gives tonality so for Em instead of EGB just play E&G
but watch out for inversions

Great idea. Thanks. I could experiment with this.
#24
Quote by pointnplink
I do believe there are alternate fingerings for some chords, right?

There are alternative fingerings for every chord ever. (Learn about Chord Construction.) That said, alternative fingerings aren't going to fix your issue. Learning to stretch your fingers, on the other hand, will fix it.
#25
Real guitarists learn to dislocate their fingers early on to play tough chords, it's the only option.


I don't know the Aerosmith song well, what exactly is the chord you are stuck on?
#26
Ha. Wish I could tell you. Abandoned trying to play it a while ago. You've got fingers 1-3 holding down strings around the seventh fret, the pinky darting forward two frets establishing the rhythm.
#27
Quote by pointnplink
Ha. Wish I could tell you. Abandoned trying to play it a while ago. You've got fingers 1-3 holding down strings around the seventh fret, the pinky darting forward two frets establishing the rhythm.



Look around for different ways to play chords I.e. you may need to bar a few strings at certain frets to free up your other fingers.
If you find any other examples of chords you can't play be sure to post them here (tab, notation, etc.) so we can give more relevant advice.
#30
Quote by pointnplink

Where do you think people typically place the capo on a 25.5 electric?


Scale length has nothing to do with where a capo goes. You put the capo at the fret you need to, to achieve the capo'd sound you're looking for. Doesn't matter if it's 24.75", 25.5", a 3/4 size guitar, a half size kid's guitar, a ukulele, or some crazy extended scale 30"+. Frets determine where a capo goes, not scale length. Of course, the placement of the frets is determined by scale length, but that's getting into technicalities that don't really have anything to do with playing the guitar.

Also, yeah, nothing at all wrong with using a capo on an electric guitar. It's just a capo. No reason to think there's any difference between using one on an electric vs an acoustic. Does the same thing, on either instrument.

But seriously, just practice. Stretches for weird chords will come to you. Just keep your fingers in shape and practice.
#31
pointplink,
You aiming to play with others, or by yourself? If with others, then partial vocings are a definite option, and sound great. Remember, you don't have to play a vociing involving all six strings (if you using a six string guitar). Django Rheinhardt did a pretty damn good job with only 2 fingers for voicings.
cheers, Jerry
#32
Warm up a few minutes I started 2 months its tough learning.I saw the c chord I said I can never do it now I can do it now .
#34
Check your posture. That chord doesn't look like much of a stretch.
#35
I will do that...noticed since then just how much body posture affects such minutae as pinky stretch.
Pinky stretch has also stretched dramatically for Crazy Train.
Last edited by pointnplink at Dec 31, 2014,
#36
It's hard to see exactly what is being played there but one finger per fret shouldn't be too much of an issue. Check thumb placement, angle of your fingers etc. Basically just move your hand around until you find something that works for you.

You could also try to play the chord further up the neck where the frets are narrower to make sure you're playing it right and then move your hand down to the correct position when you're used to the shape.
#37
It's just a C power chord with a pinkie stretch to the A# on the A string. My hands are average in size and I'm not a great player, but I can stretch a fret further with my pinkie in that exact situation. There's some good ideas in this thread already, but just wanted to let you know you can do it with correct technique. Good luck!