#1
(shoulder pain is the lesser problem so I changed the title)

Luke Kilpatrick from Parkway Drive has such straight fingers, when I try to lay my fingers on a guitar it's not possible for me to make them look like this, between the joint angles and the curves in the bones. Anyone else had this frustration?

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/148/414691725_bcb5e2707d.jpg
Last edited by mosquitohater93 at Jun 23, 2015,
#2
Come on I know someones had the struggle before, where you feel like what your mind thinks of your fingers doesn't line up with the possibilities, and you try to manually move them and realize you're one of those who has to play with their guitar around their neck to reach as far as some people do with the guitar below their belt.. tell me I'm not alone here
#3
Hey man yes! absolutely! when i started i couldnt play on the low e string standing up i was pissed at my fingers! watch my vids i think i still managed to shred pretty good after about 6 years of playing even though i dont have perfect fingers i play standing up a lot see my vids https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-eTXH6u9ZU9aZHf2i7ODtw i dont have perfect fingers like that guy you posted which used to frustrate me so much when i started like you still kinda does to this day actually but i cant seem to quit guitar i always come back to it and give it the best i can. i would love guitar to be my career but im not sure if its possible i guess as of yet. i think its mainly a confidence thing if you think bad of your fingers or yourself because theyre not like you would want them youll be depressed guitar teached me this lesson i used to have very bad self esteem because guitar made me realise i didnt have perfect hands right away but i saw it kinda as a challenge i guess i must have passion for it deep down whyd i keep obsessing over guitar . might as well do the best with what youve got if you have the passion.
Last edited by ibzshredder at Jun 23, 2015,
#4
If you use your index on 5 and tap your pinky on 8, does it hit on the side of your pinky at an angle that makes all the joints compress inwards? My pinky's so bent that if I wrap my thumb around the neck my ring finger reaches farther. I would love to play a pentatonic scale with my thumb around the neck all relaxed and such but my pinky just collides inwards into my ring finger.

Do you feel like you hands were supposed to develop differently but didn't? I swear I feel sometimes like my hands didn't get good circulation when I was younger, maybe in a Chinese medicine sense the energy flow was poor and somewhere deep deep in my psyche I know that they should be able to do certain things and even if it's just that quarter inch or so somewhere, they won't and I have to stress extra hard over it. I watch people with longer, straighter pinkies and index fingers and I can see the comfort and relaxation they feel with their hands, I can imagine what it would feel like to have fingers that could comfortably do the things I have to stress for. Sorry for the rant.
#5
yes i feel that way but im pretty sure were exactly like were meant to be that would be weird if not and if you think abouy that really cant happen .. i think we just developed some kind of anxiety over it//hand fetish lol
Last edited by ibzshredder at Jun 23, 2015,
#6
I'm just saying if I were to play guitar in a dream I would expect my fingers and hand to be less curled up, more open. They're perfect for grabbing a baseball. Or a breast. Not a guitar neck.
#7
Perhaps your hands are just a bit small? Mine are and I too have the curved claws of doom.

But it doesn't matter how your hand looks - It's about playing in a way that is comfortable for you, and learning things which take large stretches nice and slowly.
#8
It feels like it should have more reach, I've played well over a thousand hours and to this day it feels awkwardly cramped up. The fight is part of the playing experience. I remember when I started playing Nothing Left by As I Lay Dying, the 1-5 stretch in the beginning isn't impossible but it will give me a cramp if I play it too long. The left-hand-tapping part in Arms Of Sorrow can make it cramp, Feed Them to The Pigs is impossible for me at parts, way way too much tapping. Parkway Drive has a couple of riffs like that, I could probably spend months just working the muscle that pulls my pinky outwards from the other fingers and still struggle. Plus my joints creak and stick if I move them really slowly. I'm not even sure that's normal.

This is Goodbye by Killswitch engage is a KILLER on that muscle, every time. I can't even quite tap hard enough at full extension like that.

Plus with a lot of gain there's always the simultaneous challenge of making the notes you don't want to ring, stay silent.
Last edited by mosquitohater93 at Jun 24, 2015,
#11
Proper stretching before and after playing is essential. Pull fingers back, bend wrists forwards and back and stretch sideways like a corkscrew. Extend arms in front, stretch shoulders, stretch thumbs, reach up, reach down, etc. Study yoga and t'ai chi and keep everything stretched. Work muscles, especially back muscles and under scapula. A lot of pain is due to poor posture and poor muscle tone. Use baoding balls to rotate fingers and keep tendons flexible. A lot of good stuff out there that guitarists don't think about. Marty Friedman once admitted he almost screwed up his arm by not properly stretching. It's very important.
#12
Your fingers SHOULD curve like pianist's. The only time you want to lay them flat is if you're barring or muting.

edit: if you're getting shoulder pain when you play, it indicates a technique problem. You have to let your shoulder go slack, and concentrate on keeping it that way. When your whole arm is tense, you have to force every movement.
Last edited by cdgraves at Jun 28, 2015,
#13
Have you ever struggled with your pinky contacting at such a twist that the sideways forces on the finger joints caused lasting pain after a few minutes of practice? It's frustrating that the second from last bone in my pinky has both a bend and a rotation, subtle but it amounts to a solid half-inch of decreased reach at times which is obviously an entire fret above 14 or so.

I've been wondering lately to if those of us with more deformed looking fingers were mildly deficient in vitamin K or iodine growing up.. I know I was, whether that did it is anyone's guess. All of my fingers have bends in the middle bone; the pinky and ring towards the middle, index and middle towards the ring. Also subtle but can be a deal breaker if my guitar's hanging too low.
#14
Didn't read all the replies but it seems to me you have clinodactyly which I also have. I've been playing for 8 years and I really haven't had any major problems with playing. Only thing that bothers me is my mind which keeps bothering me because of my curved pinky.

What do I do? I'll just say, f%#k the curve. Practise doing stretches and hammer-ons with your pinky a lot. Repeat them and do them a lot. Use your pinky as much as you can. Do not compare your fingers to other people's fingers. There are guitarists missing them yet I still made a topic about the same thing because my mind is driving me insane due to this.

You can ask me anything, for help etc. I'm able to instruct you as I've been playing a long time with a curved pinky.

And just lol, I think exactly like you about the "imagining how relaxed normal fingers feel like". Stop thinking like this. There is nothing you can do about this. Do not think of it as a thing that hinders your playing. At some points on the fretboard, curved fingers can even be an advantage.
Last edited by Billie_J at Jul 5, 2015,
#15
Let me put it this way. Parkway Drive has a song called Horizons on their album Horizons with a breakdown that has chugs, open minor third and second ringing together on a and d strings, frets 3 and 7. I can do that. Another chug, then 3rd fret on the A and 9th on the E. That's 5 frets BETWEEN the fingers, 7 total. I can't play that. Most people can't. It's frustrating. And what bothers me isn't that it isn't fair that a few people can and most can't. Part of it is that some people with long straight fingers? They don't care. They don't try. Some don't have the ear for it, I'll give them that. Some are just lazy, and waste potential. What also bothers me is when people refuse to admit that hands and finger shape matter. It's not helpful. I think it's best to openly admit that dude A was born to be guitarist and dude B wasn't, and works his ass off to play what dude A can play with his thumb around the neck and guitar below his belt. So Billie J, you should know that you have more patience and perseverance than most anyone without clinodactyly because my fingers are probably more suited than yours are and there's been plenty of times I've about broke down and cried and screamed because my hand can't change so it just sits there lame and useless while anyone could stupidly look at me and say "just work with it" and refuse to acknowledge all of the effort and pain I've already put myself through to have the bigass muscle that extends my pinky out from my other fingers that I already have and the joints just won't go any farther no matter how strong that muscle gets.

I used to know someone who broke his ring finger once. It didn't get set right or something and the first joint after his hand was stuck at about 40 degrees. He still played. It was hard to watch him and wonder how much it must hurt to want to just play.

Too much going on here; statistically 3/4 of the population has bent pinkies and 1/4 has straight pinkies. But I know more people who've owned guitars and started to play and given up because it was hard than people who've continued and progressed. Honestly it seems like only 30% or so really stick with it and strive to progress. Maybe that's because those with straight, optimal fingers find it (naturally) natural to play beginning chords and scales. So carry enthusiastic momentum from the get go and feel compelled to continue more often, statistically.
Last edited by mosquitohater93 at Jul 7, 2015,
#16
Well, you can't say "a" was born to be a guitarist and "b" wasn't. Take Tommi Iommi and Django Reinhardt as an example. They had either lost or cut fingers and it's safe to say they've both been amazing guitarists.

So what if someone has "better" fingers? Even if they can play fast as fk, it doesn't mean they're good guitarists. Rather be musical and slow than fast but have no idea what's going on.

And if you want to make a stretch from note X to Y, you don't necessarily have to hold note X while going for Y, meaning you don't have to stretch.

I'm typing this with my phone in bed so yeah. Going to sleep now.
#17
mosquitohater93: perhaps your guitar is the problem. scale?, fretboard radius? back of neck profile? string action? gage? nut width? all of these metrics effect playing comfort and reach.

that guy in your pic: unless he is muting, or playing jimmy nolan style funk, is cradling the neck. ime not really the best way to play a guitar. imo, your fingers should be like little pistons not huge rails clamping down everything all at once.

all talk and no pictures =all talk, and a wall of panic text isn't helping you explain your issue. show us a picture of your problem and it might be easier to help
Last edited by ad_works at Jul 7, 2015,
#18
thats bs man srs either you quit or you keep playing... im pretty sure you like playing or else youd have just quit haha. You think you must quit playing because you dont like you hands ? I had to go through this too. Many peole go through a period in their life feeling this way in their teens, i did and still do but getting better thats like saying you should quit life because you dont like your body srs.
#19
Quote by mosquitohater93
Let me put it this way. Parkway Drive has a song called Horizons on their album Horizons with a breakdown that has chugs, open minor third and second ringing together on a and d strings, frets 3 and 7. I can do that. Another chug, then 3rd fret on the A and 9th on the E. That's 5 frets BETWEEN the fingers, 7 total. I can't play that. Most people can't.

Well firstly: I watched a couple of covers of that song and I couldn't find that fingering in them at all. I don't know if you're thinking of a different song or what but I don't honestly think that's in that song.

That said... no. Almost no one would finger it that way, at least probably not. If it's in standard tuning then this:


e|---
b|---
g|---
d|---
a|-3-
e|-9-


Can be re-fingered to this:


e|---
b|---
g|---
d|---
a|-4-
e|-8-


And it's exactly the same notes. That fingering is significantly easier and it's something you see in that kind of hardcore/metalcore every so often as part of a breakdown. That's two notes a half step apart. It's still not exactly easy but it's so much more feasible than the fingering you mentioned.


Quote by mosquitohater93
It's frustrating. And what bothers me isn't that it isn't fair that a few people can and most can't. Part of it is that some people with long straight fingers? They don't care. They don't try. Some don't have the ear for it, I'll give them that. Some are just lazy, and waste potential. What also bothers me is when people refuse to admit that hands and finger shape matter. It's not helpful. I think it's best to openly admit that dude A was born to be guitarist and dude B wasn't, and works his ass off to play what dude A can play with his thumb around the neck and guitar below his belt. So Billie J, you should know that you have more patience and perseverance than most anyone without clinodactyly because my fingers are probably more suited than yours are and there's been plenty of times I've about broke down and cried and screamed because my hand can't change so it just sits there lame and useless while anyone could stupidly look at me and say "just work with it" and refuse to acknowledge all of the effort and pain I've already put myself through to have the bigass muscle that extends my pinky out from my other fingers that I already have and the joints just won't go any farther no matter how strong that muscle gets.

I used to know someone who broke his ring finger once. It didn't get set right or something and the first joint after his hand was stuck at about 40 degrees. He still played. It was hard to watch him and wonder how much it must hurt to want to just play.

Too much going on here; statistically 3/4 of the population has bent pinkies and 1/4 has straight pinkies. But I know more people who've owned guitars and started to play and given up because it was hard than people who've continued and progressed. Honestly it seems like only 30% or so really stick with it and strive to progress. Maybe that's because those with straight, optimal fingers find it (naturally) natural to play beginning chords and scales. So carry enthusiastic momentum from the get go and feel compelled to continue more often, statistically.

Now this...

It's all right. Really it is, everyone has frustrating times when you come across things that feel completely impossible for you, and basically you have three options: keep grinding until you can do it; find another way of getting the same kind of sound; or give up. But really the frustration is natural and happens to everyone.

I'm certainly not going to recommend you give up, honestly if you can get past the frustration some way or other you'll probably be able to get back to having fun with guitar again, and more than anything else that's the point. Unless you're dead set on making this your career then fun is the only point of playing.

I would also point out that just because you can't do one thing, that doesn't mean you're not meant to play guitar. There is no meant to play guitar, just because you can't do that one thing doesn't mean that you can't keep playing and get that sound some other way. That's one of the great things about the guitar; there are very few things that you can only do one way, and in my experience the things that only have one way of being done are surprisingly simple and usually very specific.

All I can say at this point is that I really hope you don't let this take the guitar from you. I really understand how you feel, but it's worth taking a bit of time away from this one thing that's getting to you and reminding yourself how you feel when things are going well.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#20
Quote by mosquitohater93
Too much going on here; statistically 3/4 of the population has bent pinkies and 1/4 has straight pinkies. But I know more people who've owned guitars and started to play and given up because it was hard than people who've continued and progressed. Honestly it seems like only 30% or so really stick with it and strive to progress. Maybe that's because those with straight, optimal fingers find it (naturally) natural to play beginning chords and scales. So carry enthusiastic momentum from the get go and feel compelled to continue more often, statistically.


I think you just answered the real reason most people stop playing guitar (or any instrument). It's hard. Of course there will always be some people out there with the physical attributes to make bigger stretches, but I don't think huge stretches are the main thing that makes a guitarist good or bad (which is largely subjective anyway).

You can overcome a lot of things just by practicing. I can do stretches now that seemed physically impossible when I started playing guitar, and my fingers didn't change shape in that time (I also have a slightly bent pinky like most people)
#21
Going to add one example. My friend is like 1.96cm tall with huge hands and straight long fingers. His pinky is like the size of my middle finger.. Still, I'm a better guitarist than he is. So size doesn't matter. Maybe the size downstairs matters to some girls (lol) but this hand thing definitely doesn't.
#22
Thanks all for the support, we all face frustration in life and frustration in times of play is some of the worst right? If we play isn't effortless then what the heck is work, right?

I've been lonely and bipolar lately, sorry if I've long winded about not much.

Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Well firstly: I watched a couple of covers of that song and I couldn't find that fingering in them at all. I don't know if you're thinking of a different song or what but I don't honestly think that's in that song.

That said... no. Almost no one would finger it that way, at least probably not. If it's in standard tuning then this:


e|---
b|---
g|---
d|---
a|-3-
e|-9-


Can be re-fingered to this:


e|---
b|---
g|---
d|---
a|-4-
e|-8-


And it's exactly the same notes. That fingering is significantly easier and it's something you see in that kind of hardcore/metalcore every so often as part of a breakdown. That's two notes a half step apart. It's still not exactly easy but it's so much more feasible than the fingering you mentioned.


If you listen to the 3rd and 4th measure of the breakdown in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13nBpjbW42E
at 1:56, it sounds like it was played

(In drop B)


e|-------------------------------------------
b|-------------------------------------------
g|-------------------------------------------
d|-----------------------3--3-------------
a|-0----0-----00-00-------7-------3--3---
d|-0----0-----00-00---000-----000--9----


Where the fretted notes between open Bs were allowed to ring together. In the very beginning of Romance is Dead you can hear the same 3rd and 7th A and D strings open together; they do that in Wreckage, Carrion, Anchors And Idols, etc...

They might have overdubbed the 3rd/9th fret sections with their B tuned to D to shift the 9th fret down to 6th requiring only a 4 fret span. Whatever the case, they don't try to pull it off live. In this video you can hear they play each set on a single string.

(1:50)

https://youtu.be/21J55aFbupw?t=110

EDIT: I watched the second half of the video and they were lazy about Carrion too. On the album you can hear they play two pairs of notes, live they played one at a time.

As I Lay Dying's Nothing Left has

d|--------------------------
a|--------------------------
f|--------------------------
c|-------------------------
g|----------1-0-----------
c|--0-1-5-------5-1-3----

and that riff gifted me with a strong pinky extender muscle on the side of my palm. It's at least twice as dense as what's on my right hand.
My pinky gives me virtually 0 problems until I stand up. To be short, I played in unusual sitting postures for years and my whole-body coordination isn't optimized for standing. And if I play in a band again **** the scene po-lice I'm playing with my guitar above my belly button even if it's metal.
Last edited by mosquitohater93 at Jul 11, 2015,