#1
Hi Guys

Newbie guitar student here and I'm being hampered by not being able to get much separation at all between fingers two and three. So whenever there is more than a 1 fret stretch between notes I'm really struggling.

Is this normal and something that just develops over time? Is there any kind of exercise that I can do to help develop this?

Thanks
#2
It is very normal. You are new to the guitar so you haven't developed your hand yet. Just like an athlete puts in years of training to be able to do the things they do, we have to put in years of training to become fully in control of our hands and instrument.

There are lots of exercises you can do to develop this, just playing in general will improve it with time. If you want to get better at it, find musical passages that give you this kind of problem and practice them. Make sure you start high up on the neck, where the distance between frets are smaller. Then slowly over time (over days/weeks/months etc) move it closer and closer towards the first fret. Don't rush this, you don't want to hurt yourself. It is a process that takes time and you need to allow your hands to get familiar with the stretches. So find a place on the guitar where you can do it, and practice it there for a while, then move down one fret and repeat.

Another thing i recommend if you want to take care of your hands and be more in control is check out a DVD called Finger Fitness by Greg Irwin. (It is probably up on youtube) It contains exercises you can do away from your instrument to increase control, flexibility, strength and brain-to-hand connection. Really great for exercising the hands as well as preventing injuries. Same thing goes with this though, take it slow and steady and don't over do it. You don't want to hurt yourself.

Bottom line is, you will improve with time. Focus more on playing actual music and your hands will get better with time. It is better to focus on musical goals rather than focusing on "i need to separate two fingers".
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#3
Nothing about playing guitar is normal for our hands. Everything you do is counter-intuitive to what your hands are used to doing. We all start like this and it improves with time as we practice.
#4
Thanks Sickz

I'm learning the intro to 'Hey There Delilah' where you keep the first two fingers on the second fret and have the third finger move up to the fourth fret - and I find that my third finger either wants to slide back down to the third fret or the second finger wants to go along for the ride
#5
Quote by BS30
Thanks Sickz

I'm learning the intro to 'Hey There Delilah' where you keep the first two fingers on the second fret and have the third finger move up to the fourth fret - and I find that my third finger either wants to slide back down to the third fret or the second finger wants to go along for the ride


Advice, don't play it that way. It is not the proper fingering to play that tune, or that chord really. Sure, you might be able to do it, but you are just making it harder for yourself.

I am guessing you mean this chord right here.


e|------------
B|-----2------
G|-----2------
D|-----4------
A|------------
E|------------


In that case, use your index finger to bar both the G and B string, then your ring finger to fret the fourth fret. No need to fret those two notes with different fingers when they are on the same fret.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#6
Quote by Sickz
Advice, don't play it that way. It is not the proper fingering to play that tune, or that chord really. Sure, you might be able to do it, but you are just making it harder for yourself.

I am guessing you mean this chord right here.


e|------------
B|-----2------
G|-----2------
D|-----4------
A|------------
E|------------


In that case, use your index finger to bar both the G and B string, then your ring finger to fret the fourth fret. No need to fret those two notes with different fingers when they are on the same fret.


D'oh. Hadn't even thought about that! Thanks, will give that a try!
#7
To explore the issue at hand a little more here is some info. (Expanding on the knowledge that has already been presented for future reference.)

Key:

* Fingering: 1 = Index Finger ; 2 = Middle Finger ; 3 = Ring Finger ; 4 = Pinky Finger.

Example A:

e|---|
B|-2-|
G|-2-|
D|-4-|
A|---|
E|---|

F|---|
I|-1-|
N|-1-|
G|-3-|
E|---|
R|---|

As previously explained you can use one finger to hold down the strings on the second fret, this is called a barre. Barre chords are essential to the instrument because many times you want to play notes on all six strings. Seeing as you only have four fingers (five if you count the thumb) you will not be able to hold every fret down with an individual finger.

You can barre notes at any time so long as there are not any notes played at a lower fret on a higher string. For instance, the G and B strings in Example A are played at a lower fret than the unused e string. Because of this, you can barre the 2nd fret. If you were to add a note on the 5th fret of the e string then you would still be able to barre the second fret because it is on a lower fret than the note on the higher string.

However, if you add a note on the open e string, you would not be able to barre the second fret. Your finger in this case would stop the open e string from ringing.

Example B:

e|-2---2-|
B|-2---2-|
G|-2---3-|
D|-4---4-|
A|-4---4-|
E|-2---2-|

F|-1---1-|
I|-1---1-|
N|-1---2-|
G|-4---4-|
E|-3---3-|
R|-1---1-|

Expanding the previous chord to all six strings you will find the first chord presented in Example B. The first chord is a minor chord and the second chord is a major chord. You will learn more about major and minor when/if you learn about music theory (I recommend that you learn music theory if you haven't already started learning it.) For now, let's just focus on the mechanics of playing the chords.

With the minor chord (first one) you are fingering the 2nd fret on all strings but the A and D strings. You can barre the 2nd fret here because the notes on the A and D strings are played at a higher fret. When playing barre chords make sure that all notes ring clearly, this will require some finger strength. If you can't currently play it don't worry, the finger strength will come with time.

The notes on the A and D string are played at a higher fret than those on the G, B, and e strings. Because of this you can not barre that fret, the notes on the G, B, and e strings would be muted if you did. So here you want to use individual fingers on these frets. The third finger on the A string and the fourth finger on the D string is one way to play those notes. Another would be to use the second finger for the A string and the third for the D string. However, the first method will be easier for this chord.

The same rules will apply for the major chord (second one) but you will need the second finger to hold down the third fret on the G string.


Example C:

e|-2---2-|
B|-3---4-|
G|-4---4-|
D|-4---4-|
A|-2---2-|
E|-------|

F|-1---1-|
I|-2---4-|
N|-4---3-|
G|-3---2-|
E|-1---1-|
R|-------|

Here is another version of a minor and a major chord. The first is a minor chord and the second is a major chord. The same rules will apply as before and should be approached the same way.

The lowest fret played is the 2nd fret, because of this you can use your first finger to hold down all of the strings at the 2nd fret. You can not barre the notes on the D, G, and B strings because those notes are played on a higher fret than the note on the e string.

(Side Note: Some people are able to barre the fourth fret on the major chord in this example while still getting the e string to ring cleanly. If you think you can do this and it feels more comfortable to you then by all means do so, both ways are correct. The only time it isn't correct is if the notes do not ring cleanly.)

Example D:

e|----|
B|-4--|
G|-4--|
D|-4--|
A|-2--|
E|----|

F|----|
I|-3--|
N|-3--|
G|-3--|
E|-1--|
R|----|

Here you have the major chord from example C but without the note on the e string. Because the note on the e string has been excluded you can barre the notes on the D, G, and B strings.

Conclusion:

You should now understand when you can barre and when you can not barre. The chords presented in Example B and C are the four primary barre chords that you will use when playing guitar. There are others but I have presented the most common ones you will see. Being able to play those four chords will be instrumental in playing the guitar. (Pun intended.) I hope this will be of some use to you and that you are able to understand what I have tried to convey.

Last edited by Nacho Cheese! at Jul 16, 2015,
#8
Quote by BS30
Hi Guys

Newbie guitar student here and I'm being hampered by not being able to get much separation at all between fingers two and three. So whenever there is more than a 1 fret stretch between notes I'm really struggling.

Is this normal and something that just develops over time? Is there any kind of exercise that I can do to help develop this?

Thanks


Google basic left hand classical guitar exercises - they have that covered. Yes it's perfectly normal and it will develop with practice. When I was starting out my hand was twice the size of my guitar teacher's hand and he could do all kinds of chord voicings and strecthes that I couldn't.