#1
Hello UG community

I've been playing the electric guitar for 4 years now on a daily basis, on my own without a teacher. I've always sought to find my flaws in order to improve my playing. And a few weeks ago I managed to find out why my band members can play certain riffs with relative ease, where I struggle to do so.
I'm talking about riffs where I am forced to let a fret gap between my middle finger and my ring finger. For example :

G 7-11-10-8-7-11-10-8
(We use this pattern a lot, and it comes up in quite a few songs I wish to learn)

I can NOT seem to be able to reach the 10th fret with my ring finger.

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(in this picture I'm trying to put my ring finger on the 10th fret : impossible)

My ring finger is like tied to my middle finger. It prevents me from separating those 2 fingers in particular (I have no problem with my pinkie though; I have the exact same range between my index finger and my pinkie as anyone)
I compared my hand to that of several persons, among them my band members, and I'm the only one with this condition. It is literally impossible for me to do this sign without using my other hand to separate the fingers.
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It handicaps my playing a lot and I'd wish to know if there was a way to "separate" those 2 fingers.

The thumb has nothing to do with it ; whether I place it perpendicular or parallel to the guitar neck, it doesn't change a thing.
Some will tell me to find alternate ways to play certain riffs (using other strings), that's what I do when I can : but sometimes it is almost impossible to do so and is the only way to play the riff.

So my question is : does someone have the same condition ? And is there a way to fix it ?
I'm trying a solution that came up in mind yesterday : I have tied a rectangular object between my 2 fingers with duct tape. I will probably try to wear it a few days / nights and see if it bears results.
Last edited by d3rpyy2 at Jul 28, 2015,
#2
You should probably be lifting off of the 7th fret when you play that.
#3
http://imgur.com/nq8zIEq
-you're cradling the neck. imo you need to get your hand off the treble edge of the neck and plant your thumb in the between the middle to the treble side of the back of the neck. this way you can rotate your wrist and get more stretch. that jimmy page action just won't do.

-that neck looks like a log. what is it? you might consider something more agile and shreddy.

-your action is pretty high.

http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:...BXuV6SQkVN6N A
fwiw, spock was not a guitar player. he might also consider what you are trying to do with your fingers "illogical".
Last edited by ad_works at Jul 28, 2015,
#4
Go through Petrucci's "Rock Discipline", it has tons of excercises to help you get control of different finger combinations.

From what I remember of it and based on my old teaching practice (it has been a while since I've taught) I'll try to give you a few.

Start with proper warmup and then proceed to these...

Say we're starting from 5th position on 1st string (high E) for simplicity's sake.
For the duration of this exercise you won't change positions and you would only use the designated finger to access said frets/positions.

So your standard fingering technique would be by frets:
5 (index)
6 (middle)
7 (ring)
8 (pinkie)

So start doing tremolos (vibrato/trills/hammer-ons) by hitting the string with your plectrum once and then alternating:
5-6
5-7
5-8

Then move down to the next finger (this is the one you really need):
6-7
6-8

Then again:
7-8

Do these until your tone is just as good as if you're doing the 5-7 hammer ons.

Now do the same exercise but for pull offs.

So:
8-7
8-6
8-5

Then
7-6
7-5

finally
6-5

Concentrate on making it clean holding the notes ringing as long as you can.

Do this for a few weeks to build stamina/muscle memory.

Then after you've gone through proper warmup and the above things are starting to get more interesting. Now we're getting into stretches. Now each neighboring finger must leave a gap of one fret. Same exercise as above but this time:
5 (index)-7(middle)-9 (ring)-11(pinky)

Make sure you don't overexert and do these stretches only after proper warmup and once you've gone through the top exercise.

If it is too hard initially move up to a higher position. If it gets too easy go to a lower position.

There are a few other tricks such as getting a shorter scale neck as in Gibson, but with smaller radius. I think Ibanez Wizard might be easiest for this kind of acrobatics

That'll be $35
#5
Thank you kindly for the answers.

@ad_works
I will try to heed your advice and force myself to curve my fingers more. My guitar is an Epiphone SG, you think the neck is too big ? As for the strings, looking back at the picture there's a nasty optical illusion because my strings are as low as they can get

@diabolical
Thank you I will make sure to do these exercises !
#6
Quote by d3rpyy2
Thank you kindly for the answers.

@ad_works
I will try to heed your advice and force myself to curve my fingers more. My guitar is an Epiphone SG, you think the neck is too big ? As for the strings, looking back at the picture there's a nasty optical illusion because my strings are as low as they can get

@diabolical
Thank you I will make sure to do these exercises !


not necessarily curve them, just reposition your thumb more to the middle or treble side - like the classical position. i wouldn't say that you need to force yourself (with wooden blocks betwix your fingers ) just try some different positions to make it easier. your fretting hand doesn't look abnormal actually.

maybe an optical illusion but it really looks thick. the sg neck comes in numerous variants. have you tried other makes like jacksons, ibanez, etc... are they any easier for you to play?
#7
To build on ad works comments, try lowering your thumb so that the pad of it lies in the centre of the back of the neck. Then angle the neck up at an angle (a bit like classical position). I think that may allow you fingers a bit more movement. You could also look at how your band buddies hold the guitar for these licks.

On top of that, keep concentrating on stretching exercises. Start higher up the neck, where the gap would be smaller, and work your way down over a month or two.