#1
If I put my fingers on four consecutive frets somewhere around the middle of the board, the first finger and pinkie finger will angle in. They will not point straight down.

This isn't usually a problem, but it is for certain chords. For example, I cannot play the C13 chord as shown on Justin's site here: http://www.justinguitar.com/en/BL-206-ExtendedChords.php My pinkie (4th) finger bends inwards, so it's difficult for me to even fret the third fret in that chord, much less the fourth fret. On the G13 chord I have to lay all of my fingers down on the strings, starting with the 4th finger, and then laying the others down one by one so that all of them are pointed towards the body of the guitar. Even then, it's difficult.

I don't think that any amount of practice or exercise will change this. Surgery might, but that's about it.

I tried to think of alternatives to the chords, but can't come up with any.

If there's a chord you can't play, do you just never use it, or do you find a way to do it?
#2
Normally with "I can't do this" I don't have much sympathy, but personally I don't think that's a sensible chord shape. Thankfully, the D on the B string isn't important in the 13th chord (unless it's there for voice leading reasons? In which case things start to get beyond me) - the 5th, 9th and 11th can all be comfortably omitted, and the 5th and 11th already are. This should be easier, if still not a cakewalk:

E - 5
B - 5
G - 3
D - 2
A - 3
E - x

The G13 should be easier to get used to, but as I constantly recommend you could always take a shot at doing it holding the bass note with your thumb. No idea how well that'd go down since I haven't got my guitar to hand.
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Last edited by K33nbl4d3 at Aug 28, 2015,
#4
some chord voicing just aren't that practical to use. i'd just find a different voicing if i had to use any given chord.
#5
My pinky angles on the strings it takes time,just do finger exceries up and down the neck and work on your pinky, it takes time
#6
I've been spending about an hour a day for the last 3.5 years doing finger strength and stretching exercises. I can span from the 6th to the 13th fret on the high E string.

This is a case of my 4th finger not bending away from my hand. If I hold my hand out in front of me and begin to curl my fingers closed, the pinky finger point to the center of my palm.

That finger will never be able to do those chords. The only way I could see it would be to have the finger surgically altered, which would be ridiculous.

I guess the best thing is to look for variations such as the one K33nbl4d3 suggested.

Thanks for the replies
#7
Quote by Monkeyleg

That finger will never be able to do those chords. The only way I could see it would be to have the finger surgically altered, which would be ridiculous.


Sounds like you've made up your mind.

Strength and stretching exercises are pretty useless - if you're having trouble hitting wide chord voicings, practice them. Some of the best guitarists in the world have giant sausage fingers and still hit everything spot-on (Warren Haynes or Andre Segovia).
Last edited by cdgraves at Aug 29, 2015,
#11
If someone lived near me, I'd go and show him how my little finger bends (or doesn't bend).

Thanks for the replies.
#12
Do this - put your hands in the prayer position, fingers pointed up, palms together. Now move them apart, fingers still straight up. Now, try to bend the second joint of your pinky without bending your ring finger. The first joint is pretty much impossible, but the second joint you should be able to do with at least one of your hands.

I used to play right handed and while my picking never got that good, my left hand could do whatever I wanted because my left hand pinky could move independently. Since I've switched my picking is much much better, unfortunately my right hand pinky can't move completely independently. Because of this, if I want to play an open G chord for example, I can't put my pinky down first, because it's nearly impossible for me to put my ring finger down on the bottom string. So I have to put my ring finger down first and then my pinky, which takes an extra split second.

My point is if your pinky is like my pinky you may actually be a little screwed at times. If not, practice practice practice of course
#13
Thanks for that idea, eddievanzant. I'm able to bend both pinky fingers at the second joint. That's with the fingers pointed straight up.

The problem is when my hands are curled. As soon as I curl my fingers on either hand, the pinky fingers start pointing toward the middle of the palm. On any chords I play, the pinky finger is always angled in from the body end of the neck.

I practiced the E7 chord--- 1st finger A string fret 2, second finger D string fret 2, third finger G string fret 1, pinky finger B string fret 3--- for over a year, and still wasn't able to get the pinky much more than just the other side of the second fret. The only way I could get the pinky finger close to the third fret was to lay all of the fingers down on the strings, fingertips pointed to the body and knuckles pointed to the headstock.
#14
Well I suppose you could try turning your hand more sideways, so your palm is facing more right than down, which would force you to curl your first three fingers more and straighten out your pinky.
#15
Here's my hand, and my hand trying to fret the C13 chord. The index and pinky fingers both curve in, so it's near impossible.




#16
Yep, that's a hand and it looks normal to me......well, if mine is normal ;-)

On the fretting photo it does look like you have the neck very horizontal. Try angling it up a little. I find that gives me a lot more flexibility.
#18
My hand looks like yours and I can reach the 6th fret with my pinkie in that position. I'm sure you can do it, you just haven't quite found the right way to position your hand yet.
#19
You're having trouble because your hand is at a poor angle and you're gripping the neck as if you were dangling over a river.

Pull the neck in closer to your body, tuck the wrist up, set your thumb a little higher. Work on the chord one finger at a time to find where the sticking point is. It looks to me like you're using way too much force to get the barre on the ring finger, so maybe investigate that.