I moved on from notes to chords and I've been practicing major chords for a couple of days now. This is my third week of practice and I certainly know alot more than I did when I first started.

That being said, the DVD I have for beginners was going over chords and he showed some -very- basic alternate picking. Well I decided that I wanted to learn more about alternate picking so I looked up a couple of videos and attempted a little bit of basic alternate picking, only to discover that my fingers did not want to stretch from the 7th fret to the 11th fret. I can do it....barely. And I can't play it because my fingers are so stretched out it mutes the other strings. Ugh.

After that I decided to look at some finger stretching exercises and found this http://www.cyberfret.com/chops/finger-stretching/index.php

But even that is hard for me. Because it's on the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th frets, the angle and positioning of it and my fretting hand makes it difficult to get my fingers on the strings properly. When I do, I end up contorting my wrist and it hurts. There's got to be a better way to do this.

Am I making it more complicated than it should be?
well, i have the smallest hands of ANYONE i know above age 10. and some even younger than that have bigger hands and feet than me. i can only go two frets somewhat comfortably, three is just not plausible. so i feel your pain. you could do what i do, get frustrated and play an easier song
rusty cooley once told me to practice stretching from the 5th fret (index), 8th fret (middle), and 12th (pinky) without letting go of any of the frets.

it's 5 years later. i still think he's an alien.

anyway, try playing an exercise like this:
lo E----1-----2------3------4-----

and play it up the strings vertically (E, A, D, G, B, E), then go back the other way (E, B, G, D, A, E) but move up a fret. play it as eighth notes (2 notes to a click) with a metronome. once you feel comfortable with that, try sixteenth notes (4 notes to a click) with a metronome. since you're first starting off playing, get the idea under your fingers before you touch the metronome, and then add it.

once you get that down, try screwing with it a bit.
lo E ------ 1------2----3------5------
and do the same pattern. basically, you're skipping the 4th fret and moving on to the 5th. do the same thing.

then use your imagination to come up with exercises. i've been playing for about 10 years, and this kind of stuff warms me up daily. one i really like is:
lo E ------1-----5------3------6----
it's tricky, and it's melodic sounding.

by the way, use your pinky. for the first exercise, do 1st fret, 1st finger; 2nd fret, 2nd finger; and so on.

hope this helps. it's a kind of boring exercise, but do what you want with it to make it more fun. mix notes around. skip strings. come up with ideas. they don't have to sound good either.
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how high are you positioning ur thumb on the back of the neck? You can stretch much further if you have your thumb lower on the neck.
keep it straight and parrallel to the fretboard...and go slow.....reaaaalllly sloooooooooooowww
That should be really helpful. The higher frets are harder even though they get closer together, because of the body of the guitar and because of my body and my fretting hand. My fingers come in at an awkward angle on the strings and instead of the tips of my fingers touching the strings, the flats of my fingers are which is why the other strings end up getting muted.

Tomorrow when I practice, I'll try out the exercise you suggested. Hopefully it will be easier for me.

I think when I try to stretch, I end up gripping the neck with my thumb kind of over the top because of how my fingers are. I should probably work on my form there too. I know it isn't good for my fingers or for my hand.

Perhaps if you're not doing so already try holding the neck in classical position, it allows for maximum flexibility and momentum.
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Wow you must have small fingers I luckily have very long fingers, perfect for stretches
But try the classical position, and just generally build up more strength as you play...
I do have small fingers. I'm a girl. The neck of my guitar is a nice fit for my hand, and I don't have much trouble with the lower frets, it's when I start working on the higher frets that I have problems. I'll try to fix my positioning and see if that helps.
Well I've only been playing for about three weeks so I don't have a set way of doing things yet. If I'd been playing longer it would probably be more difficult.
can you make your adjacent fingers make a 90 degree angle between each of them laterally on your fretting hand? if not, you just need to stretch more. playing guitar is like gymnastics for your fingers - you just need to stretch more to become more flexible
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Quote by Mr_BTP
can you make your adjacent fingers make a 90 degree angle between each of them laterally on your fretting hand? if not, you just need to stretch more. playing guitar is like gymnastics for your fingers - you just need to stretch more to become more flexible

thats true, but you have to balance this with speed and it can be difficult, but what i did was start out slow and play difficult licks over and over again until i played them flawless, then gradually sped up...its all a part of learning the right way....and dont be afraid to use a metronome