Hi all,

I'm pretty new. My friend from work lent me his classical guitar for a week and I started to learn some basics like intro to songs things like that. Managed to get an old old incredibly old guitar that a relative had sitting around. It is a steel string acoustic with a pretty narrow neck. I replaced all the strings (steel med gauge) and the bridge pins and have started playing. I am having some problems.

Firstly my fingers are killing me. Im sure this will go away soon I just wish it would hurry up.

I also have noticed I have no strength or dexterity in my left hand and arm. Is there any way to strengthen my hand, arm and fingers?

I have found that the stings on this guitar are very high off the fret board. Is this normal? At the nut and first fret they are close but the further you go up the fret board the further the strings are away at least a centimetre in some places. Is this normal should I get this looked at? Is this due to the bowing of the fretboard ive heard about?

Due to the strings being so far away from the fret board I am having alot of trouble pushing the strings down and most times i play i end up just making 'donk' noises. This is really noticable on the e - G strings. I think it is because the string is so thin it just digs into my finger instead of being pushed down.

And finally due to the narrow neck i am having alot of trouble not touching other strings when I play. My freinds guitar had nylon strings and was very easy to play but i couldnt reach the E string at the first fret becasue it was too wide. Is it normal to have so much trouble playing? Will playing a narrow guitar help me if I move onto electric?

I really enjoy playing and want to be able ot play some of my favourite songs so any help or information anyone can give me on this would be great please help me
umm get lower gauge strings man
Everybody Loves Lefty..

Lefties Unite!

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............. i recommend a new guitar man.......... maybe a classical like ur friend had cos they'r easiest 2 learn on......... the lack of strength in ur arms is from using muscles that u dont usually use, like wen lazy kids run and complain thier legs hurt.................... it will go with time in much the same way as sre fingers do............ but in all seriousness that guitar sounds like it's too much hassle for someone who is only just beginning guitar.......... unless ur really strapped for cash i'd say upgrade to a new one...... they'r like $100nz i dont know how much that is where u are but it's pretty damn cheap around here............
To answer a few of your questions:

1) The finger hurting will go away as soon as your fingers build up callouses. When you build up enough, you'll barely feel any pain in pushing down on the strings, unless you pull some sick string bending (which may be why they're hurting now for you). Give it time and patience. you should have it within a few weeks.

2) You can strengthen your fingers and give them more dexterity by purchasing something, which I have, called a GripMaster. Just google it and you'll see it's a spring-loaded device that will help build finger strength. Nothing compares to it, trust me, cause since I've started using mine, I feel a lot stronger and accurate in my playing.

3) The neck isn't too narrow. Avoiding other strings is something that, again, takes time and patience. Practice slow enough to where you make NO mistakes, then speed up gradually from there. That means no dulled strings or strings ringing that you didn't intend to ring.

4) The strings might actually be too high. Take it your guitar bud, or maybe another (experienced) guitar player you know and ask if the action is too high. Truly though, as long as it still sounds good, that's just a matter of preference.

Hope that helped.

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Thanks for your help guys

Im gonna do those finger exercises and just keep practicing until i get it. I will get my friend to have a look and see what he thinks about the action. I guess if he can play it I and doesn't think its a problem then I will just work through it
I don't buy much into the whole GripMaster™ (<- ooh, fancy ) thing... I'm sure they work wonders, but so does regular, vigerous practice. Besides, that pretty much sounds like the answer to your problems, just practice. As far as the action, if it's a huge issue you might take it to your local guitar shop and get the action lowered. It's possible to do it at home, but unless you know exactly what you're doing I woulden't reccomend it. Also, since it's an older instrument it might be a good idea to take it to a practiced luthier just to get some suggestions on what work (if any) it might need.

That aside, +1 to pretty much everything Black_Fender said