I am a beginner at guitar and I'm slowly learning some of the chords right now.

I notice that everytime I try to play a chord, I always have 1 or 2 fingers that are positioned so that they make another string "dead".

For example, when I play the G chord. My index finger is holding down the right string, but the string immediately below it (looking from the top) is also being touched by the same finger, and just enough so that when I strike that string the sound is horrible and smothered.

I can't seem to position my index finger to avoid this. Is this a common problem? Is there a way to get around it?

Thanks a bunch,
All you need to do is practice and your fingers will become more accustomed to holding the strings down. As a tip, try making your finger more curved so they're approaching the strings from directly over the top; this should limit unwanted string muting.
it also helps to make sure your finger nails are cut down. this way you get a better grip on the strin cus its only your finger tips touching.
everyone had this problem. just PRACTICE
I normally mute the A- string with my 2nd finger and put my 3rd on the first string, 3rd fret. That way you can do G- major pentatonic licks with your first finger. Plus, I think the chord sounds less muddy than with the B in it.
Last edited by qstionauthority at May 22, 2008,
i think everyone who starts playing the guitar goes over that problem.

EDIT: ^ damn, beat me to it ^

maybe you should move your hand a bit forward while keeping your fingers in position; this will help your fingers touch the strings from above the strings.

and yes. practice.
Hi guys,

Thanks so much for the fast replies. It's just good to know I'm not the only one.

One thing I'm worried about is that I'm one of those people whose fingernail kinda protrudes past the finger tip, even with my nails cut down. I can clip only so much and if I were to vertically poke my finger onto my fretboard, my nail would still hit it...

I guess I will keep trying. All this just makes me wonder though, wouldn't the shape, size, length, etc of one's hands be too huge an impact on whether he/she can play well?

Thanks again,
^you can always get a smaller guitar. Are your nails seriously so long that the pink part goes past your finger?
you would get it eventually with practice. this problem happens to all of us as we were just starting out. just keep practicing and trying to position your fingers in the correct way. eventually you would find the position. have fun!
keep your fingernails short on your fretting hand, and practice using holding the strings down with just your fingertips, you won't be able to go wrong
??? Fund: cba to keep up with it.
will at least try when I get a jerb


Alex (mcfreaki)
Hi again,

Thanks for the replies.

Ya my fingernails can only be cut so short but it's very difficult for me to use the tips. I think normally people have fingers that look like this:


But for me, the very shortest I can cut still goes over the tip, so a fingertip for me would really be more like a nail tip.

I guess this is very strange?

I will try to cut shorter next time...
^I'm in the same situation as you. My nail always slightly protrude over the tip, even after I try my best to cut away all the white parts. But as long as you keep trying to find the correct way to position your fingers, you should still be able to fret correctly. Good luck!
My music teacher would always yell at me for not using the tips of my fingers, so always use the tippy tips of your fingers, it makes everything better.