Hello Everyone,
I have been practicing guitar for about a week now and find it very difficult to stretch my small fingers for some of the chords. I have been told that I need to press down directly next to the fret but this causes very bad pain in my fingers due to the awkward position/streching that I am putting on my fingers. To remedy this I have been pressing down in between the frets so that my fingers dont have to stretch so much. Is this bad technique that will be costly later down the road? Or should I suck it up and hope the pain eventually fades?

Thanks for any help/tips you can provide!

It's somthing that just takes practice. You want to play just behind the fretbar because when you play in the middle of the fret you'll unintentionally bend the note out of tune. Doing it next to the fretbar where there's more tension gives you a more accurate note.

Don't fret (har, bad pun ). Your 'wingspan' will increase as you practice.
-Guitar Gear-
1995 American Fender Strat, EMG 85 pup
Randall RH200 Head
Marshall 1960a Cab
Woods Acoustic
-Bass Gear-
Spector Legend 4 bass
Washburn Bantam bass
Hartke HA2500
Fender Bassman 410H
Play what you love, love what you play
Last edited by Garou1911 at Nov 6, 2008,
Yeah. . . Once you start playing guitar you will find come chords really akward on your wrist and fingers but later on down the road you will build up calyces on your fingers (so your fingers don't hurt when pushing the strings down on the fret board) and your wrist will find new ways to switch/preform chords without experiencing pain in your wrist.
Quote by Garou1911
Your 'wingspan' will increase as you practice.

This, most definately, is true, and is one of aspects of the last five months that's surprised me the most. When first starting with certain chord shapes (some of the barre chords especially) I really did feel like I was being asked to do something that was well beyond what my hand could ever do, but it's really amazing what, with a bit of practice and time, you can teach yourself to do.

That said, if what you're doing is causing proper pain, then best to take it slowly, and not practice for too long at any one time, as you might do yourself a bit of damage. For me at least, lots of little 10 minute bursts* really helped me a lot at the very beginning, as it seemed to allow my fretting hand to get used to stretching into all those odd shapes it had spent years not doing without causing too much in the way of physical discomfort.

It also kept the lawn nice and short, which is always a bonus.

* 120 bars of chord practice, 50 bars of drinking coffee, 100 bars of practice, 180 bars of mowing the lawn... that kinda thing.
Oh, now I've gone and spilled my tea. This really won't do at all.
Just practice, practice, practice. It'll become second nature in a few weeks. Also, drop your thumb a bit if it's sticking up behind the fretboard, it'll make playing a bit easier.
Life is about reaching outside your expectations and comfort zone in the end to lead a fulfilling life. You'll always regret the things you didn't do more than the ones you actually did (trust me, this is going somewhere).

So push through that initial pain of guitars and you simply won't regret it.