The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #46029   Message #681458
Posted By: Rick Fielding
02-Apr-02 - 09:28 AM
Thread Name: Size DOES matter..but flexibility rules!
Subject: Size DOES matter..but flexibility rules!
Since Marion brought this old chestnut back ourfriendtheB7th I thought a related thread might be fun.

Now here's the have small hands and tiny fingers. You've heard all the crap about Segovia's fingers being only a half inch long and wider than a Polish sausage....but so what? You can't do those finger-benders that Fielding is always throwing out on the forum as if they were as easy as picking your nose.

Well here's a few tricks. Not one of these is new to Mudcat, but there are hundreds of new folks here since the last time I started a 'finger-stretcher' thread.

Learn how to "Arch" your fingers. Forget the "thumb" chords that I talk about constantly and concentrate on "lifting" the hand a bit in order to come down more vertically on the strings.

Decide just how much you ARE willing to sacrifice in order to play better....and if that means buying a smaller bodied guitar with a really slim it.

Accept your limitations...I simply CAN'T bend my index or middle fingers "back" the other way, so playing an "A" chord with one finger is out of the question. Next best thing? Play it with your middle finger covering the 4th and 3rd strings and your ring finger covering thw 2nd string. That still gives you TWO free fingers to 'decorate ' your chord with.

Learn "idiot theory" (my term). It won't take you more than a couple of days to memorize what notes in the scale (and their equivalent number) make up a major chord, minor, Seventh, Ninth, Sixth, and minor seventh. Trust me, this is not like sitting in front of the red book trying to decypher something Mozart wrote while still in the womb! All it will do is make you understand what someone's talking about when they say that a chord has 1, 3, 5, 7, and 2, in it.

Get yourself a wider "span". Put your left hand index and middle fingers into the "Churchill V for victory" configeration...force the "V" into the back of your neck (No, NO! your guitar neck!) and slide it up and down a few times til you can really feel it. Do it with the middle and ring, and then with the ring and little finger. In a couple of days you WILL notice a difference. My Mum taught me this. Her hand was smaller than mine but she could easily reach from C to D on a piano, while I could barely make an octave.

Look at the ANGLE of the guitar against your body. After a few years I could play while lying on my back with the guitar upside down....but this caused me to lose many a folk job. The more vertical you have the guitar, the better you'll be able to "arch" the fingers and make some of those stretches.

Steal from ALL styles...Classical, folk, rock, etc.