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Guitar Help: Extending Reach

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GUEST,PaulM 29 Jan 02 - 08:33 AM
Gary T 29 Jan 02 - 09:56 AM
Clinton Hammond 29 Jan 02 - 10:09 AM
GUEST,PaulM 29 Jan 02 - 10:34 AM
Steve in Idaho 29 Jan 02 - 10:50 AM
Rick Fielding 29 Jan 02 - 11:23 AM
GUEST,MCP 29 Jan 02 - 11:50 AM
Tiger 29 Jan 02 - 12:33 PM
marty D 29 Jan 02 - 05:00 PM
Mark Clark 29 Jan 02 - 05:19 PM
Justa Picker 29 Jan 02 - 05:37 PM
nager 29 Jan 02 - 06:36 PM
GUEST,PaulM 29 Jan 02 - 06:39 PM
CraigS 29 Jan 02 - 07:42 PM
nager 29 Jan 02 - 07:55 PM
Anahootz 29 Jan 02 - 08:11 PM
Steve in Idaho 30 Jan 02 - 02:16 PM
M.Ted 30 Jan 02 - 03:47 PM
Marion 19 Jul 02 - 04:38 PM
Don Firth 25 Aug 02 - 03:02 AM
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Subject: Guitar Help: Extending Reach
From: GUEST,PaulM
Date: 29 Jan 02 - 08:33 AM

Inspired by the 'playing like Doc Watson' thread, I've decided to try to learn some of Martin Carthy's tunes.

I've got his instructional video and the accompanying booklet of tablature, but I'm finding in places that my hand simply won't stretch far enough to play some things (ie a partial bar with the index finger whilst the little finger/pinkie frets the top string about a billion frets higher).

My hands aren't small, but I don't have the requisite suppleness.

Can anyone suggest any ideas?

Thanks

Paul


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Subject: RE: Guitar Help: Extending Reach
From: Gary T
Date: 29 Jan 02 - 09:56 AM

Some people are endowed with long fingers and flexible hands that enable them to do things that are simply not possible for others. You just have to make do with what your anatomy offers. Among the options:

Find variations on chords and/or picking sequences that you can physically do.

Capo up several frets so that you're working in an area with less distance between frets.

Get a guitar with a shorter scale length (3/4 size?) so that there's less distance between frets.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Help: Extending Reach
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 29 Jan 02 - 10:09 AM

Flexibility can be got through stretching and exercise... finger length, I'm afraid we're born with...

Just keep playing!

.-)


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Subject: RE: Guitar Help: Extending Reach
From: GUEST,PaulM
Date: 29 Jan 02 - 10:34 AM

Clinton,

This is what I was asking, really.

What sort of stretching / exercises?

Many years ago (brings back the time when I was 8 or 9) my siter did gymnastics and had to 'learn' how to do the splits.

Wondering if there were similar exercises for the left hand

Paul


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Subject: RE: Guitar Help: Extending Reach
From: Steve in Idaho
Date: 29 Jan 02 - 10:50 AM

I'd mirror the above - stretching helps - bottom line those same notes appear within a fret or so of wherever you are on the neck. Just keep on pickin - I like that one!! My motto - "Back porch pickers Unite!!! *G*

Steve


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Subject: RE: Guitar Help: Extending Reach
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 29 Jan 02 - 11:23 AM

Hi Paul. Here's a neat little trick that my piano playing Mom told me about...many many years ago. I've passed it on to every student I've ever worked with, and I guarantee you it WORKS! In fact it works so quickly most folks are very surprised at first.

She said that when she took her first piano lessons (in the twenties I guess) her teacher would get the little girls to run their fingers up and down two polished dowels afixed vertically on either end of the piano. They'd 'split' their fingers. Eg: Split the index and middle..push hard into the dowel, and run them back and forth over the dowel. Next split the middle and ring. Then the ring and pinky.

It's even easier on the guitar. Just 'split' the fingers and run 'em up and down the neck of the guitar. Push as hard as you're able to without real pain. Within a few days you'll really notice the extra "reach" coming into play. Yeah, it hurts a little, but the proof for me was that my Mom, with a much smaller hand than mine could reach a tenth on the piano, whereas I could only manage an octave.

Once you've done the excercise on both hands for a minute or so (obviously much more important on your fretting hand...but I'm too 'anal' to just do it on one hand!) Try to put down a four finger G maj 7th chord XX5432. It'll be much easier than it was two minutes before.

Really want to get some good stretches happening? Play the above chord WITH your thumb on the sixth string third fret, and DAMP the fifth string.

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Guitar Help: Extending Reach
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 29 Jan 02 - 11:50 AM

If you can read music (fairly basic in treble clef) then I would recommend trying to get hold of a copy of Kitharlogus The Path To Virtuousity by Ricardo Iznaola published by Chanterelle, No. 730. This is manual of technical development exercises intended for classical guitarists primarily, but the exercises will improve technique for any style. Part of this is a sequence of exercises for improving left hand extension (and contraction also). Despite the method quoted by Rick above (and regards to him from Johnny Collins btw), I personally wouldn't recommend exercises away from the guitar - too often they don't develop the correct muscles/coordination at all. (And no, I don't want to get into a debate about this - that's the reason I normally only post to song threads; life's too short for music and pointless debate)

If you can't find the book, let me know and I'll see if I can send you the exercises.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Guitar Help: Extending Reach
From: Tiger
Date: 29 Jan 02 - 12:33 PM

Geez, Rick, almost broke ma wrist :-)


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Subject: RE: Guitar Help: Extending Reach
From: marty D
Date: 29 Jan 02 - 05:00 PM

He had me doing that one last year, and it DID hurt a bit, but I'm positive my reach has increased. Of course I broke all of my fingers in the process!

marty


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Subject: RE: Guitar Help: Extending Reach
From: Mark Clark
Date: 29 Jan 02 - 05:19 PM

That's a great idea Rick. I'm going to try that one as well.

Another good stretching exercise is to play a standard rock & roll lick in A on the two bass strings. Index finger on the E string fifth fret, middle finger on the A string seventh fret. Then, while holding and playing that pair, add the little finger on the A string ninth fret and then on the tenth fret.

When you can do that easily in A, slide the whole thing down to Ab, then to G, etc. See how low you can go and still make the 6 fret stretch.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Guitar Help: Extending Reach
From: Justa Picker
Date: 29 Jan 02 - 05:37 PM

Here's one that worked great for me for the fretting hand but only do it for a few minutes at a time and then break when you're first starting out. (Not for the faint of heart or those with really short fingers though).

The concept here is to keep alternating between picking the 6th string and then the 3rd and 1st strings together with a combination of the thumb, ring and baby fingers...creating a boom-chuck kind of thing.

In standard tuning, fret using the thumb on the G (6th string - 3rd fret) and keep it there no matter what.

Play that fretted 6th string with the right hand thumb, then with the index and middle fingers of the right hand, pluck the 3rd and 1st string with the pickin' hand beginning with the index on the 1st string/3rd fret and the middle finger on the 3rd string/4th fret. Repeat this pattern, but the second time after playing the G bass note with the thumb, move the 4th/ring finger to the 3rd string/5th fret and the baby finger to the 5th fret/1st string (keeping the thumb anchored on that G note) and then move the ring and baby fingers up one more fret (same strings but now on the 6th fret) and again to the 7th fret, and then walk it all back down to the original starting position...and just keep repeating.

So you're getting a bass note followed by the higher two strings played together and just repeat the entire process, making sure the keep the thumb fretted and anchored to the 6th string (G) and moving up the other two fingers on the 1st and 3rd strings progressively and then back down to the positions I've mentioned. I hope this is understandable.

It is a bitch and it hurts when you first attempt this...so take it easy and just do a little at a time, and in a matter of weeks, you will be amazed at how your reach has exceeded your grasp. **G**


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Subject: RE: Guitar Help: Extending Reach
From: nager
Date: 29 Jan 02 - 06:36 PM

Or, you could try reading one of those many "penis enlargement" ads that seem to flood some newsgroups... who knows, some of their methods might apply to this subject. Never had the need to read one myself of course...my reach on the guitar is quite adequate thank you!


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Subject: RE: Guitar Help: Extending Reach
From: GUEST,PaulM
Date: 29 Jan 02 - 06:39 PM

Lets ignore nager, eh?

Many thanks to the rest of you.

A lot of food for thought.

Thank you for your time.

Paul


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Subject: RE: Guitar Help: Extending Reach
From: CraigS
Date: 29 Jan 02 - 07:42 PM

A lot of the problems with reach are actually associable with bad position - the way you hold the guitar. Start with where the beast actually is. Classically, the guitar between the legs with the left leg raised six inches on a stool (pile of books), or the ladies' (jazz) position, left leg crossed over the right. The guitar should tilt back into the body at an angle of zero to 15 degrees. The nut should be level with the left shoulder. the left arm should be at a right angle with the neck (GET THAT ELBOW AWAY FROM YOUR BODY). The fingers should be parallel with the frets, the thumb slightly above the middle of the neck. Try it this way before you start the reaching exercises, and try to do the up and down the neck movements from the shoulder rather than from the elbow.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Help: Extending Reach
From: nager
Date: 29 Jan 02 - 07:55 PM

Sorry if I offended you PaulM... it was a light hearted remark designed to create laugh or two... didn't realise you were so serious minded. First time I've ever been ignored for making a light hearted remark. As a guitar player of some 40 years experience I could give you some good advice on stretching exercises but it has already been well covered by the others so no need for more. I will go back to working on being more serious in future.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Help: Extending Reach
From: Anahootz
Date: 29 Jan 02 - 08:11 PM

Another stretch: place the tips of the pinky and index fingers against the side of a table, then place the middle and ring fingers on top. Now move your hand forward, letting the pinky and index move away from each other, until you reach the point where they ain't gonna go no more. Hold there, then relax, then do it again. Been doing this for about 2 years now, and have a 6-fret spread in 1st position on the Irish bozouki.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Help: Extending Reach
From: Steve in Idaho
Date: 30 Jan 02 - 02:16 PM

Hi nager - Haven't seen you about before - if you haven't been welcomed -"Welcome"

Steve


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Subject: RE: Guitar Help: Extending Reach
From: M.Ted
Date: 30 Jan 02 - 03:47 PM

I just went through the tips that CraigS gave, and several of them just plain don't work for me--the bit about fingers parallel to the frets being the most conspicuous--

Not to say that he is wrong--in fact, those things may work well for him, but different people have different sized hands, different neck thicknesses, different fretboard widths,(not to mention the fact that some guitars have a bit of curve to the fretboard, and some are dead flat) and accomodations must be made--

When new students came to me that had been playing for a while, I generally could improve their playing technique very quickly by making changes in the way they held the instrument--

At any rate, Paul, what fret is your index finger supposed to be on, and what fret is the pinky supposed to go to?


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Subject: RE: Guitar Help: Extending Reach
From: Marion
Date: 19 Jul 02 - 04:38 PM

I've just tried the exercise Justa Picker described a few posts above - this is a joke, right?

Marion


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Subject: RE: Guitar Help: Extending Reach
From: Don Firth
Date: 25 Aug 02 - 03:02 AM

A really good manual for developing speed, flexibility, and finger independence is Scott Tennant's Pumping Nylon. It's aimed at classic guitarists, but that kind of thing can work for any style guitarist. You can get it with just the music or with music and tablature. Excellent!

Don Firth


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