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Old 02-02-2006, 09:51 AM   #1
benetti
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Unhappy Are my fingers too short to play guitar?

Hi everybody!

I have read a few threads on the net where people said they have too short fingers to play guitar.
I also have pretty short fingers and not a huge range and I'm already full grown and can't hope for more growth. Some people have a giant range and can fret from the 12th to the 24th fret for example. I can't do this. My fingers are a bit strange somehow. For example my ringfinger is shorter than my indexfinger which isn't normal. Usually men have longer ringfingers than indexfinger and also when you look at the ringfinger it's also pretty thin and somehow doesn't look harmonic compared to the other fingers as you can see here:

[URL=http://imageshack.us][/url]

I wonder if playing guitar with these fingers makes much sense since I can't do many things which others can and I think this might be due to my short, thin fingers. For example I just can't do a barree with my pinky. I simply can't get enough pressure to push down the top 3 strings with the fingertip of my pinky. With longer, thicker fingers this would be no problem at all and especially in new metal you have to be able to play barrees with your pinky when you wanna play fast stuff like this:

-------------
-------------
-------------
-0h3h6p0-
-0h3h6p0-
-0h3h6p0-

These are my measurements when I measure my fingers as demonstrated on the picture.

indexfinger= 7,2cm
middlefinger= 7,7cm
ringfinger=6,8cm
pinky= 6cm

[URL=http://imageshack.us][/url]
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Old 02-02-2006, 09:54 AM   #2
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you're getting too hung up on that man, just keep practicing... ive got short stubby fingers hahah, im sure lots of guitarists have fingers about your length and are doing just fine... dont let it get to your head and just keep practicing, you'll find ways to overcome it eventually

goodluck
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Old 02-02-2006, 10:13 AM   #3
fiojamdrummer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benetti
Hi everybody!

my ringfinger is shorter than my indexfinger which isn't norma
I don't think this is the case. It is mixed, some people have a longer ring finger, some have a longer index finger. There is nothing wrong with this.

Don't worry about it - there must be loads of people who find it a little more difficult because of slightly smaller hands. We can't all be the same.
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Old 02-02-2006, 10:26 AM   #4
thegrimjester90
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My fingers are about as long as yours and I don't have a hard time when playing. Just keep practicing and do some finger exercises to improve dexterity. Also always keep your thumb behind the fretboard. Never hold it baseball bat style
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Old 02-02-2006, 10:33 AM   #5
benetti
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Hi everybody!

The problem is that with short fingers there are things which are much more difficult. For example hammer on/pull off powerchords which you can simply play with 1 finger as a barree when you've tuned down to dropped D or C.
Especially in new metal it's also necessary to be able to play a barree with your pinky if you want to play fast and cannot move your hand and only have 1 finger for every fret.
For example "step up" from Drowning Pool starts like this:

-----------------
-----------------
-----------------
0-3-5-6-0-3-5-6-
0-3-5-6-0-3-5-6-
0-3-5-6-0-3-5-6-

And in order to play this fast you have to play the barrees like this.

3= indexfinger
5=ringfinger
6=pinky

But the problem is playing a barree with your pinky. This is very hard. I can't press down all 3 strings with the pinky. In most cases the 3rd string doesn't ring and is only muted. I don't understand how they do this. They can play a barree with a totally relaxed grip. When I wanna play a barree it looks totally stupid and cramped like on this pic.

[URL=http://imageshack.us][/url]


But the Drowning Pool guy or the Mudvayne guy play stuff like this and it looks totally easy they don't have this cramped look. I think this is because they have longer fingers. If my pinky had the shape of my ringfinger then hammer on barrees would be no problem.
They can play a pinky-barree with a totally relaxed looking grip like this without stiffing the pinky the way I did on my pic.

http://www.tunepix.com/graphics4/james_hetfield2.jpg

Last edited by benetti; 02-02-2006 at 10:36 AM.
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Old 02-02-2006, 10:36 AM   #6
Timm
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my finger are each only like max 3-6 mm longer than yours and I'm fine
never had a problem with anything really
thicker fingers are not better for guitar playing, more the opposite if anything
barring demands some finger strength and that comes by practicing
and people with longer fingers only have little advantages since most stretches they can do that others can't are hardly that useful

actually for god's sake don't worry about what others can and concentrate on your playing, look at others when you need motivation but never let other people's skill put you down that's silly
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Old 02-02-2006, 10:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benetti
I won't comment on that silly make up
but his fingers don't look very long imo tbqh
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Old 02-02-2006, 10:49 AM   #8
benetti
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Hi fosco!

The problem is that those things which I wanna play like the pinky barrees I can't play. And this is frustrating. If I could play all this stuff I wouldn't even worry.
I also don't know how to train pinky barrees. I mean shall I try to do a pinky barree until it finally works somehow? Does this make sense?
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Old 02-02-2006, 10:58 AM   #9
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man you gotta build up finger strength, barring frets is a pain to begin with and eventually gets wayyy easier

the pinky is definitly no exception and is probably the hardest to bar with at first
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Old 02-02-2006, 11:16 AM   #10
benetti
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Yes, I know.
It's just that it seems so impossible to me. It's hard to imagine that this might work one day.
I also don't know how to practice pinky barrees.
Practing normal barrees with your indexfinger is easy but pinky barrees are harder also because I don't know how to hold my hand and my finger. Shall I stiffen the pinky or try to keep it rather relaxed when trying to do a barree?
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Old 02-02-2006, 11:23 AM   #11
LSD
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it was hard to imagine alternate picking for me one day, i couldnt do it if my life depended on it for my first 2-3 months of playing... then i just started doing it slowly and relearned how to pick and eventually it has become second nature

give it time and dont get frustrated so easy

as for barring id just try not to strain it too hard as you only need to put so much pressure on the fretboard for the notes to hold. i dont know what is considered proper technique when barring chords like that with the pinky but the way i do it is basically the same as with all my fingers, keep it straight and relaxed with only enough pressure to keep the strings from buzzing

you could also use your ring finger as kind of a support when using yoru pinky to bar and kinda rest it ontop of it and press down...
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Old 02-03-2006, 12:51 AM   #12
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Just look at Iommi, he lost a few fingertips in an accident and he is one the pioneers of metal music. Its all about adapting, maybe instead of playing all three strings try just the top two, a lot of nu-metal players dont bother fretting the extra note. Also alot of players merely slide their third finger from 5-6, malakian from system of a down, jones from tool are two examples.

Last edited by borisdablade; 02-03-2006 at 12:54 AM.
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Old 02-03-2006, 02:39 AM   #13
ChickenStu
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My ring finger is shorter than my index.

Plus my index bends in quite a bit, which made it hard to barre in the beginning.
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Old 02-03-2006, 02:42 AM   #14
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Michael Romeo has stubby fingers and he's one of the best guitarists I've heard, don't worry about them.
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Old 02-03-2006, 04:45 AM   #15
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When I first started to learning how to barr it seemed impossible. I couldn't get all the strings to ring out when barring with my index finger, but now it takes almost no effort to barr. So just keep at it.
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Old 02-03-2006, 04:47 AM   #16
benetti
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Yes, there are definitely great players with rather short fingers such as Marcel Coenen. http://www.marcelcoenen.com/movieclips.htm
But I wonder what if they only play the stuff they can play? Maybe they couldn't do a pinky barree and because of this they also don't use it.
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Old 02-03-2006, 05:40 AM   #17
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just chill and play and dont get hung up on finger length... just go a thin neck if possible
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Old 02-03-2006, 07:45 AM   #18
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3-5-6
3-5-6
3-5-6

Those are powerchords, not barre chords btw.

And what you're describing with the pinky is finger strength, not finger length. Just practice with the pinky as much as you can. A lot of guitarists have crap pinkies for a while.
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Old 02-03-2006, 08:22 AM   #19
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Naturally long fingers have their disadvantages too you know, it's not all gravy having big hands

Anyway, as you practice more you WILL build dexterity and range as your muscles develop. Obviously, there will come a point where your range is a bit inhibiting, but you can always find ways around that.
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Old 02-03-2006, 10:18 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fosco
I won't comment on that silly make up
but his fingers don't look very long imo tbqh
What make-up?
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Old 02-03-2006, 10:19 AM   #21
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Okay.
Thanks everybody.
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Old 02-05-2006, 09:41 AM   #22
Farm girl
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your fingers are longer than mine and I don't have much trouble
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Old 02-05-2006, 09:45 AM   #23
benetti
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Farm girl
your fingers are longer than mine and I don't have much trouble
Hi!
What stuff do you play? Simple stuff or also complicated stuff?
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Old 02-06-2006, 07:17 AM   #24
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No but your **** is
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Old 02-06-2006, 07:17 AM   #25
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* that was meant to say c0ck
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Old 02-18-2006, 09:57 AM   #26
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play as much as john 5 and your fingrs will stretch lol.
just keep practsing, how do you think Tony Iommi felt when he lost the ends of his fingers? just do exercises that involve the whole sclae of strings and with plenty of hammer on/pull off routines
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Old 02-18-2006, 10:32 AM   #27
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my fingers arent that long i can stretch them from the 1st fret to my kitchen, you just gotta keep playing
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Old 02-18-2006, 11:18 AM   #28
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lol at deformed hands
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Old 02-18-2006, 07:40 PM   #29
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It takes practice. I can't barre the bottom three strings with my pinky in that riff you showed above either, because I never play dropped tunings and that's the first time I've tried that to be honest. I can barre the bottom two but the D string is muted. My reach is 12-23 fret.
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Old 02-18-2006, 09:32 PM   #30
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If Tony Iommi can play guitar with no fingertips, you can learn to get around short fingers.
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