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Old 08-27-2009, 08:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default My finger don't ****ing bend that way!

I picked-up the guitar in my room, and I was feeling OK about finally teaching myself but now I'm just plain out pissed off.

It's telling me to position my hand like this:
C MAJOR Guitar Chord Fingering

Problem is my hand doesn't seem to be physically even able to do that, I suppose on second thought they don't expect my middle finger and index finger to be totally perfect right on apart from each other, but to do it just how they say it is so difficult! How much time will it take to train my fingers to do this crap? IS there a surgical procedure to make my fingers longer and skinnier? I know the guy in the picture has his middle still pressing against his index, but still, holy ****. >=
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hm, C isn't so hard .. Have you confused the fingers?

1 is the index finger, 2 is the middle or the longest finger of course, 3 is your ring finger.
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:26 AM   #3 (permalink)
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No, I got that pretty down- not confusing any fingers! Actually I think I figured it out- maybe my guitar is too big for my hand size. I don't know if guitars range in sizes, but this is my brothers and he is significantly larger then me. Also the guy in the picture, where he has his thumb, it's impossible to get my hands in that position even when literally trying to force them in that position with the other hand!
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:36 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Well, the C might seem a little tricky if you're completely new to guitar as I guess you are, but I've never heard of it being a particularly big obstacle when learning the instrument. Just practice at it and you'll soon get the hang of it.

Guitars do come in different sizes and shapes. For example, classical nylon string guitars typically have wider necks than steel string and electric guitars.

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Old 08-27-2009, 09:23 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Funny, I always thought the F Major was the one people got f'ed up on, thus making it a well named chord. I personally remember having trouble with the C chord as well (and my hands aren't small) but looking back, I can't imagine why; it is deceivingly simple chord, I guess you could say.

I would just move on, get other chords down, and come back to it when you're fingers are streched out more. You could also get those 'stress balls' to help improve your grip, if your problem is strength.

I also would like to point out something else one should always work on: using the very tips of your fingers instead of the 'fingerprint' part of it. You will be able to play more complex chords without fingers 'buzzing' other strings.

Good luck, don't give up to easy,
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Last edited by Rainfall; 08-27-2009 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 08-27-2009, 09:55 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schizotypic View Post
No, I got that pretty down- not confusing any fingers! Actually I think I figured it out- maybe my guitar is too big for my hand size. I don't know if guitars range in sizes, but this is my brothers and he is significantly larger then me. Also the guy in the picture, where he has his thumb, it's impossible to get my hands in that position even when literally trying to force them in that position with the other hand!
Hi, Schizotypic,

I recommend you do *not* copy what the man in the picture is doing with the thumb of his left hand...bending it around the neck of the guitar as if he were trying to choke the thing. This thumb position appears to be common among many electric guitar players, and probably many steel-string guitar players, but I prefer the classical guitar position where your thumb is fairly straight and is supporting the *back* of the neck (or somewhat on the side of the neck), but *not* curled around it. When I play guitar, my left hand is actually positioned much like a violin player's is (at least on the open chords)...though this may not help you visualize the position.

I do feel using the very tips of your fingers is crucial (so that your finger, where it contacts the string, is at a right angle, straight up and down), however when you play I recommend you tilt your hand (and thumb) however you need to (as long as it feels comfortable) in order to get your fingers to contact one string at a time, which is crucial when playing chords. I tend to tilt my hand in such a way that I don't need to bend my wrist much at all when I finger chords.

I recommend you try to keep your hand in as natural a position as possible. So, for example, if you just put out your left hand, palm up, bending your left arm at the elbow, and then curl your fingers with your thumb in a relaxed position, then you would just fit in the neck of the guitar into your hand and try to maintain this relaxed position when you finger chords.

The first guitar I played was a nylon string (classical) guitar, and I didn't realize at that time that, like Toretorden says, the neck of such guitars is very wide (to allow people to easily finger and pluck individual strings rapidly), so I remember thinking, "Arrggh! I'd love to play guitar but I don't think my hand can stretch this far!" I took it to a music store for advice and got to experience that a steel-string guitar does, indeed, have a narrower neck, and is built more for playing chords. The electric guitar (Fender Squire) that I have has an even narrower neck, which fits my hand better, but the close distance between strings can make chords trickier bcause my finger positions have to be very precise to avoid hitting other strings. I often wonder how people with big hands play electric guitar, since I think it would be impossible for them to finger chords without hitting adjacent strings.
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Old 08-27-2009, 11:54 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Are you saying you can't make your fingers can't do this..
?

If so, and assuming you're not afflicted with dwarfism or rheumatoid arthritis, then it shouldn't take much practice to be able to do it correctly and easily. Anchor your thumb comfortably on the neck and just contort your hand until the chord comes out right. Then practice strumming the chord over and over. Normal human hands can do this once they are conditioned a little bit.
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Old 08-27-2009, 12:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Those are some beautiful fingers :p
Again, and I stress this, using only the very tip of the fingers.

Are you completely self-teaching, or do you know someone who is somewhat experienced? Also, About.com was a great help to me when I first started out. That's a link directly to beginner tutorial archives. Take it slow if you have to.
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Old 08-27-2009, 02:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Sorry to respond late, just woke-up. Anyway I figured out- and no Tore, I didn't confuse the fingers, I confused the strings! I had the whole chord upside down. I think C major is index to B 1rst fret, middle to D 2nd fret, ring to A 3rd fret. I was trying to do index to A 1rst fret, middle to G 2nd fret, and then ring to B 3rd fret. Then, of course, tried to do it with my thumb wrapped around the neck so I learned with "good fingering". If anyone can do that arrangement my hat is off to him.

Wow this is embarrassing! It was like five in the morning and I was tired and kind of emotional at the moment, so, maybe that had something to do with it... anyway, thank you all for all of the help! I really appreciate taking you time, I got a lot of advice in here I can still use anyway.
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Old 08-27-2009, 07:05 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Schizotypic View Post
Sorry to respond late, just woke-up. Anyway I figured out- and no Tore, I didn't confuse the fingers, I confused the strings! I had the whole chord upside down.

Wow this is embarrassing! It was like five in the morning and I was tired and kind of emotional at the moment, so, maybe that had something to do with it... anyway, thank you all for all of the help! I really appreciate taking you time, I got a lot of advice in here I can still use anyway.

hahaha no worries. happens to the best of us.

as for the thumb issue vegangelica is right but doesn't really go into reasons why. both methods have advantages and disadvantages.

the traditional / classical method revolves around bracing your thumb perpendicularly to the neck in a way that makes it feel like you're pinching the strings between your thumb and index finger. it's also beneficial for playing clean barre chords and dealing with the extra width of a classical guitar neck. it's a better method if you're going to be busier with your picking hand and need to maintain clear fretted notes.

the 'incorrect' / hendrixian method revolves around wrapping your thumb around the top of the neck in a way that makes it feel as though you're choking the guitar. it's a technique predominantly used on electrics by people with bigger hands. you actually use your thumb to fret the root notes of barre chords on the E string and mute the 5th note on the A string. you won't get the cleanest sounding chord this way but it changes the position of your fingers in a way that frees up an extra digit while playing to throw in all the extra frills.

ultimately neither style is really better than the other. it's about what feels right for you and provides you with the ability to play what you want to hear. personally i alternate between both depending on what i want to achieve.

one final thing to remember absolutely. if you feel any sort of pain or discomfort TAKE A BREAK and readjust your posture. especially if you notice cramping or burning sensations in your wrist or the top of your hand. you do have to deal with pain in your fingertips as the callouses develop but joint and muscle pain is NOT part of the package.
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