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Thread: Shredding and hand size

  1. #1
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    Shredding and hand size

    This may be a dumb question but I have Rusty Cooleys 'The art of picking Cd' On it he has some 4 notes per string licks. The notes he plays are like on the 10, 11, 13 and 15 fret. He uses all four fingers to fret them i.e. index on the 10th fret, middle finger on 11 fret, ring finger on 13th and pinky on 15th. My middle and ring finger do not want to stretch that far. Are some peoples hands just 'built' better for shredding. George Bellas also has some sick lick where he stretches from the 9th fret to the 16th fret. If I contort my body just right I can barely make that stretch. Or is it possible they have guitars where the distance between the frets is smaller than mine. (I don't know anything about how guitars are built so I don't know if there is a standard or anything.) thanks

  2. #2
    Mad Scientist forgottenking2's Avatar
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    Well, the fact is that size DOES matter... (sorry I HAD to throw that one in) but seriously, while hand size does not have anything to do with the ability to play the guitar it does have certain implication while playing certain licks in a certain way and positions (but you can always move those around to make them suitable for you)... so the bottom line is that... size matters. But with a little skill you can get around it .

    Regards,
    "If God had wanted us to play the piano he would've given us 88 fingers"

  3. #3
    Chicks dig me Danster's Avatar
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    Re: Shredding and hand size

    Originally posted by flathead
    Or is it possible they have guitars where the distance between the frets is smaller than mine. (I don't know anything about how guitars are built so I don't know if there is a standard or anything.) thanks
    Different guitars have different scale lengths (bridge to nut distance). This affects distance between frets, not by much though.
    Peace

  4. #4
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    Practice...

    It's all about practice.

    Well, of course, some people have bigger hands or longer fingers, so they can do these things more easily. But I believe when you practice long enough you can make those 10, 11, 13, 15 stretches. (not sure about that 9 to 16 one though...! )

    It has nothing (well, not much) to do with the length of the fretboard (or the spaces between the frets, as you call it). There are two standard sizes (well, there are more, but most guitars have one of these two) and there is only 3/4 of an inch difference between them (I'm talking about the length between the nut and the bridge here). If you can play these stretches on the 'short' guitars, it won't take too much trouble to play them on the 'long' ones (although that 9 to 16 may just become a bit too much then... )

  5. #5
    IbreatheMusic Author Bizarro's Avatar
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    I don't think it matters at all. You just work with what you have and learn how to skip strings or whatever you need to do to hit the notes you want to hit. You shouldn't worry about all that sort of stuff.

    Steve Morse, Nuno Betancourt, Van Halen, Satriani, Vinnie Moore: they are all on the "small" side and they play really great. I've met Steve, Vinnie and Nuno and they look like little kids next to me in the pictures! They play about a billion times better than I can play, and my fingers are much longer than theirs!

    Learn how to stretch safely and effectively to maximize what you have, and practice, practice, practice...
    -Bizarro
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  6. #6
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    Chopin, the famous composer and pianist, had really small hands. (Pianists have to stretch to you know). Still Chopin could do some impossible stretches. Thatīs the thing; STRETCH not just REACH.

  7. #7
    Mad Scientist forgottenking2's Avatar
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    I agree completely on the fact that you need to practice to increase your reach and that you can take a given lick and rearrange the notes on the fretboard to make it more confortable to your hands and still get the same results (soundwise) BUT like I said before IF you want to play a lick a certain way (like 8 to the 16 fret or something crazy like that) hand size does play a role... of course, like I said before with some skill sure you can get away with it and by no means "my hands are too small" is an acceptable excuse for not being able to play a certain passage, then you have all those guys with small hand playing incredibly well... anyways I'm rambling here getting all deffensive and stuff ok here's some advice, try playing a 4 note per string pattern using the wholetone scale (a scale made up of just whole tones <play every other fret so your 1 2 34 standard exercise is gonna be 1 3 5 7>) start high up on the fretboard and work your way down. I hope this helps.

    Regards,
    "If God had wanted us to play the piano he would've given us 88 fingers"

  8. #8
    Amateur gynecologist smallbusrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bizarro
    I don't think it matters at all. You just work with what you have and learn how to skip strings or whatever you need to do to hit the notes you want to hit. You shouldn't worry about all that sort of stuff.

    Steve Morse, Nuno Betancourt, Van Halen, Satriani, Vinnie Moore: they are all on the "small" side and they play really great. I've met Steve, Vinnie and Nuno and they look like little kids next to me in the pictures! They play about a billion times better than I can play, and my fingers are much longer than theirs!

    Learn how to stretch safely and effectively to maximize what you have, and practice, practice, practice...
    Eddie and Steve morse have huge hands for their size.
    "Life's too short to dance with Psycho Chicks."

  9. #9
    ClashlandHands ClashlandHands's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 007
    Chopin, the famous composer and pianist, had really small hands. (Pianists have to stretch to you know). Still Chopin could do some impossible stretches. Thatīs the thing; STRETCH not just REACH.
    Really?! Never would have guessed it by some of the 10th reaches he writes for left hand. Size does make a difference in playing, but not in how good you can become at what you do. I have long lanky hyperlax fingers so I tend to explore wide sparce voicings because I can. Some of the greatist pianists in the world have had short, porky hot-dog fingers and it hasn't held them back in the least.

    On the other hand, rather than have the music you make adjust to you (i.e. smaller voicings, less legato style with more neck jumping) if an absolutely equal playing field is something that is really, really important to you, you could consider a custom built instrument. Why attempt to adjust yourself to an instrument that you feel you could never totally master? Instead adjust the instrument to you. Of course, usually this means mucho $$.

    At least with piano, range is extended to about an octave and a half by raising the arm more. Picture the hand doing cartwheels. I wonder if there isn't a similar technique in playing guitar. Generally, the flatter your hand, the shorter the range. There are also exercises you can do to expand your hand.
    http://www.cleverjoe.com/articles/gr...exerciser.html

    http://www.chiropracticmassagesupers..._exerciser.htm

  10. #10
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    bigger hands/longer fingers definitely helps with wider reaches. but also what seems at first impossible, over time gets easier, but still there is a limit of course the size of your hand sets.

    but good music is not how difficult a stretch you can accomplish, and it's not how many chords you use, it's not how fast you play, good music, is good music just because it sounds nice. solme peoples hands allow them to use tools that are not available to others. but that alone a better guitarist does not make.

    it's like, for basketball being tall is good, but iverson is short and is a franchise player.

    so it's not so much what you can physically do, it's what you choose to do given your physical ability, but you want to improve your physical ability as much as possible because that will give you the most options to choose from.

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