Think your hands are too small for the guitar? Try these tips!
One common complaint I hear from students is that they feel like their hands are too small. The first thing I usually tell them is that one of the most famous rock guitar players ever had pretty small hands – Angus Young of AC/DC. There are plenty of other examples of great guitarists with small hands if you investigate this topic online, but that doesn’t make it any easier for a beginner who is struggling to do scales or open chords. If you’re having problems reaching notes, there are a couple of techniques you can use to make your guitar playing life easier.
Finger Stretching for Scales
A common problem I see with students is not being able to make the 3 fret stretch with the index finger and pinky finger when playing the minor pentatonic scale. A lot of times, this is because they have their thumb over the top of the neck when playing the scale, but even when they put their thumb behind the neck, they still have problems. The reason is their hand is too far away from the bottom of the neck, and that is the underlying cause of the inability to make the stretch.
The way to solve this is by placing the pinky finger on the note you’re trying to reach, and then leaving it there while stretching the index finger back to the note it’s supposed to be on. This forces you to put your thumb and hand in the position they need to be in to make the stretch.
Finger Stretches for Chords
Chords can also be difficult due to having to do large stretches. If you’re having problems with open chords, you can try putting a capo on the third fret, and doing your chord exercises there for a week, and then move the capo down a fret each week. If you’re having problems with barre chords, it might be due to not being able to stretch the second finger away from the first finger. This can be solved by practicing the extended diatonic scales in the upper frets (seventh and above), and then gradually moving down towards the lower, wider frets.