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Discussion Starter #1
Maybe more appropriate for the theory & technique section.
Looking at various Youtubes that allow for a good clear closeup of the player's fret hand, I started to notice that many of the best players I admire seem to hold their fingers almost parallel to the frets and perpendicular to the neck. I look at my own fret hand, and it always seems to be about 15 degrees off from the fret, such that my fret hand is at a bit of a slant. Part of that may well simply be poor technique in an untrained player, but I can't help but be struck by how my favorite players' fingers seem to be a wee bit longer. Or maybe they simply look longer because they're thinner. Maybe neck profile helps some hands to have a longer reach.

So I'm wondering, do any of you feel like the dimensions of your fingers impede making bigger strides in your playing. I.E., they're good enough for these capabilities, but not for those ones.
 

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Mostly. Except for Alex Lifeson. He seems to have sausage fingers
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I gather you thought it had to do with getting a chocolate bar for free from the vending machine. But no, I'm just wondering if others here feel their biology limits their playing skill.
 

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The two biggest hands I've seen, aside from bass players, are Jimi Hendricks and Tal Farlow.

On the other hand is Lenny Breau. There's a video of him and Tal comparing.

My first guitar teacher was a Mr. James James, who also taught a grade 3 class. We were 10 or 11 and he would spread out his hands, shorter than most of ours, and stubby.

 

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my fingers seem to be fine for playing BUT I cant play a dammed thing is my fingernails are long.
I usually don't use a pic these days and I have to constantly keep my fingernails really trimmed.
G.
 

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I have been told I have “man hands” . My fingers are fairly long, my palm is brisket size. I don’t know if they have done me justice or not .
 

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Not playing or practicing has a more negative effect on my ability compared to my fingers.

I see many accomplished players with their fingers almost parallel to the strings, or slanted in. Robben Ford for instance.
 

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I don't think it matters at all. My nephew, for example, has really small hands and short fingers and he's a killer acoustic finger style player.
It's like, if you know what notes you want to play, you're going to play them. Django only had a couple of good fingers, didn't hold him back. He knew what he wanted to play and how to play it.
 

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I found doing spider exercises trained my fingers to be closer to 90 degrees from the fretboard. Before I angled them.
 

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I'm 5' 8" on a good day and the rest of my body, hand included, is proportional to that. When necessary, and that can be a lot, I angle my fingers in much the same way as a violinist or mandolinist does. I do stretching exercises sans instrument and scales and drills with the instrument. My stubby little fingers can reach from the low F on string 6 to A on string 1, not easily, but doable. For my hands there is such a thing as a neck too narrow, like lots of Rickenbackers, but generally I don't struggle with string spacing.

It's important not to get hung up on this issue. I've actually had people tell me they (or their kid, or someone they know) can't play because they were told their fingers aren't right. What a way to suck the joy out of something. I counsel anyone who brings it up not to judge their potential, ability, or artistic expression on this.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I'm 5' 8" on a good day and the rest of my body, hand included, is proportional to that. When necessary, and that can be a lot, I angle my fingers in much the same way as a violinist or mandolinist does. I do stretching exercises sans instrument and scales and drills with the instrument. My stubby little fingers can reach from the low F on string 6 to A on string 1, not easily, but doable. For my hands there is such a thing as a neck too narrow, like lots of Rickenbackers, but generally I don't struggle with string spacing.

It's important not to get hung up on this issue. I've actually had people tell me they (or their kid, or someone they know) can't play because they were told their fingers aren't right. What a way to suck the joy out of something. I counsel anyone who brings it up not to judge their potential, ability, or artistic expression on this.
Oh I agree. One should just go for it, and precision/style be damned. And there is obviously a HUGE role for woodshedding. My initial comment was really more of an observation of the fingering/fretting style of players whose ability I admire a lot, and the major difference between how they seem to fret and also reach all those exotic Ted Greene chords easily, relative to my own skills/style and hands. I suppose hand morphology is not quite the constraint on style/capability for guitar that it would be for piano, but it still seems to have a vote in how things turn out.

And yes, one of my great "guitar disappointments" was getting to play a mid-'60s Rickenbacker 12, and the neck was appallingly narrow; barely wide enough for 6 strings, let alone 12.
 

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It may also depend on certain technique habits. Over the years I became more comfortable playing in the classical position as it's easier of the left hand and arm, not just for fingerstyle but for almost everything. It changes how my fingers "see" the fretboard (and how the right fingers or pick "see" the strings) taking the twist out of my left hand that reduces reach.
 
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