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Imagine a guy who is not built for running the 100 metre dash. He is in very good shape, works out, has strong muscular legs, but can only run it in 18 seconds at best. He is 5’7”, thick bodied and his legs are short. (Not me. it’s for an analogy) Olympians can do it in just under 10 seconds. Imagine now that he has good form in high jump, but he can never get close enough to qualify for high school regionals.

I can best describe my fret board hand as small with short fingers, a very short thumb and a dwarf pinky. Or a <Austrian Accent On> A Weak puny little girly man hand <Austrian Accent Off> .

I don’t have the speed to shred and at my age (retired), I doubt I ever will. In high school I failed typing because I just couldn’t type fast without making a shitload of mistakes. (It was a requirement that year – still the most useful course I took in high school). At 20-25 wpm, at the most, I was fine. Not near good enough for typist job, but more than good enough that I never had to have the secretary at work do it for me. Mind you, I could run the 100 metre in under 18 seconds, but that is not the point.

Trying to finger some chords is just impossible. My pinky just can reach that note or reach that far without muting the string I don’t want to mute (just can’t jump that high without knocking over the bar). An example just how that limitation Example an Eb+7 or E aug 7 (not that I would ever play that chord):



So I just work on the music my hand and fingers can handle. At least the arthritis is in my knees and and not in my hands. But the sleep apnea and insomnia does affect my attention span and slows the learning new things down. And on and on and on …...
 

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If it makes you feel better, I have massive hands, with fat fingers and cant shred either. Opposite end of the spectrum , same result
 

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Django and Tony were both missing fingers or parts thereof.

Pull your own fingers out of your ass and do something with what you’ve got.
 

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If you can't play some chords, play different ones. Avoid jazz.
I agree with this except the avoid jazz. I am not a flashy or fast player but I have learned that there is no need to play music exactly as it’s written or as the original was played. You can always substitute something that sounds good and adds to the song. I believe music is to be interpreted by the player as it moves them. I rarely play complicated chords because that’s not what I hear in my head. Even in jazz there is no need to complicate things unless that is where your muse takes you. Partial chords and inversions can take you a long way without stretching your fingers into impossible positions. That said I started trying to learn the Mickey Baker jazz book in my teens and I still can’t get past page four.
 

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The Mickey Baker book bores me to tears. I end up noodling.

Playing within one's limitations is a fact of life. When I was a young man I was lightning fast and derivative as hell. I'm way slower now but way more thoughtful and original. Speed mattered to me then, but doesn't so much now. There's lots of music that suits me anyway.

Nobody notices it but my left third (ring) finger has a mobility issue where the first (distal) joint doesn't really bend or flex, it seems locked, and I've had some arthritis pains along the way. My massage therapist helps me.

There are lots of chord fingerings that trouble me, but my solution is to leave appropriate notes out.
 

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I'm sure my hands would be a great size for shredding.. it'll never happen though.

Play what you can, as long as you're still having fun with it that's all that matters.
 

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This is a worthwhile topic. Lots of folks don't attempt things because they're afraid they'll not do well, or they're just afraid of the unknown. (I know that's not the case with the OP, but limitations are manifested in many ways.)

I had an elderly student several years ago who had the hands of a hard labourer. They were little more than mallets as he could barely open his hands, but he had a death grip. In retirement he wanted to learn to play and sing. Why he waited until he was over 80, I don't know. We tuned his guitar to open G and he strummed big fat barred major chords, and was happy enough playing old country and folk songs. When he didn't show up for a scheduled lesson I called and got his wife. He'd died that week, and I was told he had been very happy with his newfound guitar abilities, such as they were. His widow was happy because he'd been happy.

The simple things.
 

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This is a worthwhile topic. Lots of folks don't attempt things because they're afraid they'll not do well, or they're just afraid of the unknown. (I know that's not the case with the OP, but limitations are manifested in many ways.)

I had an elderly student several years ago who had the hands of a hard labourer. They were little more than mallets as he could barely open his hands, but he had a death grip. In retirement he wanted to learn to play and sing. Why he waited until he was over 80, I don't know. We tuned his guitar to open G and he strummed big fat barred major chords, and was happy enough playing old country and folk songs. When he didn't show up for a scheduled lesson I called and got his wife. He'd died that week, and I was told he had been very happy with his newfound guitar abilities, such as they were. His widow was happy because he'd been happy.

The simple things.
THAT is a great story! Thanks, on several levels.
 

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I'm sure my hands would be a great size for shredding.. it'll never happen though.

Play what you can, as long as you're still having fun with it that's all that matters.
Shit, I wanted to desperately play really fast but I just don’t have what it takes to be a killer solo guitarist so it’s off to rhythm land for me. In my mind rhythm is just as important as lead guitar! I make little tiny leaps ahead and I am good with that!

It’s all about having so much damned fun that you just can’t contain yourself!

I am at work for another 8 minutes and can hardly wait to get home and play even if it’s a shitty attempt at some solo. I just strap on my guitar and groove with music even though my shitty solo doesn’t sound that good because of my lack of speed and not nimble fingers. I don’t care anymore because fun is what keeps me obsessed and not overthinking or worrying about shit that doesn’t really matter anyway.

Robert don’t worry about the shit you can’t do but have fun with what you can do!

On my way home to pick up and play my sweet baby!
 
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