Physical Limitations


ccrider19632
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Joined: 09/21/20
Posts: 7
ccrider19632
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Joined: 09/21/20
Posts: 7
12/01/2022 4:12 pm

Looking for advice from others who have physical limitations like smaller hands that hinder their ability to do certain things with the guitar like long pinky stretches and how they get around this. I also have a form of arthritis that inhibits some movement. Just wondering how others work around this.


edited
# 1
segal999
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Joined: 11/03/22
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segal999
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Joined: 11/03/22
Posts: 2
12/04/2022 6:59 pm
#1 Originally Posted by: ccrider19632

Looking for advice from others who have physical limitations like smaller hands that hinder their ability to do certain things with the guitar like long pinky stretches and how they get around this. I also have a form of arthritis that inhibits some movement. Just wondering how others work around this.

There are plenty of guitarists who have small hands. A buddy of mine plays bass (34 inch scale) - he has very small hands and he has played professionally for years. If you Google "guitar players with small hands", you'll find that a several famous guitarists have small hands. So it can be done Some ideas: You may have trouble playing some chords, but you can simplify chords so you need fewer notes. You may also need to move differently. Moving your shoulder, or elbow, may be "bad technique" but it may work for you. Playing higher on the neck may help because you don't need to stretch as much - you can use a capo to play in any key. You may need to get creative so your playing adapts to your physical differences. You can also play a smaller guitar, but that costs money. I have a 3/4 size guitar and it's a blast to play. For inspiration, listen to Django Reinhardt play. He only had the use of 2 fingers on his left hand.  As a result he had a unique style, and he is a legendary guitarist. Also. playing slide guitar is a blast and doesn't require as much dexterity or as much stretching. You may have to get creative with your playing style, but I'm confident you can learn. These are just some rambling ideas off the top of my head, but you can learn to play. Your playing style will probably not be like anyone else's, and that would be a great thing! I really hope this helps. Slightly off topic - my brother was born with a severe disability and went to medical school. So I really care about helping people with limitations achieve their goals. Carve your own path and never give up. I really hope some of this is helpful. Best wishes!


# 2
ccrider19632
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Posts: 7
ccrider19632
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Joined: 09/21/20
Posts: 7
12/04/2022 10:47 pm
#2 Originally Posted by: segal999

There are plenty of guitarists who have small hands. A buddy of mine plays bass (34 inch scale) - he has very small hands and he has played professionally for years. If you Google "guitar players with small hands", you'll find that a several famous guitarists have small hands. So it can be done Some ideas: You may have trouble playing some chords, but you can simplify chords so you need fewer notes. You may also need to move differently. Moving your shoulder, or elbow, may be "bad technique" but it may work for you. Playing higher on the neck may help because you don't need to stretch as much - you can use a capo to play in any key. You may need to get creative so your playing adapts to your physical differences. You can also play a smaller guitar, but that costs money. I have a 3/4 size guitar and it's a blast to play. For inspiration, listen to Django Reinhardt play. He only had the use of 2 fingers on his left hand.  As a result he had a unique style, and he is a legendary guitarist. Also. playing slide guitar is a blast and doesn't require as much dexterity or as much stretching. You may have to get creative with your playing style, but I'm confident you can learn. These are just some rambling ideas off the top of my head, but you can learn to play. Your playing style will probably not be like anyone else's, and that would be a great thing! I really hope this helps. Slightly off topic - my brother was born with a severe disability and went to medical school. So I really care about helping people with limitations achieve their goals. Carve your own path and never give up. I really hope some of this is helpful. Best wishes!

Thank you so much for the advise and I will surly check out Django Reinhardt. I have seen a gutaist who was born with no arms and actually played with their feet/toes so I know where there is a will there is a way. Thank you.. 


# 3
tgchan
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tgchan
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Joined: 06/25/17
Posts: 138
12/06/2022 4:10 am

I have struggled a lot at first... I have super small hands... I mean 10year olds (I'm a teacher) most of the time have already longer fingers than me... I was partially using this as an excuse subconsciously when I was struggling with new moves, exercises and songs.

I still sometimes look at people with long fingers with jelousy.


 


 


The bottom line is. Keep on practising. I have overcame all exercises eventually I know I will hit my physical limitation many more times on my way again but I know I just have to keep going and eventually I will find a compromise or a solution to it. You can always change somethign slightly it you hit a hard wall and make it special/unique and yours on;y = which is great. 


As you have said some people miss fingers or even arms alltogether and they still found a way... You want to find excused you'll find them. You want to overcome your disadvantages? You will. Keep going, practice, try not to get frustrated (it's hard, I know) and you don't have to play everything like everyone else does.


 


You don't cry about someone doing backflips and other super hard things on their bikes you just enjoy your simple bike ride because you like it, right?

It is similar with guitar playing. And if you want to do some sick things on the guitar in future, you will. What is even better, it will be personally tailored only for your as you work round through your limitation you will find your own style and methods which again... IS AMAZING. As being unique and special is what makes everything in world so interesting.


So... just keep on practising, playing and having fun. Focus on the joy of doing it and the rest will come with time. All you have to do is just not stopping :)


 


 


If you have wrist/joint pain of any kind, do not be afraid to go lower with your string gauge. The sound doesn't change really but your comfort of playing is greatly improves. It changes the way you play (harder/lighter, etc.) as well. I remember being so furious about being forced to go lower string gauge from 10s but eventually I checked through 8s up to 11s and as I love 10s and I find them perfect (I have them on different guitars with lower tunings) 95% of time I play on my 9-42 with shorther guitar scale 629 mm.


Faster you find your own gear that works and is the most comfortable for you personally. Quicker you will enjoy the playing and learning new stuff.

I've read it many times... many many times... But only at the correct time I have finally understood it. What works for others does not have to work for your.

Make stuff yours and unique for you. You can try and copy everyone else (you may even reach their level, but you will always stay a copy). Build your own style, set of gear, etc. (even based on your idols, etc.) and you will be number 1 always, because it will be you and nobody else. Then the only race you will have will be with you alone to get better than you are and you won't have to compete with anyone else/


 


Sorry for all spelling mistakes... Unfortunately spell checkers doesn't work on guitartricks forum... WHICH SUCKS/


edited
# 4
ccrider19632
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Joined: 09/21/20
Posts: 7
ccrider19632
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Joined: 09/21/20
Posts: 7
12/06/2022 3:07 pm
#4 Originally Posted by: tgchan

I have struggled a lot at first... I have super small hands... I mean 10year olds (I'm a teacher) most of the time have already longer fingers than me... I was partially using this as an excuse subconsciously when I was struggling with new moves, exercises and songs.

I still sometimes look at people with long fingers with jelousy.


 


 


The bottom line is. Keep on practising. I have overcame all exercises eventually I know I will hit my physical limitation many more times on my way again but I know I just have to keep going and eventually I will find a compromise or a solution to it. You can always change somethign slightly it you hit a hard wall and make it special/unique and yours on;y = which is great. 


As you have said some people miss fingers or even arms alltogether and they still found a way... You want to find excused you'll find them. You want to overcome your disadvantages? You will. Keep going, practice, try not to get frustrated (it's hard, I know) and you don't have to play everything like everyone else does.


 


You don't cry about someone doing backflips and other super hard things on their bikes you just enjoy your simple bike ride because you like it, right?

It is similar with guitar playing. And if you want to do some sick things on the guitar in future, you will. What is even better, it will be personally tailored only for your as you work round through your limitation you will find your own style and methods which again... IS AMAZING. As being unique and special is what makes everything in world so interesting.


So... just keep on practising, playing and having fun. Focus on the joy of doing it and the rest will come with time. All you have to do is just not stopping :)


 


 


If you have wrist/joint pain of any kind, do not be afraid to go lower with your string gauge. The sound doesn't change really but your comfort of playing is greatly improves. It changes the way you play (harder/lighter, etc.) as well. I remember being so furious about being forced to go lower string gauge from 10s but eventually I checked through 8s up to 11s and as I love 10s and I find them perfect (I have them on different guitars with lower tunings) 95% of time I play on my 9-42 with shorther guitar scale 629 mm.


Faster you find your own gear that works and is the most comfortable for you personally. Quicker you will enjoy the playing and learning new stuff.

I've read it many times... many many times... But only at the correct time I have finally understood it. What works for others does not have to work for your.

Make stuff yours and unique for you. You can try and copy everyone else (you may even reach their level, but you will always stay a copy). Build your own style, set of gear, etc. (even based on your idols, etc.) and you will be number 1 always, because it will be you and nobody else. Then the only race you will have will be with you alone to get better than you are and you won't have to compete with anyone else/


 


Sorry for all spelling mistakes... Unfortunately spell checkers doesn't work on guitartricks forum... WHICH SUCKS/

Thanks for the words of encouragement. It is frustrating and discouraging sometimes when I see other guitarist making these long stretches that I’m just not capable of. Especially things like boogie woogie blues and I get frustrated and just stopped trying but after hearing others who struggle with this and seeing videos of others who have real life changing disabilities doing amazing things on the guitar, I just need to suck it up and figure it out.. Thanks again!


# 5

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