Playing back in black

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snpfarm

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Joined: 07/16/21

Posts: 42

I was reading another post regarding learning to play Back in Black (BiB). That made me think of a Back in Black question as well. I didn't want to hijack his thread by asking my question. Once upon a time I started learning BiB. I know that both Angus and Malcom Young are/were both 5'2" tall. They must have really long fingers to be able play some of there licks. I'm 5'8" with hands prortional to my stature. I can barely put my index finger on a fret, skip a fret, and get my pinky to the 2nd fret down from the one my index finger is on. Mush less skipping 5 or 6 fretts like in the intro to BiB. I'll try to make a tab below. I dont think they ever lift off the second fret of the 5th string while hitting the notes on the 6th string. If anyone knows a work around I'm all ears.

A -----2-------2-------2-------2--------

E ---------4-------5--------6-------7-----

This trying to get my left hand and right hand to work together is driving me crazy!

#1

I was reading another post regarding learning to play Back in Black (BiB). That made me think of a Back in Black question as well. I didn't want to hijack his thread by asking my question. Once upon a time I started learning BiB. I know that both Angus and Malcom Young are/were both 5'2" tall. They must have really long fingers to be able play some of there licks. I'm 5'8" with hands prortional to my stature. I can barely put my index finger on a fret, skip a fret, and get my pinky to the 2nd fret down from the one my index finger is on. Mush less skipping 5 or 6 fretts like in the intro to BiB. I'll try to make a tab below. I dont think they ever lift off the second fret of the 5th string while hitting the notes on the 6th string. If anyone knows a work around I'm all ears.

A -----2-------2-------2-------2--------

E ---------4-------5--------6-------7-----

This trying to get my left hand and right hand to work together is driving me crazy!

William MG

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Joined: 03/08/19

Posts: 1242

Don't try keeping your finger pinned on the A string. You have to have lots of flexibility for that. The tempos not so high that you can't switch your finger on and off the A and still keep time. Just takes practice.

"If it sounds cool, it is cool!"

Mike O

Works for me!

#2

Don't try keeping your finger pinned on the A string. You have to have lots of flexibility for that. The tempos not so high that you can't switch your finger on and off the A and still keep time. Just takes practice.

"If it sounds cool, it is cool!"

Mike O

Works for me!

snpfarm

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Joined: 07/16/21

Posts: 42

Originally Posted by: William

Don't try keeping your finger pinned on the A string. You have to have lots of flexibility for that. The tempos not so high that you can't switch your finger on and off the A and still keep time. Just takes practice.

Yep, thats the way I have to play it. I saw a tutorial video a while back and the guy doing the video could could actually keep his index finger on the A-string and hit the notes on the B-string with out ever moving his index finger. He had some long fingers for sure.

This trying to get my left hand and right hand to work together is driving me crazy!

#3

Originally Posted by: William

Don't try keeping your finger pinned on the A string. You have to have lots of flexibility for that. The tempos not so high that you can't switch your finger on and off the A and still keep time. Just takes practice.

Yep, thats the way I have to play it. I saw a tutorial video a while back and the guy doing the video could could actually keep his index finger on the A-string and hit the notes on the B-string with out ever moving his index finger. He had some long fingers for sure.

This trying to get my left hand and right hand to work together is driving me crazy!

DraconusJLM

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Joined: 06/21/21

Posts: 186

I can manage the 5 fret stretch without struggling (apparently, I have large hands), but don't usually make stretches like that unless there's no option. Otherwise I'll lift fingers just to save on potential wear and tear.

On that particular riff, I have no problems playing it lifting my index finger slightly to play the higher frets (this also has the advantage of stopping the note from ringing, which adds a little staccato effect)

Six strings, but only four fingers. Twelve simi-tones, but only eight notes to an octive. Part of me thinks mathematicians should steer well clear of guitars.....

#4

I can manage the 5 fret stretch without struggling (apparently, I have large hands), but don't usually make stretches like that unless there's no option. Otherwise I'll lift fingers just to save on potential wear and tear.

On that particular riff, I have no problems playing it lifting my index finger slightly to play the higher frets (this also has the advantage of stopping the note from ringing, which adds a little staccato effect)

Six strings, but only four fingers. Twelve simi-tones, but only eight notes to an octive. Part of me thinks mathematicians should steer well clear of guitars.....

William MG

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Joined: 03/08/19

Posts: 1242

Originally Posted by: snpfarm
Originally Posted by: William

Don't try keeping your finger pinned on the A string. You have to have lots of flexibility for that. The tempos not so high that you can't switch your finger on and off the A and still keep time. Just takes practice.

Yep, thats the way I have to play it. I saw a tutorial video a while back and the guy doing the video could could actually keep his index finger on the A-string and hit the notes on the B-string with out ever moving his index finger. He had some long fingers for sure.

Long fingers are definitely good to have especially if they are flexible. But being my age and with arthritis, I am only willing to go so far. The hardest one for me yet has been Nadine by Chuck Berry. That was as killer but I eventually found a way to play it.

"If it sounds cool, it is cool!"

Mike O

Works for me!

#5

Originally Posted by: snpfarm
Originally Posted by: William

Don't try keeping your finger pinned on the A string. You have to have lots of flexibility for that. The tempos not so high that you can't switch your finger on and off the A and still keep time. Just takes practice.

Yep, thats the way I have to play it. I saw a tutorial video a while back and the guy doing the video could could actually keep his index finger on the A-string and hit the notes on the B-string with out ever moving his index finger. He had some long fingers for sure.

Long fingers are definitely good to have especially if they are flexible. But being my age and with arthritis, I am only willing to go so far. The hardest one for me yet has been Nadine by Chuck Berry. That was as killer but I eventually found a way to play it.

"If it sounds cool, it is cool!"

Mike O

Works for me!

manXcat

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Joined: 02/17/18

Posts: 1283

Originally Posted by: snpfarm

I was reading another post regarding learning to play Back in Black (BiB). That made me think of a Back in Black question as well. I didn't want to hijack his thread by asking my question. Once upon a time I started learning BiB. I know that both Angus and Malcom Young are/were both 5'2" tall. They must have really long fingers to be able play some of there licks. I'm 5'8" with hands prortional to my stature. I can barely put my index finger on a fret, skip a fret, and get my pinky to the 2nd fret down from the one my index finger is on. Mush less skipping 5 or 6 fretts like in the intro to BiB. I'll try to make a tab below. I dont think they ever lift off the second fret of the 5th string while hitting the notes on the 6th string. If anyone knows a work around I'm all ears.

A -----2-------2-------2-------2--------

E ---------4-------5--------6-------7-----


Several things come to mind for your consideration, some of which might help?

As you describe your currently achievable span and inferred previous experience "Once upon a time I started learning BiB", A. your hands must be even smaller than mine, and B. the other really more of a question re acquired flexibility with practice. How long have you been playing guitar consistently and challenging yourself to increase reach and flexibility. If that's less than a year or two, take comfort in knowing that your reach and flexibility will improve over time -within the constraints of individual anatomical limit.

For frame of comparative reference. I'm 5'9", non-ecto, and have hands and fingers disproportionate on the smallish/shortish side relative to height. Full disclosure, although I recognise its iconic status and like the tune, I haven't bothered learning "Back In Black" myself yet for the sake of just too many preferred alternatives I keep being triaging ahead of it. But yesterday's discussion and now yours has piqued my curiosity.

"Back in Black". Looking at Mike's tute for the riff and giving it a go prima facie, I can see your issue with the 7th fret E. I play a similar stretch with "Heartbreaker" coming to mind, from 2nd albeit to 6th on the A and D strings where holding the pointer down for rapid alternate picking (quasi-staccato ?) & pinky for vibrato is required, and play it interchangably on both short and long scale guitars. It just took repetitive practice to get it comfortably instinctively nailed.


With my span, trying the BIB riff just now on the first guitar I picked up, a Pacifica Strat, I can just reach the 7th fret E from the 2nd anchored on A, but j.u..s...t, and certainly not to the ideal fretting position adjacent to the actual 8th fret.

Angus plays it on a short scale guitar. So does Mike in the tute. Do you? It generally does make a difference to those of us with smaller hands and less anatomically flexible (spidery fingered wide webbed ecto) vs reliance upon only acquired flexibility through practice. I'll try it later today when I have time. Have an appointment to attend prior.


Back to the GT tute. Watching Mike, he's lifting his pointer off the A string after he frets the B with it in between alternating notes progressively along the neck up to the 7th.


Even if using the GT tutorial as your primary source to learn to play "Back In Black", this is worth a watch. P.S. Edit for clarification. That's the tute, (shortened) demo play through illustrating how it sounds comparatively and how Andy frets it here. Although a BIB rhythm lesson, watch how Andy (Shutup & Play) -who does have small hands but is nevertheless a first rate guitarist and AAA song tutor and so a source of perpetual inspiration to me of what can be achieved, teaches it and frets it moving his pointer. He also refers the alternative slide methodology/technique used by some players whilst making clear it's not played on the recording that way. He talks about stretching here, and offers a key tip in general directly applicable to this riff which upon reflection in thinking about it, I realised I do subconsiously now. Note that Andy also plays short scale using his ubiquitious drop dead gorgeous Les Paul.

GL with it. Glad you asked the question. Interesting, and I learned something which will definitely help when I come to learn it.






#6

Originally Posted by: snpfarm

I was reading another post regarding learning to play Back in Black (BiB). That made me think of a Back in Black question as well. I didn't want to hijack his thread by asking my question. Once upon a time I started learning BiB. I know that both Angus and Malcom Young are/were both 5'2" tall. They must have really long fingers to be able play some of there licks. I'm 5'8" with hands prortional to my stature. I can barely put my index finger on a fret, skip a fret, and get my pinky to the 2nd fret down from the one my index finger is on. Mush less skipping 5 or 6 fretts like in the intro to BiB. I'll try to make a tab below. I dont think they ever lift off the second fret of the 5th string while hitting the notes on the 6th string. If anyone knows a work around I'm all ears.

A -----2-------2-------2-------2--------

E ---------4-------5--------6-------7-----


Several things come to mind for your consideration, some of which might help?

As you describe your currently achievable span and inferred previous experience "Once upon a time I started learning BiB", A. your hands must be even smaller than mine, and B. the other really more of a question re acquired flexibility with practice. How long have you been playing guitar consistently and challenging yourself to increase reach and flexibility. If that's less than a year or two, take comfort in knowing that your reach and flexibility will improve over time -within the constraints of individual anatomical limit.

For frame of comparative reference. I'm 5'9", non-ecto, and have hands and fingers disproportionate on the smallish/shortish side relative to height. Full disclosure, although I recognise its iconic status and like the tune, I haven't bothered learning "Back In Black" myself yet for the sake of just too many preferred alternatives I keep being triaging ahead of it. But yesterday's discussion and now yours has piqued my curiosity.

"Back in Black". Looking at Mike's tute for the riff and giving it a go prima facie, I can see your issue with the 7th fret E. I play a similar stretch with "Heartbreaker" coming to mind, from 2nd albeit to 6th on the A and D strings where holding the pointer down for rapid alternate picking (quasi-staccato ?) & pinky for vibrato is required, and play it interchangably on both short and long scale guitars. It just took repetitive practice to get it comfortably instinctively nailed.


With my span, trying the BIB riff just now on the first guitar I picked up, a Pacifica Strat, I can just reach the 7th fret E from the 2nd anchored on A, but j.u..s...t, and certainly not to the ideal fretting position adjacent to the actual 8th fret.

Angus plays it on a short scale guitar. So does Mike in the tute. Do you? It generally does make a difference to those of us with smaller hands and less anatomically flexible (spidery fingered wide webbed ecto) vs reliance upon only acquired flexibility through practice. I'll try it later today when I have time. Have an appointment to attend prior.


Back to the GT tute. Watching Mike, he's lifting his pointer off the A string after he frets the B with it in between alternating notes progressively along the neck up to the 7th.


Even if using the GT tutorial as your primary source to learn to play "Back In Black", this is worth a watch. P.S. Edit for clarification. That's the tute, (shortened) demo play through illustrating how it sounds comparatively and how Andy frets it here. Although a BIB rhythm lesson, watch how Andy (Shutup & Play) -who does have small hands but is nevertheless a first rate guitarist and AAA song tutor and so a source of perpetual inspiration to me of what can be achieved, teaches it and frets it moving his pointer. He also refers the alternative slide methodology/technique used by some players whilst making clear it's not played on the recording that way. He talks about stretching here, and offers a key tip in general directly applicable to this riff which upon reflection in thinking about it, I realised I do subconsiously now. Note that Andy also plays short scale using his ubiquitious drop dead gorgeous Les Paul.

GL with it. Glad you asked the question. Interesting, and I learned something which will definitely help when I come to learn it.






snpfarm

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Joined: 07/16/21

Posts: 42

Originally Posted by: manXcat
Although a BIB rhythm lesson, watch how Andy (Shutup & Play) -who does have small hands

Thanks so much for the info and links. I watched them several times. Andy may have small hands but using the neck of his guitar as a reference I can tell his hands are bigger than mine. As an example my pinky is only 2 inches long.

This trying to get my left hand and right hand to work together is driving me crazy!

#7

Originally Posted by: manXcat
Although a BIB rhythm lesson, watch how Andy (Shutup & Play) -who does have small hands

Thanks so much for the info and links. I watched them several times. Andy may have small hands but using the neck of his guitar as a reference I can tell his hands are bigger than mine. As an example my pinky is only 2 inches long.

This trying to get my left hand and right hand to work together is driving me crazy!

DraconusJLM

Full Access

Joined: 06/21/21

Posts: 186

I mostly play a Tele with 25.5 inch scale length, or a Gretsch G5420 with a 24.6 inch scale length. In all honesty, I've never noticed anything easier about playability other than bending the G string on the Gretsch is pretty difficult because I fitted a set with a wound third for tone reasons.

I've read and heard quite a lot about shorter scale length being easier, in which case I believe the Fender Jaguar has the shortest, but I just don't find it makes a difference for me.

Hand/wrist or thumb position, too much of a bend in the fretting-hand wrist, holding the guitar at wrong angles or too low, and general bad technique seem to me to make bigger differences.

Of course, short or overly long fingers may call for a little adapting; and there may be some things you plain cannot do without finding some kind of workaround.

Six strings, but only four fingers. Twelve simi-tones, but only eight notes to an octive. Part of me thinks mathematicians should steer well clear of guitars.....

#8

I mostly play a Tele with 25.5 inch scale length, or a Gretsch G5420 with a 24.6 inch scale length. In all honesty, I've never noticed anything easier about playability other than bending the G string on the Gretsch is pretty difficult because I fitted a set with a wound third for tone reasons.

I've read and heard quite a lot about shorter scale length being easier, in which case I believe the Fender Jaguar has the shortest, but I just don't find it makes a difference for me.

Hand/wrist or thumb position, too much of a bend in the fretting-hand wrist, holding the guitar at wrong angles or too low, and general bad technique seem to me to make bigger differences.

Of course, short or overly long fingers may call for a little adapting; and there may be some things you plain cannot do without finding some kind of workaround.

Six strings, but only four fingers. Twelve simi-tones, but only eight notes to an octive. Part of me thinks mathematicians should steer well clear of guitars.....

manXcat

Full Access

Joined: 02/17/18

Posts: 1283

Originally Posted by: snpfarm
Originally Posted by: manXcat
Although a BIB rhythm lesson, watch how Andy (Shutup & Play) -who does have small hands

Thanks so much for the info and links. I watched them several times. Andy may have small hands but using the neck of his guitar as a reference I can tell his hands are bigger than mine. As an example my pinky is barely one and a half inches long.

Presumably your datum/frame of reference for the measurement is from the inner web between it and the ring finger? If so, inarguably that is very short, which proportionally will be limiting on your max fret span. That said, your hands and span appear to be on the extreme end of the adult small and short scale. You have my empathy. Guitar is the singular pursuit of the many I've participated in over the course of a lifetime where I've found my hand shape, size & finger length and intrinsic flexibility (endo/exo vs ecto) impacted detrimentially to the relative degree it does.

The solutions I've found personally for guitar are;

1. Persevere and try harder initially. Everyone starting out blames inflexibility, lack of co-ordination and thinks their hands could be bigger unless they are the size of the late Chuck Berry's. In your case, you appear to have eliminated that as the underlying primary factor.

2. IMPORTANT: Buy guitars which are a good body fit for you, not because the brand is popular, common amongst others with normal to large size hands or because of the status of the brand on the headstock. Consider all the factors of string spacing, radius, nut width, neck profile, fret size, weight & balance. Short scale can help, but owning multiple examples of both, IMPEHO scale length is not the most important physical factor vs the others mentioned prior. The more going in your favour, the easier fretting will present.

3. Look for pragmatic workarounds and be flexible, figuratively. You'll find the truly useful inspirational examples to hep when you're struggling come from people with smaller than average hands like Andy (S&P) and although proportional for his 5' 7" stature, Steve Stine. Those who don't can never walk that proverbial 'mile in your shoes'. Regardless they'll offer up straw argument always by way of individual examples of famous guitar players with small hands, and some may even be capable of empathy rather than dismissal as an irrelevance in hardly disguised contempt, the fact is that they can never truly comprehend or understand that encumbrance and challenge from the personal experience perspective. They can be more an irritation than helpful in subliminally suggesting ipso facto the problem is psychological rather than physical.

4. Lastly, one doesn't have to like it how it is, but one does have to accept the limitation and work with it.

Yeh, that sucks I know, as in most other many other physical sports/activities I've participated in over the course of a lifetime, i.e. squash racquets as but a singular example there are tradeoffs of speed over reach, and hand size doesn't affect either grip on the racket or power delivery to any significant degree. In fact, apart from reach from centre of court for ectos, stout or short stature can be used to tactical and strategic advantage as can the opposite in dictating the pace and style of the game played on court. If only it were so with guitar.

What is/are your electric guitar/s? Correct me if I'm wrong, but checking moments ago, you said you ended up with an Epi LP Standard? Drop dead gorgous shape and aesthetically pleasing no argument, and not deriding the potential achievable tone (pickup dependent), but as an instrument to fret for smaller handed people despite being short scale, no. Emphatically. Just no.

Notwithstanding that very heavy though aesthetically attractive awkward shaped body, dreadful headstock body CG imbalance & neck rise if not wearing a strap -opposite of the SG, and that chunky neck of the traditional standard. Ugh. Yes, I am biased and would dearly love to love the LP, but I'm pragmatically ruled by the head not emotion nor intercedence of ego. There are simply smarter options for smaller handed people which will prove a better fit for you if you opt to take them, IMV or course. OOMV.


Hopefully there's something encouraging and helpful in there -if brutally honest.

All the best with your personal search and continuing journey.

#9

Originally Posted by: snpfarm
Originally Posted by: manXcat
Although a BIB rhythm lesson, watch how Andy (Shutup & Play) -who does have small hands

Thanks so much for the info and links. I watched them several times. Andy may have small hands but using the neck of his guitar as a reference I can tell his hands are bigger than mine. As an example my pinky is barely one and a half inches long.

Presumably your datum/frame of reference for the measurement is from the inner web between it and the ring finger? If so, inarguably that is very short, which proportionally will be limiting on your max fret span. That said, your hands and span appear to be on the extreme end of the adult small and short scale. You have my empathy. Guitar is the singular pursuit of the many I've participated in over the course of a lifetime where I've found my hand shape, size & finger length and intrinsic flexibility (endo/exo vs ecto) impacted detrimentially to the relative degree it does.

The solutions I've found personally for guitar are;

1. Persevere and try harder initially. Everyone starting out blames inflexibility, lack of co-ordination and thinks their hands could be bigger unless they are the size of the late Chuck Berry's. In your case, you appear to have eliminated that as the underlying primary factor.

2. IMPORTANT: Buy guitars which are a good body fit for you, not because the brand is popular, common amongst others with normal to large size hands or because of the status of the brand on the headstock. Consider all the factors of string spacing, radius, nut width, neck profile, fret size, weight & balance. Short scale can help, but owning multiple examples of both, IMPEHO scale length is not the most important physical factor vs the others mentioned prior. The more going in your favour, the easier fretting will present.

3. Look for pragmatic workarounds and be flexible, figuratively. You'll find the truly useful inspirational examples to hep when you're struggling come from people with smaller than average hands like Andy (S&P) and although proportional for his 5' 7" stature, Steve Stine. Those who don't can never walk that proverbial 'mile in your shoes'. Regardless they'll offer up straw argument always by way of individual examples of famous guitar players with small hands, and some may even be capable of empathy rather than dismissal as an irrelevance in hardly disguised contempt, the fact is that they can never truly comprehend or understand that encumbrance and challenge from the personal experience perspective. They can be more an irritation than helpful in subliminally suggesting ipso facto the problem is psychological rather than physical.

4. Lastly, one doesn't have to like it how it is, but one does have to accept the limitation and work with it.

Yeh, that sucks I know, as in most other many other physical sports/activities I've participated in over the course of a lifetime, i.e. squash racquets as but a singular example there are tradeoffs of speed over reach, and hand size doesn't affect either grip on the racket or power delivery to any significant degree. In fact, apart from reach from centre of court for ectos, stout or short stature can be used to tactical and strategic advantage as can the opposite in dictating the pace and style of the game played on court. If only it were so with guitar.

What is/are your electric guitar/s? Correct me if I'm wrong, but checking moments ago, you said you ended up with an Epi LP Standard? Drop dead gorgous shape and aesthetically pleasing no argument, and not deriding the potential achievable tone (pickup dependent), but as an instrument to fret for smaller handed people despite being short scale, no. Emphatically. Just no.

Notwithstanding that very heavy though aesthetically attractive awkward shaped body, dreadful headstock body CG imbalance & neck rise if not wearing a strap -opposite of the SG, and that chunky neck of the traditional standard. Ugh. Yes, I am biased and would dearly love to love the LP, but I'm pragmatically ruled by the head not emotion nor intercedence of ego. There are simply smarter options for smaller handed people which will prove a better fit for you if you opt to take them, IMV or course. OOMV.


Hopefully there's something encouraging and helpful in there -if brutally honest.

All the best with your personal search and continuing journey.

DraconusJLM

Full Access

Joined: 06/21/21

Posts: 186

And if all else fails, take up mandolin or uke instead (just kidding).

Enjoy what you currently own. I've known several guitar players who keep buying another guitar in hopes that the newest addition to their collection will make them a better player, but it never does.

Lots of guitars are "top heavy"... the head of my Tele loves to sink to the floor, but a leather strap cures that as it grips my shirt. The body shape isn't exactly comfortable compared against sleeker models, either. But it's a fit with what I wanted in both tone and what I play.

My opinion on guitars is if someone is going to tell me what I should buy, then I am happy to agree 100percent but ONLY if they pay for it using their money :)

Six strings, but only four fingers. Twelve simi-tones, but only eight notes to an octive. Part of me thinks mathematicians should steer well clear of guitars.....

#10

And if all else fails, take up mandolin or uke instead (just kidding).

Enjoy what you currently own. I've known several guitar players who keep buying another guitar in hopes that the newest addition to their collection will make them a better player, but it never does.

Lots of guitars are "top heavy"... the head of my Tele loves to sink to the floor, but a leather strap cures that as it grips my shirt. The body shape isn't exactly comfortable compared against sleeker models, either. But it's a fit with what I wanted in both tone and what I play.

My opinion on guitars is if someone is going to tell me what I should buy, then I am happy to agree 100percent but ONLY if they pay for it using their money :)

Six strings, but only four fingers. Twelve simi-tones, but only eight notes to an octive. Part of me thinks mathematicians should steer well clear of guitars.....