Just starting and somewhat frustrated at myself

Guitar Tricks Forum > Guitar Basics > Just starting and somewhat frustrated at myself

brandon.c.mchenry

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Joined: 10/11/21

Posts: 5

Hi all

I am 49 and just bought a Fender Squier package to get started. Never played before but I want to learn badly. I realize patience and form is key for any discipline but sometimes I get really frustrated with myself. I have very short, fat fingers and find myself in a lot of uncomfortable positions trying to reach strings and not mute nearby strings as I practice. Please tell me this is a normal muscular issue and my tendons and muscles will learn to stretch properly as I continue to practice :) I suspect as much but beginning to feel like I am never going to be able to bend my wrist and place my fingers correctly.

Going to keep at it regardless, I am really want to learn and be able to play for my own fun.

Brandon

#1

Hi all

I am 49 and just bought a Fender Squier package to get started. Never played before but I want to learn badly. I realize patience and form is key for any discipline but sometimes I get really frustrated with myself. I have very short, fat fingers and find myself in a lot of uncomfortable positions trying to reach strings and not mute nearby strings as I practice. Please tell me this is a normal muscular issue and my tendons and muscles will learn to stretch properly as I continue to practice :) I suspect as much but beginning to feel like I am never going to be able to bend my wrist and place my fingers correctly.

Going to keep at it regardless, I am really want to learn and be able to play for my own fun.

Brandon

davem_or

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Joined: 10/30/17

Posts: 121

Originally Posted by: brandon.c.mchenry

Hi all

Please tell me this is a normal muscular issue and my tendons and muscles will learn to stretch properly as I continue to practice

It is. And they will. I would focus on your form and how you're holding the guitar as a first step.

This proper form will give you a good base as your fingers gradually build the strength and flexibility to play cleanly.

Allow yourself to be frustrated but pay attention to how you are actually improving and enjoy it.

Really pay attention to the instructor; how they're sitting, holding the guitar, thumb position, finger positions. There's a lot of visual information besides the notes you're hearing.

#2

Originally Posted by: brandon.c.mchenry

Hi all

Please tell me this is a normal muscular issue and my tendons and muscles will learn to stretch properly as I continue to practice

It is. And they will. I would focus on your form and how you're holding the guitar as a first step.

This proper form will give you a good base as your fingers gradually build the strength and flexibility to play cleanly.

Allow yourself to be frustrated but pay attention to how you are actually improving and enjoy it.

Really pay attention to the instructor; how they're sitting, holding the guitar, thumb position, finger positions. There's a lot of visual information besides the notes you're hearing.

snpfarm

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Joined: 07/16/21

Posts: 42

Originally Posted by: brandon.c.mchenry

Hi all

I am 49 and just bought a Fender Squier package to get started. Never played before but I want to learn badly. I realize patience and form is key for any discipline but sometimes I get really frustrated with myself. I have very short, fat fingers and find myself in a lot of uncomfortable positions trying to reach strings and not mute nearby strings as I practice. Please tell me this is a normal muscular issue and my tendons and muscles will learn to stretch properly as I continue to practice :) I suspect as much but beginning to feel like I am never going to be able to bend my wrist and place my fingers correctly.

Going to keep at it regardless, I am really want to learn and be able to play for my own fun.

Brandon

I too have short fingers so I understand where youre coming from. Short fingers does limit me on what I can and can't play. When learning a song that has a "non-short finger friendly" section I try to figure out a work around. The more you play the more freely your fingers and hands will move. Google " guitar hand yoga " or " guitar finger stretching excercises " Don't give up!!

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

#3

Originally Posted by: brandon.c.mchenry

Hi all

I am 49 and just bought a Fender Squier package to get started. Never played before but I want to learn badly. I realize patience and form is key for any discipline but sometimes I get really frustrated with myself. I have very short, fat fingers and find myself in a lot of uncomfortable positions trying to reach strings and not mute nearby strings as I practice. Please tell me this is a normal muscular issue and my tendons and muscles will learn to stretch properly as I continue to practice :) I suspect as much but beginning to feel like I am never going to be able to bend my wrist and place my fingers correctly.

Going to keep at it regardless, I am really want to learn and be able to play for my own fun.

Brandon

I too have short fingers so I understand where youre coming from. Short fingers does limit me on what I can and can't play. When learning a song that has a "non-short finger friendly" section I try to figure out a work around. The more you play the more freely your fingers and hands will move. Google " guitar hand yoga " or " guitar finger stretching excercises " Don't give up!!

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

brandon.c.mchenry

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Joined: 10/11/21

Posts: 5

Thank you for the replies. It is getting better daily but slowly. It's small increments but I can see it. I have been doing like you said and watching the instructors intently for correct form (was doing it before but started playing at half speed to really get a good look). Finding my fret hand thumb is drifting to the left and trying to lay down as I play, and my strumming hand is drifiting towards the bridge and sometimes hitting my pickup switch. Fun stuff trying to correct all that is going on, having a blast learning!

#4

Thank you for the replies. It is getting better daily but slowly. It's small increments but I can see it. I have been doing like you said and watching the instructors intently for correct form (was doing it before but started playing at half speed to really get a good look). Finding my fret hand thumb is drifting to the left and trying to lay down as I play, and my strumming hand is drifiting towards the bridge and sometimes hitting my pickup switch. Fun stuff trying to correct all that is going on, having a blast learning!

cheaviag

Full Access

Joined: 10/16/21

Posts: 17

Originally Posted by: brandon.c.mchenry

Hi all

I am 49 and just bought a Fender Squier package to get started. Never played before but I want to learn badly. I realize patience and form is key for any discipline but sometimes I get really frustrated with myself. I have very short, fat fingers and find myself in a lot of uncomfortable positions trying to reach strings and not mute nearby strings as I practice. Please tell me this is a normal muscular issue and my tendons and muscles will learn to stretch properly as I continue to practice :) I suspect as much but beginning to feel like I am never going to be able to bend my wrist and place my fingers correctly.

Going to keep at it regardless, I am really want to learn and be able to play for my own fun.

Brandon

I'm 61 and just started as well about 2 weeks ago, trying to get a clean note on the second string on the simple E minor is a pain in the arse.. (and finger tips!) What i've found is that by slowing myself right down, placing my finger on the 3rd string first fret and then strum EACH string to make sure i have a clean note on the third string AND the second string helps, I then lift the finger, and put it back down again and repeat the process. It's all form and flexibility but it's bloody hard to start with. At the moment I can manage about 30 minutes a session due to finger tip pain not counting finger stretching exercises (see you tube) and the spider stretching one that Lisa teaches. My only advice, is to slow right down until you get each lesson down pat at a smooth pace and in time mistake free before moving on to the next lesson, I also go back over earlier chords as well just to try to develop that muscle memory.. but i'm hoping for calluses to form real quick (and please make the calluse thin and tall to offset what i feel is fat fingers but in reallity is just poor form)

#5

Originally Posted by: brandon.c.mchenry

Hi all

I am 49 and just bought a Fender Squier package to get started. Never played before but I want to learn badly. I realize patience and form is key for any discipline but sometimes I get really frustrated with myself. I have very short, fat fingers and find myself in a lot of uncomfortable positions trying to reach strings and not mute nearby strings as I practice. Please tell me this is a normal muscular issue and my tendons and muscles will learn to stretch properly as I continue to practice :) I suspect as much but beginning to feel like I am never going to be able to bend my wrist and place my fingers correctly.

Going to keep at it regardless, I am really want to learn and be able to play for my own fun.

Brandon

I'm 61 and just started as well about 2 weeks ago, trying to get a clean note on the second string on the simple E minor is a pain in the arse.. (and finger tips!) What i've found is that by slowing myself right down, placing my finger on the 3rd string first fret and then strum EACH string to make sure i have a clean note on the third string AND the second string helps, I then lift the finger, and put it back down again and repeat the process. It's all form and flexibility but it's bloody hard to start with. At the moment I can manage about 30 minutes a session due to finger tip pain not counting finger stretching exercises (see you tube) and the spider stretching one that Lisa teaches. My only advice, is to slow right down until you get each lesson down pat at a smooth pace and in time mistake free before moving on to the next lesson, I also go back over earlier chords as well just to try to develop that muscle memory.. but i'm hoping for calluses to form real quick (and please make the calluse thin and tall to offset what i feel is fat fingers but in reallity is just poor form)

mjgodin

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Joined: 11/23/19

Posts: 317

We've all been there. It's a common problem. Beginners will tend to press down on the string a bit too much to get a clean tone cause they haven't developed callouses on the fingertips yet. So whats happening is your finger tip flesh is flattening out and touching the other strings.

If your placing your fingertip where the instructor tells you then you don't need to press down so hard. Also some guitars like the Fender Squires have narrower necks so string spacing is tighter which for larger fingers could make it a more difficult. Next time your in a guitar store try a few other models out just to see if it makes a difference.

This will all work itself out over time and performing the spider leg exercises will definately help with dexterity and mobility.

Oh and enjoy the small increments. Sometimes thats all we can really hope for but they add up over time.

Moe

Why don't guitars come with an instruction manual ?

Oh yeah, that's what GuitarTricks is for..

#6

We've all been there. It's a common problem. Beginners will tend to press down on the string a bit too much to get a clean tone cause they haven't developed callouses on the fingertips yet. So whats happening is your finger tip flesh is flattening out and touching the other strings.

If your placing your fingertip where the instructor tells you then you don't need to press down so hard. Also some guitars like the Fender Squires have narrower necks so string spacing is tighter which for larger fingers could make it a more difficult. Next time your in a guitar store try a few other models out just to see if it makes a difference.

This will all work itself out over time and performing the spider leg exercises will definately help with dexterity and mobility.

Oh and enjoy the small increments. Sometimes thats all we can really hope for but they add up over time.

Moe

Why don't guitars come with an instruction manual ?

Oh yeah, that's what GuitarTricks is for..

Jim Stanford

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Joined: 08/29/21

Posts: 19

I turned 65 back in August and have been irritating guitars since I was 6 years old. Of course, I have now graduated from irritating to annoying them now. ;) I find these guitartricks.com lessons to be just what I needed to help him raise the bar on my playing. Oh, I'll never be a shredder (not my style), but I love being able to pick up a nice guitar and jam with my buddies without looking like a complete putz. Patience and CONSISTENCY IN PRACTICE are the key from what I have seen. I see too many people who try to cram all their practice into a weekend hour or two... better off doing 15-30 minutes DAILY and tracking your progress. It's making a difference in my playing; of that I am sure.

Best of luck!

2020 Ibanez RG421 w/ Evertune bridge, 2010 Ibanez SA-120 (modded with locking tuners and Seymour Duncan pickups), 2018 Epiphone Les Paul Special, 2019 Yamaha Pacifica 112J, along with several acoustic guitars.

2008 Line 6 POD 2.0, Boss Katana Air, Boss Katana MkII 50-watt.

N-Track 9.1 Digital Audio Workstation software, Focusrite Scarlett Solo Studio Gen 3.

Mainly into blues and southern rock, but checking out all styles on GuitarTricks.

#7

I turned 65 back in August and have been irritating guitars since I was 6 years old. Of course, I have now graduated from irritating to annoying them now. ;) I find these guitartricks.com lessons to be just what I needed to help him raise the bar on my playing. Oh, I'll never be a shredder (not my style), but I love being able to pick up a nice guitar and jam with my buddies without looking like a complete putz. Patience and CONSISTENCY IN PRACTICE are the key from what I have seen. I see too many people who try to cram all their practice into a weekend hour or two... better off doing 15-30 minutes DAILY and tracking your progress. It's making a difference in my playing; of that I am sure.

Best of luck!

2020 Ibanez RG421 w/ Evertune bridge, 2010 Ibanez SA-120 (modded with locking tuners and Seymour Duncan pickups), 2018 Epiphone Les Paul Special, 2019 Yamaha Pacifica 112J, along with several acoustic guitars.

2008 Line 6 POD 2.0, Boss Katana Air, Boss Katana MkII 50-watt.

N-Track 9.1 Digital Audio Workstation software, Focusrite Scarlett Solo Studio Gen 3.

Mainly into blues and southern rock, but checking out all styles on GuitarTricks.

cheaviag

Full Access

Joined: 10/16/21

Posts: 17

Originally Posted by: mjgodin

We've all been there. It's a common problem. Beginners will tend to press down on the string a bit too much to get a clean tone cause they haven't developed callouses on the fingertips yet. So whats happening is your finger tip flesh is flattening out and touching the other strings.

If your placing your fingertip where the instructor tells you then you don't need to press down so hard. Also some guitars like the Fender Squires have narrower necks so string spacing is tighter which for larger fingers could make it a more difficult. Next time your in a guitar store try a few other models out just to see if it makes a difference.

This will all work itself out over time and performing the spider leg exercises will definately help with dexterity and mobility.

Oh and enjoy the small increments. Sometimes thats all we can really hope for but they add up over time.

Moe

My callouses have started to form and the problem i had with the E minor is resolving itself, spider excercise is still a problem getting the little finger to come down straight onto the string but it's improving, I found on you tube a great little finger stretching excercise that has definately helped my left hands dexterity (it's even easier typing now lol) but as for now I listen to the lesson, and then I practice it and practice it until its downpat and sounds clean, I bought a practice amp but the greatest help atm is that I purchased a Focusrite Scarlett Solo, this enables me to listen to the lesson AND my guitar with headsets on through the computer, this prevents me from annoying my wife and frightening the dogs. I use the Amp only when I'm practicing, but for the lessons i use the focusrite, being able to do both quietly and with headsets is a big help.

#8

Originally Posted by: mjgodin

We've all been there. It's a common problem. Beginners will tend to press down on the string a bit too much to get a clean tone cause they haven't developed callouses on the fingertips yet. So whats happening is your finger tip flesh is flattening out and touching the other strings.

If your placing your fingertip where the instructor tells you then you don't need to press down so hard. Also some guitars like the Fender Squires have narrower necks so string spacing is tighter which for larger fingers could make it a more difficult. Next time your in a guitar store try a few other models out just to see if it makes a difference.

This will all work itself out over time and performing the spider leg exercises will definately help with dexterity and mobility.

Oh and enjoy the small increments. Sometimes thats all we can really hope for but they add up over time.

Moe

My callouses have started to form and the problem i had with the E minor is resolving itself, spider excercise is still a problem getting the little finger to come down straight onto the string but it's improving, I found on you tube a great little finger stretching excercise that has definately helped my left hands dexterity (it's even easier typing now lol) but as for now I listen to the lesson, and then I practice it and practice it until its downpat and sounds clean, I bought a practice amp but the greatest help atm is that I purchased a Focusrite Scarlett Solo, this enables me to listen to the lesson AND my guitar with headsets on through the computer, this prevents me from annoying my wife and frightening the dogs. I use the Amp only when I'm practicing, but for the lessons i use the focusrite, being able to do both quietly and with headsets is a big help.

Sour_Note

Full Access

Joined: 12/25/17

Posts: 23

ne thing I will add. It's been said that this is common when you first start learning but I find that when I start to learn a new progression such as a power chord followed bu an open chord or a lesson introduces a new chord I regress back to pressing harder than necessary. Just something to keep in the back of your mind.
Also, I have to agree about practicing for shorter times each day. I found that if I have a few minutes during the day if I have a Couple minutes I'll pick up the guitar and practice the left hand movements.

#9

ne thing I will add. It's been said that this is common when you first start learning but I find that when I start to learn a new progression such as a power chord followed bu an open chord or a lesson introduces a new chord I regress back to pressing harder than necessary. Just something to keep in the back of your mind.
Also, I have to agree about practicing for shorter times each day. I found that if I have a few minutes during the day if I have a Couple minutes I'll pick up the guitar and practice the left hand movements.

cheaviag

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Joined: 10/16/21

Posts: 17

Originally Posted by: cheaviag
Originally Posted by: brandon.c.mchenry

Hi all

I am 49 and just bought a Fender Squier package to get started. Never played before but I want to learn badly. I realize patience and form is key for any discipline but sometimes I get really frustrated with myself. I have very short, fat fingers and find myself in a lot of uncomfortable positions trying to reach strings and not mute nearby strings as I practice. Please tell me this is a normal muscular issue and my tendons and muscles will learn to stretch properly as I continue to practice :) I suspect as much but beginning to feel like I am never going to be able to bend my wrist and place my fingers correctly.

Going to keep at it regardless, I am really want to learn and be able to play for my own fun.

Brandon

I'm 61 and just started as well about 2 weeks ago, trying to get a clean note on the second string on the simple E minor is a pain in the arse.. (and finger tips!) What i've found is that by slowing myself right down, placing my finger on the 3rd string first fret and then strum EACH string to make sure i have a clean note on the third string AND the second string helps, I then lift the finger, and put it back down again and repeat the process. It's all form and flexibility but it's bloody hard to start with. At the moment I can manage about 30 minutes a session due to finger tip pain not counting finger stretching exercises (see you tube) and the spider stretching one that Lisa teaches. My only advice, is to slow right down until you get each lesson down pat at a smooth pace and in time mistake free before moving on to the next lesson, I also go back over earlier chords as well just to try to develop that muscle memory.. but i'm hoping for calluses to form real quick (and please make the calluse thin and tall to offset what i feel is fat fingers but in reallity is just poor form)

Simple E minor is now a lot easier and the finger tip pain has gone, easier to get everything where i want it to go in the majority of cases now without looking.. practice is the key to teaching your hands to work together and teaching your fingers where the strings live.. when i posted the above it was damned near impossible to get it right, and now it's about 90~95% of the time it comes out clean.

#10

Originally Posted by: cheaviag
Originally Posted by: brandon.c.mchenry

Hi all

I am 49 and just bought a Fender Squier package to get started. Never played before but I want to learn badly. I realize patience and form is key for any discipline but sometimes I get really frustrated with myself. I have very short, fat fingers and find myself in a lot of uncomfortable positions trying to reach strings and not mute nearby strings as I practice. Please tell me this is a normal muscular issue and my tendons and muscles will learn to stretch properly as I continue to practice :) I suspect as much but beginning to feel like I am never going to be able to bend my wrist and place my fingers correctly.

Going to keep at it regardless, I am really want to learn and be able to play for my own fun.

Brandon

I'm 61 and just started as well about 2 weeks ago, trying to get a clean note on the second string on the simple E minor is a pain in the arse.. (and finger tips!) What i've found is that by slowing myself right down, placing my finger on the 3rd string first fret and then strum EACH string to make sure i have a clean note on the third string AND the second string helps, I then lift the finger, and put it back down again and repeat the process. It's all form and flexibility but it's bloody hard to start with. At the moment I can manage about 30 minutes a session due to finger tip pain not counting finger stretching exercises (see you tube) and the spider stretching one that Lisa teaches. My only advice, is to slow right down until you get each lesson down pat at a smooth pace and in time mistake free before moving on to the next lesson, I also go back over earlier chords as well just to try to develop that muscle memory.. but i'm hoping for calluses to form real quick (and please make the calluse thin and tall to offset what i feel is fat fingers but in reallity is just poor form)

Simple E minor is now a lot easier and the finger tip pain has gone, easier to get everything where i want it to go in the majority of cases now without looking.. practice is the key to teaching your hands to work together and teaching your fingers where the strings live.. when i posted the above it was damned near impossible to get it right, and now it's about 90~95% of the time it comes out clean.