The complaint of every beginner guitarist: My fingers are too fat to play guitar!
A lot of starters complain of having fat fingers that mute the guitar’s strings while playing. To be frank, I had this ideology at some point when I started out. I had difficulty playing different chords without muting a string or two. And I know, it’s so goddamn frustrating. Believe it or not, I quit playing the guitar for a brief period of time before getting back to my senses and practicing again.
However, here’s the thing: this is simply not true. There is no such thing as ‘fingers too fat to play the guitar’. Whether your fingers are fat, thin, long, or short, it does NOT matter. In fact, your hand’s size is COMPLETELY irrelevant to your ability to play the guitar. It took me a while to digest that the issue was completely in my head. And it will probably do for you, too.
If you are facing this problem, then it is mostly because of one ( or maybe all) of the three mistakes EVERY beginner guitarist makes.
Reason Number 1:
Your hand position is incorrect.
No, don’t tell me that your hand position is not incorrect. In most cases with beginners, and ESPECIALLY those who are self-teaching, the issue is in your hand positioning.
Now, what is the correct hand position?
First off, your palm should NOT be resting on the back of the neck. Once again, your palm should NOT be resting on the back of the neck. This is not uncommon with starters. So be careful. A good hand posture would be with the thumb resting on the back of the neck. Also, don’t kink your wrist too far. All what it’s going to do is tire out your wrist and make them sore. Just keep your wrist in a natural, relaxed position.
Reason Number 2:
Your fingers are not arched enough.
This is perhaps the most common. You are not curling your fingers properly or enough. The correct technique to pressing frets is by using the TIPS of the fingers. Otherwise, you will end up muting the neighboring strings.
At first, you will face some difficulties applying this. But it’s only a matter of TIME and CONSISTENT PRACTICE.
You weren’t born knowing how to walk. You fell, then you got up a hundred times before your feet muscles got strong enough to carry you. Same goes with the guitar. You need to develop your muscles so you can play smoothly. Just don’t give up and you will get there.
Reason Number 3:
Your guitar position is not correct.
This does affect your ability to play notes properly.
The way to hold your guitar:
As a rule of thumb, the back of the guitar should be on your stomach. And let’s not forget that your back should be STRAIGHT, and your shoulders should be RELAXED. Posture plays a big role here.
The body of the guitar should lie on your right lap, assuming that it’s a right-handed guitar. Finally, the neck of the guitar should be parallel to the ground. Your arm – fretting arm, that is – should be perpendicular to the guitar’s neck.
PRACTICE, For God’s Sake!
I understand that it’s frustrating. I have been there, so I can relate. However, you won’t become a master by complaining. Instead, you will become a master of complaining.
My point is: Practice. Practice. And practice some more. That’s the only way to reach your goal. Now for starters, 5 minutes is a good place to begin. Make sure you are implementing the tips above and practice for a good 5 minutes. As your muscle memory strengthens and improves, you will find yourself naturally positioning your fingers correctly.
Just remember that it is possible. Don’t let your mind fool you into thinking that having big hands means that you can’t play the guitar.
Sure, there is: Get a classical guitar.
As you might know, the necks of acoustic and electric guitars are about 1 11/16 inches wide. Classical guitars, however, have 2″ wide necks. And unlike acoustics, classical guitars have nylon strings, which makes their sound slightly different, not to mention easier to fret.
So, if the reasons listed above are not your reasons, consider investing in a classical guitar.
Here are some good and beginner-friendly classicals:
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