Here are two more interesting emails I have got lately. I hope you find the emails and my thoughts useful…Today we are talking tips for small hands and a positive version of a “midlife crisis”.
Let’s get to it…
“I can do minimum pressure when plucking a single note but as soon as I form a chord such as A minor C or G major my fingers can’t hold their positions and I get the twang or muted notes, fingers too far away from the fret and end up pressing too hard.
I don’t know if you’ve got any suggestions for people with small hands.
I’m hoping it will improve with practice but there seems to be a physiological restriction with my hand size.”
This can be very frustrating and I understand Angela’s frustrations.
Like she says, you can’t beat physics.
…And if you can’t grow bigger hands like Dave Grohl did in the Foo Fighters’ music video for their classic song “Everlong”…
…Or you can’t shrink your guitar like Rick Moranis’ shrinking machine in the movie Honey I Shrunk the Kids…
…Then I have two suggestions:
#1 – Use a capo
This is the faster and cheapest option.
Grab a capo and place it on fret 5. Practise your chords here.
The frets are much closer together here, and you won’t have to fight and battle to reach the notes.
This means you can focus more on technique, using minimum pressure, and working on getting into good habits with your chords.
You can then move the capo down to fret 4, repeat the process, then fret 3, fret 2, etc. until you no longer need to use a capo for practising your chords.
#2 – Get a guitar that suits you
To be honest, it sounds like the guitar is restricting Angela (which is very common).
Until recent years, most guitars, especially acoustics, seemed to be built for average- or bigger-than-average-sized men.
If you’re a smaller man or woman, these can be awkward as hell to play.
Thankfully though, these days there’s way more choice on the market and there are many smaller guitars around that are far more enjoyable to play.
Plus, because of the huge competition in guitar manufacturing, there are a lot of good brands that make quality guitars, but at a low price.
So, I’d definitely head to a guitar shop and try out ten different guitars. It will open your eyes to new options in terms of finding a guitar that suits you.
For Angela, I would say option #2 is essential, but don’t neglect option #1.
Use both the above bits of advice and they will be doubly powerful.
“Hi, I am Jeff, live in Florida, and learning guitar is one of my midlife crises. LOL Been taking some lessons and still struggle with strumming and chord changes. Songs don’t sound like songs. Keeping a beat is something I struggle with. Finger picking for me is easier than chords/strumming but only using one finger to do that. Hoping to improve. We will see.”
Welcome aboard, Jeff.
First off, it’s great that you’re here.
Learning guitar is a pretty good midlife crisis in my book.
It sure beats other more typical midlife crises and is better than gambling and buying motorbikes I reckon (less expensive too, although that depends on how many guitars you get!).
The issues Jeff has struggled with so far are very common for beginners.
For instance, having songs not really sound like actual songs.
The reason for this is often because most people are only taught strumming songs in the early days.
…And strumming songs are hard for beginners.
There are so many skills you need to develop to get good at strumming songs.
The good thing is though, once you do develop these skills and get your first few strumming songs under your belt, strumming other songs starts to become much simpler.
That’s because there are a lot of transferable skills from one strumming song to another.
So, that’s why you have to stick with it.
…But you also want to think “outside the box” a little and learn some fun, easier melodies to complement your strumming and chords.
You can find all this inside my 7-Day Transformation and Breakthrough Beginner courses.
At some point soon, I’ll be increasing the price of both of these courses, so if you want them, now is a good time:
I hope you have a great day of practice.
P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.