Have you ever thought to yourself as a guitarist, "I wish my hands were just... different"? Well, you're not alone. When it comes to playing the guitar, it seems like having the perfect hand size would make a world of difference, right?
The truth is, that the guitar is designed with every hand size in mind. But there are some trade-offs. If you have big hands, it might be easier to make bar chords but harder to play single notes. Whereas for someone with small hands the opposite may be true.
There are a ton of famous guitarists with incredibly small hands. Angus Young was only 5'2", and has really small hands. He's still considered one of the greatest players of all time. Paul Simon and Phil Keaggy are two other players with smaller hands. This hasn't stopped any of these guys from becoming exceptional guitar players.
The term "sausage fingers" gets thrown around a lot in the guitar community. It typically refers to having particularly wide fingers. This can make it more challenging to accurately fret individual strings. But just like small hands, there are a ton of amazing players that have abnormally large hands. Redd Volkaert, Johnny Hiland, Don Ross, Andres Segovia, and Israel Kamakawiwo'ole all have huge hands and have no problem being absolute monsters on the guitar.
There are a bunch of things you can do right now to make up for your hand size. The first and most important thing you can do is raise up your guitar. A great way to do this is with either a strap or a footstool.
Another thing that will help is bringing your elbow in. Doing this causing your hand to be in a much better position to come down on the strings. Along with this, you'll want to make sure you are coming down right on the tips of your fingers and right behind the frets.
The next thing you'll want to try is straightening the angle of your wrist. When you're trying to make complicated shapes on the fretboard, you might find yourself kinking your wrist awkwardly one way or another. Straighten out your wrist and it will help you to reach all the strings easily.
If you're struggling with making bar chords, try using a capo. It's not cheating. They exist for a reason.
If you have really big hands, you can try using a little bar instead of squishing all your fingers together to fit into one fret. The A major chord is a great time to use one of these small bars.
One of the biggest tips is to put in the time. You're never going to improve at something if you don't practice. Learning the guitar isn't easy, and just like any other skill, you need to make a concerted effort and work through the tough parts.
Whether you have big or small hands, there are a few guitars that can make things easier for you. Nut width is the main measurement you want to look for. A wider nut width is helpful for larger hands, and a narrower nut width is helpful for guitarists with smaller hands.
If you have smaller hands, you can check out something like a Taylor GS Mini or a Fender Mustang. Typically, guitars made by Taylor, Yamaha, and Gibson will have a narrower nut width.
If you have big hands, you may want to check out a classical or nylon string guitar. Also, Larivee, Seagull, and PRS all make guitars with slightly wider nut widths.
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