Beginner Finger Stretches

Here’s my exercise routine - 10 to 12 minutes.

Helps with the arthritis too. (See what you have in store for you when you’re old enough to be called “elderly” or “Gramps” or “Old Man.”) :laughing:


> My pinky finger is 2 1/4 inches long, from base of finger to the tip. 57mm. This is going to be rough. @DeeGee1967

Hummm. Interesting. Mine is 2 1/8 inches. I never really gave that a lot of thought.
I know I have realitively small hands. So does Angus Young. You may be able to find some interviews of Angus talking about his hand size. He just - Adapted. So those like you and I aren’t somehow impared, we simply need to find a way to adapt our playing to fit the hand we were dealt (pun intended). :wink:

Welcome to The Dinky Pinky Platoon!
I hereby welcome you as a charter member! :trophy:

In time, we’ll do fine. Promise!

Just saying…


When I first looked at YouTube videos, I found that a lot of teachers (who otherwise appear very solid) took it for granted that beginners can start spidering on frets 5-8. I had to start on 9-12 and even that was tough. I’m at 8-11 now, but my end fingers still curl a bit. (I did finally see some videos that acknowledged the difficulty middle-aged beginners might have when making their fingers do something they’ve never done (or haven’t done in several decades).)

There is also a stretching exercise I got from Lauren Bateman. Start similar to the spider across four frets, but with fingers on the D string. Move one finger up to E and then down to e. Move it up and down several times (10?), then do another finger.

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I use the finger stretching exercise (aka caterpillar, starting on the 5th fret) and the four riffs I’ve learned so far in beginner grade one as my warmup every day. I’ve seen improvement in stretch as well as fretting and picking accuracy. When I first started doing the exercise I couldn’t do it on the 5th and 6th strings but now I can. It’s a good exercise. And I do the Peter Gunn Theme and Seven Nation Army riffs over all 6 strings. It’s really helped me. Ill soon move the caterpillar to the 4th fret, then 3rd and finally back to the 1st as abilities improve.

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I agree that practice is better than any sort of gimmick, but I can’t pratice while I’m at work, on the bus, waiting in a queue for coffee, watching TV or any number of other things I’m doing where the guitar isn’t available. It’s those times when a $12 finger stretcher (or whatever) can come in handy.

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Where do I place my thumb if starting with 5th fret? Also in order to get my ring and pinky on the 7 & 8 fret I struggle and really twist my wrist, and that only gets me just past those frets not to the bottom where it needs to be.

My hand span is 203.2mm and the length is 190.5 mm.

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If you’re really struggling with the exercise at the 5th fret, go a little higher up, to the 6th, 7th or even 8th until you can place your fingers comfortably, then go back one fret to start the stretching exercise. Then when you’re comfortable with that fret, go back one more, and so on.

Your thumb should just find itself a reasonably comfortable position at the back of the neck

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Just wanted to give this exercise it’s props. I didn’t really need help with dexterity at this level, but I’ve always felt like my hands were too small to play certain chords. Dropped this exercise into my practice routine and after about two weeks I had gained more than an inch in my reach between my pointy finger and my pinky. Legit. :metal:


After working this exercise for a while, try this:

Put your hands together & line up the pinkies… stretch your fingers apart as far as you can… if you’re like me, you won’t believe the difference between your fretting hand & your strumming hand!!! My thumbs are more than an inch apart!!!
It works!!!

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I can’t say I’m diligent in any particular stretching exercises as although I do need the stretch my attention tends to swing more towards independent movement to help with chord changes. So any improvement in stretch will be coming mainly from practice in general.

Just did what you suggested, wow, genuinely surprised at the difference between hands. That’s given me a boost for the day, things ARE improving, measureably…


I understand the stretches but I’m confused about what the app is showing me while I’m doing it, is it really only used for the timer while doing the stretches?

Hi @Mincic92 , and welcome to the forum! I suppose you are talking about the exercise in the practice session? There it is indeed just the timer, to make sure you don’t overdo it - this stretching exercise is quite taxing on your hand, and overdoing it could result in injury.

Have fun learning!

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