Hi everyone, I hope this is the correct part of the forum to post this in.
So I started my guitar journey in January and I’m making slow but steady progress. Currently I’m on Module 5, Grade 1.
One thing that I’ve often wondered by now is how “bendy” my fingers are. I first noticed it right away, learing the D chord and comparing Justin’s fingers to mine. Where his were kind of curled, mine definitely don’t look that way. As I finally managed to make the chord sound decent, I thought that it wouldn’t be too bad for learning to play guitar. Still - I keep wondering. Especially as it sometimes takes time to get the chord right, because my fingers have to bend a little bit further for the string to make a sound
So, anyone out there who knows more about this kind of thing? I’m attaching a picture (ignore how much pressure is on the string, I tried to replicate the “bendy” effect of my finger joint and snap a foto at the same time without dropping either the phone or my guitar ).
And yes, other joints are “super bendy” as well - I can twist my thumb so it rests on top of my hand and my knees can look a bit funny as well if I really stretch them out. It never hurt me (in fact it prevented some serious injuries in the past), but I keep wondering if other people playing guitar know this - and know how it might affect playing.
Hi Sarah, I don’t think being flexible is a problem. I have noticed with myself if I hyperextend a finger it is slower to change to other chords (I am not flexible though). Aside from that not sure it’s an issue.
Your flexibility might even be an advantage with some tricky chords.
If you wanted feedback on your chords you could post photos of any you are concerned about?
Remember that Justin has been playing for many, many years, so much of what you do is unlikely to look exactly the way he does it due to experience. Biology plays a part too, since your hands are not going to be the same size, shape, etc as his… or mine, or anyone elses.
Also, at your early stage you should expect your fretting to change as you go along, as your strength improves and you figure out what is the most comfortable and effective way of doing things for you personally. Mine certainly has, and even after three years I still can’t/don’t fret exactly as Justin does.
As long as it’s working for you and you’re not hurting yourself, I’d say you’re probably doing just fine.
First of all: Thank you! It’s a relief to hear that this shouldn’t cause too many problems.
@jkahn Thank you for the offer - I think I’ll come back to it, but it’ll probably take a while. I don’t have anything here to prop up my phone or another camera, so it’s a real struggle to take pictures - that’s why the one up there looks like it does (Getting some equipment for recording myself is definitely on my to do list but… no job, the economy…)
@Goffik Ah yes, that’s a good reminder! I try to replicate what he does, but sometimes it’s easy to forget the many differences and I tend to be too hard on myself anyways…
And don’t worry, I’m definitely not hurting myself. Since starting my guitar journey, I’ve never been so aware of things that could hurt my hands (and I need them for work!). Hopefully, even when I’ll be old and grey, they’ll work well enough to play guitar
I often wish my fingers were more bendy, but I am inflexible old bugger.
Are you able to fret with just the tip of your finger, without the joint giving out and flattening? The picture shows fretting with the pad not the tip which is great for things like the single finger A, mini F and Justin’s preferred A shape barre cord. But often you need to isolate a string and not be touch the neighboring strings.
I constantly remind myself not to compare myself to Justin. Maybe it will look a little closer after 30 more years, if I practice as much as a professional musician. But yeah, right.
Haha, to be honest that somehow reminds me of my hair. I’ve got curly hair and always wanted straight hair - friends with straight hair wanted curly… Seems like bendy fingers are similar.
@Jamolay With my index and middle finger it’s basically how I want it to be - I could bend the joint or not. With my ring finger, it’s way more difficult, especially when I need to extend it more (e.g. D chord). I somehow manage to make all the strings ring out clearly, but it’s sometimes a thing of mere milimeters.
I know what my martial arts trainer would tell me in situations like this - 'cause I was often complaining about some parts of my body that somehow always got in the way of doing things in a certain way: “Your body is just like that, you have to work with what you’ve got.”
Still, I’ll try to get a bit more dexterity in the ring finger so it’s up to my decision on how the finger lands on the string rather than my finger itself.
Do any of you know any “finger dexterity” excercises? I know some of Justin’s “finger yoga” but that, so far, seemed to focus more on stretiching. (Don’t get me wrong, that’s brilliant and helped a lot, but with fingers like this, I think I need some other stuff as well.)
Ha! I would be happy to have any hair at all!
The ring finger is a follower finger. It does do independence very well. I remember having very similar problems with it as you describe, very prominent on the D chord. I also have problems with the right ring finger, similarly, as I am working on classical guitar more now , and finger style. The ring is weak, slow and clumsy (or is that just me? I used to play in an ultimate frisbee team called “slow, lazy old, broken and short” or “SLOBS”).
For exercises, the C or G major scale done slowly and with intent. Also, I work out most cords by practicing which each finger leading (first down), so make sure you practice the D with ring finger first. And all other chords as well. That helped a lot.
I love that team name!
Thank you for the ideas to practice - I think that will help me a lot, especially using the ring finger first. As I’ve not yet practiced the scales, I’ll look that up - I’m sure there’s a video from Justin on that somewhere
You probably haven’t quite gotten to the first scale lesson yet, but you can look ahead. They are in grade 2. Just start them slowly with the intent to just use them to train finger placement. The other aspects of the lessons can wait. Then when you get there you will have a head start.
But it is entirely normal to have the finger placement and control issues you have. Following the course, the skills slowly develop.
Thank you so much! This looks very interesting and I’ll do it like you say: Slowly and just as a training excercise.
I actually love looking ahead. To be honest, as I adore the song “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd (lots of significance in my family), I had a look ahead at the G chord and somehow that thing is way easier than the C chord and long story short… I might have a little advantage during the next module
But I’m really looking forward to trying this and hopefully controlling my fingers will get easier soon(ish). Thank you!