Can the Size of Someone's Hands Inhibit Their Ability to Play Guitar?

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by Mark Lykkos, Jul 26, 2017.

  1. Mark Lykkos

    Mark Lykkos SS.org Regular

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    I'm looking forward to having some progression to report on!
     
  2. Matthias Hornstein

    Matthias Hornstein SS.org Regular

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    Hell yeah!
     
  3. Hogie34

    Hogie34 SS.org Regular

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    Like already said in an earlier post, the guitar is more important than the size of your hands. Play many and you'll find the neck profile that fits your hands. A good guitar will do more for progression in your skills than practicing all the time with a guitar that just doesn't suit your body .
     
  4. AlexCorriveau

    AlexCorriveau ESP obsessed

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    No. Guitars have so many different neck profiles. Find one you like and are confy with and learn everything you want on it. It shouldn't be a problem.
     
  5. Sermo Lupi

    Sermo Lupi SS.org Regular

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    People always underestimate Yngwie's size for some reason. Probably because of his stocky build. But I think he's like 6'2" or 6'3"--big hands to be sure, whatever their shape.

    On the topic of hand size, I remember seeing a blog post years ago where this guy went to a Hard Rock cafe of sorts--maybe it was the Hollywood walk of fame?--where they had hand impressions from dozens of famous guitar players. I couldn't find the original post, but I did find some of the images rehosted on some forum. Here's the link, but I'll include the pics below for convenience's sake. As you can see, Yngwie's and Vai's hands aren't too far apart in size, although it looks like Yngwie 'slid' into his impression a bit (giving that slightly oversized, cartoonish look to the impression), and I'll leave it up to you to spot the fuckery going on in Vai's photo...

    Would help a lot if I knew the photographer's hand size. All I remember is that he said his hands were average. In general though, yes, hand size is going to give you an advantage when it comes to playing certain types of music. When it comes to those wide intervallic stretches Paul Gilbert is famous for, he manages it better than most because of his size. Yet if you want to see an 11-year old with literal baby hands play the exact same thing, look up Anton Oparin. Obviously hand size can lend an advantage, but when you see kids like Oparin playing the same stuff with much smaller hands, it is hard to argue it 'matters' in any general sense...

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    Bonus round for famous piano players:

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    EDIT: an Anton Oparin video. The wide stretch from Scarified is at 2:27ish.

     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2017
  6. Malevolent_Croatian

    Malevolent_Croatian SS.org Regular

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    LMAO@Vai's 6th finger on the left hand
     
  7. Spaced Out Ace

    Spaced Out Ace 0 0 1 0 0 6 5 0 3\

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    He's a damn dirty cheater.
     
  8. cGoEcYk

    cGoEcYk SS.org Regular

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    Just get a guitar which suits your hand, they have so many options these days. I like flatter necks on both guitar and bass but once knew a dude with a small fat hand & stubby fingers who preferred an "oar" styled neck. Each to they own. I have small-medium hands and use a 35" bass and 27" guitar, just adapted to them.
     
  9. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    This is the key point. If you've got thick (i.e. top of nail to pad of finger), blunt (i.e. flat, non-pointy tipped) fingers, neck PROFILE won't have much effect. What becomes important is the string spacing at the nut. There's a reason Classical guitars have 1-7/8" to 2-1/8" wide nuts. There's a reason why high-end Finger-Style Acoustics have 1-7/8"+ wide nuts. There's also been an increase in the number of custom guitars posted here that have wider nuts (~.33" center-to-center string spacing).

    Essentially zero off-the shelf electrics are in that realm. Big Lou Wide Neck Guitars is the only retailer of off-the-shelf wide-nut guitars I know of. Warmoth and USA Custom Guitars sell after-market wide-nut necks. Warmoth are drop-ins, but USA Custom will require the neck pocket to be modified.

    I've gone the "stringectomy" route. I have a Revenger-7, that I've replaced the nut and bridge. The Bridge is a standard 6-string bridge and the nut is an off-the-shelf 1-7/8" six string acoustic nut. That's the only electric I play. In the queue is an Agile 92528 that will go to an 82528 and an RGA8 neck that will eventually go into the Revenger-7 (to return it to a 7-string).
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2017
    Hogie34 likes this.
  10. CerealKiller

    CerealKiller SS.org Regular

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    Lol, 12 inch hand span on Rachmaninov... knew he had large hands, but that is massive.
     
  11. willy25

    willy25 SS.org Regular

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    I have smalls hands. what helps me is putting the guitar on my left leg ( classical style), using my pinky and shifting like a bass players,( females play bass and most have small hands) instead of doing big stretches. also, apply relaxation and you will play any type of neck, the thumb is a passive participant, not used to squeezed the neck. now i can play my friends Epiphone better and without pain. but it everyone has its favorite, mine is thin necks, like Ibanez.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2017
  12. prlgmnr

    prlgmnr ...that kind of idea

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    biog hjands cann masdke akkll sports of thinghs dsiffgivbcult
     
  13. Tech Wrath

    Tech Wrath SS.org Regular

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    I have tiny girly hands I play an 8 (multiscale 25.5-27" though) with tons of weird and odd stretches without a problem. Bigger hands would of course give you some what of an edge but I don't think it really matters in the grand scheme of things. It's all about determination and goal setting. If you don't think you can play great, you probably won't ever play great. I just started playing piano a few months ago and that picture above is really great. My left hand can reach a 9th but it is a bit of a stretch which is still pretty damn small and my right can only reach an 8th (Probably because my left hand is more stretched and trained from guitar) but most men can comfortably reach a 10th. Maybe if you're learning certain stuff from someone somewhere, you might need to be able to do crazy stretches but that's a rarity and most stuff you'll be able to play with proper technique and of course you'll be completely fine writing your own stuff.

    It's not about size it's about surprise.
     

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