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-   -   Beginner angst....ideas...please? (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=602875)

Rufctr500 01-03-2021 10:29 AM

Beginner angst....ideas...please?
 
I have just started learning the acoustic guitar. I have been and still am enjoying my new journey. I understand this is a never ending learning process. I very quickly discovered that on my fret hand the ringer finger is making it impossible to have the strings ring out cleanly. The problem....when I was younger the tip of the ring finger was removed due to an injury. Compared to the other fingers the ring finger tip is considerably fatter....to the point fretting a string is impossible without touching at least one other string. Any suggestions, tips, ideas, would be more than welcome......

edcmat-l1 01-03-2021 10:32 AM

What are you playing? Wider nut/neck is the first suggestion. If you're using a 1 11/16 nut width try playing something with a 1 3/4. Doesn't sound like much difference but can make a heck of a difference in playability.

Rufctr500 01-03-2021 11:00 AM

I have a Yamaha FG325D. The one you get with the gigmaker package Yamaha offers. How do you determine what size nut is being used?

Ds114 01-03-2021 11:02 AM

The only suggestion I can offer is don't let your injury discourage you..

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Iommi

Earl49 01-03-2021 11:08 AM

We all have to adapt to whatever physical limitations are presented. A good teacher can sometimes make helpful suggestions. In my case, I broke the ring finger of my right hand several times in my youth. It is stiffer than the adjoining fingers with limited motion in the first knuckle, and cannot keep up when fingerpicking. Once I realized that, I had to re-work my entire fingerpicking repertoire to use middle and index fingers, mostly leaving ring out of the mix.

One thing you might try is putting a capo up at the 4th or 5th fret. This makes the neck effectively wider than at the nut. If you can play better there, over time you can move the capo down on fret at a time and gradually re-train your fretting hand.

Woolbury 01-03-2021 12:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by edcmat-l1 (Post 6594276)
What are you playing? Wider nut/neck is the first suggestion. If you're using a 1 11/16 nut width try playing something with a 1 3/4. Doesn't sound like much difference but can make a heck of a difference in playability.

This is the answer, but play a 1 13/16 if you get a chance, the difference in fretting cleanly is huge IMO. My Collings is 1 13/16 and it is so much easier to fret than my other 1 3/4 guitars. And my 1 11/16 Martin rarely makes it out of the case.

edcmat-l1 01-03-2021 12:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rufctr500 (Post 6594306)
I have a Yamaha FG325D. The one you get with the gigmaker package Yamaha offers. How do you determine what size nut is being used?

Easiest way is use a measuring tape to measure the nut width. Calipers would be much more accurate. I do believe that guitar is a 1 11/6 nut though.

What style of music are you wanting to play? After playing for some time you'll most likely figure out how to work around your finger problem. Muting the proper string, twisting your finger to contort it different ways, etc.

Tony Iommi's problem was nerves in the end of his finger. He had pain when trying to bend strings. Because of the music style he plays he doesn't have to worry about cleanly fretting entire chords.

BillAZ 01-03-2021 01:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rufctr500 (Post 6594306)
I have a Yamaha FG325D. The one you get with the gigmaker package Yamaha offers. How do you determine what size nut is being used?

I did a google search for "yamaha fg325d nut size" and received:
Yamaha F325D Guitar Specs
Body Type Dreadnought
Frets 20 frets joined at 14th
Scale Length 25.5 inches
Nut Width 1 11/16 inches
Nut & Saddle Urea

Looks like you are playing a 1 11/16 (1.6875) nut size. There are definitely guitars with wider nut sizes out there. You might look around and see what you can find. try it out first and then buy.

emtsteve 01-03-2021 01:39 PM

See if you can find a used Seagull S6 wide (not slim) - it will have a 1.8" nut. These are easy to play and sound great. Should be less that $400 in like new condition.

My ring finger on the right (strumming) hand was "abbreviated" when I was 12. A very large door slammed on it and took the tip back to the end of the nail. I just work around it. Lots of examples of famous guitarists with hand injuries - they just do what they can with what they got. Sometimes that becomes part of their unique style.

Dru Edwards 01-03-2021 02:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Earl49 (Post 6594314)
We all have to adapt to whatever physical limitations are presented. A good teacher can sometimes make helpful suggestions. In my case, I broke the ring finger of my right hand several times in my youth. It is stiffer than the adjoining fingers with limited motion in the first knuckle, and cannot keep up when fingerpicking. Once I realized that, I had to re-work my entire fingerpicking repertoire to use middle and index fingers, mostly leaving ring out of the mix.

One thing you might try is putting a capo up at the 4th or 5th fret. This makes the neck effectively wider than at the nut. If you can play better there, over time you can move the capo down on fret at a time and gradually re-train your fretting hand.

+1.

Talk to a couple of teachers. They may provide good recommendations.

A guitar with a wider nut width may help as well (i.e. 1 3/4" vs 1 11/16").

... BTW, Welcome to the AGF! Guitar is a great journey. Make sure you let us know how it works out with your finger.

Rufctr500 01-03-2021 03:07 PM

Everyone...thank you for all of your encouraging and helpful replies. I looked into a 1 3/4" nut as a possibility to help out. Given all of your responses...I am going to hold off and tough it out. Fingers crossed and thank you!!

Earl49 01-03-2021 03:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rufctr500 (Post 6594594)
.....Fingers crossed and thank you!!

I think I see the problem.... it is pretty hard to play with fingers crossed.

Seriously we have all been there and faced some frustration or plateau along the journey. I like to say there are two kinds of musical people in this world: those who play instruments and those who play CD's. Musicians have to work a bit harder at it, but have WAY more fun.

The Bard Rocks 01-03-2021 03:31 PM

I have a friend who gets around the guitar pretty agilely. Years ago, he sawed off the last 3/8" or so of his LH forefinger. After that, as you might expect, he stopped playing for a while, missed it, and went back to it and deals pretty well with this handicap. That's to give you encouragement. And of course there is Django Reinhart who completely lost (as I recall) 2 out of 5 fingers on the left hand.

The 1 3/4-1 13/16" nut should be a big help to you. I'd try some out beforehand if you can. 1 3/4 is a lot easier to find than 1 13/16", but they're out there too. When you go to try out guitars, take something to measure the nut with - and also bring the one you have so you can both feel and hear the difference. Direct comparisons are very useful.

lowrider 01-03-2021 04:11 PM

We all have to deal with what we have. I was just reading about Leslie West. He says that he only used two fingers on the fretboard. Jerry Garcia was missing a finger on his right hand. And those guys did pretty darn good for themselves.

You'll figure it out. Maybe not use that finger at all.

Good luck and welcome aboard.

KalamazooGuy 01-03-2021 05:57 PM

Tony Iommi for sure.


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