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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.

AndreF 01-03-2021 06:01 PM

Sounds like a bottle neck slide would be a good accessory for your playing future!:)
Stick with it. I will say though, a dread with a slim neck is probably not the easiest guitar to learn on, even without that finger issue.
But, if that is what you want, then go for it.

JonPR 01-05-2021 09:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ds114 (Post 6594307)
The only suggestion I can offer is don't let your injury discourage you..

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

I'll see your Tony Iommi, and raise you a Django Reinhardt:



Look out for the solo at 2:10.:eek:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Django...age_and_injury

Wooly 01-05-2021 09:39 AM

All of the suggestions to look for a guitar with a wider nut which would equal wider string spacing are good. It seems to me that Yamaha with a 1 11/16 nut width tends to have even a narrower string spacing as compared to some other brands with the same nut width.

If worst comes to worst, you could switch to nylon string classical. 2" nut width is common with those guitars.

A fellow I played with had the tips of three fingers crushed on his fretting hand. Although being a right handed player, he learned to adapt by learning to play left handed and did quite well at it too.

Good luck and keep at it.

sam.spoons 01-05-2021 11:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Bard Rocks (Post 6594628)
And of course there is Django Reinhart who completely lost (as I recall) 2 out of 5 fingers on the left hand.

Not lost but badly burned his LH ring and pinky (along with over 50% of his body and legs, he refused to let them amputate his right leg). See the video linked in JohnPR's post above.

So my answer would be to ignore all other styles and dedicate your life to playing Gypsy Jazz ;) if it's good enough for Hank Marvin, Tommy Emmanual and John Jorgenson... :lol:

More seriously, use the width of your LH ring fingertip to your advantage and fret two strings simultaneously with it where possible (A shapes, E shapes, open C, open G, play D shape with a barre across the 1-3 strings so you don't need to use it etc). Django could use his damaged fingers to fret chords but many GJ chords involve deliberately muting certain strings, you can do the same with certain chords in more traditional guitar playing.

JERZEY 01-11-2021 02:49 PM

If you are just starting out consider getting a lefty guitar before you get to far. Its much easier to learn on a lefty and be short on the picking hand then short on the fret hand imo.

ljguitar 01-11-2021 06:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emtsteve (Post 6594499)
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.

Hi emtsteve
The string spacing on a Seagull 1.8" nut is exactly the same as 1¾" nut string spacing.

The 1.8" is misleading…it is arrived at because Seagull (and other Godin product lines) are produced in French Speaking Quebec, and built to metric measures (44.72mm)

When they convert the metric figure to US/Imperial measure it comes out 1.8" instead of 1.75" - but the strings are still spaced to a standard 1¾" spacing.. There is not really wiggle room to cut a new nut and try to widen the strings (.05" - 5/100 inch) split up among 6 strings is pretty small.

It was attempted several times in years past by experimenters here on the forum and just resulted in either the 1st or 6th string being constantly drug over the edge of the finger board.

A better solution might be to buy a 12 string with a wide fingerboard, and have a new nut made for it and string is as a 6 string guitar.

Or the original poster may want to try-out a 1¹³⁄₁₆" spacing, or full 2" (or wider) nylon string classical guitar.







emtsteve 01-11-2021 08:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ljguitar (Post 6601993)
Hi emtsteve
The string spacing on a Seagull 1.8" nut is exactly the same as 1¾" nut string spacing.

The 1.8" is misleading…it is arrived at because Seagull (and other Godin product lines) are produced in French Speaking Quebec, and built to metric measures (44.72mm)

When they convert the metric figure to US/Imperial measure it comes out 1.8" instead of 1.75" - but the strings are still spaced to a standard 1¾" spacing.. There is not really wiggle room to cut a new nut and try to widen the strings (.05" - 5/100 inch) split up among 6 strings is pretty small.

It was attempted several times in years past by experimenters here on the forum and just resulted in either the 1st or 6th string being constantly drug over the edge of the finger board.

A better solution might be to buy a 12 string with a wide fingerboard, and have a new nut made for it and string is as a 6 string guitar.

Or the original poster may want to try-out a 1¹³⁄₁₆" spacing, or full 2" (or wider) nylon string classical guitar.








Thanks for the education Larry. I still stand by my suggestion to try the Seagull. It should be quite a bit easier to fret than the Yamaha he has now. Or not, but worth trying, along with other 1 3/4” and wider nut guitars.


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