Author Topic: scale/nut/size combo for us people with small stubby fingers.  (Read 1764 times)

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Offline adibranch

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scale/nut/size combo for us people with small stubby fingers.
« on: January 28, 2016, 10:44:39 am »
I've just been reading another thread similar to this... and thought I'd ask a couple of questions.

So, as a rule of thumb, are there certain nut sizes/scale lengths/body sizes that are better for people with smaller stubby fingers? I'm a little bloke with very small hands, and I've also got larger palm, shorter fingers , and a bend on my ring finger which makes it point towards my middle finger, which further hampers me. So, I'm up against it a bit.

I've been learning for the last couple of years with one of these...
http://www.ibanez.com/products/ag_page15.php?year=2015&area_id=4&cat_id=3&series_id=85&data_id=50&color=CL01

Nut is 42mm, and scale is 24.96 .

I struggle with barre chords (nearly full length of finger has to be laid across), but I also struggle with scales due to this bent finger. With regular chords, I have to angle my fingers, I can't really lay them onto the neck at anywhere near 90 degrees as my ring finger is too far back from the fret. This so far has been okay but now I'm hitting the intermediate with a lot more stretching, I'm beginning to struggle.

My Ibanez has been great, it felt so much more comfortable in the shop than any others, but I'm thinking of upgrading as quite frankly I don't really like the sound of the Ibanez. I was thinking of the Seagull S6 range, either the slim, classic, or folk. Hoping to get to the shop sometime and try a few.

I am aware though that what might feel comfy in the shop, might not be the best long term.  So, is there any particular nut/scale/size combo that would be better for us stubby fingered peeps? (lets ignore the bent finger for now).

Oh, by the way, i'll be favouring fingerstyle in the future .


Offline Drubbing

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Re: scale/nut/size combo for us people with small stubby fingers.
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2016, 11:34:48 am »
No. Everyone thinks their fingers are different or special or difficult to start with. Even children are encouraged to get to regular scale guitars as soon as they're able. My bet is their hands and fingers are smaller than yours.

Check the freaky Korean kids on YT or Django rhinehart or Tony Iommi.

Just play the thing.

Offline adibranch

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Re: scale/nut/size combo for us people with small stubby fingers.
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2016, 11:46:25 am »
That's a crap answer drubbing. I think you'll find the 'freaky' Korean kids playing ability is more to do with the fact that they are ordered to do it, several hours a day, from the age of two or three. They have no choice in the matter but to become good, whatever they are given as instruments or their size.

Its a fairly simple question though.. different sizes match differently to different people. This place is littered with advice to people about their specific setup or requirements. There's no altering that.. that's just maths and physics. What I was asking is are certain size combos better for different people, different sizes, different styles,  its a fairly standard beginners question. I've not just recently started, I've been at it a couple of years now, so advice about whether or not I should go for a particular size or style for the next guitar i buy is perfectly normal.

'Just play the thing' thanks.. will do.


Offline shadowscott007

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Re: scale/nut/size combo for us people with small stubby fingers.
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2016, 12:40:38 pm »
That's a crap answer drubbing.

I sort of disagree. 

But to answer your question I am unaware of any "rule of thumb" for such things.

And I think you are approaching it wrong.  You want to get a guitar that feels good to you.  It is entirely possible someone with your exact hand finger arm dimensions would prefer a different guitar than you.  So...

Go to guitar store.

Pick up guitar.

Play guitar.  Does it "feel" good/right/comfortable to you?  If yes, note the brand model.

Put guitar back. 

Repeat as necessary.  (Or they kick you out, or you run out of guitars, or you get bored.)

So you either buy a guitar you found that you liked...

Or you have a list of guitars you liked and can go look at the specs and see if there are any commonalities if you want to "math out" what you are looking for.'

Shadow
The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Offline adibranch

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Re: scale/nut/size combo for us people with small stubby fingers.
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2016, 01:58:46 pm »
The manner of which the question was answered was bad shadow, not necessarily the advice (or lack of it).

Of course I realise you can go in a store, pick one up, play it, see how it feels etc... and that's of course what i'll do. But , what I was getting at is... in general, are shorter scales better for shorter fingers, wider nuts better for long, shorter scales better for fingerstyle, wider strings better for large hands etc. If this was reversed for instance, and I had huge hands and fingertips the size of a childs shoe.. would the advice be 'you'll struggle with a smaller neck width' .

Offline teresainNW

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Re: scale/nut/size combo for us people with small stubby fingers.
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2016, 10:13:47 pm »
We are all different in what we prefer in terms of string spacing and scale length.  Assuming you're talking about inches, a scale length of 24.96 is pretty much full sized.  You're good there, I think.  But one test to decide if you think so is put a capo on about the first fret of your guitar neck and see if you like narrower spacing of the remaining frets. 

Your nut width is the traditional width.  At some point, manufacturers started making nuts wider for SOME guitars and many fingerstyle guitarists prefer the wider width.  HOWEVER, if you ask any number of people, they'll have just as many preferences. 

No, there is no standard -- It's what works best for you.  If you're the person I remember who posted pix of the crooked finger, I'm guessing the narrower nut width that you have might help you.  However, you might want to try other guitars and see for yourself.

I'm a female and have very small hands.  I have found I like full-sized guitars with at least 24+ inch scale length, 1-3/4 inch nut width, and 2-3/16 saddle string spacing.  I find that the extra distance in the scale length helps with turning my hand as I'm changing chords.  I also find that it helps with fingerstyle.  My fingers don't bump into wrong strings as much.  It's hard to believe that the tiny difference in string spacing is a big deal, but it seems to be.  But everyone is different.

One benefit of a shorter scale though is that the strings have a tad less tension on them, making them easier to press.  My first guitar was 3/4 scale.  When we first got our new guitar, I sometimes actually put a capo on the first fret and tuned the guitar down one step so that with capo, it had EADGBE tuning.  This made the string tension a little less.   After awhile, I got used to the string tension on the new guitar and left the capo off (And no, action wasn't the problem.  The old guitar has higher action!)

I'm with you.  You really can't compare yourself with Korean children.  For one thing, yep, more than likely they're playing under duress in some way.  Maybe their parents lead better lives because the children play guitar.  For another, children generally have more flexible muscles and joints than we old fogees do, and developing dexterity for an instrument is typically easier for them.

I watch Dolly Parton play with her freakishly long fingernails and I wonder how?  She, along with many others are examples of getting around limitations (voluntary in Dolly's case).  However, absolutely, it's harder for some than others.  No doubt about it.

You have my full support in your quest.  It's not easy.  Good luck.

Offline Drubbing

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Re: scale/nut/size combo for us people with small stubby fingers.
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2016, 10:08:17 am »
Just because you don't like the way the question was answered doesn't make it less true. I and others have answered this timeless question many times over, in much the same way. Regardless of how the korean kids were taught, they're still playing full size guitars at 4-5 years old. That makes your question largely moot.

Preference is one thing, it will not make or break your ability to progress. So no, there is no magic combo for different styles. If learning was easy, more people would do it.

Play the thing is reasonable advice. I can't help if you decide to take it the wrong way.

 

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