Your Hand size and playing guitar

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by sahhas, Aug 5, 2019.

  1. CactusWren

    CactusWren Member

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    Yes, big hands are an advantage. Small hands are a handicap that can mostly be overcome.

    Small guys can dunk, too. Some of them.
     
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  2. Jadedbluesman1

    Jadedbluesman1 Member

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    I am 5`11 and have small hands. I always found that hand size isn't a big an issue as is hand/grip strength. It may sound odd but as I have aged my hands have gotten stronger. It must be from the years of weight lifting, playing and raising my son.

    I am constantly trying to improve my hand strength and build my forearms up which has made playing 11s and 12s on my guitar a lot more enjoyable. I recently joked with a friend that I want to try 13s to see if I can get the stevie bends. When I was 18, even 10s seemed a little too thick (of course I was a 230 pound weakling who did nothing other than drink diet sodas, eat garbage, play video games and play guitar).

    Learning hand stretches and warm up exercises have helped. I play a variety of necks from a HUGE boat neck on my Jimi Strat to a very thing 2001 American Standard Strat. All I know is that each time I want to take a leap in my playing, exercises and practice are the only ways to get better. I was never a shred guitar guy but I've learned a lot in terms of dexterity and overall "guitar playing health" from Paul Gilbert.
     
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  3. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Silver Supporting Member

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    Yeah, I can palm a basketball, but don't have the spiderfingers that would be more helpful for guitar. I figured out a way, though.
     
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  4. Sociophile

    Sociophile "Ignore" Button Aficionado Supporting Member

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    7.75/9.5 here, and I’ve never had a problem reaching a note. I’m able to do the thumb wrap-around like I can palm a basketball: sorta, if I’m not asked to do much with it.
     
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  5. Teal_66

    Teal_66 Member

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    6'7" Kawhi Leonard (Raptors) has the biggest hands I've ever seen. I remember during the finals, I went online to actually see how big they were. That dude's hands are 11.5" wide and 9.5" long! He should play guitar.
     
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  6. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Supporting Member

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    I don't think anybody ever called Angus a great player in the sense of guitar performance.
    Great at rock n roll in the AC/DC style, for sure, but does not display WOW technique or advanced musicianship in the Holdsworth/Vai category.
    And one reason would be that he can not do those things due to hand size.
    Playing well, but within your limits (everybody has a limit) can go a long way but additional hand capabilities extend those limits.
    BTW-extreme length and bulk is no advantage to making fine or tightly spaced moves, either. Sized to fit the instrument 'at hand' is ideal.
     
  7. Capador

    Capador Member

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    To be honest, I think larger hands are mostly an advantage. There are certain things, including Neon by John Mayer, which I've had to learn in a much different and harder way because, physically, I just can't do the same shapes/voicings he does with the thumb over the top and other fingers three frets back. Also, similar to boxing, guys with physically large hands have more mass and have stronger command of vibrato, bends and overall power naturally (just my observation).

    That being said, there are plenty of examples of great players with small or stubby hands. Johnny Hiland comes to mind....he looks like he's playing with a hoof but his accuracy and speed are blinding.

    Then again, so is a guy like Steve Vai, so in that sense it's a bit of a one way street for the big hands guys. They can do what small hands guys can but not vice versa.
     
  8. YYZ

    YYZ Supporting Member

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    And IIRC, the neck on his signature tele is gigantic. Thicker than the Nocaster I played.
     
  9. Teal_66

    Teal_66 Member

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    This is true! Hiland defies logic. Randy Rhoads also had pretty small hands.
     
  10. Funky Monkey

    Funky Monkey Supporting Member

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    I see pictures of myself playing and I feel like my hands appear comically large on a "normal" electric guitar. But I rarely reach for intervals longer than a step and a half regardless of where I am on the neck.
    Long ago I place my hands in plaster palm-prints of Michael Jordan. Mine were a perfect fit. EXACT same size. But I can't palm a regulation basketball for the life of me. :dunno
     
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  11. indeedido

    indeedido Supporting Member

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    [​IMG]
     
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  12. metrokosmiko

    metrokosmiko Member

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    I think guitar proficiency is a brain - hand thing.
    I am an indecisive, hesitant being. Hence, I fret insecurely.
    There must be people with large hands who aren't good players.

    Also, it's kind of logical to think that instruments would be designed in a size that lets most people play them. There are exceptions, of course, but there are also short scale guitars and wide necks to that end.

    As for me, I have what is known as "mixed hand" in palmistry. Equal parts palm and fingers. Not fat... not thin... Sure can play a 25.5 scale 1.650 wide neck - but I'm happier on 24.75, 1-5/8s.
     
  13. Hudman_1

    Hudman_1 Member

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    8.25” spread - 7.5” long
    5’8”

    I can fret the E with my thumb on most guitars.
     
  14. Kevy_Metal

    Kevy_Metal Member

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    I've got big lunchbox hands, so a large neck is what I tend to gravitate towards. If it looks like half a baseball bat, consider me interested.

    Disappointed my mother as a child because she thought I should be a piano player with these mitts.
     
  15. Vibrolux

    Vibrolux Gold Supporting Member

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    I have always been thankful that I have very long fingers and I am average( 5' 10") hgt. because my fathers side of the family all have shorty stubs. Thanks Mom!

    But this thread title recalls Freddie King for me. That guy had what appears to be huge hands...and I don't mean long and slender. Massive - Big! I could never understand how he played like he did. It seems he would require an ultra wide neck to get those strings further apart.
     
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  16. amstrtatnut

    amstrtatnut Member

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    Between my index and pinky I can stretch almost 6.5 inches on a ruler.

    Not sure what my thumb has to do with reach except I cannot thumb over.
     
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  17. Blix

    Blix Supporting Member

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    Then there is this guy


    I hope he's not a proctologist! :eek:
     
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  18. sahhas

    sahhas Supporting Member

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    the advantage in Basketball of having large hands is this:
    [​IMG]
    MJ's hands are the size of Kawhi's, and if you think of the high-flying dunks that MJ and Dr. J are known for, their hand size helps.
    interesting, Kobe's hands are not as big as MJ or Dr. J, and he said he couldn't palm the ball as well as they could for his acrobatic moves while he played....just interesting to look at...
     
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  19. sahhas

    sahhas Supporting Member

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    yes, I remember seeing pics of Freddie King, his hands looked huge also:
    [​IMG]
    he was almost 6-5, so a big guy!
     
  20. sahhas

    sahhas Supporting Member

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    And the other I was thinking of was Albert King:
    [​IMG]
    his hands looked huge also, and i think he was 6-4
     
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