Why aren't narrow necks best for average/small hands?

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
Aaron

Re: Why aren't narrow necks best for average/small hands?

Post by Aaron » Sat Jan 07, 2012 12:48 am

I have average sized hands but a tad on the skinny side, certainly nothing like fat fingers. I've tried a few different things, and my conclusion is that they all have pros and cons. I have an odd hand-made classical with a 660 scale and full 2" nut and in some ways for some things it seems to play really well. But I also have a regular 650 cheap guitar which is good enough. Finally, I have a crossover slightly less wide nut guitar and a Godin electric nylon with thinner neck and slight radius. My conclusion: slight radius to the neck actually seems to make the most difference to ease of play. I think classical guitars ought to be made more with radiused necks. Otherwise, narrow is nice for a lot of things and I have no complaints, but it depends. It's definitely about fitting the player and also some music will be easier or harder on any option. It's all compromise no matter what.

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HNLim
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Re: Why aren't narrow necks best for average/small hands?

Post by HNLim » Sat Jan 07, 2012 1:18 am

If these kids can, so can you!

Aaron

Re: Why aren't narrow necks best for average/small hands?

Post by Aaron » Sat Jan 07, 2012 1:34 am

I agree. I've seen that link before. Good technique overcomes whatever circumstances. Consider ukelele or mandolin played by folks with big hands...

AsturiasFan

Re: Why aren't narrow necks best for average/small hands?

Post by AsturiasFan » Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:01 pm

HHNLim wrote:If these kids can, so can you!
Aaron wrote:I agree. I've seen that link before. Good technique overcomes whatever circumstances. Consider ukelele or mandolin played by folks with big hands...
I deeply feel that smaller handed people need to stand up and start a movement to end the bigotry against smaller hand size once and for all. This will be accomplished by mercilessly zinging the big handed until they unconditionally surrender. The large handed say their technique improves with going to a larger nut or larger scale. Why aren't there pundits like Aaron ready to apply HHNLim's logic to take them to task for not having the correct technique that would allow them to play on a standard size guitar? Didn't Segovia play on a larger scale guitar? Yes he wanted luthiers to make louder guitars but he also wanted the larger scale because it suited him personally.

Anyway those North Korean kids of kindergarten age are amazing, but they would be more amazing if they were playing on micro sized guitars so they could hit the Asturias bar chord and stretch from the first to the seventh fret. Unfortunately their teachers seem to be taking the attitude that it's OK to just get them to play pieces that they are physically capable of. This means that it could take years for them to learn how to play certain pieces and I suspect that their teachers are copping out by allowing these kids to grow into them (admittedly with amazing technique).

P.S. and an Edit : OK this movement is going to take much longer than I thought. Aren't there any defenders of the small handed that, analogously to JQ below, are completely cracked up and giggle themselves silly because Segovia somehow felt the need for a larger scale size. That Segovia! He needs a larger scale? Really? He he he! Maybe he should have practiced more!! Ha ha ha!!! Why is it that some find smaller hand sizes to be much funnier than large hand sizes? Sounds like overt discrimination to me.
Last edited by AsturiasFan on Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why aren't narrow necks best for average/small hands?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:36 pm

I have a large hands, (my height is 189 cm and shoes size 12-13) but I hate guitars with necks wider than 50 mm, but also I hate necks narrower than 49 mm :)
I have no problems with any chords etc. but when I play wider neck my hands feels tired and tense much much faster because playing wider neck I need to apply more strength , stretching etc. Therefore I totally disagree with arguments that wider necks are better suited for all players with large hands.
For me less using strength , less stretching as possible leads to more satisfaction when playing :)
I'd better speak by music...Please listen it on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, etc. Thanks!

JQ.

Re: Why aren't narrow necks best for average/small hands?

Post by JQ. » Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:12 am

Aaron wrote:Consider ukelele or mandolin played by folks with big hands...
Oh, I totally agree with you there. The scale is relative.

It always cracks me up to see people saying they need a smaller scale guitar because of their "smaller" adult hands when small children are apparently able to play full-sized guitars.

But whatever floats your boat. I recently bought a Yamaha guitalele, it's a 6-string tenor uke size tuned like a guitar (only a 5th up) and it's an absolute blast to play. :)

They go for ~$100US and make a nice "beater" you can take anywhere.

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Re: Why aren't narrow necks best for average/small hands?

Post by tree-hugger » Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:39 am

JQ. wrote:It always cracks me up to see people saying they need a smaller scale guitar because of their "smaller" adult hands when small children are apparently able to play full-sized guitars.
We all have different hands. Some of us have hands as small as those of small children. My 11 year old daughter can stretch further from her pinky to index finger than I can (140 mm).

Those small children will have longer fingers and a greater span next year, and those amazing stretches won't be so amazing any longer. Adults with small fingers have to suffer those same stretches, and the consequences of making them, for the rest of their lives.

In another thread on this sub-forum people are asked to give various hand measurements, including the one I have given above. The average so far for the pinky to index stretch is 171.5 mm. Assuming this is an okay measurement for someone playing a 650 mm length scale, and scaling by the ratio of 140/171.5 gives a scale length of 531 mm. Alternatively, scaling up by the inverse of this ratio converts the scale length I prefer, 630 mm, up to 771 mm.

These numbers should give some idea of just how much more difficult it is for small handed adult guitarists, who don't have the flexibility of small children, to play a normal scale length guitar. Based on the figures above, even a 630 mm scale length is well oversize for someone like myself when compared to an adult with a more average hand size. So before you start cracking up about small handed adults not wanting to play a 650 mm guitar, imagine how comfortable you would be playing for an hour or two each day on a guitar of 770 mm scale length or longer.

George.

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Re: Why aren't narrow necks best for average/small hands?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:54 pm

tree-hugger wrote:
JQ. wrote:It always cracks me up to see people saying they need a smaller scale guitar because of their "smaller" adult hands when small children are apparently able to play full-sized guitars.
We all have different hands. Some of us have hands as small as those of small children. My 11 year old daughter can stretch further from her pinky to index finger than I can (140 mm).

Those small children will have longer fingers and a greater span next year, and those amazing stretches won't be so amazing any longer. Adults with small fingers have to suffer those same stretches, and the consequences of making them, for the rest of their lives.

In another thread on this sub-forum people are asked to give various hand measurements, including the one I have given above. The average so far for the pinky to index stretch is 171.5 mm. Assuming this is an okay measurement for someone playing a 650 mm length scale, and scaling by the ratio of 140/171.5 gives a scale length of 531 mm. Alternatively, scaling up by the inverse of this ratio converts the scale length I prefer, 630 mm, up to 771 mm.

These numbers should give some idea of just how much more difficult it is for small handed adult guitarists, who don't have the flexibility of small children, to play a normal scale length guitar. Based on the figures above, even a 630 mm scale length is well oversize for someone like myself when compared to an adult with a more average hand size. So before you start cracking up about small handed adults not wanting to play a 650 mm guitar, imagine how comfortable you would be playing for an hour or two each day on a guitar of 770 mm scale length or longer.

George.
I thought discussion was about width of the neck not length of it ...It looks like it is a different subject for me. But just for fun I measured my pinky to index stretch - 200 mm easy... and yet I like guitar necks 50mm wide more than 55 mm etc. 50-49 mm is ideal to me and I don't understand all these calculations and arguments about large hands equal wide necks...
I'd better speak by music...Please listen it on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, etc. Thanks!

hannahsmallhands

Re: Why aren't narrow necks best for average/small hands?

Post by hannahsmallhands » Fri Jul 13, 2012 8:08 pm

I would like to say, as a female, I have small hands and a very large stretch (fret 3 to 7 across the stings I will have you know). I've played piano since I was 4 and guitar for 10 years. Big stretch for tiny hands. However, there are some pieces I cannot play because I can't reach. I get close but it doesn't sound great at all! For example... Mazurka Appasionta by Barrios which I am currently learning and in bars 12-13 I cannot reach those chords! So I ask you!! How can I solve this?

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Re: Why aren't narrow necks best for average/small hands?

Post by GeoffB » Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:49 pm

Hi Hannah, welcome to the forum. Could I invite you to introduce yourself here?

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Re: Why aren't narrow necks best for average/small hands?

Post by Michael.N. » Sat Jul 14, 2012 7:56 am

Sor, Aguado and almost certainly Giuliani played on Guitars with a Nut width of 48 mm and less. Sometimes quite a bit less. The Guitars of the era go down to around 44 mm in Neck width. Very few are at 50 mm. There is absolutely no reason why anyone with small, slim fingers should play with a wide Neck. It makes absolutely no logical sense. This combined with a shorter string length make things a little easier for players with small hands.
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Re: Why aren't narrow necks best for average/small hands?

Post by ashepps » Mon Jan 12, 2015 4:57 pm

Michael.N. wrote:There is absolutely no reason why anyone with small, slim fingers should play with a wide Neck. It makes absolutely no logical sense. This combined with a shorter string length make things a little easier for players with small hands.
Just to be clear Michael, are yo suggesting that a person with small hand should go for the short scale length and a bit narrower neck?

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Alan Sheppard
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Re: Why aren't narrow necks best for average/small hands?

Post by Michael.N. » Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:30 pm

Old thread but it's an issue that repeatedly keeps cropping up.
Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. My fingers are a little tubby but my stretch is OK for someone with relatively small hands (for a male). I can get 6.5 " between index and pinky, just about 7 " if I REALLY stretch. I can cope with a 650 mm scale. But don't forget that there are many folk with smaller (and slimmer) fingers than myself. If I can play a Nut width of 48 mm's without dampening adjacent strings I'm pretty sure someone with slimmer fingers than myself can. Some adults (mainly female but not exclusively) have hands that aren't much larger than that of a very young teenager, almost child like hands. It would be ridiculous to expect them to play on a 650 scale with a Nut width of say 54 mm's.
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Re: Why aren't narrow necks best for average/small hands?

Post by Alicia » Tue Jan 13, 2015 11:21 am

Most of the first post washed over me as I cannot relate to inches. Standard Necks are 2 inches wide? Why not just say "Necks are one neck wide".
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Re: Why aren't narrow necks best for average/small hands?

Post by Michael.N. » Tue Jan 13, 2015 12:25 pm

2 inch = 50 mm's, a bit over if you are being pedantic.
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