2 August 2010
Beginner guitar learners often have trouble with the finger stretches required to make some chord or scale shapes across the frets of the guitar. Invariably you first learn to play chords and scales in open positions near the head of the guitar neck. But the spacing of the first four frets is the widest on the guitar's neck, forcing you to stretch your fingers uncomfortably.
What few beginners are told is that you can learn these exact same chord and scale shapes with smaller fret distances to stretch over. To do this all you need to do is place a capo across the strings and play higher up the neck where the frets are narrower.
Somewhere between the seventh and the ninth frets is a good place to start. Here you have narrower frets to work with without being too cramped up against the guitar's body.
In this position you'll be less inclined to adopt incorrect postures to force your fingers to reach notes beyond their current stretch. Your technique will benefit from this as you learn more optimal postures to finger chords and scales.
As you progress you can move the capo down the neck one or two frets at a time. Your fingers will gradually develop the stretch needed to reach across wider frets.
If you enjoyed this post sign-up for more free guitar tips from Not Playing Guitar delivered by email or to your RSS reader.
Photo by Aplomb.