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  • Fumble Fingers on the “Mini-F”

    Posted by OhWowMan on November 30, 2021 at 12:04 am

    Help TAC family, if you can. I am on the “next six chords“ course, and I am struggling with the “mini F.“ On the first fret, I can get it to ring very crisp and clear. However, when I practice Tony’s exercise, and I move up to the third fret (and even moreso on the eighth fret), it declines and deteriorates and sounds terrible. Is it possibly my thumb pressure? How do I apply pressure on the back of the neck? Sometimes my thumb will slip and I’ll actually press using the palm of my hand. I suspect that’s a bad habit? This is one of those times (and there seems to be lots of times) where an in-person instructor would come in handy… someone who could watch me and perhaps help me correct my mistakes.

    N-lightMike replied 2 years, 4 months ago 6 Members · 10 Replies
  • 10 Replies
  • Loraine

    Member
    November 30, 2021 at 4:20 am

    @OhWowMan can you take photos and post them (or video). I suspect you’re doing it correctly if you can play it clearly on the 1st fret, but as you move up the neck you’re not getting the right angle to co.pensate for being in a different position. Try pulling your fretting hand elbow in towards your body. That will add tension.

  • Cadgirl

    Member
    November 30, 2021 at 4:34 am

    I agree with you @Loraine. Those spaces between the frets get smaller as you go down the neck. You might think you are holding down a string and actually are on top of one of the metal frets instead.

  • Bill_Brown

    Member
    November 30, 2021 at 9:05 am

    Hi @OhWowMan , If @Loraine ‘s suggestion doesn’t work, then I’m thinking it has more to do with your guitar’s “action” than your technique. You shouldn’t have to apply any more pressure on the 8th fret than you did on the 1st fret, in fact, it should be less, that is if your guitar’s “action” (height of the strings above the frets) is set properly. The standard action for an acoustic is 3/32″ above the fret – measured at the 12th fret. If you’re using that guitar to play slide, then the action can be set higher. Any lower then you’ll get “Buzzing” from the strings as they vibrate against the frets. So carefully measure your string height at the 12th fret, if it’s more than 3/32″, then you’ll need to get that guitar a proper “set-up”.

    I see that you live in Alaska, so getting to a luthier or a guitar shop won’t be easy. Perhaps there might be a YT video, but I would make that a last resort. Good luck.

  • OhWowMan

    Member
    December 1, 2021 at 12:41 am

    @Loraine There are three photos attached. I can make the F chord, starting at the first fret, and it rings true. Sounds good when I play it! I can either squeeze the neck with my palm (I call this my vice grip) or press against the back of the neck with my thumb (I call this the thumb press). Which is correct form?

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by  OhWowMan. Reason: Photos
    • Loraine

      Member
      December 1, 2021 at 4:18 am

      Thanks for the great photos @OhWowMan Without photos of the shape being played on the higher fret, it is difficult to say for sure if there is a problem or suggestions.. . It is best to have the thumb on the back of the neck. Using your palm causes fingers to flatten out, and you would have unclear chords most times. The palm is typically away from the neck, your fretting of the mini-F looks good. You could move your wrist a little more forward to increase the arch of the fingers. That might be the solution for playing the shape higher on the neck, along with making sure your thumb is positioned in the center like you have done while playing the mini-F.

      • This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by  Loraine.
    • Bill_Brown

      Member
      December 1, 2021 at 10:19 am

      I think, based on these photos, that the “thumb press” is the more correct form @OhWowMan 👍👍 IMHO

    • N-lightMike

      Member
      December 2, 2021 at 11:57 am

      Yes, @OhWowMan , @Loraine is absolutely correct. Get that thumb down to the middle of the back of the neck and push your wrist forward. This will probably feel awkward at first, but it will give you the proper pressure and reach to make this chord easy… eventually. It takes time.

      If your thumb slips, you are probably squeezing too hard. Power won’t make those strings ring out clearly. It’s technique that will do that. Experiment with moving your hand around, your wrist, elbow, and even your fingers. When you get it right, you will realize why children can play guitar. It doesn’t take that much pressure.

      MG 😀

  • OhWowMan

    Member
    December 2, 2021 at 2:56 am

    @Loraine @Bill_Brown I have to say, interestingly, the “vice grip” works very well on the first and third frets. The “thumb press” is what I need on the eighth fret. Go figure!

    • tailsawaggin

      Member
      December 2, 2021 at 11:54 am

      As a recovering vice gripper, I’d encourage you to banish it now. It causes nothing but trouble. 😁

    • N-lightMike

      Member
      December 2, 2021 at 12:01 pm

      The neck gets thicker as you move toward the body, so you don’t have as much reach and you need the “proper” position to get your fingers arched on the 8th fret. My suggestion would be to try making this position work on the 1st and 3rd also as that will train you to use that position more effectively and it will benefit you down the road.

      However, everyone does it their own way, and there is no wrong way as long as you are getting a clear chord sound. It’s all about the sound, not how we get it.

      MG 😀

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