Hand size

ashepps
Posts: 637
Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:06 pm
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Re: Hand size

Post by ashepps » Sun Jul 12, 2015 12:06 am

stevel wrote:Interesting. I'm 5'3" on a good day. I'm definitely at the small end of the spectrum of human sizes for a male. If I stretch my thumb and pinky so they're pretty much "in line" with each other on opposite sides of the hand, I too can reach 8" (and 1/4") so it surprises me that some of your hands are that small. Pinkie to index I can make 6".
Steve
Steve, I was wrong, my pinky to thumb is 7.5" and pinky to index is 5" so your hand is slightly larger than mine. Still, there are charts from the forum below to show where you should be. As mentioned by the poster below (I am on your post so I can't see his post at all, but he mentions about putting a capo on the first fret. He is right that putting a capo on a 650 mm scale length guitar will give you a 615 scale length. I have a Snark 2 model tuner, it will automatically calculate what your guitar should be tuned to, by just reading the tuner.

I started guitar up after 35 years or so and it was after I joined this forum did I know anything about scale length. I have a 1972 Yamaha GC-20D with 663 mm scale length and then realized that after all these years it may have been why I always felt the guitar was too big for me. You can see my guitar in the for sale area and should not be far from the top, but I would not suggest you buy it, obviously. I can play it fairly well, but it is always a stretch.

I have 2 other guitars, my 650 starter Framus guitar and a new since Christmas 650 Silent Guitar that I am now playing. I like the effects of the silent guitar and cause it fairly well. However, I have since tried a 2nd hand Guild 640 and could notice the difference enough to almost buy it.

Then came this forum where all this stuff is mentioned, so I put the capo on my 650 making it a 615 and wow what a difference. Really easy to play and still liked the near 2" nut. I don't think the nut is a big factor when it comes to a short scale guitar. I have even picked up my daughter's "never used" 590 mm and enjoyed playing it, but felt it may be a little too small and the neck definitely narrow at about 1.75".

I love my Yamaha 20D so much for its looks, tone and nice low action I hate to sell it, but in order to buy a good short scale guitar I need to sell my Yamaha.

our hands are about equal and I feel the 615 would be best for me, but a 630 not much in the difference and you probably get a larger selection. I would not go any higher. I know from playing the 640 guild. The capo or 615 was my size even though I was a little larger than the suggested 615 mm in the chart below one of the charts below suggesting I was into the 630, but the 2nd chart had me in the 615 mm. My extensive playing around with the charts and capo along with the ability to play the small 590 mm child's guitar makes me feel that the 615 would be the guitar for me. One othe member on the forum may respond here as she has done a lot od research and is still experimenting between a 580, 615 and owns a 630, but feels it is too large.

Here are the 2 charts I have, I would try and find some guitars to try, that would be the best way.

Good luck,

Alan

Two different scales with slightly two different results, but for me #1 seems to work for me!

#1
The 650mm is suitable for those players whose spread between thumb and pinky is 9″ or greater
The 640mm is suitable for those players whose spread between thumb and pinky is 8″-9″
The 628mm is suitable for those players whose spread between pinky and thumb is 7″-8″
***The 615mm is suitable for those players whose spread between pinky and thumb is 6″-7″ (me 7.5")

#2
Thumb tip to pinky tip span of 250+ 664mm scale length
Thumb tip to pinky tip span of 230 to 250 656mm scale length
Thumb tip to pinky tip span of 210 to 230 650mm scale length
Thumb tip to pinky tip span of 190 to 210 640mm scale length
Thumb tip to pinky tip span of 170 to 190 630mm scale length ??
Thumb tip to pinky tip span of below 170 615mm scale length ??
Alan Sheppard
1986 630mm Asturias JM-15 Spruce
1955 650mm Framus SL-32R
2015 650mm Yamaha SLG110N

Joe de V
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Location: Northern California USA

Re: Hand size

Post by Joe de V » Sun Jul 12, 2015 12:22 am

I have already posted a message on this issue but I like to add this "novel" way to measure your ability to play the fret-board.
Today I finished "eliminating " my excess CG's that I have not played regularly for the last 3 months and took them to a local music store for sell on consignment. In deciding which guitar has to go, I discovered what for me is a sensible idea.
I observed that the important measurement in playing my CG is the spread of my fretting hand fingers from the index to the small / pinky finger. By holding the guitar in a playing position I can only reach vertically 4 inches of the fret board. From the 1st to the 4th fret on a standard 650mm (25.6") CG fret board. The use of the thumb is not involved in the playing of any strings but only as the important supporting tool for positioning in the fret board. Hand (not fingers ) does play a part in the spread from the index to the pinky but as many players have discovered, big hands does not necessarily means long finger spreads. Any comments on this?

ashepps
Posts: 637
Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:06 pm
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Re: Hand size

Post by ashepps » Sun Jul 12, 2015 2:39 am

My small hand size of 5" from pinky to index ( pinky to thumb 7.5") does allow me to to reach quite a bit.

1. With very little support like just touching the neck with my thumb I can place my index finger on the first fret and it will reach the 6th fret and play both notes clearly.

2. With my thumb giving good support I can bar the first fret and have my pinky on the 5th fret and cleanly play all notes in the bar and my pinky playing the one on the 5th fret.

I can say I have reached many notes on my 663 mm at times, but it was never comfortable.

Sometimes a piece had the left hand fingering and often I found it was never comfortable or easily played even on a 650 mm.

What does this tell you?

Thanks,

Alan
Alan Sheppard
1986 630mm Asturias JM-15 Spruce
1955 650mm Framus SL-32R
2015 650mm Yamaha SLG110N

Joe de V
Posts: 1853
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2007 12:34 am
Location: Northern California USA

Re: Hand size

Post by Joe de V » Sun Jul 12, 2015 3:28 am

ashepps wrote:My small hand size of 5" from pinky to index ( pinky to thumb 7.5") does allow me to to reach quite a bit.

1. With very little support like just touching the neck with my thumb I can place my index finger on the first fret and it will reach the 6th fret and play both notes clearly.

2. With my thumb giving good support I can bar the first fret and have my pinky on the 5th fret and cleanly play all notes in the bar and my pinky playing the one on the 5th fret.

I can say I have reached many notes on my 663 mm at times, but it was never comfortable.

Sometimes a piece had the left hand fingering and often I found it was never comfortable or easily played even on a 650 mm.

What does this tell you?

Thanks,

Alan
Yes Alan, It does appear that having the facility to do a wide spread in your fretting hand fingers from index to pinky has a more defining value in determining your fingers ability to cover the fret-board. When you play the fret board your fingers are not in a straight position but in a bending position and the original spread from the straight position will be diminished. Your experience indicates that the size of the hand is of secondary importance in playing the guitar to the length of the fingers. Thank you for your comments.

Fred Klinge

Re: Hand size

Post by Fred Klinge » Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:38 am

Interesting discussion. I'm 6'1" and have a pinky-to-thumb span of 9.25". I broke my left arm (humerus growth plate) when I was 15 years old and as a result, my left arm is 1.5" shorter than my right. I'm currently playing a 650mm scale length guitar and have grown accustomed to the size. I've always wondered if a shorter scale length would improve my posture. I've been told I sometimes lean towards the neck of the guitar.

ashepps
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Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:06 pm
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Re: Hand size

Post by ashepps » Sun Jul 12, 2015 12:27 pm

[/quote] Yes Alan, It does appear that having the facility to do a wide spread in your fretting hand fingers from index to pinky has a more defining value in determining your fingers ability to cover the fret-board. When you play the fret board your fingers are not in a straight position but in a bending position and the original spread from the straight position will be diminished. Your experience indicates that the size of the hand is of secondary importance in playing the guitar to the length of the fingers. Thank you for your comments.[/quote]

Joe,

In a normal playing position I would never be able to make these stretches and most likely there isn't much music written that would need that, but in everyday practice, using the normal left hand position, my fingers will not carry the weight of a 663 or 650 mm. To be truly comfortable I need that capo on the first fret of a 650 mm and then I can properly play those pieces that are left hand fingered already by someone that has fingered the piece on a 650 with a hand size bigger than mine.

I know that the 615 would be a great fit, but then I say to myself perhaps I should look at the 630. back and forth I go. Then I always think back to my daughters 590 mm tiny guitar where I can reach everything, the only problem is the very narrow neck.

Once again then I feel the 615 is the best choice as the 630 is playable and not far from the 640 I tried in the 2nd hand store. With these comments I am creeping up to a "normal 650".

But, I have played a lot with the capo on the first fret (650) and if it were not for the dots mixing me up even if I cover them with Electrician's tape I then have to add a few other dots with "White Out". Then you have to tune it properly, at least I have the Snark 2 tuner that you can have the settings set so it gets tuned properly.

I would be doing this all the time, but it happens to be a big pain, thus I am just sticking with and having fun with the Silent Guitar's special effects even though it is a bit of a struggle playing it.

Cheers,

Alan
Alan Sheppard
1986 630mm Asturias JM-15 Spruce
1955 650mm Framus SL-32R
2015 650mm Yamaha SLG110N

George2ec

Re: Hand size

Post by George2ec » Mon Jul 13, 2015 3:07 pm

I would like to add two points...
1.- everyone has differents hands (size and form)...maybe your fingers are short but your palm has average size or vice, I have the pinky finger very short...only the pinky finger!!!!.. this is the reason for I feell more confortable short scale 640 or 630 not less...
2.- beware to choice to small scale, even if your hand is short or your fingers are short, like adults is common that we have the finger tips wider or maybe we have fat fingers...so you can have troubles on high frets 7,8,9....

try, try, and try. I feel very easy to play with capo on firts fret (615 mm), but I feel discomfort over the 6 or 7 fret when I have to put more of 2 finger on one same fret, so for me 640 its the choice, its only 10mm of difference...but the effect in comfort is noticeable.

Regards

jorge
ps.- sorry for my bad english.

ashepps
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Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:06 pm
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Re: Hand size

Post by ashepps » Mon Jul 13, 2015 6:09 pm

George2ec wrote:I would like to add two points...
1.- everyone has differents hands (size and form)...maybe your fingers are short but your palm has average size or vice, I have the pinky finger very short...only the pinky finger!!!!.. this is the reason for I feell more confortable short scale 640 or 630 not less...
2.- beware to choice to small scale, even if your hand is short or your fingers are short, like adults is common that we have the finger tips wider or maybe we have fat fingers...so you can have troubles on high frets 7,8,9....
try, try, and try. I feel very easy to play with capo on firts fret (615 mm), but I feel discomfort over the 6 or 7 fret when I have to put more of 2 finger on one same fret, so for me 640 its the choice, its only 10mm of difference...but the effect in comfort is noticeable.
Regards jorge ps.- sorry for my bad english.
Jorge,

Your English is better than mine, I make so many mistakes and only see them after someone has answered a post and then I have to go back and fix what I typed wrong.

I am lucky as my fingers are slim as well and even though I am used to the 52 mm or whatever my Yamaha was I quickly got used to the old Framus at 2" and my Silent guitar at 48 mm approximately. Playing up high did not seem a problem with me so I am good to go, although you have me rethinking it again. When I sell my guitar I will once again go all over the pros and cons, but I think I am going to stick with the 615, I just wish the body was larger.

Best regards,

Alan
Alan Sheppard
1986 630mm Asturias JM-15 Spruce
1955 650mm Framus SL-32R
2015 650mm Yamaha SLG110N

stevel
Posts: 576
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Re: Hand size

Post by stevel » Wed Jul 15, 2015 12:51 am

I didn't think about the capo trick, so I just tried it.

Unfortunately, I don't think it helped much. Yes, some aspects of it were easier, but the things I'm having problems with seem to be more directly related to VERTICAL reach as opposed to horizontal reach.

From the 1st fret with index, I can reach to the 5th fret with my pinkie comfortably.

6th fret is not going to happen without further working on stretching the reach of my hand.

If I barre the entire 1st fret so all notes are playable, I can then only reach the pinkie to the 4th fret (marginally comfortably).

But using the capo does not affect the issue with 3rd finger on G on the 6th and 4th finger on G on the 1st string.

If I put my middle finger on the note G on the first string, and try to barre the 2nd fret behind it, I can reach the 6th string and play all the 2nd fret barred notes.

I can not do the same thing with my middle finger on C on the 1st string and barring the 7th fret behind it - if I reach my index to the B note on the 6th string, my middle finger "folds under" so that the nail is touching the fingerboard (well-kept short nail) and I can't press the note. I can play the C with my Ring finger there, but not the middle. I can't really make the reach on anything above the 5th fret without first playing the high string and reaching the index to barely catch the 6th string - even by the 3rd fret it's unplayable without a lot of preparation.

So my issue is probably more one of nut width than scale length. I would certainly probably benefit from a somewhat shorter scale length but I think maybe the neck is just too wide. My nut is 2". I just realized at the 12th fret it's a full half inch wider - it doesn't appear to angle out that much but it does! So no wonder I can't make that reach pretty soon as I go up the neck.

And FWIW this discussion about hand "span" should probably be supplemented by "reach" and the accompanying finger length measurement - I bet some of you who are 6 foot tall have hands that may only be a 1/2" wider than mine, but if your fingers are all 1/2" longer than mine (which is likely one the low side) you can probably play with your top joint reaching past the top side of the neck. So this problem I have with reaching the 1st and 6th strings isn't a problem for people with longer fingers, hand width being a non-issue at a 1 fret span.

Steve

ashepps
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Re: Hand size

Post by ashepps » Wed Jul 15, 2015 1:53 am

Steve, now I see why one of the members chewed me out on a pm! My emails were too long.

Yours is fine if I can answer tomorrow or some one gets to you first. I need the guitar in my hands to try some of what you describe and I will need to read this again!

Cheers,

Alan :)
Alan Sheppard
1986 630mm Asturias JM-15 Spruce
1955 650mm Framus SL-32R
2015 650mm Yamaha SLG110N

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HNLim
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Re: Hand size

Post by HNLim » Wed Jul 15, 2015 3:56 am

ashepps wrote:
I am lucky as my fingers are slim as well and even though I am used to the 52 mm or whatever my Yamaha was I quickly got used to the old Framus at 2" and my Silent guitar at 48 mm approximately. Playing up high did not seem a problem with me so I am good to go, although you have me rethinking it again. When I sell my guitar I will once again go all over the pros and cons, but I think I am going to stick with the 615, I just wish the body was larger.

Best regards,

Alan
Alan, you should consider using a cejilla. Putting the cejilla on the first position gives you a scale length of approximately 615 mm. This is a cheaper and safer option for you to gauge if the 615 scale is really what you need.

If I were you, I will never sell off my Yamaha GC20D. I am still keeping my 1974 S.Yairi 800 even though it was damaged by the guitar repair shop. It will really be a waste. Even for my Yamaha GC30A, I do not intend to sell it unless it is really really necessary.

Here is a rosewood cejilla for under US$20/-.
Screenshot_2015-07-15-11-39-39_1.jpg
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1980 Yamaha GC30A - BRW/Spruce
2006 Yamaha GC70 - BRW/ Spruce
2015 Sen #5 - BRW/Spruce
2017 LHN - BRW/Spruce

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markodarko
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Re: Hand size

Post by markodarko » Wed Jul 15, 2015 4:42 am

.
Last edited by markodarko on Sat Jul 18, 2015 1:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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HNLim
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Re: Hand size

Post by HNLim » Wed Jul 15, 2015 5:33 am

I believe these kids have their hand-stretch not more than 6" wide.
https://youtu.be/5nMZdNZvEsI

Why are they not complaining?
1980 Yamaha GC30A - BRW/Spruce
2006 Yamaha GC70 - BRW/ Spruce
2015 Sen #5 - BRW/Spruce
2017 LHN - BRW/Spruce

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markodarko
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Re: Hand size

Post by markodarko » Wed Jul 15, 2015 5:36 am

I love that video. I sent it to all my friends when I first saw it. Made me smile. :-D
Negative, I am a meat popsicle.

ashepps
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Re: Hand size

Post by ashepps » Wed Jul 15, 2015 1:46 pm

HNLim wrote:Alan, you should consider using a cejilla. Putting the cejilla on the first position gives you a scale length of approximately 615 mm. This is a cheaper and safer option for you to gauge if the 615 scale is really what you need. If I were you, I will never sell off my Yamaha GC20D. I am still keeping my 1974 S.Yairi 800 even though it was damaged by the guitar repair shop. It will really be a waste. Even for my Yamaha GC30A, I do not intend to sell it unless it is really really necessary. Here is a rosewood cejilla for under US$20/-.
Screenshot_2015-07-15-11-39-39_1.jpg
Thanks Lim,

And thanks for the post you put on my thread to sell the guitar.

Perhaps you could do it again if I put a different ad up. I would love to keep it, but I need to sell. I may get some type of contract work before I sell it and if my wife agrees may be I will be able to keep it and give it and perhaps give it to my son, his hand and fingers are a lot bigger than mine.

BTW my son, although he does not practice the guitar much, he dabbles in many instruments and has my Cejilla, I remember buying it once when I got interested in Flamenco.

With my regular capo, I did note a difference when I put it on my Yamaha (since it is 663, it made it about 625 mm) and much more comfortable. I even put it on the second fret giving me 590 mm. It was still easily playable with the wide fingerboard, but I was running out of fretboard space.

I mentioned in another post that I am using the Silent Guitar all the time and still find it a little long, but I am enjoying the effects and the fact no one hears me. I did find my regular capo was in the way or at least really noticeable. I also had to cover the markers because they confused me and put WhiteOut on a couple of frets. It was really a good length for me, but if the Cejilla works well I may use it more. My Snark 2 tuner will tune the guitar to the proper pitch once the capo is on.

I will leave the old Cejilla with my son and buy another today and give it a shot again on both guitars, but my mind is almost made up about selling, unless my finances change. I would really love to get a very good 615 mm.

Also, I can see now why you had problems playing the SLG 110N as you have a much bigger hand than I do, I was able to adapt to the nut size in a couple of week.

We talked sometime ago about me having a catalog with your line of guitars in it. I came across it last night even before I saw this email and was going to ask you would like me to scan all the pages with your series, in color, and send them to you. Would you want them? The brochure, I guess you would cal. It has indications of 1986 or 1987, but yours is definitely there as the top of the line and the only one with the carved headstock. Just a my 20D was different in the D line and the top of the line had a different carved headstock.

Best regards,

Alan
Last edited by ashepps on Thu Jul 16, 2015 1:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Alan Sheppard
1986 630mm Asturias JM-15 Spruce
1955 650mm Framus SL-32R
2015 650mm Yamaha SLG110N

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